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doubling trad rack
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By mattm
From TX
Sep 28, 2012
Grande Grotto
TomCaldwell wrote:
Scott, the granite comment about lending itself to sliding up a cam is again location dependent. You can't do that on many of the granite faces in SE. There are very few laser cut cracks in granite around here. This also applies to sandstone and quartzite in the SE, conglomerate in the NE, aztec sandstone in the SW, and monzogranite in the SW. It is kind of crazy that some of the people proclaiming doubles of BD is best and yet they haven't traveled much. Some of them, you can't even tell their trad experience from their profile. The real answer is, that if you plan on traveling having the most versatile rack will serve you best. Having done over 2000 pitches in the SE, NE, and SW one of my favorite additions to my rack was the tri-cams. These are way more versatile and lighter than any cam on the market, and they are still "cams" like the OP is looking for. They also work well in the BD gaps. So yeah, buy an extra set of those SAE sockets until you start stripping bolts, then get the metric and sell your old SAE doubles for half their value.


I've traveled plenty Tom, I just don't have the desire or time to keep some MtnProj resume filled out.

- TriCams are even MORE location dependent than Cam Brand choices and frankly, a specialty piece. In the PNW I NEVER used them. They're certainly not more versatile than a cam. I say this having started my Trad Career in the Gunks. Yeah, they work great and SOMETIMES they work where nothing else will but that's pretty rare and they can be hard place and even harder to clean. Why suggest that to someone who's JUST STARTING OUT with their rack? (BTW, RGold doesn't use TriCams at the Gunks for the most part and he knows a thing or two about pro there.)

How 'bout you comment on the OTHER things that make a cam "versatile" beyond camming range? The SAE vs Metric "thing" assumes the wrenches, OTHER THAN SIZING are equal. This is by no means the case with the different cam brands.

Look, I get the versatility thing. I do. I own WC cams and utilize them as well. I've done the TriCams and "Gunks Tie Off" Forged Friends rack plenty. I've been in IC and known the gap between #1 and #2 C4s. I think BELOW .75 c4 it's essential to have different brands and designs of cams on your rack for that variety you speak of.

I just think, ESPECIALLY for a new-to-trad climber, that the OTHER BENEFITS that a double rack of c4s ABOVE #1 provide outweigh the "range versatility" you keep talking about.

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By Colonel Mustard
From Reno, NV
Sep 28, 2012
Colonel Mustard
mattm wrote:
I think BELOW .75 c4 it's essential to have different brands and designs of cams on your rack for that variety you speak of. I just think, ESPECIALLY for a new-to-trad climber, that the OTHER BENEFITS that a double rack of c4s ABOVE #1 provide outweigh the "range versatility" you keep talking about.


This would sum up my thoughts too. Franken racks are much more useful in the smaller sizes. I've got a DMM u-stem, C4, C3, WC Zeros, Master Cams, and CCH in my smaller cams and it is in these sizes where the small differences in lobe and head width play a much larger role.

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By TomCaldwell
From Clemson, S.C.
Sep 28, 2012
Me on One Pitch Wonder at Whitesides.  Photo credits to Kyle Jones and his lucky anti-rain jacket.
mattm, I can definitely get on board with it being much more important to have a variety below the .75 range (maybe add the #1 and below). I would however call a tri-cam a beginner piece. If you can't place a tri-cam, I would question someones ability to place a nut, because in passive mode they aren't much different. In active mode, it just takes a little more practice. Those that can't place them with ease is because they don't practice placing them. Most beginner routes have plenty of stances to work in a good tri-cam and when your good you can place them in more difficult stance. I don't get how they aren't more versatile than a cam when you can place them in passive and active mode, they are more lighter, and have more progessive expansion. They can be placed in all places that a cam can go and even more so because they can protect pods and flares. They are also great because they can replace some of the larger stoppers (#10 and above). I would say that the really large tri-cams are a bit more touchy, because the setting is a little more tricky, but I wouldn't suggest anything above green tri-cam.

mattm, the experience thing is related to another person's comment by devaluing other MP'ers opinions when you can't even tell what/where they are climbing and how much experience they have, and not specifically your profile. Maybe a picture of Sharma carrying some tri-cams would help.

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By mattm
From TX
Sep 28, 2012
Grande Grotto
FWIW, my "go to" rack is a mix to some degree

1 set Totem Basics (Green to Red with Hybrids)
1 set Totem Cams (Blue to Red) with a 2nd Purple
1 set C4s .75-5
Double C4s 2,3,4
Master Cams 00,0,1,2

My "things are more funky" supplement gear is:
C3s 00-2 plus Orange TCU (why BD doesn't make one size more in the C3s I don't know)
TriCams .5-2
Set of BallNuts

IF I have some goal climbs in mind, I'll do some research and see if there's a MUST HAVE piece I need (Like WC stuff for IC etc etc) and throw those specific pieces in.

Nuts are the same since different areas need different nuts.
My "Goto" setup was:
WC Rocks 1-9
DMM Walnuts 1-9 for doubles

I've found with really crystalline rock in TX (E-Rock) and other places (Gunks, Tuff at Smith) that the DMM Walnuts got stuck A LOT so my "alt nuts" were a set of Metolius curve nuts. They really handle the large crystal rock better. Red Rocks was a mix for me and next time I go I'll probably bring the DMM and Metolius.

Micros need lots of variation so:
Set DMM Peanuts (awesome)
Set BD Steel Nuts
couple of random others to maximize strength in the TINY sizes based on this article:
Micro Nut review


Standard Rack Tarp Picture
Standard Rack Tarp Picture

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By Canyon
Sep 28, 2012
bearbreeder: I completely agree with you that I need to get out and climb to figure out what I will need or want. I originally posted this, NOT so that I can go out to a shop tonight and finish my whole rack based on the recommendations here!! I posted it so that while climbing I can take into account what others have recommended and see if I run into situations where I can see the recommendation would have been useful. Then I will go buy what works best for me. That is for me the best use of Forums like this, to get ideas that I may have not thought of on my own.

Thank you everybody, Using your recommendations, getting back out on the rock myself, and speaking with other local climbers, I have a good Idea of what direction I want to go as far as future gear purchases go.

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