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Best Big Wall Aid 'Biners

Original Post
Zach Ciaglia · · Normal, Illinois · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 71

I have a Yosemite trip planned for May, I'm building my aid rack. I am looking for some discussion on personal favorite, theoretical best, and actual best big wall aid 'biners. Not really looking for price comparisons, just performance and results!

Some things I have learned over the years:
- Hooks snagging blow
- Large racks (gear) blow
- loose gates blow

What I would like is:
- No snagging hooks
- a smaller rack
- stiff gates

I have a nano 22, I HATE how loose the gate feels. I really like the BD Oz 'biner. At 28g, full sized, and no snags, that's what I'm leaning towards. Somebody talk me into something else!


James Willis · · Gilbert, Arizona · Joined May 2013 · Points: 170

try the petzl ange biners. wiregate, pretty small and light. They are expensive.

Mark Hudon · · Lives on the road · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 415

Biners are far from what you should be worrying about as far as wall climbing goes. Your technical ability is going to play a far more important role in getting up any wall. Get your wall systems figured out. Get your anchor system, your haul system, your cleaning system and your wall living system (and about 6 other systems) down pat before worrying about biners. You ain't gonna fail because of hook nosed carabiners.

Zach Ciaglia · · Normal, Illinois · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 71

I've got an Ange on my keychain for opening bottles. I like 'em but the price is just too darn high.


Mark Hudon wrote:You ain't gonna fail because of...
Its sounds as if you have a few walls under your belt. I am going to keep your words in mind as I reprioritize my efforts to areas that will have the most impact towards success.

I've been subconsciously playing around with the Nano 22 and it feels way nicer in my hands then when I fist tried it out.
Mark Hudon · · Lives on the road · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 415

Head over to the Big Wall forum....

Yeah, I've done a few walls.

I've written hundreds of posts about big wall climbing and not one of them has been about "the best big wall biner".

Moof · · Portland, OR · Joined Dec 2007 · Points: 25

Ovals. BD classic ovals.

kidding aside, it pretty much does not matter. The snagless gates are a nice to have for your draws on overhanging bolt ladders like WFLT has, but it will barely make a difference in your speed or success rate. Take whatever you have that works for you. The tiny biners can be obnoxious with gloved hands, so I tend to put them only on my small cams where it makes little difference.

Practice with your gear is more important than the gear itself by a mile. You will flame out cleaning overhangs and traverses with bad technique no matter what gear you bring without rigorous practice. Wasting a tiny bit more energy and time to deal with the occasional snag from a hooked gate will barely be noticeable compared to struggling on traversing and overhung pitching

Same with hauling. A poorly arranged haul will DESTROY you in one pitch, a well setup one will only be work (a ton of work). Having a 5% more efficient pulley will be hardly noticeable if you setup with a bad stance, or set the hauler too low.

Just leading a pitch can take 2 hours, or 30 minutes just depending on how much practice you have. Aider style and daisy arrangement can make 10-20% difference at most, but doing laps in your practice session can halve your lead time.

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 456

Chris Mac says to try to use biners on the lighter side since you're going to be carrying a ton of them. I guess if you were going to go out and buy a bunch instead of just using what you have I'd go with with something like BD oz or WC Helium or Astro.

SRB25 · · Woodside, ca · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 5

Yeah what Mark said! By the way Mark, I saw you on a news story a few days ago. Was a weekend edition (maybe KTVU in SF) on Yosemite stuff. Interviews of the ranger staff, enviro and climbing. I think it was the Ahwahnee ledge hawk footage.

Mark Hudon · · Lives on the road · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 415

Oh! Cool! That was such a cool experience.
Check it out.…

All biners these days are light. Don't worry about it, you won't fail because of biners.

End of discussion.

T Roper · · the gym · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 865

Mark, you have any suggestions on big wall pants and can I get them at REI cause I'm a member?

Mark Hudon · · Lives on the road · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 415

I had a few pair of Patagonia Simple Guide Pants that I really liked. They don't make those anymore. I recently found some Kuhl pants that fit me well that I think will be good.
I'm a real weenie about being too hot or cold, but I really don't like being hot. My pants for the most are in the lighter side.

Zach Ciaglia · · Normal, Illinois · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 71

I did a fair amount of research on you as soon as you posted. I WILL be taking your advise to heart. Focus on the thing that will make or break the attempt, not what will make things marginally more comfortable.

Efficiency seems key for such an endurance based objective. I'll take note on your advise.

T Roper,
Big Wall pants sounds like a small detail I might of passed up. I'll be sure to have a synthetic pair with me!

Thanks for all the wise words you guys. You're giving me far more then I hoped for with this post.

Mark Hudon · · Lives on the road · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 415

Contact me anytime if you have questions, I'm happy to help.
I'll be in the Valley for parts of March, April, May and June also.

NorCalNomad · · San Francisco · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 105
Zach Ciaglia wrote:Mark, Its sounds as if you have a few walls under your belt
Mark Hudon wrote: Yeah, I've done a few walls.
Paul Hutton · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 721

I'll be one of two to offer insight, even though I assume you suck at big wall climbing because it's implied that you know nothing, because you're asking about one detail that could be pertinent to efficiency on a big wall. Stay away from small biners (Nano). They're tedious for people with big fingers; cold fingers; gloved fingers, and in your case, many items on one biner, such as lanyard; trad piece, foot ladder. Get biners with lots of clearance between the gate and spine, and down in the bottom at the corner of the spine (if wanting D biners vs ovals).

Kevin Mokracek · · Burbank · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 215

Photons, cheap, light and large gate opening.

Mark Hudon · · Lives on the road · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 415

Your biner "system" is far more important.

I've become a fan of the color coded biner/cam idea. My anchor kit is three, large auto lockers. I've banned triple lockers from any wall I'm part of. I have a huge auto locker as the first biner on my haulbags. I use a DMM Oval locker to attach my bags, (via a Micro Trax) to the haul line.

I'm not a fan of the really small biners. You're going to have to reach around and get to those biners in all sorts of weird positions and a larger (larger than tiny) biner is easier to grab and operate. Imagine reaching into a box of needles and trying to grab one vs. reaching into a box of pencils.
I rack nuts, pins and rivet hangers on key lock biners. Pins (this is a non issue if you are placing very few pins on your route) are racked on oval, key lock biners.
The biners at the ends of my daisies are Edelrid "Sliders". They are the smallest and lightest auto locking biner available and I want an auto locker on my immediately "safety" system (my jugs and when moving about the anchor).
I have a large auto locker permanently tied into the belay loop of my harness to give me a dedicated, free and clear biner to tie into when I'm cleaning.

Don't forget that ALL of the walls done in the Golden Era of Yosemite climbing were climbed with far, far less sophisticated biners than you now have.

Fat Dad · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 60

While I guess it might be relevant if you're looking to invest in a bunch of biners, I can't ever recall thinking about biners as an issue to consider when prepping for a wall. As others have said, getting your system dialed is a far bigger issue. Practice placing and weighting gear and moving in your aiders. As Mark last said, people put up most big routes with what would now be seen as primitive gear. Some basic all around skills and grit will be your biggest assets.

Billcoe · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 655

I had to look up triple locker biners that Mark notes in his piles of good advise there. As soon as I saw it I went "Doh" ..of course. Outdoor gearlabs has a pretty good description of that and other locking methods and it's a worthy read and addition to this discussion.

Fat Dad · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 60
Moof wrote:Ovals. BD classic ovals.
I used to use the SMC ovals. I just found a bunch at the bottom of my old FISH haulbag when I was cleaning out the garage. Ovals were nice before people started using dedicated pairs of aiders (for the benefit of the younger kids, people often put a single aider on a single biner) because you could clip alot into them and you didn't get an uncomfortable, sudden shift when you weighted one aider vs. the other (which you did when you used a pair shape biner). Honestly, getting rid of all that iron, which was essential, makes a far bigger difference than lighter biners. Still, if you have comparable biners that are distinguishable only by weight, go with the lighter ones.
Dana Bartlett · · CT · Joined Nov 2003 · Points: 890
T Roper wrote:Mark, you have any suggestions on big wall pants and can I get them at REI cause I'm a member?
Gee, nobody responded to this.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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