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Midwest Climbing Trad Rack Insight


Original Post
Cody Grunenwald · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 0

Hello all,

New to the forum, and first post. I've always loved climbing things, nearly my entire life. I had always known about the existence of rock climbing as a sport, but for some reason it just never really clicked with me when I was younger. I would just climb trees, buildings, rocks, really anything I could, and I had climbed on numerous occasions indoor rock walls, at school, and other places. But only recently have I re-discovered the true adventure and magic of rock climbing again. For so long my life was consumed with training for wrestling, and after my collegiate competition days were finished I had a void in my life. Rock climbing fills that void perfectly, and I've just been diving head first back into it, including building my rack ASAP. Which brings me here. I apologize for the lengthy back story, and also if this is in the wrong forum, as I know it is about gear, but I wanted specific feedback from the midwest climbers!

I currently live in La Crosse WI while finishing up school, and live in Wausau during the summers. But basically I'll be in the midwest most likely for the next 3-4 years, and probably 99% of my climbing will be in the midwest. So i'm kind of a noob when it comes to pro and other gear, i'm just trying to gather a specific list of stuff that I should get for a complete trad rack to climb most, if not all, of the biggest, best, and most fun climbs in the region. Ideally i'd like to know specifically what kind of pro to buy, how many quickdraws, biners, etc (and what kind).. Any insight from all of you experienced midwest climbers would be greatly appreciated!

My gear consists of right now:
Helmet
9.8mm, 60m rope
Rock climbing shoes
Belay device
Harness
Chalk bag + chalk

Thanks in advance for any help!

Mrock87 · · Nashville TN · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 0

To build a solid anchor building kit for top roping I'd get the Devil's Lake guide book, a set of nuts 2 slings each of 2', 4', 8', 15 wire or solid gate biners and 5 lockers, a few 30' pieces of static cord and a mentor or guide.

Add a set of cams and you will have a good rack to get into leading. A buddy and I had Lynn from Apex Adventures give us a day long anchors course and it was great. At the time I didn't have any cams so we mainly focused on passive protection but she had a set of cams so we did get a brief overview on how to use them once I purchased some.

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 190

So...the assumption is that you will begin by toproping at Devil's Lake and then eventually start leading. You can get on a few climbs on the East Rampart with just a few different lengths of tubular webbing if you know how to sling a boulder or tree. They sell it by the foot at REI, Moosejaw, etc and it is super cheap, so it's a nice way to get climbing. You'll also want about 20' of nylon cord that you can tie into a loop to make a cordellette. You'll also want about 5 lockers; 2 for the masterpoint to hang your rope, and one for each arm to connect to the anchor.

Next, I would get a set of nuts. With this, you should be able to get up a decent chunk of climbs and also get some good practice placing gear. I would definitely recommend taking an anchors course and/or climbing with experienced people while you learn the ropes (literally ;) ). A set of hexes will get you up the rest of the climbs in the park, but some people will recommend against them since they're harder to place on lead and most people prefer to just use cams.

You won't need cams until you start leading, but then you'll really want them. Start with the midsize hands (#1, 0.75, 0.5, and 2 BD in that order), then expand your range in both directions (3, eventually finger sizes down to 0.1 in X4/mastercam/Totem Basic, then a big ole 4). You'll likely be climbing with other people who have gear, so you probably won't need doubles for a while.

Cody Grunenwald · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 0

Thank you both for the quick replies, that helps out a lot!

Chris treggE · · Madison, WI · Joined May 2007 · Points: 9,290

I didn't read the trad recommendations from others, but you are close to a few good sport climbing areas too. Get 12 quickdraws. One biner should be keylock if the price is within your range. Grandad's Bluff in LaCrosse is a fantastic place to learn to sport lead. Red Wing (Barn Bluff) is only 90 minutes from you. Necedah is not too far from Wausau. These areas all have good sport routes and all you need to add to your current gear is the draws to start climbing. The new Jay Knower Devils Lake book includes Necedah, and for Red Wing get the Falcon guide to Minnesota and Wisconsin by Farris.

Cody Grunenwald · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 0
Chris treggE wrote:I didn't read the trad recommendations from others, but you are close to a few good sport climbing areas too. Get 12 quickdraws. One biner should be keylock if the price is within your range. Grandad's Bluff in LaCrosse is a fantastic place to learn to sport lead. Red Wing (Barn Bluff) is only 90 minutes from you. Necedah is not too far from Wausau. These areas all have good sport routes and all you need to add to your current gear is the draws to start climbing. The new Jay Knower Devils Lake book includes Necedah, and for Red Wing get the Falcon guide to Minnesota and Wisconsin by Farris.
Thanks Chris, yeah I was definitely planning on doing sport climbing at those places for sure. I've already got my guidebooks ordered! For the quickdraws, do you recommend 12cm or 18cm?
Mikeyy · · Glendale Heights, IL · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 110

To add on to everyone else's recommendation in trad anchors department - don't rely on pre-stitched slings for anchor building. Slings are great when anchor points are close together, like attaching to permanent bolts at a sport climb for example. The areas around here you will run into length problems top-rope trad anchor building:

-Solid trees far from cliff edge need many feet of cord or webbing to reach with your anchor
-better cracks to wedge pro into far apart
-not putting all pro into one crack feature for safety necessitates more cord / webbing
-Undefined, blocky cliff edges that need a bit of anchor material to extend masterpoint over edge safely
- extra length to lock off the master point

I have about 40' of 8 mm rope cut from I carry for this which works, but some would say even more! Also have seperate 15' to sling large boulders or fat trees with double fisherman's loop. Others do same with webbing instead of cord

Can never have enough locking biners either, and junk towels to pad sharp edges

And something to carry all of this in, along with a big jug of water!!

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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