Building a Rack
Learn how to place Passive Protection. Walk along the bottom of a crag and place a nut every two feet to get the hang of finding nut placements. Nut and Hex placements are an art form. Active Protection is generally much heavier and much more expensive than passive protection, plus passive protection can go in cracks that active protection can not.
Active Protection includes Cams, Big Bros
and Ball Nutz.
Passive Protection includes Stoppers, Hexes and Tricams.
If sport climbing is your thing and you're starting to get the hang of it, but you start to ask yourself if hopping from bolt to bolt is limiting you, the short answer is 'maybe.' You really need to consider what you want from climbing when you contemplate the investment of transferring from a 'sport climber' to a 'trad climber'.
There are a lot of good reasons to invest in a Trad Rack. I have found the main benefit of Trad is adding adventure to your climbing experience. Trad climbing is free of lines and rules. You can go any direction you want and make your own choices regarding protection. Trad climbing areas typically have much smaller crowds allowing you to obtain solitude rarely enjoyed at your local sport crag. This freedom allows you to pursue lines off the beaten path; when you see about 50 guys sharing 3 rows of bolts,
you can keep on walking, assured in the knowledge that you just need a good line and not a silver highway.
The major downside of trad climbing is that it is expensive. If you are trying to create a self-sustained trad rack you are looking at a bare minimum of 600 dollars. This compares to a 100 dollar sport rack. Trad climbing also tends to take more time. Organizing a rack prior to a climb, placing protection, building an anchor and reorganizing the rack for the next pitch all takes time. The gear affiliated with climbing is addictive for many and your climbing rack has a good chance of being your largest home insurance claim.
Passive vs Active
Learn how to place Passive Protection. Walk along the bottom of a crag and place a nut every two feet to get the hang of finding nut placements. Nut and Hex placements are an art form. Active Protection is generally much heavier and much more expensive than passive protection, plus passive protection can go into cracks that active protection can not.
If there was ever a standard for a starter rack (which will need to be expanded) here it is:
- 1 set of nuts - $90 (sizes 1-10 or so, no micro nuts)
- 6 cams
(.5, .75, 1, 2, 3 inch pieces and doubles on one piece depending on your area) - $300
- Nut Tool - $8
- 5 shoulder length slings
to make extendable runners
- 17 biners
- 10 D-shaped carabiners,
7 ovals $95
- 2 cordlettes - $20
- 4 locking biners
This totals to: $575
- The 10 D-shaped carabiners
are used to create five extendable runners
using two carabiners
each. Six oval carabiners
are for the cams.
One oval is for the nuts.
4 locking carabiners
- Two sets of two lockers for anchors. If you are only doing single pitch climbs this can be reduced to two lockers and you only need one cordlette.
Here are a few cheap and easy solutions to cut cost:
- Shoulder length slings can be tied yourself using 3/4 inch webbing (5ft each). This reduces the cost from $30 to $8. The disadvantage of tied slings versus sewn slings is they tend to get caught when you are attempting to extend the runner.
- Tie your own 20ft cordlettes using webbing instead of buying 'official cordlettes'.
- Cosmetic second carabiners (both locking and regular) are available to purchase at many locations for about 20% less. These are often called 'blems'. These carabiners are full strength.
- Carabiners (non-locking) can often be purchase cheaper by buying quickdraws (sets of 2 carabiners and a dog bone) and then dismantled.
- Locking carabiners come in all shapes and sizes. For purpose of creating bomb proof anchors you do not need expensive, large pear shaped carabiners. There are numerous small, D-shaped lockers on the market for about $8 a piece.
- Do not skip out on the Nut Tool. If the nut tool allows you to recover one stuck nut it has already paid off.
- Cosmetic Second cams and nuts are rarer than carabiners, but can be found.
- Internet purchases are tax free and most stores offer free shipping.