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#16944 - 10/28/05 09:08 PM Just the Basics
Occulo Alma Offline

Registered: 10/21/05
Posts: 5
Thinking about investing the time & $$$ to learn to lead.
What would be a basic rack for leading 5.0 - 5.6 at the Trapps?
(i.e. what stoppers / cams etc. and what might be the price range for such a rack?)

#16945 - 10/29/05 01:00 AM Re: Just the Basics [Re: Occulo Alma]
Julie Offline

Registered: 01/16/00
Posts: 2090
Loc: SoCal
The best, basic rack for learning to lead is the rack owned by the much-more-experienced parter or mentor you'll be climbing with.

Yes, you can go out and shell out any amount of $$$$$ for a rack. Maybe you'll be lucky the first time, and end up liking what you own. More likely, you'll buy some stuff that's cheap, or sounds good on paper, then after climbing for a while, learn that you hate it, and it was wasted money. The trick is, you learn you hate it by ... climbing with other people's gear, and liking that gear better.

To avoid that, what I ALWAYS recommend is that people sample their partner's gear as they learn to lead (because, as you learn, you tend to climb with the people you learn from), then you can make a *much* more informed opinion in a year or so.

/soapbox, let the gear-baiting commence.

#16946 - 10/29/05 04:01 AM Re: Just the Basics [Re: Julie]
cranken Offline

Registered: 10/27/01
Posts: 122
Loc: the south, the north, the east...
ditto julie's remarks.
TRY gear. Other people's gear. Lose gear, other people's gear. You'll get a feel after a while.
Remember a rack is built not bought.

(I know this sounds enigmatic. When I started building my rack, I got the same answers. Now after leading for a while, this is not fascile question)

The most most excellent thing about the Gunks is though, you DON'T need to buy cams right away, especially in the grades you've mentioned. Learn to place stoppers and tri-cams even if it is strenuous (make you strong, like bull)

I think a big thing is learning to sling pieces correctly so buy plenty of medium and long runners.

Edited by cranken (10/29/05 04:02 AM)
"hrumph... I've got rocks at home to clean." - Marge Simpson

#16947 - 10/29/05 11:33 AM Re: Just the Basics [Re: cranken]
D75 Offline

Registered: 03/18/05
Posts: 293
Loc: Holiday Inn Express
Cost will eventually be around $1k by the time you have bought rope and your full rack. Having it and knowing how to use it are not the same thing. Find an experienced, patient partner to teach you the game. You need someone to climb with anyway, and it should be someone who can keep you out of trouble. Use his/her rack. You will probably climb on other racks as well. His/her current partner's etc. Keep track of what you like and dislike. Buy a cordelette and a four foot runner. Lead 20-30 pitches before buying protection. Then have fun.

#16948 - 10/29/05 04:16 PM Re: Just the Basics [Re: D75]
RangerRob Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/06/00
Posts: 3765
Loc: Ulster County, NY
Nonsense! go out and buy whatever is cheapest and most readuly accessible. Afterall, you "probably" won't be falling on the stuff anyway, so the chances of actually getting hurt or killed are small. Definitely get out there as soon as possible and just figure it out as you go. I would buy a complete set of Camalots and Aliens. Forget the stoppers, you have to hang out too long to place them. With cams you can just pulg em in blindly over your head and keep going. They're "probably" gonna hold. So why worry about it. Learning from someone experienced is soo 1990's. Come on...when you're writing your best seller autobiography and your describing how your famous and illustrious climbing career started...what's gonna sound more romantic? Option 1: I just went out and climbed. I almost died 17 times, but I just learned to deal with the pain and fear and channel it into explosive movement. Or Option 2: I was really nervous about hurting myself, so I found an old fart who took me up every 5.3 he could find and slowly and methodically taught me how to place gear so that I wouldn't harm myself. Hmm..I know which one I wanna read. be that wildcat!!!


P.S. In case you don't have an understanding of sarcasm...that was just a prime example.

#16949 - 10/29/05 11:12 PM Re: Just the Basics [Re: Occulo Alma]
quanto_the_mad Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/14/02
Posts: 2628
Loc: brooklyn
There used to be an article about a starter rack but I can't find it now.
Yes, as everyone says, go with a competent leader and be a second and learn and stuff.

But maybe you're just pricing out the gear because it's fun to play with the shiny stuff in the store, or getting a wish list for xmas.

A few threads down you'll see a discussion "Cam Suggestions", there's some discussion there about starter racks. If you just gotta go out and buy gear, then that threads (and others like it here and on other climbing websites) will give you an idea of what kind of gear people carry. But as others have said, go out with a leader, try leading with their gear to see what you like.

#16950 - 10/30/05 02:03 AM Re: Just the Basics [Re: Occulo Alma]
dalguard Offline

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1515
Loc: CT
I think you should learn trad before you buy a thing. Well, buy a nut tool and a cordelette with locking biner, but the rest of it will wait a year. In the meantime, spend your money on beers for your mentor and whatever he/she would consider a nice rope.

#16951 - 10/31/05 09:31 PM Re: Just the Basics [Re: dalguard]
cranken Offline

Registered: 10/27/01
Posts: 122
Loc: the south, the north, the east...
Don't forget ground school. I fiddled for a solid month practicing gear placements with my feet on the dirt (actually ended up scrambling around some pretty high stuff). Good inclemenant weather stuff or while waiting for TR rides/belays.

I remember finding a set of smiley's on sale once. I seem to remember buying a set of trango Nutz as my very first gear. Somewhere around $40 for a full set. Still use them. (in those sizes I haven't lost or had other people lose for me.)

ps if you borrow a rack be fully prepared to replace things you get stuck. In the first month I swear I had molecularly fused a tricam only to have some unnamed pirate claim it as booty. Rob is probably right about buying a cheap set early in the learning curve to avoid this embaressment.
"hrumph... I've got rocks at home to clean." - Marge Simpson

#16952 - 11/01/05 03:14 AM Re: Just the Basics [Re: Occulo Alma]
Jannette Offline


Registered: 10/03/00
Posts: 2226
Loc: Gardiner, NY
Another reason to borrow a mentor's rack as you learn to lead - you might find out you don't like it. I've seen people who lead hard sport routes in the gym get outside and try to lead trad and decide it scares the crap out of them and they prefer to only lead sport climbs at other crags. Save youself the huge start-up cost and first make sure you really like to lead trad before you buy your own gear. Of course, you may have already tried this, but just wanted to point out that one shouldn't underestimate how intimidating trad leading can be (or how expensive a trad rack can be!).



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