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Pros and Cons of gear slings
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By Brian Scoggins
From Eugene, OR
Apr 29, 2012

jeffblankman wrote:
Racking nuts on a sling often allows you to test and place nuts without having to remove the entire biner of nuts from your sling. IMO, very convenient and less apt to accidentally drop nuts.

Yeah, that's really dumb. If dropping shit is such a concern for you, you really should focus on not dropping things, rather than inventing new techniques that bring a very rare occurence (hanging by gear sling) into the realm of bruised pride in terms of likely fall outcome.

Plus, your "clever" solution means that you'll be hard-pressed to get a good placement unless your body stays close to the wall anyway *and* the placement just happens to be at chest height *and* the placement is simple enough that you don't have to flip the nut over to place it.

I don't usually play the "you must be this rad to enter" card (because I'm not typically that rad) but seriously, spend some time actually leading routes before you start talking about the pros and cons of a certain racking method. There's no way you'd still espouse this idea of yours if you'd placed more than one nut on lead in your life.

If dropping gear really needed to be addressed so directly, you'd be better served with a single-strand accessory cord "leash" connecting that racking crab to your harness, and even is a terrible idea.
/still in the gear sling camp


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By Dane
Apr 29, 2012
Cham '11

sling on alpine mixed
sling on alpine mixed


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By Tony B
From Around Boulder, CO
Apr 29, 2012
Got Milk? How about forearm pump? Tony leads "Alan Nelson's Bulging Belly" (5.10, X) on the Lost and Found Flatiron. Belayer is Mark Ruocco. Photo by Bill Wright, 10/06.

rgold wrote:
Harness racking works for sport climbs and many types of short trad routes. It is preferable for overhanging routes where the sling hangs way behind the climber (although the backward-hanging sling is easily corrected by clipping it to a harness loop), but on the other hand is terrible for any kind of crack climbing requiring the body or some part of it to be in the crack. Harness racking also impedes hip scums in corners, and even if the scum works, it can be very hard to get at gear that is pinned against a wall.

Just goes to show - to each his own. I am a crack climber and I rack on my harness for everything. I climb Alpine with a 70M rope... and I use it. A "short pitch" is anything less than 150'.


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By Colonel Mustard
From Reno, NV
Apr 29, 2012
Colonel Mustard

It's mostly a matter of preference. There. I said it.


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By Auto-X Fil
From NEPA and Upper Jay, NY
Apr 29, 2012

I really like using a sling (really 1" runner) when I'm doing easy stuff with only a little bit of gear. I use a CAMP Alp 95 thong, er, harness, and it's gear-loop free. The gear stays on the sling and can go in or out of the pack with the rope, while the harness stays on and is light enough to never get in the way, even when running or skiing.

If I have more than a set of nuts, a couple screws, and a few slings - I want a real harness and usually leave the sling behind.


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By 20 kN
From Hawaii
Apr 30, 2012

Jon Moen wrote:
Never have dropped a piece this way, in 10 years of trad climbing.

Well many, many people have, and I am sure harness racking has been a big contributing factor in many cases. Think about it, if you have to hand over ten pieces of gear each pitch on a ten pitch route, that's 100 pieces you have to hand over for the whole climb. If it was on a rack, you would only have ten pieces of "gear" to handover. So in my example, a climber may have a 10x higher chance of dropping something if he used his harness to rack gear on versus a sling.


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By Tony B
From Around Boulder, CO
Apr 30, 2012
Got Milk? How about forearm pump? Tony leads "Alan Nelson's Bulging Belly" (5.10, X) on the Lost and Found Flatiron. Belayer is Mark Ruocco. Photo by Bill Wright, 10/06.

20 kN wrote:
So in my example, a climber may have a 10x higher chance of dropping something if he used his harness to rack gear on versus a sling.

That reminds me of the time an entire sling worth of gear went flying past me on Moonlight Buttress. They guys wanted to jumar our ropes for the next 5 pitches... "We really don't want to retreat at this point."
"That's cool, I understand - Willie and I weren't psyched about hauling our bag the rest of the way up."
And a deal was struck - We took time to take extra lines up and fix them, they hauled for us.
Point being - you can still drop stuff. If I was in the mode of picking a side and then making whatever arguments I could come up with to support it I'd say that with a sling you drop THE WHOLE rack.
I've dropped gear once in 25+ years, BTW, so it actually does not figure into my equation at all.


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By Kilroywashere!
From Harrisonburg, Virginia
May 7, 2012
Kilroy

buy a Misty Caddy and be done with this topic. 6 gear loops. plenty of room for a ton of shit.


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By Princess Mia
From Vail
May 7, 2012
Chillin' at City of Rocks

I alwas use a gear sling for trad routes (except for at the creek). It is easier to stay organized, to whip the gear around to grab with left or right hand, to dangle below for the ow sections. Plus I don't like a lot of weight on my harness. Very uncomfortable.


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By SlowTrad
From St Paul, MN
May 8, 2012

I would never argue with Mr. Bubb about anything regarding climbing(cuz' he's usually right), but this is more personal preference. I routinely use both methods. My anatomy is such that a heavily laden harness feels like it is going to fall off, no matter how much I cinch it down, so when on a long climb, or an aid climb, I use a sling (Zodiac) to keep heavy stuff off my harness. Of course there are routes this doesn't work for, so I don't use it then.

When in JTree, unless I am on an OW, I will rack on my harness because you can usually see what gear you'll need. If I am in the Winds, I'll bring the kitchen sink since I have no idea what I will need, and wear the sling.

I have a MM Cadillac and a CAMP Quartz CR3 and a Petzl gym harness(Sama?).


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By Benjaminadk
From Lake George, NY
Oct 7, 2012
Me

gear on harness. draws on sling.


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By slk
From Reno, NV
Oct 7, 2012
me

I'm with the Colonel! All this other talk is blah blah blah.


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By ben schuldt
From Morris, MN
Oct 7, 2012
me in mid summer on the column direct

Kilroywashere! wrote:
buy a Misty Caddy and be done with this topic. 6 gear loops. plenty of room for a ton of shit.


+1

I routinely rack a double set of cams and nuts, tricams, free 'biners, trad draws, anchor gear, and personal gear on my MM Caddy with no trouble. I have also never dropped a piece of gear while changing over or placing. It sounds like some people need some soap for their butter fingers~


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By M Sprague
Administrator
From New England
Oct 7, 2012
Lichen head. Me, with my usual weatherbeaten, lichen covered look from scrubbing a new route.

Unless I am using a light rack, I go ahead and use my big wall chest harness for racking. I like the way I can have it sorted and not all clumped tightly together, it keeps the gear up away from my knees and it is a lot more comfortable. Shoulder slings make me feel like I am going to strangle myself and either hang in front of you on low angles, getting in the way, or the gear is out of sight and reach on steep stuff


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By Hmann2
Oct 7, 2012
the fridge leavenworth

Personally I like to rack on my harness. It keeps your center of gravity lower, and I think its easier to find the piece I want. With a sling I find it gets caught on all sorts of things and I cant see my feet when Im using one.


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By EvanH
From Boone, NC
Oct 8, 2012

Harness racking:

Never directly caused a death.

Gear sling:

Several deaths directly attributable to their use.


I really don't need any other reason to rack on my harness.


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By JCM
From Seattle, WA
Oct 9, 2012

EvanH wrote:
Gear sling: Several deaths directly attributable to their use.


Actually, shockingly, true. There are two that I know of in the last ~10 years, one in Eldo and another on Charlotte Dome. Some frightening freak accidents have happened.


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By Ray Pinpillage
From West Egg
Oct 9, 2012
Cleo's Needle

Hung to death by the sling.


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By Zappatista
Oct 10, 2012
Book me, officer.

Apparently, the tone of my post led to its removal.

Allow me to rephrase:

"Pardon me, kind sirs of the greatest sport known to man, soon to take its rightful place at the head of the Olympics roster. Wouldst thou explainest when, how, and why the many deaths related to racking on a gear sling occurred, citing sources for scientific purposes?"

That better?

Your earnest Colleague,

The Earl of Sarcasm


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By Ray Pinpillage
From West Egg
Oct 10, 2012
Cleo's Needle

The answer is still hanging death. Seems over blown but still...


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By Zappatista
Oct 10, 2012
Book me, officer.

Hard to believe. Names, dates, references?

I still think untied shoelaces may be the bigger hazard...


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By Locker
From Yucca Valley, CA
Oct 10, 2012
...

"Hard to believe. Names, dates, references?"


I too am CURIOUS as hell about that one. Don't recall ever hearing about a climber getting hung by a gear sling (Not saying it didn't happen).


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By slim
Administrator
Oct 10, 2012
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.

about 10 years ago ( i think his name was angus) fell on a route on redgarden wall at eldo. maybe anthill direct? anyway, a hex got caught up in a crack and he unfortunately got hung up in the gear sling and passed away. it was an unfortunate freak occurence.

people have dropped the rack on a sling. people have dumped a bunch of gear when their harness gear loops broke. etc etc etc.

some say you can't climb a roof with a gear sling, the segmented metolius gear sling actually works great for roofs.

when i started climbing with a gear sling i hated it, but now i prefer it over racking on my harness. my shoulders are in pretty bad shape, so reaching behind me to get gear doesn't feel so great. i also like being able to hand over (or receive) the rack in one motion on longer routes. my wife hates racking on a sling, says she isn't strong enough to carry the weight on her shoulders.

to each their own i guess.


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By Tipton
Oct 10, 2012

I remember this one from 2009 but not any others: Summit Post Accident Report

Strange set of circumstances, but certainly possible.


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By Zappatista
Oct 10, 2012
Book me, officer.

Richard Harrison told me a hilarious story about his shoulder-hung drill setup screwing him royally a while back at an unpublished spot in Northern Nevada, truly a picture he painted of getting clusterfucked when his foot blew and he ended up dangling from the in-situ drill till he could extricate himself and take the fall to get out of the situation. That guy is pretty amazing, so low key but has covered and keeps covering so much ground. Inspiring, I hope I accomplish a tenth as much at Red Rock.

Discomfort I can see, but deaths? I'd really like to hear from the Doomsayers about where they heard all of these...'facts.'


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