Apologies to those who thought this thread was a subjective analysis of mammary glands, I am in fact requesting some opinions on what I plan to buy to build up my first lead rack. I'm sure everyone is sick of 'what should I buy?' threads so I'll keep this as concise as possible.
I already own:
- 2 x 60cm, 2 x 120cm, 1 x 240 cm slings, thick DMM ones that I've been using to set up top ropes
- 4 x DMM Aero screwgates
- 2 x Clog HMS screwgates
- Size 1-10 DMM Wallnuts
I plan to buy:
- 3 x 15cm, 3 x 20cm WC Nitro quickdraws
- 2 x 60cm slingdraws of some description
- Rockcentric 5-8 OR Torque nuts 1-4, whatever I can get a deal on
I have an eye on budget. I plan to climb very easy single pitch (10-15m) on mainly basalt and dolerite; this thread is quite relevant as it's where I'll be looking to climb too.
Yay or nay on this rack? Should I leave the hexes and get another half set of nuts instead? I can't help feeling I might run out of medium sized nuts quickly. I've ignored cams due to cost, will hexes suffice as an alternative (if I meet a proper parallel crack I suppose not, but I don't think I've climbed one during my top rope antics so far)?
I'd personally get more slingdraws in place of the 15cm dogbones. I also think hexes are false economy unless you plan to use them in winter too. That said, I appreciate the cost saving can be important and they can be made to work pretty well.
Add a set of Offsets as your extra nuts once you can afford them and need them. A few extra 'draws wouldn't go amiss either.
> (In reply to Taurig)
> Do you climb with someone else that has gear ?
I'm afraid not, myself and the guys that I climb with basically decided to start climbing at the same time and we don't know any experienced trad climbers. One of them is looking at new ropes so I'm looking at buying the gear. Bit unfortunate that we can't try the stuff out but to be honest, I doubt I'd be able to tell the difference!
Thanks for the advice, I just looked up Offsets and I think they'd be a good call; I've mucked around placing Wallnuts at the local crag and have found a lot of rounded out cracks that don't allow them to seat that well.
The quickdraw situation is causing the most head-scratching, and is probably where knowing someone with gear would be most helpful. I've seen various gear lists and advice pages, and they range from saying 10-15cm is the go to draw, to 20-30cm being the only ones to bother with. I suppose they're not too pricey so I could add a few longer draws.
Hexes, well I basically I was under the impression they were the poor mans cams and that's what appealed! I do intend to try some winter climbing, perhaps next season, so they would likely get used then if they didn't turn out too useful in summer.
In reply to Taurig: IMO Torque nuts are much better than Rockcentrics.
However, I am not convinced that a full set is ideal. I don't think the size 4 is particularly useful. Also the size 1 is pretty much the same size as a size 11 DMM Wallnut.
A Wallnut 11 plus TNuts 2&3 would be my recommendations based purely on utility.
However, things are rarely that simple and you can normally buy full sets of 4 TNuts much more cheaply than they are individually. You will need to weigh that up, however I did see the Field & Trek were selling individual TNuts for £11.00 which is a damn good price.
Everyone has their own view on QD's. I started trad climbing with an entire set of short QD's many years ago. Not ideal but it didn't kill me. I have gravitated more and more towards long QD's. If you are of a nervous disposition (as most novice leaders understandably are) then short QD's feels saffer but that can be illusory to a large extent as longer QD's means gear is less likely to lift out, and also reduces rope drag (annoying rather than dangerous normally). I'd keep a few short QD''s on your rack to enbolden yourself on those low down crux moves where you want to feel as safe as you can but only carry a few and then mostly go for longer ones on your rack. Mix and length is a matter of personal taste. Personally I am not keeen on sling draws and carry just use long QD's.
You need some gear larger than nuts, whether it's hexes/rockcentrics or whatever (ie. passive gear) or cams. You can get by on most climbs with one set of nuts so I wouldn't get a 2nd set initially and spend your remaining cash on the larger gear. I started with old hexes plus a couple of mid size cams. Again, you will get very mixed views on passive large gear vs cams. Some people never carry large passive gear nowadays and rely totally on cams. I have to admit, though I do carry rockcentrics still, I use cams a lot more. Still, rockcentrics or whatever you decide upon are good value and quite versatile. If you can stretch to a couple of mid size cams you probably won't regret it.
> (In reply to jkarran)
> The quickdraw situation is causing the most head-scratching, and is probably where knowing someone with gear would be most helpful. I've seen various gear lists and advice pages, and they range from saying 10-15cm is the go to draw, to 20-30cm being the only ones to bother with. I suppose they're not too pricey so I could add a few longer draws.
If you're planning to climb lower grades at Neilston/Auchinstarry/Quadrocks on a single rope then I might be able to help (I've climbed the lower grades there pretty recently).
All the lower grade routes at the above are pretty short and I can't recall any having lots of gear, so you will probably be fine with 3 or 4 sling draws and the rest as QDs(i'd go for 60cm slings since they can be left doubled to make a useful 30cm sling). Bearing in mind that any hexes will have their own extenders.
> I've seen various gear lists and advice pages, and they range from saying 10-15cm is the go to draw, to 20-30cm being the only ones to bother with.
For sports climbing you want short ones, for trad you want longer ones. Simple as that really.
For quite a few years I climbed sports and trad on the same set by buying different length extenders and switching them over depending on what climbing I was doing. Now I have a sports and a trad set, which is better, but you could do the same for a while.
> Hexes, well I basically I was under the impression they were the poor mans cams and that's what appealed!
They are; just passive vs active protection. Pros and cons of course. There are many for who a well placed piece of large passive pro is about as good as it gets. However, cams are far superior for protecting parralel sided cracks and may sometimes be the only thing that works.
A lot of this is personal choice and your own views will change over time. But a good reason to try before you buy if you have a mate with geear you can play with, or better still climb with.
In reply to Taurig: When it comes to quickdraws I think 6 + 2 extendable is absolutely spot on for a basic rack. I also think you've got the sizes about right.
However, I'd urge you to buy another 3-4 cheap wiregates (although it is sometime cheaper to buy them as quickdraws and then ditch to short slings). That way your existing slings can be converted into long draws if needed. That keeps the cost down and will give you a more flexible rack.
Given what you already own, I'd suggest racking something like:
- 2x 60cm sling + wiregate each
- 1x 120cm sling + screwgate
- 1x 240 sling + screwgate
- spare 2x wiregates, 1x screwgate, 1x HMS
Ex-Engineer: Yeah the full set thing was basically an assumption that I could find a full set for cheaper than individuals. Regarding Torque nuts vs Rockcentrics, I'll take your word on that as I did think the Torque nuts looked to have a slightly better design; recess to protect the tape etc.
Skyfall: I did read in a few threads here that a couple of stubby quickdraws can improve confidence lower down on routes. I'm going to be cacking myself for a while I think so that will help. I will probably buy stubby draws and take them apart for slingdraws as mentioned above, so that will give me more options.
Professionalwreckhead: That is extremely useful, those crags are where I have been top roping and will be making my first leads. Can I ask, was there any particular bit of gear that stood out as being used more than the others? Also, that is a good point about hexes having their own extenders, would you rack each on their own krab for that reason?, to save you pilfering a krab from a slingdraw or something?
> Given what you already own, I'd suggest racking something like:
> - 2x 60cm sling + wiregate each
> - 1x 120cm sling + screwgate
> - 1x 240 sling + screwgate
> - spare 2x wiregates, 1x screwgate, 1x HMS
That looks like a good idea, my current slings are 16mm nylon numbers so not exactly light, but it will save some cash. Am I right in saying the 120 and 240 with screwgates would generally be reserved for the belay? Or are you recommending using them as pro? Which raises a point about having some extra slings for gear through threads and over spikes... Damn, the more you think about it, the more you 'need'!
> Professionalwreckhead: That is extremely useful, those crags are where I have been top roping and will be making my first leads. Can I ask, was there any particular bit of gear that stood out as being used more than the others? Also, that is a good point about hexes having their own extenders, would you rack each on their own krab for that reason?, to save you pilfering a krab from a slingdraw or something?
Neilston - normally just a few finger sized nuts per route as far as I can remember (I've definitely never placed a cam or hex there). A couple of 60cm sling draws are useful for a couple of the routes where placements are off to the side.
Quadrocks - I quite like Sentry Box, it's got a nice wee move in it for a Severe, but is quite easy climbing otherwise. That said, it loves cams, you might struggle to protect the crux without one. For the other routes you would benefit from some bigger pro (either cams or nuts). I've definitely placed quite a few cams at Quadrocks though.
Auchinstarry - mostly nuts on the lower grades, medium sized. If it's your first lead, I'd have a look at the route on toprope first. I had a bit of a nightmare on Anarchist/Tar since I struggled to find good gear in the upper parts - I think a lot of the rock has been damaged. After abbing back down, I still couldn't find gear!
In short, you'll be fine with what you've got at the moment provided you beg/borrow/steal some bigger pro for a few routes.
I orignally had cams and larger pro on shared biners, but that is the quickest way to frsutration on a route! I eventually bit the bullet and bought a couple of packs of coloured spectre 2s (the colours are really helpful when you're still getting used to your rack), they also double up as spare biners.
In reply to Taurig:
Long quickdraws are the way do go, not necessarily sling draws by 25cm prowires maybe?
I'd recommend the set of hexes, they are heavy and a pain but they are often priceless for setting up belays in my experience. Couple of cams might not go amiss, depends on funds. Get smaller ones first though- size 123 is probably best.
> That looks like a good idea, my current slings are 16mm nylon numbers so not exactly light, but it will save some cash. Am I right in saying the 120 and 240 with screwgates would generally be reserved for the belay? Or are you recommending using them as pro? Which raises a point about having some extra slings for gear through threads and over spikes... Damn, the more you think about it, the more you 'need'!
Your already thinking along the right sort of lines. The 240cm would generally be reserved for belays (I store my longest sling right at the back of my gear loops) but the 120cm sling would generally be used for either, depending on the route.
If you need to use them as protection, then DO IT.
You shouldn't need any extra gear for belays. When it comes to large boulders/trees, or multiple anchors having slings makes things much simpler but on short single pitch routes you will always have plenty of rope to use to rig your belay.
However rigging with just a rope can more faff and you should make yourself familiar with a variety of such rigging options. If you have never done it before, even relatively simple things like working out how to anchor yourself to a boulder using just the rope, can suddenly seems fiendishly difficult when you arrive at the top if a crag in the midst of an adrenalin rush.
Thanks for the advice, particularly wreckhead and ex-engineer. I think I'll cut down on the number of 15cm draws and up the 20cm and 30/60cm slingdraws. Hexes still seem to be finding favour, so I think I'll get a set of them with a wiregate each.
Prowreckhead, I've climbed Sentrybox at Quadrocks on top rope, I found the crux solid! Might be better prepared for it now, though I don't think I'll be leading it for a while.
Sounds like we were in a similar position to you, last year. Sometimes we could share gear with more experienced, but a couple of us started going out with just one set of nuts, and one of hexes (plus all the slings and qds etc). We quite liked the idea of learning to use hexes rather than going straight to cams. As others say, if nothing else they can be a godsend for setting up belay anchors.
In reply to Taurig: Other than for rigging top ropes I don't see any reason for having more than 4 screwgates. I carry 3, 1 for the belay anchor but not always necessary, 1 for the belay device and 1 for when I want to use a direct belay setup. A 4th screwgate can save a bit of faffing about under some circumstances but is by no means essential. I rarely use hexes but they are very handy at Pembroke for setting up belays and abseils.