The Christmas holiday has bestowed a wealth of climbing goods on me this year. I put out the word to my family that I wanted climbing stuff for Christmas. They were good enough to fulfill my wishes, or just give me money to do it on my own. So as result between my parents, sister, aunt and uncle I am able to put forth the beginning of my trad rack.
"Trad" for those not in the know is short for "traditional". A rack is basically all the items that one needs to climb traditionally as opposed to top roping or sport. Trad is the most pure form of climbing other than soloing, but that is just nuts. Top roping is what I have primarily done up to this point. An anchor is constructed at the top of the cliff and then the climbing rope goes up to the anchor and then back down. The belayer and the climber are separated by the anchor. This is the safest and most limited form of climbing since the rope has to be at least twice as long as the cliff is high. Traditional or lead climbing has the climber and the belayer start on the ground with no rope or anchors on the cliff. The climber then heads up and places pieces of protection into the cliff as he/she climbs. These pieces of protection hold the climber if they were to fall. Sport climbing is very similar to trad except that there are permanent pieces of protection rather than removable ones.
Paul gave me a list of basic stuff that would be needed for a rack. I’ve been able to knock out a significant portion so far. Right now the items I’ve got are:
- Black Diamond Purple #.5 Camalot
- Black Diamond Red #1 Camalot
- Black Diamond Yellow #2 Camalot
- Black Diamond Stoppers #4-13
- 6 quick draws
- 5 two foot runners
- 6 wire gate carabiners for cams
- gear sling
There are some other items that Paul listed but I already had those so I’ll leave them out. The gear sling isn’t something that Paul suggested but Mike D has one and I like it. It really keeps things organized a little better than on a sling. I think it will make things much easier to keep track of so I don’t forget anything at the crag. After I got home I noticed a couple of loops on the gear sling that I couldn’t figure out what they did. A quick trip to the Metolius website I figured it out. The loops are for clipping on an additional loop to place more gear onto, as seen to the right. The loop clips on with the small aluminum piece. This seems like a great idea because the gear sling does get a little lopsidedly heavy. The price of this item is not significant but niether is the construction.
I looked around and saw that I had some 6mm accesory cord which was of ample length. This is good except that it is difficult to clip to because it doesn’t have much rigidity. The Metolius gear sling and extra look have polyvinyl tubing over the base material. I hit the local Lowes and picked up some 1/4" vinyl tubing that the accesory cord fit through. A couple overhand knots and some cheap little fake carabiners later I’ve got essentially the same thing as the Metolius loop.
- Metolius Blue #1 TCU
- Metolius Yellow #2 TCU
- BD Green #.75 Camalot
- BD Blue #3 Camalot
- 10-14 Wire gate carabiners