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By Josh Olson
From madison, wisconsin
Apr 30, 2010
Looking at a 5.7 crack with Nick

So, I am starting to get a couple decent ticks, and my skills are coming to the point that I am willing to spend some money on trad gear. However, I'm just a poor college kid. I was wondering if I could start building a rack bit by bit, or should I wait until I can get all of it at once? Are cams necessary, or just expensive and convenient?


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By Tyson Anderson
From Las Vegas, NV
Apr 30, 2010
Rapping from the top of Cat in the hat

Get yourself a set of nuts, a set of hexes and maybe some of the smaller tri-cams and teach yourself how to place passive pro. Most of the beginner trad climbs will have plenty of places to place passive pro. Then you can slowly add cams to your rack as you go.

Better yet, find an experienced trad climber as a partner and learn by using their gear.


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By Evan1984
Apr 30, 2010

Although hexes will have some utility, the meat of your rack will consist of nuts and cams. I would buy things that will be useful as you progress, and the hexes will most likely sit after you get a rack of cams. That's just the way a modern rack is going and it is for good reason.

I would purchase things as you have money because then you can contribute to your mentor's rack. You will want a trad mentor.

Personally, I would buy a set of nuts, then a #1 and either 2 or .75 BD cam.


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By Mike Pharris
From Longmont, CO
Apr 30, 2010
Climbing above Black Lake

Evan has wisdom in his words.

I bought my rack one cam at a time. Until then i climbed with a buddy and we used his gear. While doing that I learned to place gear by following his leads and practicing gear placements and anchor building on the ground. You can't do enough of that and I still will spend a rainy or wet saturday at the base of a cliff plugging gear in cracks and critiquing each others placements.


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By Ben Mahaffey
Apr 30, 2010
generic crack

I would agree with Evan, get a set of nuts and then build up a rack of cams slowly. If you can scrape together enough money most places will give you a discount if you buy like 5 or more cams, not a great discount but it helps. I would try to get BD C4s in .5-3 if you are going to try to get a deal

Ben


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By Tim C
From Lakewood, CO
Apr 30, 2010
Grahh! There be a human in my Throne!

Almost my entire rack is made of used gear, now that is how you get the discounts!


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By Chris Plesko
From Westminster, CO
Apr 30, 2010
OMG, I winz!!!

Buy nuts, trad draws/slings and cams even if you have to buy them one at a time. .5 thru 2 are my most used sizes for sure. Hexs rarely get used by me, I'd buy them later if you know you really want them for some reason (icy cracks, ligher, winter/alpine bail pieces).

Oh and if you wait for sales you can always get cams 20-25% off. I didn't want to buy used cams at first since I wasn't sure how to inspect them though I have bought some used cams now.


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By sunder
From Alsip, Il
Apr 30, 2010
ICE PIT 2011

When i just started to get into climbing trad. I made it a point to take $50 from each check and put it towards climbing gear. Within two years i had a decent rack, plus its easier to spend small amouts of money hear an there than one big lump sum.


I bought my gear in the following order for the most part

Nuts
Hexes (I would skip getting the hexes now, i don't use them much any more)
Mid range cams BD .5 to 3
Slings
Smaller Cams
Bigger cams
Doubles of some cams



When you buy a cam buy a biner.
When you buy slings buy two biners.

That how i built my rack. Definatly find some people to trad with and combine your racks, learn about how to keep safe and then have fun.


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By Terry Price
From Mancos CO
Apr 30, 2010

Buy used gear on eBay. Follow auctions for a while online to get the idea what is offered, final sales prices, etc. Follow specific items that you would want to buy retail and found out how much equivalent items go for online, then bid to those limits. Buy only exactly what you need now for sure, not what you think you might need "someday." Build your rack slowly and patiently.


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By Julius Beres
From Boulder, CO
Apr 30, 2010
Rewritten

I'm going to go ahead and disagree with most people that are saying accumulate a rack slowly. What is the point of having 2-3 pieces? You cannot lead with half a rack, so you will be using someone else's gear anyway. If someone with a rack is letting you use some of their stuff, you likely have access to their full rack. The only reason I can see for having a small rack is if you are learning to place gear and want some practice, and perhaps to build top rope anchors. Once you decide you are going to lead, I really think it is an "all or nothing" deal, and you can buy gear much cheaper with discounts (usually a set of 5 cams is 10-20% cheaper than buying full price, throw in another 20% coupon or sale, and you are getting a good deal.)

So, I would say pick an area you like to climb and want to lead. If there are multiple areas close to you, perhaps pick the one that requires less gear.
For example, in Boulder, you might want to first build a light rack that you can use to lead at the Flatirons which has sparse protection, and then add pieces as you move to leading in other areas. That being said, I don't know if I would necessarily recommend learning to lead on routes that are hard to protect.

My suggestion would be to save your money for now and try to climb a lot with different people who have different gear. Experiment if you prefer BD C4 cams or Metolius, etc. It is better to find out you don't like a brand before you pay for it. Once you have the money and know what you want, buy a basic rack (enough pro for most routes, enough slings).

The only thing I would hold back on are "special" pieces. For example, I have #5 & #6 cams, but they are barely used and I only bring them for offwidths and chimneys. I personally like tricams, but most people will climb without them. The other way you can save, initially, is if you are a sport climber, use your quickdraws instead of buying all trad slings (although make sure you have a few, since quickdraws aren't as versatile and can lead to serious rope drag).

Check out deals like:
www.mountaingear.com/pages/product/product.asp/imanf/Black+D>>>

On sale right now for $620, a brand new BD starter rack... full set of nuts, hexes, and cams from .5-#4. I think that would be enough to lead many things. I tend to add the smaller C3 cams and double up the mid sized cams and remove some hexes from my rack, but that can come later.
The discount on their starter rack, however, is about the same as the cumulative discounts if you buy cams/nuts etc by the set. So, I would probably buy:
1 set of cams from .5-3 (5 cams, usually you don't need the 4 anyway)
1 set of nuts
a second set of cams from .75-2 (3 cams)
Add maybe a 0.4, or 1/2 C3 cam

It comes out to about the same amount of money. Look around for online deals.

The only other reason I can see to get half a rack is if you and a friend are getting into leading around the same time. One person could buy a set of cams (.4-3 + some small stuff) and the second person could buy the nuts and doubles on the most important cams. Then combined you would have a decent rack and neither person would have spent too much money. That being said, if you are just getting into trad, you are likely better off with an experienced partner who has a rack anyway...


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By sunder
From Alsip, Il
Apr 30, 2010
ICE PIT 2011

Another place call to see if he can give you a deal on packaging something together is www.mtntools.com... 800-510-2514

They are very nice people and down to earth.


They have a special on the popular sizes of BD cams
#0.4-4 price: $419 (save $47)
mix and match order any 5 cams TAKE 10% OFF!


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By Josh Olson
From madison, wisconsin
Apr 30, 2010
Looking at a 5.7 crack with Nick

Thanks for all the advice. Do any of you trad masters have suggestions to finding these so called mentors? I live in northern Wisconsin, so they aren't exactly hitchhiking on the highways near the crags...


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By Andy Hansen
From Longmont, Colorado
May 1, 2010
Intruder, 5.11+. Zion National Park. Photo: Matt Kuehl

Josh Olson wrote:
Thanks for all the advice. Do any of you trad masters have suggestions to finding these so called mentors? I live in northern Wisconsin, so they aren't exactly hitchhiking on the highways near the crags...


Post in the Midwest forum that you're looking to follow somebody's leads at The Lake or Interstate SP. Most likely they will let you follow their leads- I would.


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By Evan1984
May 1, 2010

Josh Olson wrote:
Thanks for all the advice. Do any of you trad masters have suggestions to finding these so called mentors? I live in northern Wisconsin, so they aren't exactly hitchhiking on the highways near the crags...


Not a trad master, but for me to take out a new climber they must meet certain requirements:

1. Rock solid belay skills (learn to lead belay at a gym or sport crag)
2. Rock solid belay skills (learn to lead belay at a gym or sport crag)
3. Be stoked to climb and available when I'm available.
4. and to a lesser extent contribute in some way be it driving, camp logistics, etc


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By Calvino
From Madison, WI
May 1, 2010
getting ready for the final roof series

Josh, I was just going through gear, and have an assortment of stuff that would be a great starter for you. The gear is used but well maintained (new slings, trigger wires, cleaned, and lubed as needed) There are 7 cams, a set of assorted nuts, and a few biners for $175. I am going to post it as For Sale, but I thought it might be helpful to respond to you.

I am living in Utah, but I have been climbing in Necedah State Park and Devil's Lake, there is great trad climbing out there, and certainly a climbing community (esp in Madison) to link up with.

Good Luck
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By Buff Johnson
May 1, 2010
smiley face

a good nut tool and that piranha knife from Trango.

If you learn the art of tri-cams and hexes, you'll be a solid trad'ster when you work with cams. But the value of recognizing a quick nut slot is gravey.


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By Scott O
From California
May 11, 2010
Batman Pinnacle

www.spadout.com is a great way to get deals.

Acme climbing has some decent package deals. acmeclimbing.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=49
I own a few of the trango flex cams. They're not the nicest, but they work and are a cheap option for cams.


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By Price
From SLC, UT
May 11, 2010

Scott O wrote:
www.spadout.com is a great way to get deals. Acme climbing has some decent package deals. acmeclimbing.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=49 I own a few of the trango flex cams. They're not the nicest, but they work and are a cheap option for cams.



'cept those trango cams probably aren't the best for a begginer. They're not that easy to place.


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By Scott O
From California
May 11, 2010
Batman Pinnacle

Price wrote:
'cept those trango cams probably aren't the best for a begginer. They're not that easy to place.



They're not particularly difficult, either.


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By Ryan Justen
From St. Paul, MN
May 13, 2010
Me Pumped out

I started my rack as a top-rope rack which consisted of a full set of nuts (don't bother buying those individually) and a few hexes.

Here's my word of warning that every other trad climber can attest to: YOU WILL NEVER BE DONE BUILDING YOUR RACK! There's always one more cam or sling or set of doubles that you need.

I would recommend trying a lot of cams to see which you like the most. Most people prefer BD Camalots due to their range, however DMM's new Dragons are the same sizes (and colors) as BD but they have extendable slings, which are AMAZING! Once you find the brand you like, stick to it. It's not fun to figure how to convert from one cam size to another while you're leading. In otherwords work up to a full set in one brand/model and then if you want doubles you could get a second brand, but it' easiest just to own one.


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