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#51130 - 03/31/10 02:42 PM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: Aya]
cracklicker Offline
stranger

Registered: 03/23/10
Posts: 8
I think it's a mistake to climb at the Gunks without more cams. Stoppers are useless in all those horizontal placements; unless you intend to place them in opposition...Tri cams are good, but you need the right spot to put them; which does not always present. You might consider climbing at Connecticut's Pinnacle Rock and Ragged Mountain. Both locations are vertical crack focused as opposed to the Gunks which is horizontal crack. That way you have more options of what to climb and can hopefully do it more safely...Imagine climbing appoplexy with only nuts...or Gerdie Block

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#51131 - 03/31/10 03:50 PM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: cracklicker]
RangerRob Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/06/00
Posts: 3763
Loc: Ulster County, NY
Crack, lots of climbs were climbed with just nuts and hexes. They are far from useless. How do you think people back in the day learned? While the improvement curve would be slower than if you had a bunch of cams to throw in the crack, the experience that would teach him would be invaluable.

I frequently take all the cams off my rack when I do routes that I have done before, and you know what...you realize that they are not absolutely necessary. You can climb without them. Think about Stannard hanging under that mostrous roof named after him, fiddling in a hex. He did it, and so can we.

That being said when I am onsighting something hard of course I give myself every advantage I can. But to say you can't learn how to climb without cams and that stoppers are useless in horizontals is just not true.

RR

You just gave me my next camless challenge for the season. I lead Apoplexy every year, multiple times. There is no reason why you couldn't use all passive gear for that. I'll let you know how it goes


Edited by RangerRob (03/31/10 03:53 PM)

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#51132 - 03/31/10 03:56 PM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: cracklicker]
tradjunkie Online   content
enthusiast

Registered: 04/19/04
Posts: 359
Cracklicker,
The OP is talking about leading up to 5.7. Cams didn't even exist until ~30 years ago, by which point most of the routes the OP will be looking to climb had been climbed safely for decades. Most of those routes followed natural lines of weakness that protect well without cams. Plus I imagine the toproping possibilities will keep him busy for a while. Apoplexy and Gerdie are not only more difficult than 5.7, they were both climbed some 15+ years before cams. In fact, both were climbed years before nuts either. Imagine McCarthy climbing Apoplexy in 1960, stopping to hammer in pitons along the way.
And, many horizontals take nuts, you just have to learn how to place them. Admittedly, you can't place a nut just anywhere in a horizontal, but they often will take a nut.

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#51140 - 03/31/10 10:48 PM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: tradjunkie]
rg@ofmc Online   content
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2454
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
A very large proportion of the current Gunks routes up to 5.12 were climbed without any cams at all. In addition to opposed stoppers, which were an everyday type of placement, there were and still are many keyhole stopper placements in horizontal cracks. So in this sense Cracklicker is completely wrong.

But in another sense, maybe not. Many climbs at all grade levels were more run-out with only passive pro; this was an accepted risk of climbing, but one which is far harder to accept now, given that active protection now eliminates a large number of the gaps. Climbing now, with a rack of cams as well as stoppers, is in general less risky than it used to be. If one wants to go back to those stopper-and-hex days, it is certainly possible, and indeed there are a bunch of routes where there isn't much difference, but a lot of other routes are going to demand more of the leader if no active pro is available.

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#51142 - 04/01/10 02:12 AM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: rg@ofmc]
Frank Florence Online   content
addict

Registered: 01/05/00
Posts: 528
Loc: moved to Bend
My early climbs at the Gunks were far more moderate than the level of climbing you were tackling back then, RG, but they were all led on hexes and stoppers, too.

Your second paragraph makes a good point about the necky character of the leading involved with passive protection. I'll suggest that the potential for longer run-outs is even more prevalent today than it was years ago. BITD, there were considerable more fixed pitons on routes, or more precisely, more fixed pitons that I was willing to trust. So while the pro I placed was clean, I took advantage of a lot of "permanent" gear that's no longer there or no longer trustworthy.

If anyone cares to add the challenge of limiting their rack to hexes, tri-cams, and stoppers, they'll find the gear closely matches what was commonly used thirty to forty years ago. But the replication isn't exact; time has changed what you might want for protection, too.

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#51143 - 04/01/10 03:56 AM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: Frank Florence]
MarcC Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
Originally Posted By: Frank Florence
Your second paragraph makes a good point about the necky character of the leading involved with passive protection. I'll suggest that the potential for longer run-outs is even more prevalent today than it was years ago. BITD, there were considerable more fixed pitons on routes, or more precisely, more fixed pitons that I was willing to trust. So while the pro I placed was clean, I took advantage of a lot of "permanent" gear that's no longer there or no longer trustworthy.

Exactly. Someone mentioned the Dirty Gerdie boulder. I remember leading DG in the late 70's. My rack was 3 pairs of biners, 3 what we now call quick draws, and two stoppers. The 3 pairs of biners went on the 3 reliable fixed pins.
_________________________
- Marc

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#51151 - 04/01/10 06:20 PM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: MarcC]
Julie Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/16/00
Posts: 2082
Loc: SoCal
Manny, there's one piece of advice I always dole out that is always ignored (and always agreed-with later) for starry-eyed newer climbers who are in a rush to acquire shiny things. For most people, learning to lead means being mentored in some way, climbing with more experienced partners. In your early days, you should seek out such folks and cherry-pick from their bags of tricks.

Most of those people will have their own racks, and you'll get the chance to try out all kinds of gear before you really need to throw down for your own set. That's a huge opportunity, and can prevent you from rushing to waste $$ on cheap cams that you end up hating later. So - wait while you can, there is value in doing so.

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#51152 - 04/01/10 06:41 PM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: Julie]
oenophore Online   confused
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/24/01
Posts: 5935
Loc: 212 land
Very sound advice here.
_________________________

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#51153 - 04/01/10 07:06 PM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: oenophore]
chip Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2674
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
when did Julie become such a sage? Can't agree more with what she said.

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#51154 - 04/01/10 09:12 PM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: rg@ofmc]
GOclimb Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/26/01
Posts: 2354
Loc: Boston
Originally Posted By: rg@ofmc
A very large proportion of the current Gunks routes up to 5.12 were climbed without any cams at all. In addition to opposed stoppers, which were an everyday type of placement, there were and still are many keyhole stopper placements in horizontal cracks. So in this sense Cracklicker is completely wrong.

But in another sense, maybe not. Many climbs at all grade levels were more run-out with only passive pro; this was an accepted risk of climbing, but one which is far harder to accept now, given that active protection now eliminates a large number of the gaps. Climbing now, with a rack of cams as well as stoppers, is in general less risky than it used to be. If one wants to go back to those stopper-and-hex days, it is certainly possible, and indeed there are a bunch of routes where there isn't much difference, but a lot of other routes are going to demand more of the leader if no active pro is available.


Thought provoking post. I started leading at the Gunks in the early '00s. I worked my way through the grades with all the safety a modern rack provides. By the time I left and moved out west, I was a pretty solid all-around 5.10- climber, who could do a good deal better on things I excelled at (like continuous cracks or certain sport routes).

Where I found I really *didn't* excel was at poorly protected insecure climbing. Put me on a 25 foot section of runout, thin, balancy 5.8 face, and I'm quaking in my boots. I'm now, after having climbed for 11+ years, realizing that I need to go back to basics and work up through the grades, to get my head to deal with the notion of mandatory long bits of climbing with no gear.

So, in some ways, I'm jealous of the "predicament" the OP finds himself in. When you get to where I am today, you'll have a much better head than I.

But I'll get there, too.

Cheers,

GO

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