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Racking Advice... Harness or Sling?
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By photocodo
From Hendersonville, NC
Oct 23, 2012
The "crack"

I have been trad climbing a few months now and have started leading some easy 5.6-5.7s. When I was seconding everything I only had a limited amount of gear on my harness but now that Im leading (especially multi-pitch) my harness is feeling very weighed down. I tighten up my harness but it still feels like a lot of weight on my hips. Granted I am probably carrying way too much gear but Im at the point where weight isnt the end of the world and I would rather have what I need than find placements that I dont have the gear for. So here is my real question. When your climbing multi-pitch, I would say at least 3 pitches or more, are you racking everything on your harness or do you use a sling? I definitely want to reserve my harness for some things, like equalettes, ATC, prusiks, etc. But for my pro I was thinking about getting a sling. I like the metolius shoulder sling but I also like the big wall style sling that fits like a backpack and you have loops under both arms like the BD zodiac or metolius big wall. Is this just overkill for multi-pitch or are there people who use these backpack type slings when climbing? I just feel like my harness gets very weighed down and would feel better with some of that weight over my shoulders.


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By wivanoff
Oct 23, 2012
High Exposure

Have you read through this thread?
www.mountainproject.com/v/pros-and-cons-of-gear-slings-/1075>>>

As with most forum posts, some good advice and lot's of bullcrap, lot's of "me too" posts. You'll have to wade through it.

I do both. Rack most gear on my harness, some gear on a BD sling. I like having the sling for times when I want to get gear off one side of my harness: laybacks, chimneys, etc.

Oh, and you're probably carrying too much gear....

Edit: I have a partner who uses a backpack type double sling. He seems to like it. IMO, it's overkill.
The real answer is: try it with a 60cm runner to see how you like it before buying a 'gear sling'. You can criss cross one sling over each shoulder to make a double sling if you want.

Try it yourself. No need to read any further.


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By FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
Oct 23, 2012

Heeee-re we go! This question seems to come up every couple of months. Ready? Go...


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By John D
Oct 23, 2012

I usually rack all the gear on my harness and slings over my shoulder. It's definitely a matter of preference, but I like having the gear on my harness and I can carry a double rack without too much trouble, my friend with a silly harness that only has 3 gear loops on the other hand...

I use a gear sling on aid climbs, and if I'm going to be swinging leads and want to move fast (because it's faster to swap a sling than each individual piece) I like to climb in blocks though so I usually rack on my harness. It's easy to experiment with a piece of webbing as a gear sling, it's super cheap and will give you a good idea if you like climbing with a sling or not.


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By csproul
From Rancho Cordova, CA
Oct 24, 2012
Summit of Wolf's Head with Pingora in the background

Learn to climb with either.


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By Kyle Blase
From Salt Lake City, UT
Oct 24, 2012
hardcore unicycle!

just take one #6 cam and bump it as you go! problem solved


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By Brian
From North Kingstown, RI
Oct 24, 2012

If you hang your gear on your harness this will happen.

Why you don't hang gear on your harness
Why you don't hang gear on your harness


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By Michael C
From New Jersey
Oct 26, 2012
Base of Main Flow, The Narrows.

I use both.


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By Jake Jones
From The Eastern Flatlands
Oct 26, 2012
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.

csproul wrote:
Learn to climb with either.


Best response.


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By Nick Stayner
From The Magic City
Oct 26, 2012
Nick Stayner near the crux. Ryan Minton photo.

I really think we should add a "Guidline #2". It should say "Have you done a forum search to ensure the question you're going to ask hasn't already been asked a million times?"
Anyone agree?


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By ian watson
From Albuquerque, NM
Oct 26, 2012

Nick Stayner wrote:
I really think we should add a "Guidline #2". It should say "Have you done a forum search to ensure the question you're going to ask hasn't already been asked a million times?" Anyone agree?



I think if that was done this forum would go under over night. Almost everything has been discussed at one time or another. If everyone just came to this forum to do searches it would be called Wikipedia just my .02.


To the OP, when im not dizzy as hell and can climb I use both.


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By Thomas Beck
From Las Vegas, Nevada
Oct 26, 2012
beck on limestone

For us "older climbers" with bifocal glasses, racking on the harness helps with the depth perception. Racking on my shoulder throws off my looking down distance judgement.

Harness cinched tight above your belly button so you don't end up like the cartoon.

Free climbing on leads with multiples of gear, I'll add slings and draws on an over shoulder sling and rack gear on the harness. Chimneys, I am figuring which side will be in most of the time and rack on the shoulder or waist appropriately.

Big wall rack...that is a whole other story


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