Good starter rack for rock climbing?

3:39 p.m. on August 22, 2002 (EDT)
(Guest)

Any thoughts as to what a good starter rack should contain? I am looking at some of the www.blackdome.com racks.

2:01 p.m. on August 23, 2002 (EDT)
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
2,445 reviewer rep
5,386 forum posts
starter rack

Johnny,

It would help if you let us know what your level of experience is. Neither of the Blackdome racks includes a harness, or shoes. The beginner rack has 12 carabiners, 2 of which are lockers, while the "crag" has 14 carabiners, none of which are lockers. Look over on Mountain Gear's website for a better selection of racks.

As several people suggested in response to your ropes question, get your shoes, harness, and possibly helmet (depending on the rock in your area) first. Climb with others for a year, using their racks and ropes. After a few climbs, you will have a good idea of what belay device/descender you want and a couple of carabiners to get (get gear piece or two at a time, not a whole rack). Talk to lots of folks during that year. Read here, mtncommunity.com, and other climbing forums. Take a course or two on rock from a top climbing school (several in New England, Colorado, California, PNW, well worth spending the bucks on travel if you are serious). Get a more or less regular set of partners. Follow them for a bunch of routes, then ask to lead something easy (swap leads, use their gear and ropes). After a year, you will be able to evaluate the package deals yourself.

Major thing - you can learn technique fast, either with buds or guides in a climbing school. But the most important thing to learn is judgment. You can only learn that with experience over time. Placing pro, knowing whether it is good, knowing when and where to place it, judging the safety of a route, knowing when to bail and when to push it - all that sort of stuff is only learned with experience. It also helps a lot to climb with some of the old geezers who have survived a lot.

Anyway, tell us your background. One of the other things about racks is that what you want in a rack depends on the area you are climbing. A pre-selected rack package is very unlikely to match the needs of your area. You learn what you need by experience.

6:09 p.m. on August 23, 2002 (EDT)
(Guest)

Well....

I have shoes, a harness, helmet, an atc and 2 locking biners and have been out top roping about half a dozen times. I am going to take a look at a local climbing wall this weekend. I am planning on taking a lead course this fall-just wanted to get an idea of what the must haves are in a rack so I know what to look for.

8:03 p.m. on August 23, 2002 (EDT)
(Guest)

Cams

Cams are the must haves. (also the most expensive and heaviest - notice that weight is a recurring theme in climbing and mountaineering)
A basic rack for use with a 60m rope these days seems to be a set of stoppers, and a double set of cams from the smallest up to 3". Harder routes might need more pro. I personally like to double up on the cams with Tri-Cams and Hexes. I like placing them, but most of my friends think they are too hard to place.

I think one of the best things you can do is read John Long's book "Climbing Anchors" which goes over pros and cons of gear placements, then go out and practice building anchors. Also read "Advanced Rock Climbing" by John Long and Craig Luebben. Then you'll have some background for taking that lead course, and hopefully the instructor won't have to waste his and everyone's time by spending the whole class just explaining how to build a basic anchor - something everyone in the class should remember from that basic anchors class. Good knowlege of anchors is a prerequisite to leading.

Good Luck!
-Steve


Quote:

I have shoes, a harness, helmet, an atc and 2 locking biners and have been out top roping about half a dozen times. I am going to take a look at a local climbing wall this weekend. I am planning on taking a lead course this fall-just wanted to get an idea of what the must haves are in a rack so I know what to look for.

1:47 p.m. on August 26, 2002 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
408 forum posts

Quote:

Any thoughts as to what a good starter rack should contain? I am looking at some of the www.blackdome.com racks.

Rack of stoppers, mid range set of cams (say, .5 to 3 camalot). Enough biners to rack the stoppers on two and one each for the cams. Half dozen shoulder length slings (one biner per), 10 quickdraws (biners each end). Couple of spare lockers. Web or cord-a-lette or two.

Then, fill in as you get some miles.

Brian in SLC

2:20 p.m. on August 26, 2002 (EDT)
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
2,445 reviewer rep
5,386 forum posts
Sounds like ...

Quote:

I have shoes, a harness, helmet, an atc and 2 locking biners and have been out top roping about half a dozen times. I am going to take a look at a local climbing wall this weekend. I am planning on taking a lead course this fall-just wanted to get an idea of what the must haves are in a rack so I know what to look for.

Sounds like to me you have all the "must haves" you need for the lead course. Find out what the guide service/climbing school you are taking the course from says they want you to have. They will provide a lot of the gear, with a lot more variety than you can afford on a first trip to the store. Ask lots of questions about the gear, keeping in mind that (1) your instructors will have their own preferences and (2) the area for instruction will have different placements than the areas you will climb in (every area is different, and every route is different).

I happen to prefer passive pro, with a variety from tiny to big (as in big tricams and Big Bros). Most duplication is in the mid-range - slightly smaller than half a little finger thickness to thumb width (smallest dimension, since the larger dimension provides some other sizes). I don't give size numbers, since every brand seems to use a different sizing system - worse for cams than passive pro. Some people are really adamant about a particular brand or style, but I have a variety at this point (even some old original machine nuts and Clogs picked up in Wales). They all work in some crack or other (even use knotted runners and threaded pebbles - natural pro is best if you can find it). Personally I would advise waiting on cams and other active devices until you learn to use passive pro well. The active devices fit such a wide variety of cracks and are so easy to stick in that I find people who learned on cams from the start get pretty lazy and sloppy on placing pro (not as bad as the sport climbers, who just clip existing bolts and go, often without checking how good the bolt is). Besides, active pro is very expensive.

Your best starter rack will be the one you devise yourself, based on a lot of observing of what is used in your area, talking to the good climbers in your area, and a lot of observing, listening, and asking at the lead course you say you will be taking. Tailor it to your area, then fill in when you go to other areas later.

5:20 p.m. on September 11, 2002 (EDT)
(Guest)

Kiddin'?

Try one of the billion+ starter rack questiona already posted on EVERY Web site!

Is everybody Web retarded? For crying out loud, this is ten-year-old technology; there's no longer any excuse for ignorance!

12:14 p.m. on September 12, 2002 (EDT)
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
2,445 reviewer rep
5,386 forum posts
Ummm, Mr. Duh ,,,

You apparently overlook a couple of simple facts. First is that the rock differs from one area to another, and the appropriate gear therefore differs. Or haven't you noticed the difference between sandstone and granite in terms of holding power for cams, or the difference between rock with lots of small cracks vs rock with only off-widths and larger? Here on the Left Coast, you would use a very different collection at, say, Pinnacles vs Yosemite vs JT. A second consideration is the nature of the area the beginning leader is going to spend most of his/her time at. If it is overly developed or has lots of natural pro, there may be little need for a wide selection of cams and chocks, where an area with lots of cracks (Gunks, for example) does call for a wide selection right off the bat.

"ten-year old technology"? duuuhhhh! Try more like 30-40 year old. Jardine developed cams in the early 70s (so 30 years for cams), and the Brits were manufacturing chocks by 1960 (machine nuts and pebbles jammed into the cracks before that). Most of us climbing in California had gone to chocks almost exclusively for non-aid by the mid to late 60s, and I think the same holds for most of the rest of the country as well (although when I was climbing in NE in the early 70s, not all that many people were using chocks at places like the Gunks, Whitehorse, and Cathedral).

Regardless, the point is pre-packaged "starter" kits rarely fit a particular area. You always end up with several pieces that don't get used until you go to a number of other areas. Hence the advice that many experienced climbers give to do a lot of observing while following. Yeah, some things are pretty universal - harness, shoes, carabiners, maybe even mid-size nuts and cams. But the "starter kits" usually include pieces at the large and small ends that don't get used until you go to other areas and have only one of each size, where a given area is likely to require several of a small size range for most of the climbs there. And they never have enough carabiners.

Besides, if someone is a beginner (or an old-timer), the unasked question is the one that can produce trouble. I spent last weekend with one of the famous gods of climbing (and author of several technique books), and he had lots of questions, even after about 55 years of climbing (he still does 10a like it was strolling down a trail). Yeah, the question is asked all the time. But the poster had to start somewhere.

6:34 p.m. on September 15, 2002 (EDT)
(Guest)

Use your head

"ten-year old technology"? duuuhhhh! Try more like 30-40 year old.

I'm talkin' about WEB technology and the ability to search and navigate.

Did you go to school?

4:26 p.m. on September 16, 2002 (EDT)
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
2,445 reviewer rep
5,386 forum posts
Try again, Mr. Duh

I thought you might be talking about searching and such. But you need to read a bit of history. Yes, I went to school, in fact one of the original development sites for the Net at the time it was being fully developed. In the mid-1960s. I was in grad school at the time, in the Astronomy Dept, while over in what would become the Computer Science Department (Electrical Engineering, at the time), a number of fellow grad slaves, er, graduate research assistants were working with such people as Cerf on developing the Net. I started using the Net on a regular basis at a time when there were only a few sites.

The first links among documents by something resembling a computer date to 1945, and the term "hypertext" was coined in 1965. Hypertext browsing, editing, emailing, and so on were in use on local networks (weren't called "LANs" yet) by the mid-60s. Along with many others, I was a user of the Net, including email, search engines, chat, and a lot of the other "10 year old" technology by the early 70s. I had used the Net a little by something like '66 or '67. No, I do not claim to have invented anything having to do with the Net. I was just a user, among many users. I might grant a little revision to "30-35 year old" rather than "30-40 year old" technology.

ENQUIRE was developed at CERN by 1980 by the same person who coined the term "World Wide Web" (originally the name for a GUI interface to the Net, coined in 1990, which is probably why you think the whole Internet magically appeared 10 years ago - and you probably believe a certain former Presidential candidate invented it, too).

I was rather late in developing a home page myself, in 1992. The delay wasn't because the technology wasn't there, but because, as a confirmed Luddite, I had no need for one. Historically the first web page was Nov. 1990 (original URL was http://nxoc01.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html, but it no longer exists).

But again, the ability to search and navigate has been around for more like 30 years than for 10 years. Yes, it is much easier now, what with GUIs and wysiwyg. And hooray for the folks at NCSA (lots of my astronomy colleagues) for developing MOSAIC, which evolved into NetScape.

Wait, no, I just realized what you were referring to! It was about 10 years ago when the flood of spam started. You were really talking about the ability to send millions of junk mail messages, weren't you?

5:04 p.m. on September 25, 2002 (EDT)
(Guest)

Damn Bill! Thanks. (n/t)

Quote:

I thought you might be talking about searching and such. But you need to read a bit of history. Yes, I went to school, in fact one of the original development sites for the Net at the time it was being fully developed. In the mid-1960s. I was in grad school at the time, in the Astronomy Dept, while over in what would become the Computer Science Department (Electrical Engineering, at the time), a number of fellow grad slaves, er, graduate research assistants were working with such people as Cerf on developing the Net. I started using the Net on a regular basis at a time when there were only a few sites.

The first links among documents by something resembling a computer date to 1945, and the term "hypertext" was coined in 1965. Hypertext browsing, editing, emailing, and so on were in use on local networks (weren't called "LANs" yet) by the mid-60s. Along with many others, I was a user of the Net, including email, search engines, chat, and a lot of the other "10 year old" technology by the early 70s. I had used the Net a little by something like '66 or '67. No, I do not claim to have invented anything having to do with the Net. I was just a user, among many users. I might grant a little revision to "30-35 year old" rather than "30-40 year old" technology.

ENQUIRE was developed at CERN by 1980 by the same person who coined the term "World Wide Web" (originally the name for a GUI interface to the Net, coined in 1990, which is probably why you think the whole Internet magically appeared 10 years ago - and you probably believe a certain former Presidential candidate invented it, too).

I was rather late in developing a home page myself, in 1992. The delay wasn't because the technology wasn't there, but because, as a confirmed Luddite, I had no need for one. Historically the first web page was Nov. 1990 (original URL was http://nxoc01.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html, but it no longer exists).

But again, the ability to search and navigate has been around for more like 30 years than for 10 years. Yes, it is much easier now, what with GUIs and wysiwyg. And hooray for the folks at NCSA (lots of my astronomy colleagues) for developing MOSAIC, which evolved into NetScape.

Wait, no, I just realized what you were referring to! It was about 10 years ago when the flood of spam started. You were really talking about the ability to send millions of junk mail messages, weren't you?

2:48 p.m. on October 9, 2002 (EDT)
(Guest)

That's great

I'm a software engineer so I knew much of the trivia myself at one time. Not important here; obviously talking about when the internet became popular with the masses. So, do you feel smart for wasting your time writing a 300-word essay in responce to a post on the internet? I wouldn't. By the way, you forgot the DARPANET stuff.

4:44 p.m. on October 11, 2002 (EDT)
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
2,445 reviewer rep
5,386 forum posts
You never give up, do you, Mr. Duh (and note to Dave)

Quote:

... By the way, you forgot the DARPANET stuff.

No, I didn't forget it. You just don't read with any level of understanding (or maybe you don't know who Cerf is and his history). Besides, if I had put "all the details" in there, it would have been a 300 page book, not a 300 word, less than 3 or 4 minutes to write comment.

The waste of time is obviously thinking you could or would learn anything and would stop wasting bandwidth and other people's time. Do you feel smart, displaying your lack of consideration for others?

Note to Dave - I suggest canning Duh's posts and my and others' responses to him. Save some bandwidth and disk space. I won't mind at all.

8:41 a.m. on October 12, 2002 (EDT)
(Guest)

Yea, but...

...it did get people posting again.

If I'm so worthless, why do you keep responding?

11:00 p.m. on November 30, 2003 (EST)
(Guest)

Quote:

Any thoughts as to what a good starter rack should contain? I am looking at some of the www.blackdome.com racks.

My first question? What is your budget?

Email me and I will give you a good run down based on the amount you can spend.

First you will need a rope
NEXT:
(4) 24" runners
(2) 48" runners
20 -30 feet of 1" tubular webbing
10 free carabiners
2-4 locking carabiners
set of stoppers
nut tool
7-10 quickdraws
(6+) larger size pro (cams are nice but are expensive and heavy)(Hex's, Tri-Cams are lighter and cost less)
You will become a better leader if you start out doing simulated leads (top rope with slack and place pro as you go and drag and clip another rope (partners)) then have your partner clean and critique. if you have to think abuot what size and type placement verses just plugging in cams you will be more comfortable on the sharp end and learn to eyebal placements and better evaluate anchors. When you can get cams you will appreciate them more and they are quite nice to have especially when you are really pumped.

Jim Cormier
Cormier Mountaineering

December 17, 2014
Quick Reply

Please sign in to reply

 
More Topics
This forum: Older: trango alpine equalizer Newer: Salomon Super Mountain "Snow and Ice"
All forums: Older: non-stink clothes? Newer: BD Black Prophet Carbon Pair for $300