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/ Trad rack for VS-E1

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monsoon - on 10 Jun 2018

Hi. Am just after some advice on how to slim down the rack I carry for multi-pitch mountain routes at say VS to E1. I know it depends etc but any general thoughts? I tend to carry a lot as you never know what you need, but it sometimes feels excessive. Sometimes it doesn't though! Got loads of experience on trad so just putting it out there for other thoughts.

I roughly carry

Just less than 2 sets of nuts (doubled up 1-7 then 1 of 8-10)
Set of offsets
Set of cams (BD C4 small blue through to big blue, so 7 cams, sometimes the big blue stays at the bottom)
I want to add some small cams to this soon so this is even more kit!
Occasionally a set of micro wires
About 13 draws (either 15cm fixed and including about 6 sling draws)
About 3 120cm slings all on screwgates
2 additional screwgates
Usual personal kit

Many thanks

tjhare1 - on 10 Jun 2018
In reply to monsoon:

You'll get a wide range of replies on this one!

But, for mountain routes I'd change your rack by doing the following:

- Strip out a set of nuts.

- Strip out sizes 1 and possibly 2 from the remaining set.

- Strip out the micro wires.

(that should leave you with a trimmed down single set of nuts plus the offsets)

- Cams are there or thereabouts OK. Perhaps ditch the big one.

- Leave three draws behind - ten should be ample given that sometimes you'll use slings and sometimes you wont need them for the cams. Reduce the 6 slingdraws to 4.

- Add in a couple more slings - so quick and easy and light. But, there's no need for them all to be screwgates! Swap one for a cordelette if you're going to be block-leading / one person leading everything.

- Question what the spare screwgates are for. I would usually take as personal kit: belay plate + s/gate, spare s/gate (large - 3+ clove hitch size), prussic on a small krab (not a s/gate), a 120 sling on s/gate, nut key (one in the party is fine).

7
jezb1 - on 10 Jun 2018
In reply to monsoon:

Not dissimilar to what I’d carry, but I’d never carry 13 ‘draws, that’d freak me out! 12 or 14!

Personally I wouldn’t strip down to one set of nuts, I’ll often want two of the same size on a pitch, plus you could be losing some to the belay.

Its really route depended to be honest though. 

The only thing I’d prob lose are the micros, but if I was doing a route like Super Direct on the Mot then I’d deffo have them.

Robert Durran - on 10 Jun 2018
In reply to tjhare1:

> But, for mountain routes I'd change your rack by doing the following:

> - Strip out a set of nuts.

> - Strip out sizes 1 and possibly 2 from the remaining set.

> - Strip out the micro wires.

> - Cams are there or thereabouts OK. Perhaps ditch the big one.

> - Leave three draws behind - ten should be ample given that sometimes you'll use slings and sometimes you wont need them for the cams. Reduce the 6 slingdraws to 4.

Why would anyone carry less on mountain routes? There is absolutely no reason to believe that your protection requirements will in general be any different to those of non-mountain routes at a similar grade. Indeed, if anything more gear is needed on multipitch climbs because you need enough stuff for two belays and the pitch in between.

I would say that the OP's rack was pretty much spot on (apart from the excess screwgates).

Post edited at 09:52
1
Luke90 on 10 Jun 2018
In reply to monsoon:

That doesn't sound wildly excessive to me, if you're expecting long pitches. I'd carry almost exactly that rack for some long mountain pitches. Whether and how much I would reduce what I carried would depend on:

  • What I'd been finding I placed a lot on other nearby routes or similar rock
  • What I could see of the route from the ground or what hints the guidebook suggested
  • How much I was in my comfort zone.

I carry my nuts racked by size so if I could see good-sized features the whole way up, I'd ditch the smallest ones. If you do buy micro-cams, it's often easy to see from the ground that one end of your range of cams won't be necessary. If you're expecting lots of cam placements, you could probably drop some of the nuts (and maybe some of the draws if your cams have extendable slings). I find that some crags suit offsets more than others so I might ditch either the offsets or some of the normal ones depending on venue.

I have 12 quickdraws/slingdraws myself and I've recently been finding that a bit limiting for some long pitches. It's been plenty for 99% of my climbing though. As someone else has already said, I couldn't cope with an odd number of draws! I wonder whether tjhare misinterpreted your draws as thirteen PLUS six slingdraws. I agree with him that you're carrying an unnecessary number of screwgates. I used to do the same thing of racking my slings on screwgates but then I questioned why and couldn't think of a good reason so I switched them to light snapgates. I only use screwgates for krabs which are a single point of failure in a belay and/or likely to be pressed up against something.

I might strip the rack down a lot further if I was a few grades inside my comfort zone and wanted to move quickly.

Post edited at 09:55
Captain Solo on 10 Jun 2018
In reply to tjhare1:

> You'll get a wide range of replies on this one!

> But, for mountain routes I'd change your rack by doing the following:

> - Strip out a set of nuts.

> - Strip out sizes 1 and possibly 2 from the remaining set.

> - Strip out the micro wires.

> (that should leave you with a trimmed down single set of nuts plus the offsets)

> - Cams are there or thereabouts OK. Perhaps ditch the big one.

> - Leave three draws behind - ten should be ample given that sometimes you'll use slings and sometimes you wont need them for the cams. Reduce the 6 slingdraws to 4.

> - Add in a couple more slings - so quick and easy and light. But, there's no need for them all to be screwgates! Swap one for a cordelette if you're going to be block-leading / one person leading everything.

> - Question what the spare screwgates are for. I would usually take as personal kit: belay plate + s/gate, spare s/gate (large - 3+ clove hitch size), prussic on a small krab (not a s/gate), a 120 sling on s/gate, nut key (one in the party is fine).

Agree with just about all this.

3 nuts short of 3 full sets is a tad excessive, I have about 1.75 sets with mixed WC/ DMM/ offsets. I wouldn't add any more slings, 1 x 240 and 2 x 120 with wire gates would probably be enough, you can also use your 60 slingdraws for threads and small spikes. I have about 4 of my cam sizes doubled up too including 00.

1
cragtyke on 10 Jun 2018
In reply to monsoon:

Use a bandolier for your draws to get some weight off your harness.

2
lithos on 10 Jun 2018

lots of good advice here , all hovering around the same area, you dont seem to be going bonkers to me

you can save a lot of weight with skinny slings and lightweight krabs, i prefer larger size krabs about 30g rather than smaller camp nano style (23g) but do rack BD C3s on those. I use light HMS (Petzl attache 3d) and  2 small screwgates about 40g (Grivel plume are what i use see  https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/gear/smallest_lightest_screwgate_carabiner-547138 )

when weight watching i'd take

1 set of wires plus offsets (having your spares if you know particular route/crag favours eg 5,6)

slim down micros on a camp nano is a light but sometimes a lifesaving option, make sure they are unique, not overlapping with rock 1 for example and take the strongest (or bugger it take em all!) Put your prusssic on that krab and very little addition

4 skinny sling draws plus 6 normal draws (get light snaps circa 30g - lighter if you prefer)

2 x120 (1 each person) on either a snap or a superlight small screwgate (40gs)

if I'm carrying it all a long way (scafell/scotland) and climbing easy i have a half set of cams 0.5,1,2,3

sometimes add 1 or 2 stand alone light snaps. if you extend your cam you can take the carrying krab with you

If getting obsessive and you are carrying a krab with prussics etc use that krab in the belay

dont carry anything not rated (EG accessory krabs, old sling for bandolier) as you cant use it

consider if doing multipitch and you use up 3 bits of gear with associate snaps (split QDs)  how much will you have for the next pitch and belay ? 

 

Big Lee - on 10 Jun 2018
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Indeed, if anything more gear is needed on multipitch climbs because you need enough stuff for two belays and the pitch in between.

Plus there's more of an unknown element to what gear is needed. It's more often on single pitch that I'll strip the gear down if I'm able to see the whole route from the ground. On multipitch there's always the option of giving the second the bigger cams for example if there's clearly no need for them on a given pitch. I'd rather take the stuff up the route with me if in doubt.

Pursued by a bear - on 10 Jun 2018
In reply to monsoon:

Lose the offsets, lose a couple of draws, lose the microwires, take only 3 or 4 cams (Friends size 1.5, 2.5 and 3 for me), add a medium and large hex, don't forget your belay plate and broddling stick and I'd say you're good to go (and I would say that, as that was what I used to take).

T.

7
tjhare1 - on 10 Jun 2018
In reply to Robert Durran:

A few comments:

- I dont think I ever said I'd carry more than that on a single pitch climb? I never personally carry 2 sets of nuts.

- Also, I expect that most people, myself included, will climb slightly lower grades when they are out on a multi pitch mountain route. As such, I'd expect to be, technically speaking only, more comfortable and consequently happier to space it out a bit more.

- Typically I like to move fairly fast (for me) - I therefore focus on placing only what I deem the best bits of gear, this necessitating it being a bit more sparse. Also often helps with drag.

- I don't think protection is ever about 'requirement' insomuch as it's always a compromise to a lesser or greater extent. To carry more, place more and move slower and to accept that the consequences of falling are lower but that the risk of taking aeons (and the associated consequences - hunger, grumpiness, or more serious on a big mountain - benightment, etc.) is higher; or to carry less, place less (but focus on 'bomber' gear) and move faster and accept that the consequences of falling are higher but that the risk of taking aeons is lower. Neither are right or wrong I don't think - just circumstance dependent.

- The OP was asking 'how to slim down', not if to slim down. The response I gave was what I considered to be the best way to slim down (i.e. what to remove at least cost to efficacy, safety, etc.) - the assumption was always there that he/she was definitely going to slim down!

- I also think it really comes down to how your approach changes when you go from crag to mountain. For me, I go to the mountains predominantly to move over ground more quickly - to see and move through the mountains in contrast to sitting at the same section of crag. I thus lower the grade, lower the weight, lower the faff and up the speed. I don't think that that is unreasonable?

10
Big Lee - on 10 Jun 2018
In reply to tjhare1:

> - Also, I expect that most people, myself included, will climb slightly lower grades when they are out on a multi pitch mountain route. As such, I'd expect to be, technically speaking only, more comfortable and consequently happier to space it out a bit more.

Not me at least. An E1 is an E1 whether it's single pitch or multipitch. If a three pitch route was three E1s stacked on top of one another then it would probably be E2. So the grade already takes into account how sustained the route is without me needing to drop the grade.

> - Typically I like to move fairly fast (for me) - I therefore focus on placing only what I deem the best bits of gear, this necessitating it being a bit more sparse. Also often helps with drag.

Me personally, I just take half ropes and make sure I extend everything correctly. More gear placements shouldn't equal more rope drag unless the route really is changing direction sharply.

> - I don't think protection is ever about 'requirement' insomuch as it's always a compromise to a lesser or greater extent. To carry more, place more and move slower and to accept that the consequences of falling are lower but that the risk of taking aeons (and the associated consequences - hunger, grumpiness, or more serious on a big mountain - benightment, etc.) is higher; or to carry less, place less (but focus on 'bomber' gear) and move faster and accept that the consequences of falling are higher but that the risk of taking aeons is lower. Neither are right or wrong I don't think - just circumstance dependent.

I don't think I necessarily move quicker as a result of placing less gear, except on easy ground. The biggest thing that slows me down is hard-ish climbing combined with lack of gear. Therefore, me personally, on anything vaguely hard, I'll typically climb faster if there's nicely spaced gear below me. Plus we're only talking about UK rock after all. If you're getting benighted on most UK stuff then something much broader has gone wrong because UK rock isn't that high.

tjhare1 - on 10 Jun 2018
In reply to Big Lee:

> Not me at least. An E1 is an E1 whether it's single pitch or multipitch. If a three pitch route was three E1s stacked on top of one another then it would probably be E2. So the grade already takes into account how sustained the route is without me needing to drop the grade.

I wasnt talking about sustained. I was more thinking of the consequences of something going wrong in terms of getting out of a sticky situation. Would you prefer to be left unable to walk on Stanage or somewhere big? Surely you don't choose to push grades on big mountain crags? If so, I expect you're one of very few!

> Me personally, I just take half ropes and make sure I extend everything correctly. More gear placements shouldn't equal more rope drag unless the route really is changing direction sharply.

In an ideal world, no it shouldnt. In a realistic world, it frequently would. Let's say you place 5-10 runners on your typical small crag route of c.15m (not uncommon?) - are you going to place 15-30 on a 45m pitch? Then you've got to make sure they are all extended perfectly and make sure that you don't put them on the wrong ropes. You're about to tell me that that doesn't take more time, or rather that the time spent doing it is more than offset by the faster pace of climbing because of it? I don't personally agree that it has quite that much effect, but that's probably an independent psychological factor.

> I don't think I necessarily move quicker as a result of placing less gear, except on easy ground. The biggest thing that slows me down is hard-ish climbing combined with lack of gear. Therefore, me personally, on anything vaguely hard, I'll typically climb faster if there's nicely spaced gear below me. Plus we're only talking about UK rock after all. If you're getting benighted on most UK stuff then something much broader has gone wrong because UK rock isn't that high.

First, it's quite an assumption to restrict this to UK rock - OP mentioned nothing to say either way! As far as I'm concerned, anything from Tryfan to the Cassin comes under this umbrella - multipitch mountain rock. You say that the thing that slows you most is hard climbing with lack of gear, hence my view to dropping the grade a little such that's it's not quite as hard. As for benightment etc, see my first sentence of this paragraph (but noting that people do remarkably get benighted on UK routes - I agree they really shouldn't though!).

Post edited at 17:46
5
Webster - on 10 Jun 2018
In reply to monsoon:

Why 2 sets of nuts plus offsets? the offsets are the doubled up set. 1 full set plus 1 full set of offsets is sufficient.

with the exception of a very long continuous crack pitch like cenotaph corner, I never carry more than 10 draws including extenders. I have dmm cams which don't need draws as they are racked individually and have inbuilt extenders. if running out then slings/screwgates can be used if necessary.

as others have said, no need for extra screwgates, I use the screwgates of my prussics/slings for belay building.

I rarely carry many cams either, but all depends on the route (and partner, who will usually insist on them! in which case I make them carry them as the second)

2
Big Lee - on 10 Jun 2018
In reply to tjhare1:

> Surely you don't choose to push grades on big mountain crags? If so, I expect you're one of very few!

I don't push the grade but am happy to climb at a similar grade to what I regularly onsight on single pitch. So would take a similar rack.

> In an ideal world, no it shouldnt. In a realistic world, it frequently would. Let's say you place 5-10 runners on your typical small crag route of c.15m (not uncommon?) - are you going to place 15-30 on a 45m pitch? 

I think it's quite unlikely that I'd encounter a pitch that had sustained difficulties for 45m so the 3 x 15m maths would rarely apply. It would probably have easy bits where I could place less gear and harder bits where I would place more. I typically get by with around 13 runners (sorry Jezb1) regardless and with the same volume of gear as I would do on a shorter pitch. Again, if it was 45m of sustained climbing it could easily equate to being a grade harder.

> First, it's quite an assumption to restrict this to UK rock - OP mentioned nothing to say either way!

You're right, but usually someone quoting UK grades is referring to UK multipitch unless otherwise stated.

Wayne S - on 10 Jun 2018
In reply to monsoon:

Hi,  not too much wrong with your list.

I would ask, what is a set of offsets?  WC superlight offsets are much lighter than DMM for instance.

Swap a couple of nuts for a black and a pink tricam?

Using light weight carabiners can save a considerable weight with Quickdraws and racking cams.  DMM phantoms, Camp Nano 22, and Mammut wall lights all worth a look.  Slingdraws are a good option, though a 15cm express is quite short especially if using “small” light weight carabiners.  

Three lightweight screwgates (Grivel Plume Nut or DMM phantom for instance) on 120cm slings.  One more for belay plate would be my total.

Maybe over time look to migrate cams to something more specialist on smaller sizes (Totem), and the new BD ultralights save a good bit of weight on the larger sizes.   

Possibly loose a couple of quick draws but take a couple of 60 cm slings which can be used to extend cams in conjunction with splitting slingdraws.  

Not sure what is included in personal gear, a DMM Mantis belay plate is much lighter than most for instance.  

Your kit is what I would approximately take on a HVS+ on a mountain route with long pitches.  For more traditional mountain pitch lengths I might loose a few more Quickdraws.

Hopefully this helps?

Wayne

TobyA on 10 Jun 2018
In reply to monsoon:

Like everyone else says for a big multipitch route where you don't know whats coming up, what you have sounds fine.

Sometimes I'll take just my Dragons (I have purple to blue plus I take an old #1 4CU which is finger size) and my Torque Nuts, but on long Norwegian granite routes we've often gone for double cams.

I take a set of Wallnuts 1 to 10 and then normally for me its a set of Offsets, from smallish brass up to the biggest alloy - so probably about 20 nuts in all.

Of course you can string pitches together on UK routes although there is often a logic to shorter pitches connected to rope drag, but we don't get many sustained 45 mtr + pitches (I've come across that mainly in Norway but I'm sure in other bigger mountain areas too), so you don't need quite as much. But I reckon I've never failed on a route because I'm carrying too much, I definitely have backed off things as I didn't have the right sized gear!

wbo - on 10 Jun 2018
In reply to tjhare1: If I read your original post correctly no small wires at all? Guessing you climb a lot of granite?

Last mountain route I did I had 15 draws otherwise those long pitcher get a bit hairy for my tastes. 10 for 50m would be quite exciting

 

atthedropofahat on 10 Jun 2018
In reply to Robert Durran:

Hmm two racks of nuts is completely unnecessary. Maybe you need to place them better but on 55m pitches of VS and HVS pitches  you don't need more than a set. I do these days take offsets and always take 3 micros for emergencies. But a full set plus offsets  is still cumbersome. Fiddle your nuts into better placements and yoully be surprised how many ways you can use each size particularly as we rarely have splitters in the UK requiring the same size all the way. Most mountain routes and even ones at Gogarth still have 30-40m pitches so can be broken down into almost stanage sized chunks. 

Maybe it's just me but I started climbing on my dads 1970s rack and bought my nuts one at a time but I think my rack is often excessive particularly as each cam now has an extender built in so can easily be used as a draw if you need.

I carry

1 full set plus 2 and 5 camp nuts as these work really well horizontally.

Set of offsets

3 microwires

Cams 0-5 but if with my mate a small black totem

6x 18cmdraws plus 4 extenders which if i plan to run pitches together I add two extenders

Ab tat plus small maillon

Guide plate with two lockers reserved for guide mode

3x120 sling 1x240 all on lockers plus the second carries a 120 at all times 

Tricam set on limestone

2 extra lockers.

Secretly I chuckle at double sets of nuts with a set of hexes and cams at Eastern grit crags. My rack for comparison here is set of cams as above, micros plus and offsets. Two extenders and 4 draws. 1x 240 and 2x 120 plus a screwgates, spare sg and belay and hms.

11
Robert Durran - on 11 Jun 2018
In reply to tjhare1:

The OP didn't say anything about dropping his grade in the mountains and I think it was fair enough to assume that he was talking about UK mountain routes (rather than alpine where the speed/safety thing might be a consideration - it really isn't in the UK). But maybe they will come back and clarify. So I stand by my assertion that there is absolutely no reason to reduce the rack and, if anything, reason, as I said, to enlarge it.

Anyway I disagree that, if you want to climb fast, this should mean reducing the rack - I am much more likely to push through moves quickly if I can afford to put runners closer together than if I'm having to run it out to conserve gear on a long pitch. I remember Andy Kirkpatrick making this point in an article dispelling some of the myths about "fast 'n light". Another point he made is that it should be about taking he lightest version you can afford/lay your hands on of the stuff it makes sense to take rather than leaving out stuff it makes sense to take - so yes, the OP should look at the possibility of lighter krabs and cams if it is about lightening the rucksack by a little bit for the walk in - but again this really shouldn't be a factor in the UK!

Robert Durran - on 11 Jun 2018
In reply to atthedropofahat:

> Hmm two racks of nuts is completely unnecessary. Maybe you need to place them better but on 55m pitches of VS and HVS pitches  you don't need more than a set.

Obviously it is possible for someone climbing well within their grade to be happy with one set of nuts on a 55m VS pitch; I probably would be. But if I'm climbing at a grade near my limit I wouldn't contemplate carrying only one set on UK rock (though I might on splitter granite and probably carry none on an Indian Creek hand crack).

FWIW my standard rack, if I'm anywhere near my limit on a UK mountain crag and have no specific prior knowledge of the route, is a quadruple set of rocks 1-4, triple 5-7, double 8-10, Offsets 1-6, assorted micros, 7 Camalots small blue to big blue, 6 friends 0-2.5 and about 16 assorted quick draws/extenders. This is precisely what I was carrying on a mountain crag today. I might add some small aliens if I was expecting to really push it and a bigger cam or two for a specific route. I do recognise that many would consider this a large rack (and so was happy to have said that the OP's smaller rack seems fine) but it's what I feel comfortable with in order to be unlikely to have to make do with less adequate protection than is available. 

Post edited at 00:52
3
Robert Durran - on 11 Jun 2018
In reply to cragtyke:

> Use a bandolier for your draws to get some weight off your harness.

..........and instead dangling around infuriatingly in front of you so you can't see what you're doing with your feet ;-)

Mark Stevenson - on 11 Jun 2018
In reply to monsoon:

IMO there can be a pretty big difference between VS and E1 when it comes to UK Mountain routes. The jump between 4c moves and 5b moves is not insignificant.

For example, the party that climbed The Grooves (E1 5b) last Monday when I was on another route, took a fall on the second pitch. On big E1s like that, you definitely don't want to skimp on gear.

As such, the rack you describe, sounds pretty spot on for mountain E1s. Although, equally it's probably on the large side for the vast majority of VSs.

The fact that you mentioned a range of grades probably explains why there's apparently such a wide divergence of views here.

 

Offwidth - on 11 Jun 2018
In reply to monsoon:

My normal multipitch rack on a testing route is a set of BD camelots from 3 downwards and a set of aliens below that. One set of nuts, large set of various microwires, a set of offsets and a hex 8. 10 sling extenders of varying lengths (sewn slings seem pointless except maybe an aid climber's long sewn sling which can be useful to reach nut slots just out of reach of the reef knot trick), a couple of those extenders with one crab (to extend cams). 2 short slings, 3 long slings, 2 extra long slings (for belays or complex equalisation), a nut key for cleaning out placements. I sometimes dump weight on the second if a pitch looks like it wont need much of a type of gear (with two rope technique you can often collect it back if you need it). Depending on rock type I take extra stuff and slim elsewhere.... on limestone another set of nuts and a couple more extenders and hexes (lose a few cams), on pocketed volcanics tricams are useful, on peg scarred granite my rack of offset aliens. Remember gear can have many uses ... an alien or hex makes a handy spare extender...a big cam can weight a sling sitting on a small spike to keep it in place. I can see why anyone wouldn't use microwires at VS and above (I use them below on obscure potential sandbags) they weight nothing and have saved me countless times from cacking myself, a cluster of them have rescued dubious belays and they've even held the odd fall. I almost forgot to say that I always carry tat to bail and something to ascend the rope/escape the system (prussics normally in the UK).

Post edited at 09:30
Offwidth - on 11 Jun 2018
In reply to Mark Stevenson:

I think thats complete nonsense Mark... a VS leader on a VS needs just as much gear as an E1 leader on an E1 of similar style and protectability.

1
Offwidth - on 11 Jun 2018
In reply to atthedropofahat:

 I cant think of any 55m VS or HVS pitches anywhere in the UK

2
knighty - on 11 Jun 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

>  I cant think of any 55m VS or HVS pitches anywhere in the UK

Wrecker's Slab?

Robert Durran - on 11 Jun 2018
In reply to Big Lee:

>  If a three pitch route was three E1s stacked on top of one another then it would probably be E2.

At the risk of going off topic, is that actually true, either in principle or in practice? I seem to remember it being discussed vigorously on here in the past but I can't remember the conclusion (if any)!

 

planetmarshall on 11 Jun 2018
In reply to Webster:

> with the exception of a very long continuous crack pitch like cenotaph corner, I never carry more than 10 draws including extenders. I have dmm cams which don't need draws as they are racked individually and have inbuilt extenders. if running out then slings/screwgates can be used if necessary.

This is just mathematics. 40m pitches are not uncommon, so 10 extenders, less two split for the belay at each end (assuming there's not a convenient spike or boulder), leaves you 1 extender every 4-5 metres. 

While your cams have built-in extenders, it's not unusual that they might need to be extended further.

Nor is it unusual that you may have to place several pieces of marginal gear, requiring multiple extenders.

Your belays may also require more than a split extender.

To each his own, but for me that's an incredibly small margin of error.

d_b on 11 Jun 2018
In reply to knighty:

To be fair, Wrecker's is a VS because there is no point in carrying more than about 3 pieces of gear.

We were running some of the multi pitch VS and HS routes into one pitch on Saturday, so that would count.

Luke90 on 11 Jun 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

> I think thats complete nonsense Mark... a VS leader on a VS needs just as much gear as an E1 leader on an E1 of similar style and protectability.

I agree, though it's probably reasonable to assume that one particular leader asking about the range VS-E1 is closer to their limit on the E1 but has some grades in hand on the VS. That might change their rack choices.

springfall2008 - on 11 Jun 2018
In reply to monsoon:

Personally I'd add:

- Pair of prussik's on screwgates

- Spare belay device (if you drop one it could be bad otherwise)

- Some cord, strong enough to abseil off to make an escape

- ultra-light waterproof layer on a crab

1
Robert Durran - on 11 Jun 2018
In reply to planetmarshall:

> Your belays may also require more than a split extender.

It somewhat irritates me when a partner fails to carry a couple of snaplinks for belays and splits even a single extender leaving me short for the next pitch - if we've agreed to take, say, 15 extenders, I expect to set off up each pitch with that number.

 

Post edited at 14:20
2
planetmarshall on 11 Jun 2018
In reply to Robert Durran:

> It somewhat irritates me when a partner fails to carry a couple of snaplinks for belays and splits even a single extender leaving me short for the next pitch - if we've agreed to take, say, 15 extenders, I expect to set off up each pitch with that number.

That's fine, but I would expect to sort out those kind of arrangements before getting to the crag. I've been caught out by making various assumptions halfway up a crag before. Me: "So are you leading the next pitch?" Partner: "Er, no, I thought you were leading all of them..." Never again...

Pero - on 11 Jun 2018
In reply to monsoon:

My MP rack is similar to yours:

Set of 12 nuts

Set of 5 offsets (occasionally, e.g. Swanage, second set of nuts instead)

Set of 3 large "wedges" - similar to hexes

(Optional: set of small half nuts and micro-wires, depending on rock/route)

Set of 11 cams (usually take 7-10 depending on rock/route)

16 quickdraws (including 2 sling-draws): I regularly use 12-16 on long pitches.  In fact, three times just last weekend, doing two-pitch VS's as a single 40m+ pitch. 

3 slings with snaplinks

1 sling with 2-3 screwgates (belays/abseil)

2 x prussik loops

Screwgate and belay device

Nut Key (the leader should always carry a nut key, IMO)

Note that I've converted to lightweight gear: crabs and quickdraws, which makes a difference across a full rack.

If I thought I was carrying too much gear I would lessen my rack.  But, several times just this year I've ended up with either no large nuts or no small nuts left on my rack at the end of a pitch.  For me, this is the required gear for long or multi-pitch VS/HVS.  If I drop down to S/HS, then the rack can be reduced considerably.  But, for hard pitches of 30-45m, this is what I find I need.

jezb1 - on 11 Jun 2018
In reply to springfall2008:

> Personally I'd add:

> - Spare belay device (if you drop one it could be bad otherwise)

I always carry a spare Italian hitch

 

Robert Durran - on 11 Jun 2018
In reply to Pero:

> Nut Key (the leader should always carry a nut key, IMO)

Why? It's the second who has to get the nuts out!

Big Lee - on 11 Jun 2018
In reply to Robert Durran:

> At the risk of going off topic, is that actually true, either in principle or in practice? I seem to remember it being discussed vigorously on here in the past but I can't remember the conclusion (if any)!

Maybe I missed that one. I'd say it was, but then I can't actually think of many routes in the UK where the climbing is so sustained in nature across multiple pitches that every pitch in isolation would warrant the same overall grade. Not up to E1 in England or Wales at least. At most the hardest move across pitches is the same.

Robert Durran - on 11 Jun 2018
In reply to Big Lee:

> Maybe I missed that one. I'd say it was.

I'd say it wasn't! I've always taken the grade of the route to be what the grade of the hardest pitch would be in isolation. I don't think I've ever done a route which is not consistent with that.

atthedropofahat on 11 Jun 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

I can't either, only ones which I've linked. On the whole most pitches up to HVS can be split further if necessary with intermediary stances, commonly done when taking clients for communication reasons.

I still don't know why anyone would take 2 sets of nuts plus offsets, it's almost 3 full sets of nuts! Before I had offsets I used to take 1 set plus odds and made do. Yes its more run out but its not a massive issue if you plan ahead, on many mountain routes good protection is well spaced and whats the point of wasting runners in choss.

E1 is a bit more vague and there are times when you might need a lot of runners as they are all poor but really that's E1 for you and I'd expect that if you truly expect to do E1 on a mountain route you'd get a taster of easier stuff in the area to get a feel for it particularly if you are worried about what runners to take.

4
Max factor - on 11 Jun 2018
In reply to monsoon:

I am constantly making efforts to thin out my rack, (which is pretty close the OP's for HVS/E1/E2.

I find the effort of splitting the bunches of nuts for something short or easier, and then beefing it up for something longer or harder too bothersome. There is probably a learning there on how I rack my wires, and I should have a system that can easily be boosted by adding in an extra bunch. 

Also, the bit of gear you choose to leave behind will be the exact one you want on the next pitch.

Up to a point, gear anxiety about not having enough quick draws, or not the right bit of gear for that critical placement will slow you down as much as the extra weight. 

With grades and conditions in hand, it's easy to go light. 

 

Post edited at 17:02
Pursued by a bear - on 11 Jun 2018
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Why? It's the second who has to get the nuts out!

Most of the time, a leader won't need a nut key.  Once in a while though, it's invaluable; such as pulling through a sling on a thread runner when you just can't reach with your fingers.  The value of carrying one on lead is something you learn from the time you didn't do it and regretted it.

T.

Offwidth - on 11 Jun 2018
In reply to knighty:

Wreckers has shorter pitches than 55m with plenty of intermediate belay options it also has plenty of gear, if you look, at least as far as routes with a bold reputation go. All the technically hard moves are well protected. In my view its an HS due only to seriousness and some loose rock and would be a severe if solid and less scary with the tide. I've done loads of much harder adjectival routes given VDiff (Lands End Long Climb famously so)  and most recently Canopy Route, D (on what many regard as a beginners crag), Milestone Buttress, was also way harder and more serious.

Robert Durran - on 11 Jun 2018
In reply to atthedropofahat:

> On many mountain routes good protection is well spaced and whats the point of wasting runners in choss.

Where do you climb? I tend to pick mountain routes with quality sustained climbing on good rock. I also prefer good protection and I've never noticed protection being generally more spaced in the mountains than on outcrops. Have you done much climbing in the British mountains?

> E1 is a bit more vague and there are times when you might need a lot of runners as they are all poor but really that's E1 for you.

Again, I'd be intrigued to know where you have climbed that you have got this odd impression of mountain E1's.

I really am at a loss to know why anyone would make a general distinction between rack requirements on mountain routes and non-mountain routes (except maybe, as I said earlier, to take a bit more on multipitch routes for the belays)

Big Lee - on 11 Jun 2018
In reply to Pursued by a bear:

Definitely need a nut key on lead around my way. Often needed for a bit of crack gardening.

Offwidth - on 11 Jun 2018
In reply to Luke90:

Good point but thats not how Mark phrased it. I still carry the same gear on an onsight E1 as on a HS (unless I know the route well and am moving fast with a cut-down rack). UK grades in particular are too unreliable and mountain routes can throw real surprises in technical terms (often due to veg or dampness) and its much easier to get off route than on single pitch. On obscure routes, Canopy Route on Milestone again reminded me not to underestimate the sandbags that still exist out there, especially at lower grades (a gem of a tough HS 4b though.... recommended... especially this summer as we cleaned it up) On the day before I was huffing and puffing on the start on the tenuous start grooves of Nor Nor Buttress, D,  leading in approach shoes and with a reduced rack. I've led a 5.8 in the US in my approach shoes (easy HVS UK grit equivalent).

springfall2008 - on 12 Jun 2018
In reply to atthedropofahat:

> I still don't know why anyone would take 2 sets of nuts plus offsets, it's almost 3 full sets of nuts! Before I had offsets I used to take 1 set plus odds and made do. Yes its more run out but its not a massive issue if you plan ahead, on many mountain routes good protection is well spaced and whats the point of wasting runners in choss.

I often climb 30-40m routes at VS/HVS. If you only have one set of nuts you very quickly run out of nuts of the right size for the crack. For me offsets work well for the right shape of rock but they don't replace a second set of nuts.

 

springfall2008 - on 12 Jun 2018
In reply to Pursued by a bear:

Also for alt-lead you don't want to swap gear?

Toerag - on 12 Jun 2018
In reply to Offwidth:

>  I can see why anyone wouldn't use microwires at VS and above (I use them below on obscure potential sandbags) they weight nothing and have saved me countless times from cacking myself, a cluster of them have rescued dubious belays and they've even held the odd fall.

Surely you mean 'can't'?

I carry micros on every route I do here because of the nature of the rock - it often only has thin cracks and face holds where you'd be running stuff out dangerously (at any grade) without micros to put in the thin cracks.

to the OP (and others) - My philosophy with gear is to give yourself options - if you carry 2 sets of the same type of nut you're restricting yourself to placements that that type of nut fits. It's better to have differing sets of nuts to give you more or better placement options, I've settled on a set of wallnuts and a set of alloy offsets. I also carry micros (brass offsets are best) and the three smallest tricams on a krab as my 'get out of jail' gear. I especially like the pink tricam as it goes wherever my thumb does.

If you know the nature of the route & rock then you can customise your rack to suit it.

 

Post edited at 13:04
rgold - on 16 Jun 2018
In reply to monsoon:

Perhaps because of differences in the types of rock in the US and UK, I find my generic rack more oriented to cams.  I carry but a single set of nuts (11 in all), sometimes augmented with two or three tricams (red, pink and black, which work very well as ordinary  nuts.)  I almost always have a carabiner with a few brassies on it, as it weighs almost nothing and when you need 'em, you really need 'em.  I sometimes carry three ball nuts, which are quite tricky to place well but can make all the difference in protecting very thin parallel-sided cracks.  I haven't ever felt the need for offsets.

Then comes quite a lot of cams, basically a double rack from micro to green camalot size and then a red, yellow, and blue Camalot equivalent.  That's about 14 cams.  I'll double the bigger sizes for more crack-oriented climbing, and of course add even bigger cams when called-for.  Included in this is a full set of Totem cams, which partially substitute for the offset cams and nuts I don't have.

For slings I carry 12 tripled alpine draws (extenders) and two double-length runners carried doubled over the shoulder.  I have an ultra light locker on each of the double-length slings and two more ultra light lockers and two or three free carabiners.  I don't usually carry any kind of cordelette unless we are leading in blocks or I'm doing all the leading.

I always carry a nut key.  It is indispensable for cleaning vegetation out of cracks, helping to push or pull through the occasional thread, and occasionally popping loose nuts placed in error.  Plus I've found  that when the party has only one nut key, the second inevitably ends up without it when they need it most.

In addition to by belay gadget (CT Alpine Up), I bring a very large locking carabiner which I use for rigging anchors with the rope.  It will easily take two clove hitches tied with 8.5mm lines.

A very light small knife and a pair of prusik slings are in permanent residence in a chalk bag zipper pocket.  I've taken to using a Petzl Connect Adjust, which I find speeds and/or makes more comfortable various rigging procedures.

I carry the extenders on my harness, but the nuts and cams all go on a Metolius looped gear sling, which I think has all the advantages of a gear sling and none of the disadvantages.  As a climber who learned during the iron age in the US, I've been used to a gear sling for fifty years and really dislike the load-in-the-pants feel of all that hardware on the harness.

monsoon - on 16 Jun 2018
In reply to monsoon:

Thanks for the comments and thoughts. A lot to come back on, but first: I hear you re me currently carrying almost 3 sets of wires (something along the lines of 1 x 1-10; 1 x 3-7; Offsets 7-11) but I personally don't see Offsets as duplicating the other 2(ish) sets due to the very different placements that they get used in?

Pero - on 17 Jun 2018
In reply to monsoon:

> Thanks for the comments and thoughts. A lot to come back on, but first: I hear you re me currently carrying almost 3 sets of wires (something along the lines of 1 x 1-10; 1 x 3-7; Offsets 7-11) but I personally don't see Offsets as duplicating the other 2(ish) sets due to the very different placements that they get used in?


The way I see it it's a trade off.  If you carry two sets of nuts, then you may find offset placements that you cannot use or have to compromise on by using a regular nut.  That might be a problem.

If you carry a set of nuts and a set of offsets, then you may have to compromise on regular nut placements, by using an offset where it's not ideal.  That might be a problem.

You either accept one of these potential problems or you carry more gear. 

In my experience there are a lot of places where you can use either a regular nut or an offset.


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