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#51063 - 03/27/10 12:53 AM New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please
manny Offline
stranger

Registered: 03/27/10
Posts: 15
Loc: NYC
Hey everyone, so here's the deal: I just recently learned to lead and am looking to head out to the Gunks in the next few months (pretty thrilled about it I have to say). I've done some research and have finished my first try at compiling a rack and I wanted to see what people thought of it. I realize it's absurdly light on cams, but my wallet is already very light and I'd really like to work on trusting my passive pro (though I welcome all criticism). I plan on leading no harder than 5.7 for the time being. Here's the stuff:

Tricams: black to blue (.25 - 2.5) doubling up on pink and red
BD stoppers: 1-13
BD Camalot C4 #1 red
DMM Torque Nut #4
Yates screamer
mostly 24" dyneema slings
BD Quicksilver non-lockers
2 20ft 7mm nylon cordeletts

oh, and I'm using Mammut Galaxy 10.0mm 70m.

Thanks for reading and please let me know what I can do to improve this!

Regards
-Manny

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#51065 - 03/27/10 03:14 AM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: manny]
GOclimb Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/26/01
Posts: 2362
Loc: Boston
Am I reading it right that you have one cam?

If so, you can at least buy the five larger sizes of hexes - they will provide you with a *lot* of protection options for short money. At 5.7 and under, you'll find yourself in a lot of broken corners at the Gunks, and you'll really want some larger gear. If cams aren't doable right now, hexes will do just about as well.

Also, you said bd stoppers 1-13. Unless you meant to type 4-13, you've got some stoppers in there that are barely good for bodyweight. I'd leave everything under #4 at home unless you want to get into nesting gear.

GO

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#51067 - 03/27/10 06:28 AM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: GOclimb]
manny Offline
stranger

Registered: 03/27/10
Posts: 15
Loc: NYC
GOclimb, thanks for the reply. Yes, one cam is right, it's all I have for the moment. I'm going to look into those hexes. I'll see if I can pick up a few from the 1" to 3" range then. (would I need even bigger?)

As for the stoppers, yes I had thought about nesting them, but I guess that would be overkill if there's better protection to be had nearby.

What would you recommend for the next size cam purchase? I got the feeling from reading posts that the smaller cams are going to be a little bit more worthwhile so I was thinking about a C4 .3

Thanks again

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#51069 - 03/27/10 12:16 PM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: manny]
Mike Rawdon Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/29/99
Posts: 4276
Loc: Poughkeepsie
The largest Tricam you have should cover cracks somewhat larger than the #1 Camalot. Maybe hexes or another Tricam if you don't want to pick up a #2 Camalot. Larger cams? Not as critical IMO. You certainly don't need a 4.

In general, I would focus your cam dollars on smaller sizes. Or double up on the smallest Tricams (below pink).

With your rack, you WILL be getting an education in passive gear. And that's good!

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#51070 - 03/27/10 01:35 PM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: Mike Rawdon]
SethG Online   content
old hand

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 714
Loc: NYC
I'm not sure what Mike means by "smaller sizes," but if he just means smaller than the #4 I'd agree. I'd focus on what I consider the medium Camelot sizes-- I would get .5, .75 and #2 Camelots as my next priority, especially when you're climbing 5.7 and under. I place them on every pitch. I love having smaller cams too but I think the nuts tend to substitute better for those...

Also investing in a few locking carabiners would be wise.
_________________________
It's true, I have a blog. http://climbandpunishment.blogspot.com/

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#51071 - 03/27/10 02:09 PM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: SethG]
manny Offline
stranger

Registered: 03/27/10
Posts: 15
Loc: NYC
Solid input, thanks all.

And yes, for completeness sake I should have listed the rest of the gear, hehe:

3 locking carabiners
petzl reverso 3 belay device
helmet

I also have 1" tube webbing (2x30ft) that can be cut to appropriate sizes. Though I don't know yet if i'll need it.

That brings up another question actually, and since I'm still waiting for the Dick Williams guide I purchased to arrive in the mail to check this, I suppose I'll ask here. My question is about descents in the gunks. Do they tend to be walk-off or rappels? And if they are rappels, are there bolts and chains or would I have to leave gear and/or use natural pro?

Thanks everyone

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#51075 - 03/27/10 10:08 PM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: manny]
Mike Rawdon Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/29/99
Posts: 4276
Loc: Poughkeepsie
You may walk off if you like. The walkoff from the Trapps generally involves a bit of 3rd class downclimbing to reach the carriage road at the Uberfall. There are numerous fixed rap stations on the cliffs, so leaving gear is not generally necessary. The bolted stations are indicated in DW's guidebook, and these require a single 60m rope. Other stations are built of various bits of gear and webbing. It is up to each climber to decide if he wants to trust these or not.

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#51083 - 03/28/10 02:48 PM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: Mike Rawdon]
RangerRob Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/06/00
Posts: 3765
Loc: Ulster County, NY
Manny, I would suggest either hiring a guide to teach you the basics of leading, or find a competent leader for a partner for now, or both. Of course you can sink or swim as a lot of us did, but the learning curve is steep, and small mistakes tend to have serious consequences. My first two leads were without any instruction at all and with no one more experienced than me. I remember doing Wrist (5.6) as my first lead with half a dozen stoppers, a dozen biners, and half a dozen tied slings over my shoulder. Trying to pull the roof on the last pitch I was certain I was going to die and quite disgusted with myself when I got down because I actually wanted to do it again! I did it once more, only on a 5.8+ called Broken Sling, and that's when I decided to stop and find someone who knew what they were doing before I killed myself.

Seriously, the questions you're asking are good, but you should learn this stuff from someone who knows...in person.

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#51085 - 03/28/10 04:53 PM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: RangerRob]
manny Offline
stranger

Registered: 03/27/10
Posts: 15
Loc: NYC
Rob, I wholeheartedly agree with that logic. That is, in fact, exactly what I did. I spent a week in Grand Junction learning to lead from this really cool guide out there. The problem for me is the rock type/surface and what gear I'd need back here in NY vs. what we used on desert sandstone and granite (and the fact that this is my first crack at buying and building my own rack). I also plan on doing some mock leads on top rope in my local area to work on furthering familiarity with eyeing good placements.

Despite all that, though, the prospect of hitting my first leads in the Gunks are about as intimidating as they are exciting. I'm pretty pumped for it. Though I, too, want to make sure I'm not getting in over my head.

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#51087 - 03/29/10 11:08 AM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: manny]
RangerRob Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/06/00
Posts: 3765
Loc: Ulster County, NY
Sounds like you've taken the right steps. As far as gear goes, obviously you can do just fine with passive gear only. That's what the greats did, and some still do. Learning how to place nuts and hexes in opposition in horizontals will save your ass someday when you have used up all your cams.

That being said, the Gunks tend to lend themselves to smaller gear in the 5.7 and up range. A gold Camalot is a big piece of gear. I have heard many a visiting climber exclaim how freaked out they were by the smallness of available gear placements, and the fact that you have to climb usually well above them, as opposed to crack climbing where you can just throw something in whenever you get uncomfortable.

Personally I wouldn't monkey around with tricams smaller than the pink. You will find them hard to place, and harder for your second to remove. I would go with Pink, red, and brown...maybe the blue. I find anything bigger than blue will "walk" out of placements too easily.

Don't mess with sport draws. If you've already bought them then that's fine, but if you are going to buy more slingage...buy 2 foot slings and use them in the tripled up mode. Knowing where and how to extend your pieces is pretty critical in the Gunks, particularly in the lower grades. You can get away with 8-10 on shorter one pitch routes like Finger Locks or Bunny. If you want to do longer stuff then you should probably have 12-15, plus a 4 footer over your shoulder.

Of course this is all personal, and the next person might tell you that what I have said is hogwash. But the people I know tend to carry similar racks. Except Smike, who for some crazy reason gets away with short clipping every single piece he places!

RR

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#51094 - 03/29/10 04:17 PM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: RangerRob]
ianmanger Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 04/25/03
Posts: 319
Hey Manny, You didn't indicate your general experience with following and cleaning trad lines. I would tend to dial back your expectations of leading up to 5.7 as the Gunks can be a definite eye opener if you are used to different rock. BITD they used the whole 5.0-5.x scale and meant it. The good news is that there is a wealth of fun lines in the 5.3-5.5 range for you to figure out how your rack is going to work. As others have said, if your funds are limited, then tricams and hexes are the ticket. Make sure your partner has a nut tool. Some of the smaller cams would be next on my list. Aside from not tangling with Aliens (see the threads on this forum and rc.com) there are a number of choices.

Drop me a PM if you want to cheat sometime and place cams.. :-)

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#51099 - 03/29/10 07:51 PM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: manny]
GOclimb Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/26/01
Posts: 2362
Loc: Boston
Originally Posted By: manny
GOclimb, thanks for the reply. Yes, one cam is right, it's all I have for the moment. I'm going to look into those hexes. I'll see if I can pick up a few from the 1" to 3" range then. (would I need even bigger?)


That sounds perfect, and should give you good options for large cracks in corners. Unfortunately, the place where hexes don't often work as well is in horizontals (which only sometime are deep enough and contain the right sort of constrictions) - and the Gunks has plenty of such faces. But you'll see for yourself, and your tricams will help a lot here, at least in the size range in which you own them.

Quote:
As for the stoppers, yes I had thought about nesting them, but I guess that would be overkill if there's better protection to be had nearby.


Yeesh. Nesting micro-stoppers is pretty advanced stuff, and you sure as hell don't want to be falling on them, or using them as belays to keep both you and your partner from taking the big ride.

Quote:
What would you recommend for the next size cam purchase? I got the feeling from reading posts that the smaller cams are going to be a little bit more worthwhile so I was thinking about a C4 .3


Hmm... if I had your rack, I think my next purchase would be a Yellow Alien (or equivalent). There are a *ton* of placements for that size, and your smallest tricam will be just a little too big.

Quote:
Thanks again


Happy to oblige!

GO

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#51102 - 03/30/10 12:16 AM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: GOclimb]
manny Offline
stranger

Registered: 03/27/10
Posts: 15
Loc: NYC
Thanks again to everyone for all your replies, suggestions, and comments (and for your patience with all my newbie questions).

Mike, thanks for the info about the rappels and walk offs. It's funny that the notion of fixed rap stations hadn't even occurred to me, as all I'm used to is rappelling down from bolts/chains at the end of each individual multi-pitch climb.

Rob, I'll keep those tips about sizes in mind. As for the draws, this guy I learned from out in colorado told me the same exact thing, so pretty much 2-footers are exclusively what I'm using (I was able all get those BD draws at $10 each, so i figured it was a good method of snagging bd wiregate biners for $5 a pop) I WAS planning on just taking a few w/ the dogbones as-is anyway, but based on this being the second time someone tells me slings are where it's at... i'm bringing slings.


Ianmanger, yea, I've since come to terms with the fact that I will definitely be starting on the bunny slopes, and for just those reasons. I really want to make sure I'm comfortable w/ all this gear, and you are right, I don't even know what the rock surface will feel like out there yet, so me and my buddy are starting low. I'm still waiting for my DW guide book to get here or I would have already highlighted a ton of routes in preparation by now. As for my experience, my guess is I've probably followed somewhere around 20 - 30 trad pitches, and up to 10a absolute hardest. I know it's pretty little, but that's yet another reason I took my trip out west to learn the ins and outs of leading from a Pro. I'll keep the small cams in mind.

GOclimb, I have officially scratched my idea of using and nesting microstoppers, I might still be inclined to bring the 2 and 3, but it would be out of my self-diagnosed OCD rather than having any smart rational behind it.

To all, will there ever be a point when a "to-buy" mental gear list doesn't exist? (I already realize there will be no such day and that I need to hide my credit cards from myself).

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#51104 - 03/30/10 12:56 AM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique pl [Re: manny]
Ralph Offline
member

Registered: 02/01/07
Posts: 142
manny,

No need to wait for the guidebook. Gunks routes

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#51105 - 03/30/10 01:27 AM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: manny]
MarcC Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
Originally Posted By: manny
To all, will there ever be a point when a "to-buy" mental gear list doesn't exist?

General mountain/ski/outdoor/climbing gear collectively? No.
Climbing gear exclusively? Sure, especially if you stick with it for 10 or 35 years.
_________________________
- Marc

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#51108 - 03/30/10 04:58 AM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: MarcC]
GOclimb Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/26/01
Posts: 2362
Loc: Boston
Originally Posted By: MarcC
Originally Posted By: manny
To all, will there ever be a point when a "to-buy" mental gear list doesn't exist?

General mountain/ski/outdoor/climbing gear collectively? No.
Climbing gear exclusively? Sure, especially if you stick with it for 10 or 35 years.


I just need one more .75 camalot and then I'll be done. Really. I mean it this time. Hmm... although it would be nice to get pick up some more notchless biners. And my toes are starting to poke through my anasazi velcros, so I should maybe pick up a new pair, and...

GO

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#51116 - 03/30/10 04:57 PM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: GOclimb]
Julie Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/16/00
Posts: 2090
Loc: SoCal
To your last question, I was going to try to say yes, but .... no.

You'll end up with a basic rack you like, but there are always tweaks to be made with new gear that comes out; and you're always replacing soft goods like ropes and shoes, and eventually slings.

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#51122 - 03/30/10 08:04 PM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: Julie]
ianmanger Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 04/25/03
Posts: 319
Originally Posted By: Julie
... and eventually slings.



"You spent $100 on 'pieces of string?'" - my wife

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#51123 - 03/30/10 08:36 PM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: ianmanger]
chip Online   content
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2679
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
"You would think they would be prettier for all that money." former girlfriend BITD.

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#51126 - 03/31/10 03:21 AM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: chip]
Aya Offline
old hand

Registered: 11/18/04
Posts: 754
Loc: Climbing somewhere
ehhh... I'm pretty much over the whole buying gear thing. I like what I have and I'm comfortable with it. New shoes, new clothes, sure, but new gear? not so much. I'll just replace stuff as it wears out, and given that I've even got a couple of chouinard camalots still kicking on my rack, that may not be for a while. But I'll tell you what, I hate the stupid sidelock on petzl crampons, and although I have a brand new pair that I acquired gratis (the boyfriend hates them that much mre than me), those new grivel crampons are looking awful slick...
_________________________
Gunks T-Shirts!

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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: 3765
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: 365
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 Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2472
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: 529
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: 2090
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: 5981
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 Online   content
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2679
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: 2362
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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#51155 - 04/01/10 09:23 PM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: GOclimb]
MarcC Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
Originally Posted By: GOclimb
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.


Spend a few weeks in Tuolumne doing the old-school classics - that'll school ya! BTW, I don't recommend starting with Dike Route, even though it's "only" 5.8+.
_________________________
- Marc

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#51157 - 04/02/10 01:36 AM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: MarcC]
chip Online   content
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2679
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
However, the Snake Dike might not be a bad start with 3 pitches of 5.3-4 going anchor to anchor with no other pro. Amazing how quickly you can lead a pitch when you don't pro.

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#51158 - 04/02/10 03:39 AM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: chip]
manny Offline
stranger

Registered: 03/27/10
Posts: 15
Loc: NYC
Though provoking stuff guys. Julie, I will do my best to heed your advice, as my eyes can be quite starry and shiny things have become very very addicting. One part of me just wants to get better at leading/protection/rescue tactics, while the other part just wants to get out there and go, trial by fire (with solid fundamental basics of course). My mind had thought a fair compromise was to say 'Sure, I'll satisfy both of these by just getting out there and doing it', learning to lead better as I ventured out and, well, lead harder and harder. See, the situation is my ego wants very badly for me to say that i've learned enough for now and I need to only practice practice practice, but what I realize more each day is... the ego is a dumbass. Thanks for the words Julie.

You know guys, the more I read people's thought about essentially-all-passive-gear starting, the more I'm looking forward to getting out there this way. If there is one governing bit of advice the guy I learned from out west gave to me, it's the need for versatility, so that whatever the piece of gear, and wherever the circumstance it can potentially be applied to, you will be able to figure it out and use it effectively. Seriously a tall order, but that's definitely one of my major goals.

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#51159 - 04/02/10 04:24 AM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: MarcC]
GOclimb Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/26/01
Posts: 2362
Loc: Boston
Originally Posted By: MarcC
Originally Posted By: GOclimb
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.


Spend a few weeks in Tuolumne doing the old-school classics - that'll school ya! BTW, I don't recommend starting with Dike Route, even though it's "only" 5.8+.


Actually, what I'm doing is working through the grades in Eldo. It's certainly not tuolumne slab, but it's getting the job done!

GO

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#51169 - 04/05/10 12:42 AM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: GOclimb]
jdw Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 03/25/01
Posts: 219
Loc: Connecticut
Snake Dike has pro - the worst runout I remember was one bolt on a 150' pitch. The bolts are there, you just have to find them.

JDW

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#51170 - 04/05/10 01:11 AM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: jdw]
MarcC Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
Originally Posted By: jdw
Snake Dike has pro - the worst runout I remember was one bolt on a 150' 5.4 pitch.

Fixed your sentence. What we're talking about in the Meadows is doing 5.9 friction moves 25' (or more) out from a 40 yr old 1/4" button-head.
_________________________
- Marc

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#51172 - 04/05/10 03:10 AM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: MarcC]
chip Online   content
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2679
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
40 yr. old 1/4" button head = 50 year old soft iron ring piton!

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#51173 - 04/05/10 01:59 PM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: MarcC]
ianmanger Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 04/25/03
Posts: 319
Originally Posted By: MarcC
Originally Posted By: jdw
Snake Dike has pro - the worst runout I remember was one bolt on a 150' 5.4 pitch.

Fixed your sentence. What we're talking about in the Meadows is doing 5.9 friction moves 25' (or more) out from a 40 yr old 1/4" button-head.



BITD when 50m was std. Angels Approach on the Apron. 15-20ft out from the last manky bolt, headed for the manky anchor, possibly another 15+ft. Standing on and holding onto a variety of dishy-nothings.

Partner calls out "5ft"

No way to reverse, stand on dishy nothings for 20+ minutes, calves and mouth screaming bloody blue murder, while he untangles the anchor and starts simul climbing the same nothings. Its not hard but I know he's crap on slabs.

Reach the anchor. Bring him up, rap silently. Drive back to Bay Area with very few words. Find other partners with longer ropes. Or two ropes.

Climbers. People you want to be tied to and some you don't.

ps Manny, I was serious about offering to climb with you for exactly the purpose Julie suggested.

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#51237 - 04/13/10 12:46 AM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: ianmanger]
RangerRob Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/06/00
Posts: 3765
Loc: Ulster County, NY
By the by, I did Apoplexy this evening with stoppers and two tricams. It's just fine. The horizontal under the flake move takes both the red and pink tricam wonderfully. I found a nut placement a little higher up into the crux than I ever looked for before. Quite the lovely 5.9 for a camless ascent. Next...Bonnie's?

RR

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#51238 - 04/13/10 01:15 AM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: RangerRob]
yorick Offline
old hand

Registered: 11/15/02
Posts: 1041
Loc: hamlet\'s hand
Originally Posted By: RangerRob
Next...Bonnie's? RR


Nah. Sente.
_________________________
Shongum ain\'t Indian,
it\'s Shawank-unk.

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#51240 - 04/13/10 02:08 AM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: yorick]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2472
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
Bonnies sure...or Double Crack. Dave Craft and I did it with a set of nuts ordered direct from Joe Brown around 1968---the first all-nut ascent in the Gunks, I think, at a time before Chouinard made stoppers available. Those nuts were pretty primitive by today's standards, especially with respect to the range of sizes, but my memory is that the protection on the route was fine. Gotta be a piece o' cake nowadays.

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#51250 - 04/13/10 11:06 AM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: rg@ofmc]
RangerRob Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/06/00
Posts: 3765
Loc: Ulster County, NY
Yes but Rich, you forget that you guys were actually tough back in the day. My balls shrink a little when I think of doing Double Crack without any cams on my harness.

Sente? I'm adventurous, not stupid.

There is a difference between carrying a set of cams and not using them, and not carrying them at all. Camless ascents ideally need to be done with not cams on the rack

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#51264 - 04/13/10 03:21 PM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: RangerRob]
GOclimb Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/26/01
Posts: 2362
Loc: Boston
Maybe below the level you're looking for, RR, but Finger Locks or Cedar Box goes great all passive. Just make sure to bring some hexes for the top.

To Manny (the original poster) - you been out yet this season? How'd it go?

GO

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#51265 - 04/13/10 05:04 PM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: GOclimb]
manny Offline
stranger

Registered: 03/27/10
Posts: 15
Loc: NYC
GO, I'm heading out this Friday actually (will be my first trip of the season) and oh man am I about as pumped as it gets. Planning on starting in the low low grades to keep reality in check while I get used to the new rock. I have a good feeling I'm gonna scare myself shitless at some point, man am I excited!

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#51266 - 04/13/10 05:39 PM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: manny]
chip Online   content
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2679
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
Hey Manny, you will have to post up about your weekend and let us know how it goes. You could spend several weeks just doing 5.3, 4 and 5 and having a blast. The peregrine closure area could effect your options so you might want to think about the climbs you would like to get on ahead of time.

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#51374 - 04/17/10 10:59 PM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: chip]
manny Offline
stranger

Registered: 03/27/10
Posts: 15
Loc: NYC
Thursday was the day, first trip to the Gunks and first leads without a guide, man it was killer. We only got in a couple of routes, and easy was the name of the day. I spend more time triple and quadruple-checking every thing that I did than we did climbing, but overall it was awesome.

Oh, and about the grading, wow, yea, stiff would be the correct word. I'm sure it's also got a lot to due with the new rock surface, but I found myself thinking those grades were pretty sandbagged. However... i WAS warned about this, so my brain (and ego) will simply have to slowly adjust. I did succeed though in not placing my single cam as pro on my way up any climb. (did use it for anchors though, oh well) It was definitely a goal I had to learn the passive stuff well. By the end of the day I got pretty comfortable w/ it indeed.

We started w/ Squiggles, mainly because my second had never actually seconded before and I wanted to do one solid single pitch before we tried multi's. Another reason was I was itching to climb something from the moment I saw the cliffs from the highway and it was the first climb that we identified that fulfilled our first-climb requirements (easy, good protection, single pitch). MAN was I nervous though! So yes, for ~50 feet of climbing I carried every piece of pro I had. I think it will be some time before I think myself ballsy enough to assume I can predict what I will and won't need. But whatever, extra weight maybe, but added security definitely. There was still a moment though where I was ~8 feet above my last piece and I thought, shit man, I don't see another potential placement till that crack a few more feet above, so I had a momentary internal panic-attack and clipped a really shady looking fixed pin. Oh well, I did get more and more comfortable running it out on easy stuff as the day went on though. Belayed my friend up (direct from the anchor) and went on to search for about a 1/2-hour for the way down. I have no idea where we descended from but it was not the uberfall.

Our second climb, occupying most of our day, was Three Pines. What an awesome time. Gave me the chance to really work on my passive gear and to trust myself to run it out a bit if I felt there was better pro above. We did it in three pitches, mainly because I wanted the practice in setting anchors. And on the last pitch I also achieved my goal of scaring myself rather shitless. I decided to take the 5.6 variation up the left face of the block and topping out on it rather than the easy up from the side. Holy crap man, when I got to it, and saw the move I needed to do (these moves were 2 grades higher than what I'd been doing all day!), I looked down and saw that if I missed it or hesitated, I was hitting the deck for sure. Holy crap man, that was it, I saw the move, on top-rope something like wouldn't have even made me think twice, easy easy. But KNOWING that if I missed it my ass would hit GT-ledge before I could even shout, Holy crap dude! It was sick man, that was my "commit" moment. I had no choice, I sucked it up and did what I had to do, it was killer! Man, that feeling when I got through it! I rode that high for the rest of the day. Finished up the climb, belayed up my friend (up his first multi-pitch ever!) and we took our time to get down in 3 raps.

What a day! Going back this coming weekend, addiction officially in place.

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#51375 - 04/17/10 11:12 PM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: manny]
chip Online   content
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2679
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
Awesome Trip Report! Glad you got your money's worth.

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#51378 - 04/18/10 04:40 AM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: manny]
GOclimb Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/26/01
Posts: 2362
Loc: Boston
Thanks for the report. Nice work!

No wonder you think the Gunks is sandbagged - Squiggles is super-polished. It's a really nice climb, but the only thing I can think of that's as polished is the beginning of Airy Aria.

BTW, next time you go out, have someone show you where the uberfall descent is. Or else wait at the bottom for someone to go down it, and then climb up it to retrace their steps. It can be hard to find unless you know what you're looking for, because if you're going north along the cliptop, you'll walk right by it without seeing it - you actually have to double back to find it.

Cheers!

GO

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#51384 - 04/18/10 09:21 PM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: RangerRob]
MarcC Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
Originally Posted By: RangerRob
Sente? I'm adventurous, not stupid.

Sente is easy to do camless since, iirc, there's only one cam placement on the route - the horizontal before the first bolt, which would easily take a tri cam or two. Or are you conflating camless with all nut/no fixed pro?

BTW, Double Crack just eats as many stoppers, tri-cams, and hexes as you care to carry. No need for active cams at all.
_________________________
- Marc

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#51401 - 04/19/10 12:53 PM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: MarcC]
RangerRob Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/06/00
Posts: 3765
Loc: Ulster County, NY
oh yes I agree, Double Crack eats nuts. I'm just a noodle armed climber, that's all. Yeah Sente has the bolts, kind of ruins the intent.

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#51560 - 04/21/10 08:33 PM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: RangerRob]
Julie Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/16/00
Posts: 2090
Loc: SoCal
Manny, are you careful to prevent zippering? Your preference for passive gear is great, but there is the directionality aspect to watch for.

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#51561 - 04/21/10 11:19 PM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: Julie]
manny Offline
stranger

Registered: 03/27/10
Posts: 15
Loc: NYC
Julie, yes, and that's actually something that was re-enforced for me last week. I've discovered I'm a HUGE fan of tri-cams and feel great security in having them be my first piece. I would place them carefully and think, sweet, there's no way this can walk out... wrong. Zippering never happened, but on my first two pitches leading, and for the very first piece of each pitch, my partner told me that by the time he had to clean them, those first pieces were consistently crap, one had actually even walked out. It wasn't an extension problem, I did my best to keep that line smooth, apparently just the little vibration here and there over the course of the rest of my climb really weakened those placements.

So my game plan changed, and I now throw that first piece in opposition every time. No problems since, and my climbing partner is much happier that it is so much harder to remove that first piece.

I do have a question about that though, to hear what people have to say on the matter. So, pieces in opposition.... When I do it, I keep them vertical, try to take advantage of the full force rating for each piece, for a full upward and downward pull. BUT, I know I'm going to have to throw them in horizontal at some point. And what worries my is that my understanding of the physics of anchors tells me that falling in something like that will seriously multiply the forces on each of the two anchors substantially, since they are held taught and you pull perpendicular. It's the same reason I've been taught for keeping your top anchor from making an angle of more than 60 degrees at most right?

I guess what I'm asking is, simply, are these concerns for putting horizontal pro (passive) in opposition legitimate?

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#51569 - 04/22/10 02:22 AM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: manny]
chip Online   content
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2679
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
It doesn't matter whether vertical or horizontal. Extend slings, etc. to prevent the angle between pieces from exceeding 60 degrees or find a nice multi-directional another way. Many teach that the first piece should be a cam for this reason, but clearly it can often be achieved other ways.
John Long wrote two Climbing Anchors books, the first with Bob Gaines and I think the second with Craig Luebben and these are awesome for opening up your thought process about placements. They are MUST READ material for any trad leader.

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#51570 - 04/22/10 02:23 AM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: manny]
pitfall Offline
old hand

Registered: 11/01/00
Posts: 1165
Loc: Albany
When using passive gear as first pieces, the belayer can make a huge difference. Far too often I see belayers trying to belay so they are comfortable rather than effective, and far too often that means they are away from the rock. No good. If a belayer stays close to the cliff and in line with the climb, walking can usually be minimized, less rope is out (meaning less rope stretch) while the leader is still low on the climb, and nuts have less tendency to pull. Of course this all goes out the window if the climb, or leader, wanders early, but it is something that is often overlooked.

Recently I was told how easy it is to deck on the opening moves of classic. Are you effing kidding me? The move is with a pin close to your waist and if clipped with a biner rather than a 2' sling and a belayer close to the start of the actual climbing, it is maybe a 2' fall.
_________________________

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#51576 - 04/22/10 03:11 AM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: pitfall]
manny Offline
stranger

Registered: 03/27/10
Posts: 15
Loc: NYC
Well I've pretty much devoured Craig Luebben's books (his 'Basics' and his 'Anchors') though I haven't read John Long. I'll look into these (can't have enough gear books!)

That's kind of the reason for my question, actually. Craig Luebben made quite an effort in detailing why you GOTTA be careful with the angles, though he also described the stoppers (or tricams) in opposition tactic I'm trying (if I find a picture for clarity, I'll try to post it up), which seeeems to add a bit of force multiplication to the system as a sacrifice for making it multidirectional.

pitfall, your point about the belayer noted, I'll ask my buddy where he stands next time, though I imagine getting that first piece up a bit higher helps to lessen this effect right?

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#51577 - 04/22/10 03:35 AM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: manny]
quanto_the_mad Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/14/02
Posts: 2628
Loc: brooklyn
Long's Climbing Anchors 2nd ed (w/ Bob Gaines btw) has a very short section on horizontal oppositional pieces, probably nothing you haven't read in Luebben's book.

Great book though, definitely worth the price.

The forces are a concern of course, but if that's all you got, well, don't fall. Sometimes I climb above marginal pieces, but other times I retreat and climb something else.
_________________________


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#51586 - 04/22/10 01:53 PM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: quanto_the_mad]
Julie Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/16/00
Posts: 2090
Loc: SoCal
Manny, I am impressed with the thought you've put into this!

Pitfall brought up a good point, with a good example - Classic is "known as" an ankle-breaker, but (at least now that the tree is gone) there's no reason for that at all. I think in the early stages of leading, we often don't think much of the belayer's role, and we tend to defer to whatever they want to do, wherever they want to be, however much slack they want to reel out .... but in reality, the belayer can be crucial, and in reality, the climber's wish is the belayer's command, entirely. So it's good to think about what you want your belayer to be doing, and check that that's happening.

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#51591 - 04/22/10 02:35 PM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: pitfall]
MarcC Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
Originally Posted By: pitfall
Recently I was told how easy it is to deck on the opening moves of classic. Are you effing kidding me?

Apparently for some, it is. wink
_________________________
- Marc

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#51599 - 04/22/10 09:15 PM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique pl [Re: quanto_the_mad]
Ralph Offline
member

Registered: 02/01/07
Posts: 142
qtm,

Did not Mr. Long's 2nd edition of Climbing Anchors also give a special thanks to one Richard Goldstone?

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#51602 - 04/22/10 10:44 PM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique pl [Re: Ralph]
chip Online   content
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2679
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
Nice to know we aren't the only ones who appreciate him.

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#51983 - 05/11/10 07:33 AM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: RangerRob]
schwortz Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 09/10/03
Posts: 308
yo rob - only 9s?
roseland, ants lines, bonnies all go that way just fine
directissima and no glow - but you've got pins on both you probably want to climb

better idea
why dont you go lead arrow without the bolts? thats more fun that just doing 9s without cams
always wanted to do that....have to get around to that next time i'm back east

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#51986 - 05/11/10 12:32 PM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: schwortz]
RangerRob Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/06/00
Posts: 3765
Loc: Ulster County, NY
I would, but Arrow sucks. I only climb good routes now. Maybe you didn't get the memo wherever you are. Where are you now anyway? Are you back in town?

Nosedive is the obvious next candidate for a camless ascent.

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#51989 - 05/11/10 03:03 PM Re: New to gunks, new to leading, rack critique please [Re: RangerRob]
chip Online   content
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2679
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
I would dislike Nosedive without that green Alien size cam near the top, but I'm a whuss.

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