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By Brett Jarrett
From Milton, WV
Feb 15, 2011
Four Sheets
So I've been lurking MP for a while now and finally signed up because I wanted to post up for some advice. I'm trying to get into trad climbing so I have invested in my first rack over the last couple weeks and really I just want to know if I've covered everything. I climb pretty much exclusively in the New River Gorge area, so I'm trying mostly to gear up for single pitch stuff, but may look into a trip to Seneca sometime this year.

Anyway, here's what I have so far: BD C4's .5-4, with doubles in .75-2; TCU's 0-3; and one set of Abc nuts. My question is: are there any gaps I should be aware of in my gear? Anything else that is a must-have? Any more doubles that are essential? I've been climbing for several years but mostly top-rope and some sport and I really want to start leading trad, sticking to routes that are well below my grade. Thanks for any insight!

Edit to add: My main concern... is this enough for most routes that requires a "standard rack?"

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By mongoose
Feb 15, 2011
looks like a pretty standard rack and should suffice for now. make sure you have enough slings to extend your placements.

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By T.L. Kushner
Feb 15, 2011
it looks like you're set for protection but you might want to update some of your draws. if you've been primarily climbing sport you probably have lots of draws with a stiff dogbone. switch 3-6 of them over on to long flexible 24" runners that have been trippled into "trad draws." that way you have flexible runners for placements on wandering routes as well as them being extendable.

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By Brett Jarrett
From Milton, WV
Feb 15, 2011
Four Sheets
Yeah I found a deal on omega's trad draws so I picked up 6 of those, also picked up a cordelette and some extra lockers. I guess I would just hate to spend all this money (over $1000 in the last 2 weeks lol) and realize there was something I missed or was short on. That would be a bummer.

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By NickinCO
From colorado
Feb 15, 2011
after the hard stuff, into cruiser hands.
second on the trad draws especially depending on where you climb. Around here a lot of the easier climbs pro is pretty wandering. I usually have 6-10 60cm trad draws on every climb and usually 1-2 120cm.

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By smithygreg
From Portland,OR
Feb 15, 2011
Backstreet Boys climbing club
spadout.com has this cool tool where you enter in all the gear you own and it will show you a graph of where you have a lot of coverage and where you don't have much. As a bit of a gear junkie, I think it's a lot of fun..
I believe you need to create an account to access it.

spadout.com/racksim.php?rcsim_...

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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Feb 15, 2011
If you're not short on cash,

Add a 00 TCU or equivalent, double up the .5, #3, and double up your TCUs. The orange tcu and .5 camalot have a lot of overlap, but the orange will get slightly smaller and not quite as big (and yes, I have had that make a difference in getting a placement and not). I'd also add a set of tiny nuts: brass and/or DMM peanuts. Would probably also add a pink and red tricam if I were climbing on southern sandstone often.

My idea of a std rack is basically doubles from tips to fist, a single 4" piece, set of nuts from tiny to 1", and 8-12 slings or draws (usually a mix of the two). It varies subtly with type of rock and area. Adjust as necessary at the base (the 4" piece typically stays on the ground).

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By Derek W
Feb 15, 2011
First summit of First Flatiron
I've been climbing for a few years on a similar rack. The only thing I'd add, like Will S said, is a few tricams. Pink is most useful, but I like black through red at least and maybe a 1.5 and 2 if you find you like them. I use mine on pretty much every climb!

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By Timothy Mark
Feb 15, 2011
I'd like to ask a slightly different question: what's a minimalist "standard rack" for someone short on cash?

I'm in pretty much the same position as Brett (climbing at Seneca more than NRG), but I haven't bought all the gear yet. I've got a set of nuts, a set of tricams (0.5-2), and C4s #1 and #2. My plan is to climb more with what I've got, probably taking a class or two from a guide, before buying more gear. From following other people, I think I can get up a few easy routes with my current gear, and a few more C4s will make it a reasonable rack for the ~5.7 range.

Thoughts?

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By Wannabe
Feb 15, 2011
The only gap I saw was that you said you bought "a cordalette." Will your second be bringing their own? If they don't then you're gonna need another. Hard to use your only cordalette when its down below with your belayer. Not the end of the world. I've forgotten to pass it off at the belay and my leader had to build an anchor using slings. That works too. As somebody trying to piece together a rack as well you sound loaded for bear man. Wish I was in your position.

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By mongoose
Feb 15, 2011
Wehling wrote:
I've been climbing for a few years on a similar rack. The only thing I'd add, like Will S said, is a few tricams. Pink is most useful, but I like black through red at least and maybe a 1.5 and 2 if you find you like them. I use mine on pretty much every climb!


not a bad idea but i would make sure you climb with someone else to has tricams first before you buy some. its kinda hit or miss. some people swear by them and others never touch em.

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By Derek W
Feb 15, 2011
First summit of First Flatiron
Wannabe wrote:
The only gap I saw was that you said you bought "a cordalette." Will your second be bringing their own? If they don't then you're gonna need another. Hard to use your only cordalette when its down below with your belayer. Not the end of the world. I've forgotten to pass it off at the belay and my leader had to build an anchor using slings. That works too. As somebody trying to piece together a rack as well you sound loaded for bear man. Wish I was in your position.

+1

On that note, 2 nut tools. One for you on lead and a spare in case your partner forgets theirs. I hate leading without one.

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By Larry S
Feb 15, 2011
The wife and I road-trippin on the Connie.
You've got more than i started out with, and plenty to start getting some routes in. You'll figure out what you'd like to add or lose pretty quickly. Personally I wouldn't take the #4 or the second #2 unless i knew i'd need them, in my experience, standard stops around a #3.(i'd sub in a few other items, see below), but if you've got them on you, you're likely to find somewhere to put them. I also like having the .4 C4. Same size as the 2tcu, i seem to place both of them almost every route. I'm also one of those guys who swears by tricams, pink(.5) and red(1.0) first, and then if you decide you like them, get up to the 1.5 and maybe the 2.0. And as someone already said, if you're starting multipitch, a cordolete for your second to carry would be handy.

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By Unboundquark
Feb 15, 2011
Halfway up Devil's Tower.
I would add on an ATC Guide or a Reverso to bring up your second.

-Glenn

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By Brett Jarrett
From Milton, WV
Feb 17, 2011
Four Sheets
Thanks for the replies everyone. Sounds to me like I've got a pretty good start gear-wise so I'll just take it from here and see if I find myself wishing I had any other pieces or doubles.

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By Unboundquark
Feb 18, 2011
Halfway up Devil's Tower.
One more thought, before doubling up on nut, you might want to supplement your existing set with a set of offsets.

spadout.com/p/dmm-offset-nuts/

-Glenn

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By PTR
From GA
Feb 18, 2011
Offsets are particularly good idea for Seneca. In fact, the Gendarme has (or used to have as of summer 2010) a loaner set so you could try before you buy.

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By Brett Jarrett
From Milton, WV
Feb 18, 2011
Four Sheets
PTR wrote:
Offsets are particularly good idea for Seneca. In fact, the Gendarme has (or used to have as of summer 2010) a loaner set so you could try before you buy.


Sweet! I'll have to check that out if I make it down to Seneca, thanks for the info!

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By daniel c
From San Francisco, CA
Feb 18, 2011
Here's a photo of the rack we used to climb the Regular Route on Half Dome. Pretty standard stuff (less the aid specific gear of course).

Maybe double-up some of the smaller cams like the #0.5 (purple) and #0.4 C4 (grey) but other than that, I think you're good to go.

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By Sam Stephens
Feb 18, 2011
Top half of Melifluous
Being a NRG junkie I'd like to throw in my two cent.

Grab a set of DMM alloy offsets when you have the chance, it's absolutely amazing how many places I toss one that I wouldn't put a regular nut.

Don't sweat doubling up the tips sizes unless you're specifically out after finger cracks. Most of the skinny cracks and corners at the new can be protected with a good assortment of small gear as well as small to medium nuts.

You picked a good size to double up on, I use a lot of 1s and 2s when I'm there it seems like and I can usually get by without having doubles of fingers or fists without sacrificing any safety.

Do get a set of tricams, (pink, red, brown and blue). I don't leave the ground without them and they are definitely necessary to plenty of routes at the New.

You might consider grabbing one or two double length (48") runners. They can be nice when routes traverse out under or around roofs (4 Sheets to the Wind and Rapscallion Blues cross my mind).

Other than the tricams your "standard rack" will get you up 85% of all of the trad roues at the New.

The cordalette isn't really that necessary at the New, and there are only a handful of routes that are broken into two pitches. I've used cord for building anchors less than a dozen times in several years and never need my second to have one, at least not there.

What grade are you looking to climb on gear? Maybe I can make some suggestions for you?

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By Brett Jarrett
From Milton, WV
Feb 19, 2011
Four Sheets
Since I'm just starting out, I'm looking to stick in the 5.7-9 range, and at least for a while, sticking to routes that I have lapped many times over the years. Four Sheets will be on my list for sure, once I raise my comfort level a little bit, but that is one of my favorite routes in the New. Do you have any specific areas or routes you would recommend for a new leader?

Oh and about the cordelette... I found it on sale while placing a big order online so I thought, what the hell? Figured it might be a handy thing to have stuffed away in a corner of my pack, and definitely would get used if I climb at Seneca.

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By camhead
From Vandalia, Appalachia
Feb 19, 2011
You stay away from mah pig!
For the NRG, I would double up in small sizes. In particular, having BOTH a .3 camalot and a blue metolius, and a .4 camalot and a yellow metolius is pretty nice, especially after you tick off all the New's classic cracks and start venturing out onto traditional face climbs.

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By Sam Stephens
Feb 19, 2011
Top half of Melifluous
The cord and some webbing will be useful at places like Bridge where the FAs never placed permanent anchors and no one has since. Just make sure you check the guide book before hoping on some of the more obscure easy routes...

Here's my list. If I think of more I'll post them up. Unless noted most of these will go fine with what you have listed as your rack


At Fern Buttress:

Ritz Cracker (5.9) **** The second pitch is the "hard" part but it's short and quick with some slick feet. It's a great splitter to a ledge then you traverse right to a short orange corner. I almost always do this when I'm in the area. I love the climbing and love the view from the top.

Star Trek Wall*** (5.4-5.8) I didn't enjoy it but there are plenty of short easy routes to run up that get good ratings. You have to climb a quick route to a ledge to access the others but there's a good range of decent climbs there to get experience.

Springboard**** (5.10a) The crux is right off the ground. The top is sustained. This is an area classic and a solid 5.10 for when you get psyched.

Hysteria** (5.8) Haven't done it but heard good things

S&M** (5.9) I thought this was a good route. Solid for the grade. If you sew it up you'll find yourself without hand holds. It's a good lesson in placing adequate but not too much gear. Fun corner.

At Endless Wall:

What a Jam** (5.9) I thought this route was an exceptional hidden gem. Good jams in a flake corner. Might want to take a piece of webbing. Easy for the grade.

Grafenburg Crack** and Dr Ruths Variation** (5.9 and 5.8) Good climbing, maybe a bit heady for the new leader though.

Doce Doe*** (5.6) Do the first pitch of this route and it's 5.6. Really good first lead because it's easy and it'll let you play with the gear to get it right. It takes tons of gear but lots of it can be subpar if not placed correctly. Highly recommended.

Fantasy Crack**** (5.8) Ok this is the area classic. If you can get out from under the roof you'll be good to the anchors. Place a number four under the roof for getting off the ground. Wiggling out from under the roof is the crux so don't get discouraged by it.

Voyeur Variation**** (5.10a) Don't dismiss this one because it's 5.10. The 5.10 part is protected by bolts and an excellent piece of gear over your head. Goes up two bolts then pulls out from under a roof with good gear into a beautiful layback/stemming dihedral that eats gear. This is an all time favorite of mine and I love doing it for a warm up. Right next to Glass Onion. Highly recommended.

Biohazard**.5 (5.8+) If you climb to the first anchors this goes at 5.8+ Good route for what it is. Do it if you're in the area of Exoduster.

Pre-marital Bliss**** & Autumn Fire*** (5.10a&b) The only reason I included these two are because they are historically graded 5.9. Premarital bliss is a serious lead with potential consequences. I've cleaned peoples bail set ups on more than on occasion. Autumn fire is good, solid for the grade.

Beauty Mountain:

Brain Wave** and Journey to the Center of the Brain** (5.7) I didn't like these routes but they're a good lesson on weird placements I thought. Do them if you're bored?

Happy Hands**** (5.9) I thought this was easy for the grade. Lots of big jugs, good gear, and minimal jamming required if I remember correctly. Good route, soft for the grade.

Do Burning Calves*** if you're feeling solid on gear and Wham Bam Thanks for the Jam****/Spider Wand**** if you like awkward ridiculous corners and being scrunched.

Super Crack**** (5.9) Stellar route, the crux is at the top. Getting through the first 15 feet can be awkward, then it's cruising, then the top starts to steepen up a bit. Do this after you get your head straight for a good lead at the grade. Oh, save a #1 for the top, seriously.

Bridge:

I don't climb too many moderates here but there are tons of classics and what seem like good easy routes

Midnight Moonlight** (5.7)
Quantum meruit** (5.4)

Dairy Area* (5.4) I think my buddy took me out to do this one for a first trad lead. I hated it, thought it was awkward, and scary. Hopfenperle Special was way better and way more relaxed

Hopfenperle Special** (5.7) Fun and laid back for the grade I thought

Beginners Only*** (5.7) Good route to start on, I still enjoy putting this up for beginners

Where Real Men Dare** (5.8) This one will make you question why you're climbing it. If you feel super solid go for it, otherwise don't. The upper crux can be exciting, especially for 5.8.

Easily Flakey*** (5.7) Get some "runout" experience and learn how to manage your rope drag on this classic. Hit it during a weekday.

Zag**** (5.8) This is a great route and you'll probably make it harder than it is unless your crack climbing skills are honed. Good gear though.

Junkyard:

Ann's Revenge* (5.8) Not a bad lead at all, a little ledgy and dirty though

Four Sheets to the Wind**** (5.9) The most classic 5.9 ever. Place good gear and be careful to sling everything accordingly. This thing is notorious for having fixed gear because something walked or someone way overcammed a piece. Make smart moves through the roofs, place pro from good stances and you'll be fine. Also, take a few double length runners.

New Yosemite**** (5.9) The crux is the bulge, two each of 1s and 2s will be fine and a few smaller pieces after the ledge for the top. Learn to jam and use your feet correctly in cracks here.

Jumping Jack Flash* (5.7) Awkward and fun. Protects well but can be dirty because it's in the low corner where all the rain water washes down.

New River Gunks** (5.7) Over-rated in my opinion but do it if you can get on it.

Bubba City:

Normally most people think of this place as sport only, but there are some good moderate trad leads here too that I highly recommend.

Prickly Bubba* (5.6) Ok this one I don't highly recommend but it was worth doing while I was there and bored. The top was kind of run out for the grade.

Smoking Crack** (5.8) This is actually bolted, but easily done as a mixed route. I clipped the last bolt so I wouldn't have heinous rope drag. Do it on gear seriously.

Tasty Flake*** (5.8) Really enjoy this climb. Good lesson on stemming and finger lock flakes. Scooting your ass onto the top to the anchors may make you squeal. Good for sure though.

Bedtime for Bubba*** (5.9) Easy for the grade in my opinion. Very fun and relaxed as long as you keep moving your feet.

Basic Bubba Crack** (5.9) If you're psyched on learning offwidth go for it. This one has made plenty of people scream. Take two 4's and a 5 at the very least.

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By Brett Jarrett
From Milton, WV
Feb 19, 2011
Four Sheets
Sam that was an excellent post, you have no idea how much I appreciate all that info! If you were near by I would definitely buy you a beer for that one lol. Its funny that you mentioned New Yosemite and the doubles it requires because thats the exact route I had in mind when deciding what sizes to double up on first.

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By Sam Stephens
Feb 19, 2011
Top half of Melifluous
Sure thing. If you don't already have it pick up the new NRG guidebook by Mike Williams. It is absolutely indispensable and way better than Caters book.

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By Brett Jarrett
From Milton, WV
Feb 19, 2011
Four Sheets
Sam Stephens wrote:
Sure thing. If you don't already have it pick up the new NRG guidebook by Mike Williams. It is absolutely indispensable and way better than Caters book.


Totally agree, I picked up a copy at Waterstone last season... hated paying full price for it, but I like to support that shop, especially since Kenny Parker had so much to do with that book!

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