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Clarence

Beginner Trad Rack

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I'm looking to get my first trad rack this spring/summer. I already have a set of nuts and hexes. I'll probably add a few tri-cams and double the mid-sized nuts. But I'm really curious about cams.

What are the essential sizes for a beginners rack? How many do I need? Should I double the mid sizes or just get one of every size. I'm guessing that for starters I'll leave out cams under 2"--the nuts and hexes will cover that. I'm also guessing that the biggest sizes aren't initially crucial. Also, what brands do people like?

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Here's some thoughts on the topic. You will have to wade through a lot of crap in these threads but there is information in there too.

 

thread 1

thread 2 <--- this one seems most pertinent (though a bit dated)

thread 3

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I'm looking to get my first trad rack this spring/summer. I already have a set of nuts and hexes. I'll probably add a few tri-cams and double the mid-sized nuts. But I'm really curious about cams.

What are the essential sizes for a beginners rack? How many do I need? Should I double the mid sizes or just get one of every size. I'm guessing that for starters I'll leave out cams under 2"--the nuts and hexes will cover that. I'm also guessing that the biggest sizes aren't initially crucial. Also, what brands do people like?

 

the cams I use the most are #1 and #2 C4's, and the green and yellow aliens.

 

 

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.75 to 2 or 3 camalot are probably the most useful for starting out. then add yellow, orange, red tcu sizes. then double up 1 and 2 camalots. then buy 4 camalot. then buy little cams. then double up more cams. buy 5 and 6 camalots if you see routes in the guidebooks that interest you and require big gear.

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I already have a set of nuts and hexes. I'll probably add a few tri-cams and double the mid-sized nuts. But I'm really curious about cams.

 

 

You already have a set of nuts……great. Get another set. Then get rid of your hexes….and do not waste your money on tri-cams.

 

Learning to place hexes is a good thing. But eventually you will keep them in your garage. Good luck to you.

 

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My large hex comes in handy sometimes as do the red and pink tricams.

 

Most used cams for me are the .75 thru 2 C4s, which I've doubled up on. The .3, .4, .5 and 3 C4s get used quite a bit too. That would be my preference for a basic set of cams then add in some C3s and a #4 as money permits and routes require. BD is my preference but everyone has their own.

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I use large hexes to double up the large sizes(1-4") instead of buying a second set of expensive, heavy camalots. I always carry #8 thru #10 hexes (plus #11 if I think i will need it). Also, unless you have alot of money and like to cart a heavy rack around, no need to double up on cams. My rack consists of:

 

1 set of nuts

1 set of cams (Blue thru Black Metolius, #1-#4 Camalot)

#8-#11 hex

 

If you are sewing it up to the point where you need doubles, maybe you should consider an easier route. It will be much more enjoyable than spending half your time placing gear every 5 feet. For the climbs that you know you may need doubles of certain sizes (i.e. parallel cracks)...thats what partners/friends are for.

 

My $0.02

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Also, if you ever need to bail, having a few larger hexes might save you some cash compared to leaving your #3 camalot behind. I have left hexes behind on two occasions. I have a friend who was forced to leave a #2 and #3 camalot behind while backing off in a rainstorm. Sucks to be him.

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I use the .5 camelot a bunch as well...I'd get 0.5 - #2 BD Camelot, and the green and yellow Alien. Also, I think it's well worth it to spend ~ 2$ more per biner for the lighter ones (Trango Superflys or equivalent). You can save 10 - 15 grams per biner and end up shaving a pound off your rack by the time all's said and done.

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I use large hexes to double up the large sizes(1-4") instead of buying a second set of expensive, heavy camalots.

 

If you are sewing it up to the point where you need doubles, maybe you should consider an easier route.

 

So doubling up on cams instead of hexes implies one is sewing it up too much and climbing beyond their limit?

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I dunno what bstach is trying to say, but I can offer the following related advice:

 

- When you're first learning to place gear, don't climb anything you're likely to fall on

 

- When you're climbing on low-5th blocky terrain, understand that most every fall above a piece of gear can be an ankle buster

 

-If you're taking over an hour to lead a low-5th pitch and there's a party behind you, they're gonna be pissed

 

I personally like having along some hexes/tricams for multipitch moderate trad routes for anchor building. Saves your cams for the climbing.

 

Which cams you'd want to acquire first (you should get a set of nuts before getting any cams) depends on what you're planning on climbing... around here, I'd say

red & yellow camalots (1 & 2)

then

yellow & orange tcus

then green camalot & blue camalot (.75 & 3)

then blue tcu

then #4 camalot

 

you can bias the order to whether you think you'll be climbing desert cracks, compact alpine rock, etc.

 

don't worry about doubling up yet -- let partner help out with that.

 

if there's one piece i place more often than anything else, it's probably .75 camalot (if it's #1 camalot ground, it's a handcrack and doesn't need as much pro)

Edited by Gary_Yngve

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So those guys in Indian Cr. with racks of all the same size cam are 'climbing beyond their limit'? Sometimes it's nice to have doubles on long hand cracks but anyway...

 

I have pre-C4 camalots .75-3, DMMs 2, 2.5 & 3, and the older TCUs 1-3. The DMMs are really light and cheap(er) so they make good double uppers. I really notice the reduced range compared to the camalots so they're a little trickier to place. The TCUs are great for finger sized placements.

 

I rarely carry the full rack when cragging. I'll pick and choose depending on what I think I'll need. I started with a set of BD nuts and camalots .75-3 without any complaints.

 

I am a fan of tricams. They occasionally work where nothing else seems to but they're a little tricky at first for both leader and second. To clean them just grab the body with your fingers and twist to break them out of their jam. They're great for long moderate routes where there are lots of stances to place gear. People who hate them generally spend more time on hard routes where they are placing gear while hanging.

 

Otherwise get lots of extendable draws, a couple of double length slings some 8mm cord and get out there.

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Little tricams - pink, red, brown and blue - are the best pieces in the world. Especially the pink one.

 

Google "Ode to The Pink TriCam" for more info.

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If you are sewing it up to the point where you need doubles, maybe you should consider an easier route.

 

So doubling up on cams instead of hexes implies one is sewing it up too much and climbing beyond their limit?

 

This wasn't meant to be a shot at people who carry double racks. The gear you need ultimately depends on the route. Having a double rack does add a margin of safety in that you are more likely to have exactly the piece you need, but at the expense of a heavier load. I was thinking about alpine climbing when I wrote this; for cragging, carrying a heavier rack is less of an issue. I just prefer to climb with a lighter rack and do alpine routes a grade or two lower than my on-site ability - allowing me to run it out and carry a lighter rack. This is just a personal preference, not a shot at anybody. Also, for routes where I know doubles are needed, I usually combine my partners rack, thus I don't need to own doubles. If your climbing partners do not own any protection, then this could be a problem for you.

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So those guys in Indian Cr. with racks of all the same size cam are 'climbing beyond their limit'? Sometimes it's nice to have doubles on long hand cracks but anyway...

 

Read my post again...

 

For the climbs that you know you may need doubles of certain sizes (i.e. parallel cracks)...thats what partners/friends are for.

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Also, if you ever need to bail, having a few larger hexes might save you some cash compared to leaving your #3 camalot behind. I have left hexes behind on two occasions. I have a friend who was forced to leave a #2 and #3 camalot behind while backing off in a rainstorm. Sucks to be him.

 

Excellent point. :tup:

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Hexes are great for climbing in the mountains. Great if you have to leave something behind. I have placed my share.

 

But.....

 

 

Come on down to Beacon and try to climbing there with a rack of hexes and tri cams, not that you cant....but a rack full of cams makes things alot easier on hard climbs. (SE corner excluded)

 

Look at all the top trad climbers in the world or your back yard. Do they have a rack full of tri camms and hexes? No...they sure do not.

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Hexes are great for climbing in the mountains. Great if you have to leave something behind. I have placed my share.

 

But.....

 

 

Come on down to Beacon and try to climbing there with a rack of hexes and tri cams, not that you cant....but a rack full of cams makes things alot easier on hard climbs. (SE corner excluded)

 

Look at all the top trad climbers in the world or your back yard. Do they have a rack full of tri camms and hexes? No...they sure do not.

 

Nuts are just about the best gear you can buy though. Once your used to them they are just as fast to place as a cam, easier to inspect, and if you give them a good jerk set then the pretty much never walk or wiggle on you. I always care a full set, and and on hard thin stuff you usually go for an extra half set or even a full second set.

 

I'd have to agree with Kbone on the hexes, great for moderate stuff. That said there are about 3 that always always make it onto my rack, even for the hard stuff (yelow, red and purple WC curve hexes). If your climbing at Tieton take all the hexes you can find. The cracks there seem very very hex friendly, and not qutie so cam friendly.

 

Tri-cams (and hexes) are the shiz for moderate to easy alpine. I usually just swap out my few largest nuts for the 3 or 4 smallest tri-cams. But I always want a good stance to place them from so I can fiddle.

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I just built a rack over the last year......

 

On the hexes - I've bailed off of them before. As said above: Cheap, cheap, cheap compared to bailing on cams. Same goes for bailing on nuts. Pretty much takes the money factor out of the equation if deciding to back off.

 

I find my #6 (gold, ~1 to 1 1/2 inches) and #8 (black, ~1 1/2 to 2 inches) BD wired hexes get a lot of use. Less so for the #4 (covered by the larger nuts) and #10 (2 1/2 to 3 inches).

 

As a newbie trad leader, I find on the cams I use most are the 0.5, 0.75, 1 and 2 Camalots.

 

 

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Hexes are great for climbing in the mountains. Great if you have to leave something behind. I have placed my share.

 

But.....

 

 

Come on down to Beacon and try to climbing there with a rack of hexes and tri cams, not that you cant....but a rack full of cams makes things alot easier on hard climbs. (SE corner excluded)

 

Look at all the top trad climbers in the world or your back yard. Do they have a rack full of tri camms and hexes? No...they sure do not.

 

Beacon is sooooooo representative of hard trad climbing :lmao: The hardest climbs there are probably E4 or E5 on a scale that goes to E11...

 

Tricams and nuts (and hooks for that matter) are placed regularly on the world's hardest trad routes. The pro for Master's Edge is one Friend and one Tricam.

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Beacon is sooooooo representative of hard trad climbing :lmao: The hardest climbs there are probably E4 or E5 on a scale that goes to E11...

 

Tricams and nuts (and hooks for that matter) are placed regularly on the world's hardest trad routes. The pro for Master's Edge is one Friend and one Tricam.

 

 

“Hard” trad climbing is relative my friend. 5.11 trad at Beacon is hard for most people.

 

I don’t know what the “E” scale relates to in the Yosemite grade scale.

 

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to hex or not to hex....

 

if you're going to hex, i've found that the WC slung curved hexes place well in a number of places. if cost is a concern they can be a nice addition to a single set of cams. they seem to get a lot of use on alpine routes. good light alternative to carrying doubles of your cams.

 

as for cams, 0.75" - 3" cams seemed to cover it for me early on.

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