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sp00ki


Mar 26, 2010, 3:42 PM
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How to build a rack?
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Depending on the outcome of the next few months spent placing other people's gear, I'll likely start building my own rack.

What's the best way to begin? Specifics like manufacturer aside, what's the best way to decide how many of what pro to buy?
Is there a concentration (or concentrations) of sizes that tend to pop up most frequently during a route? Is it more valuable to have a little bit of everything?

Complete sets of cams/nuts? Is complete overkill?

This is just to get myself started with the thinking, of course... it's unlikely i'll start anytime before fall, but if all goes well that's right around the time i'll need to start buying my own pro.

Thanks


(This post was edited by sp00ki on Mar 26, 2010, 3:44 PM)


hafilax


Mar 26, 2010, 3:48 PM
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The order I put mine together:
8 quickdraws and misc. anchor stuff
gear placement course
nuts
hand to fist sized cams
finger sized cams
tricams

Search the forums for more info.


bhp


Mar 26, 2010, 3:55 PM
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A set of cams and a set of nuts is enough to get you out on the rock (keep in mind that cams with better ranges require fewer units to span a given range), at which point you'll be able to just go climbing, then buy whatever you were reaching for but didn't have. Different areas definitely have a propensity towards specific gear sizes and types. Here in NC, the rock seems to love tricams.

Climbing on other people's gear is a great idea, and will allow you to figure out what you need by yourself.


patmay81


Mar 26, 2010, 4:29 PM
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my rack started with two hex's a set of nuts and a #3 & #4 C4. That's what I needed to get up the crack i wanted to climb.
This is always my recommendation. Figure out what it is you want to climb and start there. It doesn't make sense to buy a full set of cams (00-5) if you love hand cracks and will be climbing a lot of routes in the #1-#3 range (the 00 to .75 are pointless). buy the gear that fits your interests, diversify from there.


johnwesely


Mar 26, 2010, 4:52 PM
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sp00ki wrote:

Complete sets of cams/nuts? Is complete overkill?

Depends on what you mean by a complete set of cams and on what you mean by overkill.

Starting out, I wouldn't get any cams bigger than yellow C4. That will save you a bunch of money right off the bat.
How much gear you need really depends on what you are climbing and, possibly, your proficiency at placing nuts. When I am doing multipitch climbs with gear belays, I might bring doubles of most most cams. Tomorrow, I am going to be climbing steep multipitch quartzite with sparse pro. I am going to bring a set of cams up to two and a set of nuts with micros. Some places I might bring a set of nuts and .75, 1, and 2 cams. It all depends on what you are climbing. If you climb before you buy, you will figure it out.

Also, don't skimp on slings or biners. They are not as much fun to buy as cams but are just as important. No matter how many biners I buy, I never seem to have enough. You could start buying those things now. Make sure you pick really light biners, or one day down the road, you will want to replace them. I would get 2 4 foot slings, 4 2 foot slings, and 4 1 foot slings with carabiners to go with them.

Hope that helped.


qtm


Mar 26, 2010, 7:15 PM
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When I first started at the Gunks, I placed a lot of larger cams... easy, G rated routes have a lot of placements. So my rack had doubles in the larger sizes at that time. If I had anything left over, they were the small pieces.

On harder, PG/PG-R rated routes, you don't have the same opportunities to place gear. As time goes on, my rack has shifted towards smaller and smaller pro; right now I rack 7 pieces smaller than the .5 camalot.

Unless you're on a splitter, it's hard to say any one size pops up more than any other.


caughtinside


Mar 26, 2010, 7:36 PM
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Here is what you do... figure out what you need to climb. Then go out and buy it. For most people, this will be nuts, cams, slings and carabiners.


mach2


Mar 26, 2010, 7:48 PM
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I'm going to second the above post for more carabiners and slings. Biggest mistake see is peeps buyin 3 more cams and they can only put together a few draws. I personally invest in one to two more biners with each pro purchase. Also don't forget to mark your stuff after purchase. There's nothing worse than tryin to figure out who's biners are who's.


petsfed


Mar 26, 2010, 8:10 PM
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Complete sets are typically overkill, but sets from about tips (.3 c4, green alien, blue TCU/mastercam, blue zero, etc) to hand/fist size (like a #8 metolius, #4 friend, 4 C4, etc) is a really strong rack for short stuff or stuff you don't need doubles on. I've gotten by with a single set of nuts for a long time, but I don't climb in areas where having two nuts AND two cams of the same size is really useful. I've gotten by really well with doubles above a .75 C4, singles below because the nuts serve as doubles.

Definitely talk to more experienced climbers of your area, figure out what they double up on, and plan accordingly. If they work well for your area, hexes might be a worthwhile beginner piece, but expect to outpace their utility pretty quickly. Again, where I climb, hexes are worthless. Look at tricams the same way. There are few places where larger tricams stay on the free-climber's rack very far into the grades. It may be the case that your average 5.12 climber, even in those areas, doesn't carry a specific piece, but that is no reason for you to do the same. Harder climbing has different requirements.

You almost certainly don't want or need the really big stuff just yet. Keep in mind that this only really matters with the Black Diamond line, since Wild Country doesn't sell the #6 anymore (so for those who find, remember that its essentially a clearance item), and only if you think you want a complete set.

What I did when I bought cams was I started with the largest first, predominantly because that was where my partner lacked pieces. If you don't have that easy guideline, start with sizes you want to climb more of. If you've really enjoyed hand cracks, get one for that size. Buy pieces based on your goals, rather than some prearranged size progression. Before you buy cams though, buy nuts, and learn to place them. This is not some old-school-crusty-I-never-climbed-harder-than-5.8-so-by-christ-neither-will-you thing, but rather because you need to have the basic ideas of pro-placement down before you move on to cams, and nuts typically don't even set if you're not following those fundamentals. I've also climbed a fair number of pitches that would be completely unprotected without nuts, so they're worthwhile for that reason too. I'd stay away from micronuts for now. There's some nuance to them that makes them more of a specialty piece, like very small cams.

Don't be a scrooge when it comes to racking carabiners though. Plan for one crab per cam, and one crab per half-dozen to dozen nuts. Your system may work out differently, but that'll give you the most options right out of the gate. Similarly, I'd say pick up one single or double length runner for every 1-2 cams, and for every 2-4 nuts.


cush


Mar 26, 2010, 9:17 PM
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when i was buying my rack i made it my mission to buy 1 piece of gear a week. that way, i was never short on carabiners. if i had a poor week i would go buy a carabiner. if i had a little more to spend i might buy 2 biners and a sling and make a trad draw. if i got paid that week, of if i found a 20 on the ground to throw in or something like that i'd buy a cam or something more expensive. that way, you get to see your gear collection gradually, and continuously grow and you get well rounded gear by not having just pro and no biners, or having lots of draws and no cams.

also, don't think you need to go overboard. a set of stoppers, 7 or 8 trad draws, and maybe 5 cams from thin fingers to wide hands is all you need to start leading trad. WC cams and metolius cams are cheaper than BD but work jsut as well. you ahve all the time in the world to move up to the class A amazing gear like C4s and link cams.


petsfed


Mar 27, 2010, 7:09 AM
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cush wrote:
you ahve all the time in the world to move up to the class A amazing gear like C4s and link cams.

If you're working on a limited income for the time being (say, a college student or minimum wage worker), this is bad advice. With cams especially, get what suits your needs the best, or be prepared to make a lot of $50 and $60 mistakes. Dunno about you, I hate pissing away $60, doubly so if it adds up to a $600 mistake. A cam you don't like won't get used.

WC, Metolius, and BD are all at the same quality level (and price point, for the most part). Link cams are a specialty piece. But to understand that differentiation, you need to educate yourself on the nuances of cam design. Figure out how the overall length of the axle affects your placements. Number of lobes, thickness of lobes, stem design, sling arrangement, trigger design, they all change a piece considerably. Learn how and why and you'll be able to judge what a class A cam is for your needs.


TarHeelEMT


Mar 27, 2010, 8:01 AM
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I know you said without the specifics of brand, but it's easier to describe my starter rack if I include that.

For climbing in NC, I had:

BD C4 Camalots from 0.5-3
Blue and Yellow TCU
Set of BD nuts from 3-12

About 10 single sewn runners, and 4 doubles
A bunch of carabiners




Biners last a long time, so it's worth getting wiregates or other lightweight ones when you first start building a rack.


Partner j_ung


Mar 27, 2010, 8:58 AM
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sp00ki wrote:
Depending on the outcome of the next few months spent placing other people's gear, I'll likely start building my own rack.

What's the best way to begin? Specifics like manufacturer aside, what's the best way to decide how many of what pro to buy?
Is there a concentration (or concentrations) of sizes that tend to pop up most frequently during a route? Is it more valuable to have a little bit of everything?

Complete sets of cams/nuts? Is complete overkill?

This is just to get myself started with the thinking, of course... it's unlikely i'll start anytime before fall, but if all goes well that's right around the time i'll need to start buying my own pro.

Thanks

I suspect that by the time you get to where you feel ready to put this thang together, you'll have a better idea of what you need. In the meantime, you can certainly begin by buying the basics that almost all racks seem to share -- a set of stoppers, mid-range cams, etc.


jfarrell


Mar 29, 2010, 12:18 PM
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One thing I like to tell people on putting together a rack, is don't skimp on the carabiners. When you're carrying a lot of them, their weight adds up. It sounds petty, but if you spend a little extra and get lighter carabiners, even if only by a few ounces, it can really make a difference on the weight of your rack. They are an item that will last you a long time on your rack with out replacing, unless you have 'pesky seconds throwing them off the cliff.

I have become a big fan of the "mini" carabiners for my rack, but a lot of people don't like these because they have "big hands." I have a large hands and never had a problem with them. They also seem to keep my rack less... I dunno how to describe it... congested and "tangled" up.


shimanilami


Mar 29, 2010, 12:51 PM
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I like to buy complete sets of cams/nuts. I may not use all the pieces all the time, but I like to know I'm covered. The only problem I see with this approach is $$$.

I also buy "sets" of slings and 'biners. A set of slings is 10. A set of 'biners is 20.


Scooter12ga


Apr 1, 2010, 1:01 PM
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I'm surprised it hasn't been mentioned yet, but when buying racking carabiners for your wires, get solid-gate, key-gate style. It makes getting the wires off sooooo much easier.

Like this one: http://www.rei.com/product/760240


petsfed


Apr 1, 2010, 2:24 PM
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Scooter12ga wrote:
I'm surprised it hasn't been mentioned yet, but when buying racking carabiners for your wires, get solid-gate, key-gate style. It makes getting the wires off sooooo much easier.

Like this one: http://www.rei.com/product/760240

You also risk spilling all of those nuts accidentally. Not worth it to me. That hook has saved my bacon more than a few times.


moose_droppings


Apr 1, 2010, 2:30 PM
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Scooter12ga wrote:
when buying racking carabiners for your wires, get solid-gate, key-gate style

Actually I prefer a wire gate for racking. I twist the loop on the nut's wire as it's coming off, only takes one hand and helps avoid catching the notch, it pushes the gate open as it comes off while the notch helps catch the other nuts from slipping off. Most wire gate biners are lighter too.

edit to say;
petsfed must type faster than me.


(This post was edited by moose_droppings on Apr 1, 2010, 2:36 PM)


Scooter12ga


Apr 2, 2010, 1:36 PM
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petsfed wrote:
Scooter12ga wrote:
I'm surprised it hasn't been mentioned yet, but when buying racking carabiners for your wires, get solid-gate, key-gate style. It makes getting the wires off sooooo much easier.

Like this one: http://www.rei.com/product/760240

You also risk spilling all of those nuts accidentally. Not worth it to me. That hook has saved my bacon more than a few times.

Pros and cons to each I suppose. I prefer to use it "keychain" style, grabbing the whole lot, selecting my nut from the group allowing the others to fall to the bottom, setting it in the crack, and THEN unclipping it....by doing so all the other nuts are grouped away from the gate and typically gripped in my hand.

To each his own.


shoo


Apr 2, 2010, 1:45 PM
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Scooter12ga wrote:
petsfed wrote:
Scooter12ga wrote:
I'm surprised it hasn't been mentioned yet, but when buying racking carabiners for your wires, get solid-gate, key-gate style. It makes getting the wires off sooooo much easier.

Like this one: http://www.rei.com/product/760240

You also risk spilling all of those nuts accidentally. Not worth it to me. That hook has saved my bacon more than a few times.

Pros and cons to each I suppose. I prefer to use it "keychain" style, grabbing the whole lot, selecting my nut from the group allowing the others to fall to the bottom, setting it in the crack, and THEN unclipping it....by doing so all the other nuts are grouped away from the gate and typically gripped in my hand.

To each his own.

+1

I do basically the same. I take the set (or half-set, really) racked together on the racking biner. Select the nut I want, and place it. Once it's in, I just unclip the racking biner from the placed piece and put it back on my harness.

Edit for clicky.


(This post was edited by shoo on Apr 2, 2010, 1:46 PM)


petsfed


Apr 2, 2010, 1:49 PM
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Scooter12ga wrote:
Pros and cons to each I suppose. I prefer to use it "keychain" style, grabbing the whole lot, selecting my nut from the group allowing the others to fall to the bottom, setting it in the crack, and THEN unclipping it....by doing so all the other nuts are grouped away from the gate and typically gripped in my hand.

To each his own.

The big problem I have is when I'm gripped, I've set the nut I need and now all the other nuts won't fall into place when I shake the crab. This typically happens when I find that the placement I liked is too shallow or flares inward or otherwise won't take the nut I thought it would, so I'm scrambling to get the one that had neatly fallen to the bottom, and so gets tangled. Its never an issue when I've got a good no-hands stance. But if I always had no-hands stances, I wouldn't mind dovals and light-ds.


Partner j_ung


Apr 3, 2010, 8:20 AM
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petsfed wrote:
Scooter12ga wrote:
I'm surprised it hasn't been mentioned yet, but when buying racking carabiners for your wires, get solid-gate, key-gate style. It makes getting the wires off sooooo much easier.

Like this one: http://www.rei.com/product/760240

You also risk spilling all of those nuts accidentally. Not worth it to me. That hook has saved my bacon more than a few times.

+1


the_climber


Apr 3, 2010, 9:24 AM
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j_ung wrote:
petsfed wrote:
Scooter12ga wrote:
I'm surprised it hasn't been mentioned yet, but when buying racking carabiners for your wires, get solid-gate, key-gate style. It makes getting the wires off sooooo much easier.

Like this one: http://www.rei.com/product/760240

You also risk spilling all of those nuts accidentally. Not worth it to me. That hook has saved my bacon more than a few times.

+1

+2


moose_droppings


Apr 3, 2010, 9:27 AM
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