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trad climbing rack

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trad climbing rack

Postby Weegie5 » Mon Feb 08, 2010 6:07 pm

I am in a similar position as sstrauss (quotes below taken from the Dividend Money thread) and am looking for some recommendations on the next pro to buy.

BaronVonBergschrund wrote:
sstrauss wrote:
BaronVonBergschrund wrote:What areas and type of climbing are you typically doing and what gear do you have already?

Eldo, Lumpy, RMNP...the usual suspects for the Front Range. Spending most of the time on Wind Tower so far.
...
BD stoppers #4 - #13
C4 .5, .75, 1, 2

For the top end, buy a #3 Camalot. I would not rack more than a #3 in the areas you listed unless I know I might need bigger gear. Eventually you may want a #4. The #3 comes in useful in many areas on the Front Range and is not terribly heavy to carry with you.

For smaller cams, I would buy a #0.4 Camalot, a Yellow, Blue, Purple and Grey Metolius Mastercam. These are the same sizes as TCUs, but have 4 lobes and are syringe style which makes them easier to place in places like Eldo. This selection gives you a continuous range of cams.

No cam blows out because it is ineffective, cams only blow out due to poor placements. The only exception to this statement might be the Alien failures and possibly the OP Link Cam failures. Please do not buy Link Cams, they deserve to be discontinued.

If you start doing harder routes in Eldo, buy a set of the Black Diamond Micro Stoppers.

Most of my climbing is at North Table Mountain, Eldo, or Castlewood Canyon. I currently have a set of BD stoppers #1 - #13. Should I get a set of flex-stemmed, syringe-style, spring-loaded cams, like the BD Camalots or the latest Friends, or should I spend far less money and get some (passive) CAMP tri-cams?

Thanks in advance.
~James

Re: trad climbing rack

Postby mtsuji » Mon Feb 08, 2010 6:14 pm

I would buy C4's from .75 to 2 unless you have a lot of money, then id go .5 to 3. The C4 is my favorite cam in the larger sizes, I like TCU's for the smaller ones. Tri cams are great to know how to place and can work in some super crazy places, but if you're looking to build a rack I would go with C4's first. Do a search over on mountian project and you'll find more than you ever wanted to know on this topic.

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Re: trad climbing rack

Postby BaronVonBergschrund » Mon Feb 08, 2010 6:16 pm

Weegie5 wrote:Most of my climbing is at North Table Mountain, Eldo, or Castlewood Canyon. I currently have a set of BD stoppers #1 - #13. Should I get a set of flex-stemmed, syringe-style, spring-loaded cams, like the BD Camalots or the latest Friends, or should I spend far less money and get some (passive) CAMP tri-cams?

Short answer: Buy Black Diamond Camalots. #0.5, #0.75, #1, #2, #3. Next, buy smaller cams like Mastercams or C3s to fill in the smaller ranges.

Long answer: Why do you need them? Do you not already have a trad mentor to show you how to place them safely? If you are inexperienced in placing trad gear I would suggest either a class, a guide or a trad mentor to help you along your way. Typically a new trad leader will climb on another climber's rack until they know for sure what pieces of gear they need to buy next. The fact that you are asking this question makes me wonder if you are ready to lead trad.
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Re: trad climbing rack

Postby Pivvay » Mon Feb 08, 2010 7:30 pm

Or just read a lot, climb a lot, place a lot of gear, listen to partners who say "uh dude your placement fell out" and don't fall. If you do this long enough you'll be a trad climber. It sure is nice to have some cams (like the BD C4's) but I learned on all passive pro so it "could" be done. Just don't fall (zipper w/o a bottom upward pull piece). Hehe. On second thought I don't recommend my way.

EDIT: Just in case no one got it, BVB is right technically. Having a trad mentor is a way good idea.

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Re: trad climbing rack

Postby timstich » Mon Feb 08, 2010 8:02 pm

There's no reason to buy Tricams retail. Just shout out on some climbing site like Mountainproject and people will come out of the woodwork to unload theirs cheap. I know I have several sizes that I couldn't get rid of that are in the gear trunk.

Most of the guys I climb with that have been doing it for over 25 years don't place a whole lot of nuts when they climb now as microcams have fit the bill for that in many if not most instances. But you'll definitely want a good set of nuts and a good nut tool. I like the Metolius one, as it's comfortable to smack with the palm of your hand to knock a stuck nut out.

Hexes? Meh. Like tricams, I have a few and never use. See if you can get those second hand as well. They are good for supplementing the alpine rack for bailing off in case of storms.

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Re: trad climbing rack

Postby Weegie5 » Mon Feb 08, 2010 9:47 pm

BaronVonBergschrund wrote:Long answer: Why do you need them? Do you not already have a trad mentor to show you how to place them safely? If you are inexperienced in placing trad gear I would suggest either a class, a guide or a trad mentor to help you along your way. Typically a new trad leader will climb on another climber's rack until they know for sure what pieces of gear they need to buy next. The fact that you are asking this question makes me wonder if you are ready to lead trad.


I have a mentor, but we can't climb together as often as I'd like. In between climbs with him, I'd like to make some progress on my own.
~James

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Re: trad climbing rack

Postby BaronVonBergschrund » Tue Feb 09, 2010 8:56 am

Weegie5 wrote:I have a mentor, but we can't climb together as often as I'd like. In between climbs with him, I'd like to make some progress on my own.

He/she is not much of a mentor if you do not even know if you should buy tri-cams or Camalots.
Baron Von Bergschrund
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Re: trad climbing rack

Postby rickinco123 » Tue Feb 09, 2010 3:57 pm

Everyone has a different opinion. I climbed with a guy last summer who leads 5.11+ and is in his mid to late 50s. He prefers to climb with tricams, says he can place them quicker than most can place spring loaded cams. He is good and has been climbing for ~30 years. To each their own. I would recommend DMM offsets as a second set of nuts. Camalot C4s from the smallest to #3 cannot be beat for SLCDs, I don't know anyone who would argue that.

Go find a short pitch where you can top rope, aid the pitch. You will learn more about setting pro by aiding than just about anything else. Go to youtube and search on Chris Mcnamara. He has incredible instructional videos on how to aid.

I am assuming you can set a safe toprope.

If your first try at aiding takes you like an hour to go 80 feet, that's normal.

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Re: trad climbing rack

Postby Pivvay » Tue Feb 09, 2010 6:07 pm

I like having a few tricams on the rack. I place them at anchors to save cams for the pitches, esp in the alpine instead of bringing double cams. I'd say get black, pink and red if you've used them and know you like them, otherwise don't bother.

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Re: trad climbing rack

Postby Brian C » Tue Feb 09, 2010 6:14 pm

Pivvay wrote:I like having a few tricams on the rack. I place them at anchors to save cams for the pitches, esp in the alpine instead of bringing double cams. I'd say get black, pink and red if you've used them and know you like them, otherwise don't bother.


I agree. I learned using Tri-cams and I almost prefer them to cams on alpine routes (the pink is my favorite). But unless you are very comfortable with them stick with whatever you're used to having successful placements with. I do find that I use cams more on the local rocks though.
Brian in the Wild
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"Nature never did betray the heart that loved her." - Wordsworth

Re: trad climbing rack

Postby mtsuji » Tue Feb 09, 2010 6:17 pm

It may just be me but I hate cleaning tri cams. They're not bad to place but sometimes cleaning them can be more of a challenge than I want if the leader places them in a pumpy section.

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Re: trad climbing rack

Postby BaronVonBergschrund » Tue Feb 09, 2010 7:24 pm

saxmotor wrote:
Pivvay wrote:I like having a few tricams on the rack. I place them at anchors to save cams for the pitches, esp in the alpine instead of bringing double cams. I'd say get black, pink and red if you've used them and know you like them, otherwise don't bother.

I agree. I learned using Tri-cams and I almost prefer them to cams on alpine routes (the pink is my favorite). But unless you are very comfortable with them stick with whatever you're used to having successful placements with. I do find that I use cams more on the local rocks though.

There are only three areas I can think of where I would ever use tri-cams, and none of them are west of the Mississippi. This includes alpine terrain. Bonus points for anyone who can name the three. They are harder to place (someone please challenge me on this one), harder to remove and not significantly lighter than a cam of the same size. How many tri-cams did Sonnie Trotter use when he lead Cobra Crack? How about Beth Rodden when she climbed Meltdown? None. I suppose if you want to spend fifteen minutes at a stance on 5.6 terrain fiddling in a tri-cam when you could just run it out to a good nut or cam placement then they might be suitable for you. How many that responded in favor of tri-cams still carry a double rack of cams for cragging? I thought so.
Baron Von Bergschrund
Remember, remember, the third of December.
Sharing wisdom on Rock Climbing, Climbing Shoes, Rappelling, Layering, Eddie Bauer, Pants, Helmets, Ropes, Ice Axes, Tri-Cams, Carabiners

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