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By Ryan May
Apr 30, 2012
We are heading up to Devils Lake this fall for a week of climbing. Most of us are proficient sport / top rope climbers, however, no trad lead climbing experience. While I know there are no sport routes there, we do know that we can setup top rope. What gear (nuts, hexes, slings, etc) do we need and what recommendations do you have. Thank you!

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By Tom Lausch
From Madison WI
Apr 30, 2012
Chips and Salsa
Some big hexes and plenty of webbing will make your life alot easier. With 1 full set of nuts and a couple of medium to smaller sized cams you can set up a top rope pretty much anywhere.

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By Ryan May
Apr 30, 2012
I'm looking at picking up the Black Diamond Hex Set #4-10 and the Stopper Set Pro #1-13 or Classic #5-11. What size Cams do you recommend?

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By Jeff Howard
From Hales Corners WI
Apr 30, 2012
I have been climbing at the Lake for years and have never used a cam to set up top ropes. With a full set of nuts and hexes along with plenty of webbing/slings you will be fine.

First timers may have some trouble finding the climbs and areas but if you study the DL site here at MP, put the App on your phone, and show up on a Saturday you will find many friendly local climbers happy to point out climbs to get you started.

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By fat cow
From Salinas, CA
Apr 30, 2012
perfect seam
the 5-13 stoppers set integrates perfectly size wise into hex numbers 7-10 so just get those and you will have the full range. theres no need for the smaller hexes as the larger stoppers will cover those sizes, unless you like hexes more as they place a little differently. if you want to save a few bucks though, go with the mix i described. you really wont need the stoppers 1-4 they are really tiny.

oh and bring more carabiners than you think you will need, and a bunch of webbing if you plan on setting mulitple ropes at once.

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By Ryan May
Apr 30, 2012
Thank you for all the help! As for the slings, do you have any recommendation on widths or lengths? Are the 10mm Dynex ones cool, or should I run with the 18mm ones?

And good advice on not buying the set with the smaller stoppers. I'll just get the Classic and just buy the 12 & 13 separately and roll with the Hexes too.

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By Carl Sherven
Apr 30, 2012
As mentioned above, a set of nuts and hexes will do the trick. I'll second Jeff on leaving the cams at home when toproping. Tri-cams are also very useful. Bring a bunch of biners. I've found D and oval to be the most useful for anchors. Bring lots of webbing. Depending on the area you may be slinging trees instead of placing pieces, or placing pieces a ways back from the cliff.

Also, please don't run a piece of webbing across a hiking trail. I see that sometimes and it reflects very poorly on the climbing community.

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By Doug Hemken
Administrator
Apr 30, 2012
On Everleigh Club Crack.  Photo by Burt Lindquist.
Sometimes you have to drop over the edge to find a good anchor that doesn't impinge on the trails.

I'm sure you wouldn't do this, but I just saw an example of what we want you to avoid, yesterday ....

How to be rude
How to be rude

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By fat cow
From Salinas, CA
Apr 30, 2012
perfect seam
Carl Sherven wrote:
Bring a bunch of biners. I've found D and oval to be the most useful for anchors..


Black diamond oval wires are cheap, light, and perfect for your application. try to find them on sale and you can buy a bunch for a reasonable amount.

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By Woodchuck ATC
Apr 30, 2012
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008
Get a massive pile of 1" tubular webbing. Make runners that might be 20 ft.in length. A bunch of 12' lengths should allow you to wrap most trees or boulders nearby. Back up with nuts in cracks if you feel the need, but I've set up probably 90% of routes with just slings wrapped on something. Alot of trees have disappeared off the main buttress of the East Bluff over the last decade or so, but still something availalbe without crossing the bluff trail.

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By Andy Hansen
From Longmont, Colorado
Apr 30, 2012
Intruder, 5.11+. Zion National Park. Photo: Matt Kuehl
Bring a huge case of beer for the CCC parking lot.

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By Chad Robbins
Apr 30, 2012
+1 to Doug.
Spider web on west buff Saturday and some guy teaching some really strange anchor building. No need for 30' lengths when nuts/hexes will work

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By Peter Schmitz
May 1, 2012
+1 to Andy. I'll be in the parking lot.

There is a gear shop in Baraboo if you need a larger pile of webbing.
wildbaraboo.com

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By Chris treggE
Administrator
From Madison, WI
May 1, 2012
Egghead
Ryan May wrote:
As for the slings, do you have any recommendation on widths or lengths? Are the 10mm Dynex ones cool, or should I run with the 18mm ones?


IMO slings are a little restrictive, it's nice to have something you can infinitely adjust, like webbing or static line. A few runners can be useful, and I don't think it matters which you choose, but I personally hate the really skinny ones.

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By Ryan May
May 1, 2012
Doug Hemken wrote:
Sometimes you have to drop over the edge to find a good anchor that doesn't impinge on the trails. I'm sure you wouldn't do this, but I just saw an example of what we want you to avoid, yesterday ....


Yeah...being an avid backpacker/hiker we would never do that. That's a pretty toolish move to pull. I did snag a set of Hexes and Nuts last night. I still need to start snagging up some slings though...

So everyone is saying a lot. Does that mean a dozen, 2 dozen...any recommended lengths to get.

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By Doug Hemken
Administrator
May 1, 2012
On Everleigh Club Crack.  Photo by Burt Lindquist.
Ryan, I'm a little confused by your question.

If you are thinking of just using the slings from your lead rack for TRs, you are in for a tedious time linking slings and you won't be able to use trees, boulders, and gear that is well back from the edge. In other words, there are a lot of TRs you won't be able to set, or that you will have to drop over the edge to set (which can be time consuming).

Most of us use a 20 ft cordolette, a couple of 20-30 lengths of 1 inch tubular webbing, a 20-40 length of 10-11mm *static* (not dynamic) line, or some combination of the above. Using webbing is cheaper than you think, and makes setting TRs very easy.

If *all* you are doing is lead climbing (like our trad marathons!), then all you need is lead slings, and a cordolette for convenience.

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By Ryan May
May 1, 2012
Hey Doug, sorry for the confusion.

My original plan (pre this entire thread) was to snag some static rope and tie to boulders/trees, but then someone told me that wasn't an option and I would need to use protection instead. I think that's where the confusion is coming from and is why I'm here asking all of you guys these questions.

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By fat cow
From Salinas, CA
May 1, 2012
perfect seam
static rope is pretty awesome for setting up there as it makes things quick and easy, but its another rope to haul up while webbing is much lighter, less bulky, and basically just as functional. tying to boulders and trees will be an option, but a mix of having both that and passive pro will get your ropes up faster because you can get creative. ie more climbing and if you're quick the ability to move ropes more than once for other climbs.

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By Doug Hemken
Administrator
May 1, 2012
On Everleigh Club Crack.  Photo by Burt Lindquist.
Those that have static rope absolutely love it, and wonder why the rest of us stick with webbing.

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By fat cow
From Salinas, CA
May 1, 2012
perfect seam
Doug Hemken wrote:
Those that have static rope absolutely love it, and wonder why the rest of us stick with webbing.


i believe it, especially when extending over the edge a ways, it makes equalizing with a ballast even more simple

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By Gokul
May 1, 2012
At the "summit"
To summarize, the following should be sufficient to set TR anchors for most any place at DL:

(1) handful of biners,
(2) a set of medium-to-large nuts,
(3) a set of medium-to-large hexes, and
(4) 3 lengths of 1" tubular webbing (different lengths in the 10'-20' range) per rope - I prefer webbing to cordelette or static line for TR; it's gentler on trees.

If you have a very large group and plan on setting more than say 5 ropes at a time, you might want to double up on some of those nuts and hexes.

Cams are not necessary, but would make anchor setting a little quicker if you happen to have them. Don't go about buying a set of cams just to build TR anchors at the Lake.

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By EB
From Winona
May 1, 2012
Is anyone thinking that maybe a class in anchoring would be a good idea???? I mean a lot of the anchors by 'experienced" climbers are jacked. I think instead of rack recommendations a climbing school would be a great idea, or find a climber willing to show them the ropes. I took an anchor class early on and it helped tons. It seems there are a few good climbing services in the area....
This happened recently due to a TR anchor failing in the Gunks: gunks.com/ubbthreads7/ubbthrea...

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By alpinejason
From Eau Claire
May 1, 2012
Gokul wrote:
I prefer webbing to cordelette or static line for TR


This is a good take on the webbing vs. static line argument. I use a static line there but avoid trees altogether. There's probably a few of the older guys that remember trees that are no longer. I prefer to just lug some cams and save the trees from abuse all together.

In general for a "light" top rope rack at DL Gokul seems to have it about right.

I also agree with EB. Find somebody to teach you how to use the stuff. There are a lot of clowns at the Lake as people already noted.

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By Ryan May
May 1, 2012
I have some climbing buddies that have over 10 years of Trad climbing that I will definitely be hitting up the techniques on setting the gear, my questions are more around the specifics of Devils Lake (where to set and what recommendations of gear to use in setting the anchors) as opposed to exactly how to do it.

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By Woodchuck ATC
May 1, 2012
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008
'Where to set' is tough to describe; per route or climbing location. Some boulders and trees I have used often are always there. Other times I'm searching for a new crack for nuts. Really not something you can map out without knowing what suitable gear you have to use; just need to work out where at the top for each climb you set. Sometimes a few feet of adjustment makes whole lot of difference, such as keeping a rope from falling into and running rough through a hand crack near the top. Helps to have a route spotter below to fine tune your set up so rope hangs right where you need it. Just takes practice over many uses.

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By Woodchuck ATC
May 1, 2012
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008
EB wrote:
Is anyone thinking that maybe a class in anchoring would be a good idea???? I mean a lot of the anchors by 'experienced" climbers are jacked. I think instead of rack recommendations a climbing school would be a great idea, or find a climber willing to show them the ropes. I took an anchor class early on and it helped tons. It seems there are a few good climbing services in the area.... This happened recently due to a TR anchor failing in the Gunks: gunks.com/ubbthreads7/ubbthrea...


Agree on lessons or example experience from a trusted climber. I was lucky to learn alot years ago from Dave Slinger, Pete Cleveland and Jim Ebert for where to best set up many routes. Anchor class specific to Devils Lake would be very helpful.

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