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celticelement


Jul 12, 2009, 9:47 AM
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Starting a trad rack (passive)
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I was just out at Shaffer Rocks PA this weekend. I got the opportunity to try a mock lead with trad gear. It is the first time I have had sets of gear to work with. I thought it seemed fairly straightforward and am excited to start working my way towards leading.

For a while I will probably be just mock leading, having someone check placements, then doing super easy leads as I feel more comfortable. I am not sure if I will have the opportunity to climb with experienced leaders very often, so will plan to put in plenty of time to get comfortable, and perhaps a guided climb or two to work on my gear placements.

I was thinking of just doing passive pro to start, then as I learn what sizes work for me I can fill in cams as needed.

I was thinking of starting with 2 sets of nuts 1 set of hexes then a good collection of tricams. I am thinking the BD nuts and I want to try Frostworks Sentinel nuts. I was also thinking BD hexes.

Does the above seem like too much or too little? To get the most versitility for my buck out of tricam which should I buy (what sizes, and singles or doubles)? If I were going to buy 5 cams which 5 should they be?

I will be on MD/WV/VA/PA rock mostly to start. Hopefully some longer trips to NY and down south as well, and eventually I hope to move out west in a few years.


Crimpcramp


Jul 12, 2009, 10:23 AM
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I just bought a set of bd nuts, haven't gotten out to use them yet .... when i was looking around I talked to some people and everyone i talked to said hexes were not that way to start (mind you I'm a poor student) they are bomber but I don't see them used that often.


(This post was edited by Crimpcramp on Jul 13, 2009, 9:17 AM)


vegastradguy


Jul 12, 2009, 10:48 AM
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most folks these days either dont use hexes at all, or if they did, they only did while they were learning- most people generally stick with cams these days.

this is not to say hexes dont work, but realistically, you are more likely to find folks familiar with using cams than hexes.

so, that said, a good beginners rack is a set of stoppers (or even two- the BD and the Frostworks are a good choice, imho), some tricams (i think the 3-4 smallest sizes are the most popular), and a set of cams from 1"-3" or so (i use BD, so from a #.5 BD to a #3 BD would be the equivalent in that brand). you may want to buy a sixth cam in the 3/4" range. this was my first rack, minus the tricams, and it worked fine for a year or so- especially since we usually just shared racks if we needed more.

dont forget plenty of slings- i use a dozen trad draws on just about every route (but most routes in RR wander quite a bit, so consider that), plus an anchor kit (or two)- which is a cordlette and a couple lockers (or whatever you're going to use to build anchors), a nut tool, and a pruisk cord or two.


veganclimber


Jul 12, 2009, 11:55 AM
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vegastradguy wrote:
most folks these days either dont use hexes at all, or if they did, they only did while they were learning- most people generally stick with cams these days.

this is not to say hexes dont work, but realistically, you are more likely to find folks familiar with using cams than hexes.

so, that said, a good beginners rack is a set of stoppers (or even two- the BD and the Frostworks are a good choice, imho), some tricams (i think the 3-4 smallest sizes are the most popular), and a set of cams from 1"-3" or so (i use BD, so from a #.5 BD to a #3 BD would be the equivalent in that brand). you may want to buy a sixth cam in the 3/4" range. this was my first rack, minus the tricams, and it worked fine for a year or so- especially since we usually just shared racks if we needed more.

dont forget plenty of slings- i use a dozen trad draws on just about every route (but most routes in RR wander quite a bit, so consider that), plus an anchor kit (or two)- which is a cordlette and a couple lockers (or whatever you're going to use to build anchors), a nut tool, and a pruisk cord or two.

Just to clarify, do you mean the smallest starting from pink?


vegastradguy


Jul 12, 2009, 12:22 PM
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veganclimber wrote:
vegastradguy wrote:
most folks these days either dont use hexes at all, or if they did, they only did while they were learning- most people generally stick with cams these days.

this is not to say hexes dont work, but realistically, you are more likely to find folks familiar with using cams than hexes.

so, that said, a good beginners rack is a set of stoppers (or even two- the BD and the Frostworks are a good choice, imho), some tricams (i think the 3-4 smallest sizes are the most popular), and a set of cams from 1"-3" or so (i use BD, so from a #.5 BD to a #3 BD would be the equivalent in that brand). you may want to buy a sixth cam in the 3/4" range. this was my first rack, minus the tricams, and it worked fine for a year or so- especially since we usually just shared racks if we needed more.

dont forget plenty of slings- i use a dozen trad draws on just about every route (but most routes in RR wander quite a bit, so consider that), plus an anchor kit (or two)- which is a cordlette and a couple lockers (or whatever you're going to use to build anchors), a nut tool, and a pruisk cord or two.

Just to clarify, do you mean the smallest starting from pink?

uh, i think so. i dont carry tricams- but i wasnt counting the two new tiny ones (black and white)- so i think pink is the next smallest.


bill413


Jul 12, 2009, 4:31 PM
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Re: [vegastradguy] Starting a trad rack (passive) [In reply to]
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I recommend tricams (East Coast climber here) - I carry 0.5, 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5 ( & 5 ) (doubled up on the smaller ones).

I would not recommend someone starting out double up on gear. Doubling is really only necessary for specific climbs, and is style dependent. At this stage you should put that money toward other gear. On those occasions where you're cursing to yourself because you don't have another number 5 stopper, you learn to get creative, or search for other placements.


celticelement


Jul 12, 2009, 5:09 PM
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Thanks to all for the input.

I think I will probably go for 2 sets of nuts. (...so I can make cracks look like Christmas time without too much weight or cost.) Then I will get the popular tricam sizes.

That will probably be enough to start me off with some mock leads.

Then I will work on adding some BD cams in sizes mentioned, as I also add maybe an extra tri cam or two, plus whatever nifty gimmicks I come across.

...Until I feel confidant enough to give the first one a go.

Edit: What size/length for the cordelet should I start out with?


(This post was edited by celticelement on Jul 12, 2009, 5:14 PM)


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Jul 12, 2009, 6:09 PM
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celticelement wrote:

Edit: What size/length for the cordelet should I start out with?

21' static 7mm chord.


mikebee


Jul 13, 2009, 2:51 AM
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I'd probably get a set of nuts first, then use my money to get half a dozen cams before I bothered with tricams or a second set of nuts.

Of course, it depends on what kind of gear the rock near you takes well, so ask around with some locals who already have a full rack as to what they use most often.


scrapedape


Jul 13, 2009, 5:55 AM
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I started out climbing in the VA/MD/WV area, especially at Seneca.

Given where you're climbing, I would recommend getting a couple of hexes, as you initially thought. Especially for the easier leads you'll be getting on, you'll want to have something to go in some larger placements, and the hexes will work well (not just adequately, but well) in the irregular features and rough-sided cracks so characteristic of the Mid-Atlantic. Sure, in a year or two you may not place them as much as you do initially, but the bottom line is you can get 4 of them for less than the price of a cam. As a learning tool alone, I think they are worth the investment.

As someone else suggested, I would go for breadth before depth, meaning if you are cash-constrained, stick with one set of nuts for now, add a pink and red tricam, and 3-4 hexes (#8 and #9 in particular, #7 and #10 if you can). You should be able to get all that for under $150, easily.

Don't forget lots of draws and biners, too. Again, if you're cash constrained, I would recommend going with basic nylon slings for now, and spending the money for some lighter-weight biners. The slings will have to be replaced in a few years in any case.


andrewG


Jul 13, 2009, 7:39 AM
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In reply to:
I just bought a set of bd nuts, haven't gotten out to use them yet .... when i was looking around I talked to some people and everyone i talked to said hexes were not that way to start (mind you I'm a poor student) they are bomber when placed but heavy and dated compared to the cams out today
Hexes are much lighter than cams of a comparable size. I think hexes are a good way to double up in the larger sizes if you are on a budget. Don't bother with the smaller sizes because they are essentially just nuts (more of a PITA to place in a camming mode than larger ones). I still carry hexes on occasion, but since I doubled up on cams it is somewhat of a rarity.


jeepnphreak


Jul 13, 2009, 9:00 AM
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Sound like a good start. You may want to reconsider the hexes, Some people really like them, but they heavy and I find they are limited in the placement I can find for them...
As for the tricams, I love them. I really like them in hroizontal placements. I find that the pink brown and black are the most usefull(0 .5 - 1.5?).

Stoppers are stoppers, I have used BD and metolius and DMM. I like the DMM but there is very little difference between them, I think.


chilli


Jul 13, 2009, 9:06 AM
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jeepnphreak wrote:
...Stoppers are stoppers, I have used BD and metolius and DMM. I like the DMM but there is very little difference between them, I think.

i would totally agree with the 'stoppers are stoppers' statement. they all get the job done. i've got bd's and they work fine, but i do have to say i used my friend's metolius curve nut set (with the curve running the longitudinal axis) and they slotted like they were made for the little protrusions in NC rock.


bill413


Jul 13, 2009, 5:07 PM
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scrapedape wrote:
Given where you're climbing, I would recommend getting a couple of hexes, as you initially thought. Especially for the easier leads you'll be getting on, you'll want to have something to go in some larger placements, and the hexes will work well (not just adequately, but well) in the irregular features and rough-sided cracks so characteristic of the Mid-Atlantic. Sure, in a year or two you may not place them as much as you do initially, but the bottom line is you can get 4 of them for less than the price of a cam. As a learning tool alone, I think they are worth the investment.

As someone else suggested, I would go for breadth before depth, meaning if you are cash-constrained, stick with one set of nuts for now, add a pink and red tricam, and 3-4 hexes (#8 and #9 in particular, #7 and #10 if you can). You should be able to get all that for under $150, easily.

Don't forget lots of draws and biners, too. Again, if you're cash constrained, I would recommend going with basic nylon slings for now, and spending the money for some lighter-weight biners. The slings will have to be replaced in a few years in any case.

I think this is good advice. The hexes are lighter for a given size pro...and starting out you want to be able to place lots of pieces. Until you get overconfident and place too few believing you don't need to. And then have the AHA moment where you realize you should place a bit more.

Draws - you do not want sport draws (read "stiff"). Draws made from slings - floppy so they isolate the piece from the movement of the rope.


gunkiemike


Jul 14, 2009, 5:25 AM
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Don't forget a nut tool.

My $0.02 Having all passive gear initially is a great way to learn how to read the rock. Cams too often encourage a "plug and go" approach, which is not what you should be working on at this critical stage. You should be getting right up close to each crack, run your fingers up and down every potential placement etc. Tricams need little bumps or pockets in the crack, Stoppers of course need a taper, but can be sensitive to rotation if not placed well. Learn these things now, then reward yourself with cams a bit later.
If you get hexes in the larger sizes, learn how to cam them in near-parallel cracks in addition to just using them as a big nut.

Other 2 cents - BD nuts are the standard, and are easy to replace singly when they inevitably get lost. Straight nuts like the Frosts are easy to place and remove but don't offer subtle ways to "grab" the rock. The Metolius Curve Nuts are a mix of both: straight sides but with a lengthwise groove (DMMs also have this) that often makes the piece resist rotating loose. That's good for tenuous placements but bad for unskilled folks trying to get them out i.e. yank upwards on the cable and it's hopelessly stuck.


celticelement


Jul 14, 2009, 6:18 AM
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Again, thanks to all who comment.

I think I am going to get 2 sets of nuts like I originally planned. It may be that I have unnecessary redundancy but I will live with that to have a few extra pieces to give me confidence I am leaving the ground with enough protection to sew the route (provided I can find placements). Also I do want to teach myself to rely on passive, especially at first, rather then spring loaded to try to start in the right direction for how I look for placements.

I will get the pink - blue tri cams, to start out with, and maybe some more later on.

I want to get 3 or 4 hexes. I like the looks of the dyneema slung WC Rockcentrics. My noob brain thinks the slings would help get the pieces to sit and rotate just like I want, where the wires could have a mind of their own. I was about to order sizes 7, 8, and 9 when I noticed something that gave me pause. Each of the pieces I was looking at seem to have a range of about 3mm. Now my brain still likes measuring things in inches, but I know enough to know that seems like a fairly small range. The BD #9 hex has 17mm range. Am I understanding that correctly? The BD hex has ~ 17mm in which it is possible I can find a decent placement where the WC has 3mm? If that is true then I am guessing I should go with the BD.

I will probably hold off on the cams for now. Even though I may pass placements where the cam would have been the correct piece I want to train myself to use passive, and so by not having the spring loaded, force myself to look for the correct placement for a stopper. I will be mock leading at this stage so it won't be a safety concern just yet. I may reconsider adding a few cams before I do my first real lead.

Again thanks to all for the input.


scrapedape


Jul 14, 2009, 7:29 AM
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"Range" is a bit of a flawed concept when it comes to hexes in general. I don't know what the 3mm range on the WC website means. Don't worry about it. The WC rockcentrics are very nice pieces and are superior to the BD hexes, IMO.

You will note that the sizing is a little different than BD or Metolius hexes. Basically, I think you can add 1 to the WC size to obtain the comparable BD or Metolius size (at least in the larger size). So WC #7 and #8 are the sizes to have. #9 is useful too.


tomcecil


Jul 14, 2009, 9:22 AM
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When you start Trad leading you should use a carpet bombing approach to gear placement, meaning, place a lot of pro (especially when you are close to the ground or a ledge)--one of the biggest myths in climbing is the notion that you fall twice the distance you are above your pro--it usually ends up you fall 3 times the distance--remember that and protect accordingly. Passive gear (such as hexes, Tri-cams and large stoppers) are much easier for inexperienced leaders to evaluate their security, they don't have the undesirable characteristic of walking. Seneca has myriad constrictions which take hexes easily---the rock is rarely so parallel to NEED slcd's, especially on the 5.2's to 5.5's you should be starting on-
Find a Mentor


celticelement


Jul 14, 2009, 9:38 AM
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tomcecil wrote:
Find a Mentor

Easier said then done... Experienced climbers don't exactly wander gyms and crags looking for disciples from among the lowly noob population.

Believe me, if I am in any way afforded the opportunity to learn from the more experienced climbers I may meet, I will take full advantage of that, as I have already done.

Until such time as I find a steady mentor I will press on with such training and practice as I believe will keep me and anyone I am climbing with safe and climbing.


vegastradguy


Jul 14, 2009, 10:22 AM
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In reply to:
-one of the biggest myths in climbing is the notion that you fall twice the distance you are above your pro--it usually ends up you fall 3 times the distance--

um...i hope not. actually, this might be true for smaller falls- like under 4-5 feet above your gear (especially if you forget to count the 2' sling), but if i'm 10' above my last piece, i better not fall 30'. if i do, i'm going to beat the shit out of my belayer.


northfacejmb


Jul 14, 2009, 10:35 AM
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You might consider trying to find some old rockcentrics with stiff wires for the smaller sizes because it's really hard to place the dyneema ones if you can't get your hand in there to position it.


mikeo


Jul 14, 2009, 10:31 PM
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Check out the Omega Pacific Wedgies instead of the BD's, they are about the same size... come with a free nut tool, and are cheap. I have fallen on them and they hold. http://www.omegapac.com/product205.html Don't get the smallest .125 tricam, it is pretty much useless. .5-2 should be good, although you might get away with just the .5 and 1 if you wanted to. I don't have any hexes and my understanding of them is that they are good for alpine climbing where they weigh less than an equivalent cam size. I have known people who climb with them and somehow manage to find bomber placements though, but if your a new leader popping a cam in might make you feel better than fiddling with a hex. If you can, do several of your first leads on someone else's rack first to see what gear you like, then buy it when you know for sure what you want (and are confident leading with it).


mikeo


Jul 14, 2009, 10:35 PM
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Another piece of advice: Don't fall on any trad route easier than 5.7-5.8... Easier climbs tend to have lots of ledges and other stuff to self arrest on or tumble your way down, as opposed to a cleaner open air or vertical fall.


scrapedape


Jul 15, 2009, 6:57 AM
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mikeo wrote:
I have known people who climb with them and somehow manage to find bomber placements though, but if your a new leader popping a cam in might make you feel better than fiddling with a hex.

Feeling good is different than being safe.


rtwilli4


Jul 19, 2009, 3:43 PM
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Not sure if anyone has mentioned this but ABC Huevos are basically the same as BD stoppers and they are always cheaper.

I would wait a while before I bought doubles of stoppers. You'll probably be climbing at beginner areas and might start to rack up a nice set of booty doubles. I know I have found at least three this summer.

.5-2.0 tricams are great and up to 3.0 if you like using them.

I'm not really a fan of hexes and have never taken any on lead.

I climb mostly in NC and find that I use Orange and Yellow TCU's a lot. Beyond that, BD .5-3 is a good start on cams. There are a lot of options for small cams so don't get too many of those w/o trying out a few different styles. For .5 and up, Camalots for sure.

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