Basic kit for starting aid climbing


Original Post
Daniel T · · Riverside, Ca · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 15

What are the basic components of a kit I should look to get to start aid climbing? I have a 95% full trad rack so Im looking for Aid only gear add-ons.

The the only few extras I can think of are:
aiders, 2 pcs
Assenders, 2 pcs
micro stoppers, 1 set?

Jason Todd · · Cody, WY · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 643

Cam hooks
Lobotomy

nathanael · · Riverside, CA · Joined May 2011 · Points: 204

malt liquor
cigarettes
gri gri
cam hooks
bird beaks
pitons
hammer
copper heads
fukness device
etc

Karsten Duncan · · Sacramento, CA · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 2,145

Well, you on the right path.

Don't forget 2 daily chains either the standard sewn loop style or the adjustable ones. If you use the standard ones you'll also need a fifi hook.

For gear, micronuts are good, also maybe a couple of hooks. Skyhook and Talon are good first hooks to start with. Eventually the 3-4 of the smaller offset cams can be nice too. If you'll be hauling a bag you'll either need to use the ascenders with a large pulley or have a dedicated wall-hauler.

Karsten Duncan · · Sacramento, CA · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 2,145

oh and 40 Gu packets and a liter of water.

Robert Rowsam · · Grand Junction, CO · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 30

-fifi hook (maybe even an adjustable one)
-Offset stoppers (all sizes)
-Set of offset cams
-Good approach shoes for climbing in
-Haul bag maybe
-Partner who doesnt mind belaying 2-3 hours for a single pitch
-Low self-esteem
-Gear sling
-Potato chips
-If in a party of 3: Good book/Gameboy/Pillow
-Tobacco
-Ice tool
-Stick Clip

King Tut · · Citrus Heights · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 200
Karsten wrote:Well, you on the right path. Don't forget 2 daily chains either the standard sewn loop style or the adjustable ones.
He meant "Daisy" chains. You use them to clip your harness to the piece so you can sit on it, bounce test etc and if the piece pops you don't lose it.

You also (if you are serious) should get a big wall harness. Lotsa hanging in it and they are made tougher to handle the wear and stress.

You also want Aiders x4 imo (two sets of two), that saves a lot of time. When jugging you clip the extra one to your harness as a back up also though some people are jugging with only one ascender and a gri-gri these days.
Karsten Duncan · · Sacramento, CA · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 2,145

Thanks Tut,
Yes, a daisy chain is what I meant.

There are many ways people use the aiders too. As Tut says many use a 4 aider system.

2 Aiders system (one aider per daisy)
Pros- simple, low clutter, cheaper
Cons- at times awkward, less stable, potentially more jerky to move up and could pop very delicate placements
Ideal use- easy aid, speed climbing, mixed aid/free climbing

4 Aider system (used as 2 sets of 2 aider on each daisy)
Pros- very stable, easier to move smoothly (less bouncing of delicate placements), your not screwed if you drop one
Cons- can get tangled easily, double the cost, slower in general, free climbing more cumbersome
Ideal use-hard aid

3 Aider system (one aider per daisy + a "floater")
Pros- can use floater when more delicate aid required of just for comfort, less clutter than 4 aider system, extra aider if you drop one, sort of a hybrid of the above methods, floater aider can be shared - leader always carrying it.
Cons- usually 3rd aider not attached to you so easier to drop

Abdullah Mourad · · Elk Grove, CA · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 0
Karsten wrote:4 Aider system (used as 2 sets of 2 aider on each daisy) Pros- very stable, easier to move smoothly (less bouncing of delicate placements), your not screwed if you drop one Cons- can get tangled easily, double the cost, slower in general, free climbing more cumbersome Ideal use-hard aid
n00b here looking to start aid climbing and reading everything I can about it...

Can you explain why the 4 aider system is more stable? I understand how you move up using 2 aiders, but how do you accomplish that with 4 and why is there less bouncing etc.
BigB · · Red Rock, NV · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 5

^ Instead of standing on one ladder in a awkward stance you can spread your legs and get a balanced stance(triangle vs I)

Abdullah Mourad · · Elk Grove, CA · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 0
BigB wrote:^ Instead of standing on one ladder in a awkward stance you can spread your legs and get a balanced stance(triangle vs I)
Totally makes sense. Didn't even consider that. Thanks!
King Tut · · Citrus Heights · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 200
atmourad wrote: Totally makes sense. Didn't even consider that. Thanks!
Yea, you don't need two to try aid climbing, but, if you spend 3 days on a route 4 make all the difference in the world.

Typically you sit on the piece in your harness while you determine the next piece and where its going to go...then you stand up in your aiders to place it. That triangle makes that very balanced, the "I" in one aider makes it pretty delicate and balancy. Also on steep ground the triangle can be used to push you up against your daisy point extending your reach. You can't really do that as remotely efficiently with one. Its strenuous work and 4 is more efficient for long steep routes. Don't underestimate the required stomach muscle and lower back muscle fitness that makes it doable versus epic.

If I was aiding short sections on predominantly non-steep mixed-free routes (ie Half Dome) then you can get by with two easily.
john strand · · southern colo · Joined May 2008 · Points: 1,575

More biners than you can imagine

Daniel T · · Riverside, Ca · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 15
King Tut wrote: You also (if you are serious) should get a big wall harness
I am kind of serious I want to be able to have some fun but I'm not looking to aid up el cap if that the kind of serious you mean. Im mostly looking to expand my skill set and try out some new styles of climbing. It seems pretty hard to find aid routes here in the Southern Ca area.
kevin deweese · · Oakland, Ca · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 200
Daniel T wrote: I am kind of serious I want to be able to have some fun but I'm not looking to aid up el cap if that the kind of serious you mean. Im mostly looking to expand my skill set and try out some new styles of climbing. It seems pretty hard to find aid routes here in the Southern Ca area.
If you're in SoCal, Riverside Quarry is a fantastic place to practice your aid (both hammered and clean) with plenty of bolts nearby if you're aiding on a line near a sport route (obviously no nailing if you're near the freeclimbing routes but there's plenty of aid routes there that are nailing routes no here near the sport routes.)

http://www.bigwall.com/aidguide.html for the deets
King Tut · · Citrus Heights · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 200
Daniel T wrote: I am kind of serious I want to be able to have some fun but I'm not looking to aid up el cap if that the kind of serious you mean. Im mostly looking to expand my skill set and try out some new styles of climbing. It seems pretty hard to find aid routes here in the Southern Ca area.
It still can take you hour(s) to climb a pitch when you are just starting. But if you have a harness already you can try it out with that.

Trust me, discomfort is a huge part of aid climbing. Regular climbing is generally vastly more comfortable if it does challenge your fitness in other ways.
apoet · · AZ · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 183
Daniel T wrote: I am kind of serious I want to be able to have some fun but I'm not looking to aid up el cap if that the kind of serious you mean. Im mostly looking to expand my skill set and try out some new styles of climbing. It seems pretty hard to find aid routes here in the Southern Ca area.
I wouldn't buy a big wall harness until you climb enough aid that you know you need one (because your hips are bleeding when you get done).
Moof · · Portland, OR · Joined Dec 2007 · Points: 0

+1 for the labotomy.

Get some aiders and daisies (or improvise using spare webbing and such). Go pick a route to either TR solo, or lead if you can find a sucker to belay. Choose the route to fit the gear you have and practice laps until you are SURE you want to stick with this idiocy.

Aid is most enjoyable in hindsight. Rarely is it fun in the moment.

jc5462 · · Hereford, Arizona · Joined Dec 2007 · Points: 0

2 daisy chains
4 aiders
Fifi hook(s)
Fingerless gloves
Safety glasses
2 sets go hooks ( talon, grappling hook, cliffhanger, leeper pointed micro, narrow, wide and fragil flake cam hooks)
Selection of birdbeaks, peckers and tomahawks
Wall hammer
Funkness and cleaning sling
Selection of heads
Small wire brush, punch and dulled chisel with tethers
Selection of pitons ( 6-12 knife blades, 10-15 lost arrows, 2 each angles and "Z,s"
Micro nut set
Offset nuts
Tie off loops
Scream- aids
As many oval carabiners as you can get ( then get some more)
Double gear sling
Belay seat
Haul bag
Poop tube
Water jugs with slings and covered in duct tape
Rolls of tape, tincture of benzoin, nail clippers, Emory board & superglue
Comfy boots with stiff sole
Durable pants (cathartt with double fronts)
Ascenders
2 static ropes
Smaller diameter tag line
Helmet (if you don't already own)

A knowledgeable mentor, willing partners

Psych meds, willlingness to endure pain, scars

I'm sure I left something out. You can never have enough gear

This in addition to standard free/ trad rack!

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 136
jc5462 wrote:2 daisy chains 4 aiders Fifi hook(s) Fingerless gloves Safety glasses 2 sets go hooks ( talon, grappling hook, cliffhanger, leeper pointed micro, narrow, wide and fragil flake cam hooks) Selection of birdbeaks, peckers and tomahawks Wall hammer Funkness and cleaning sling Selection of heads Small wire brush, punch and dulled chisel with tethers Selection of pitons ( 6-12 knife blades, 10-15 lost arrows, 2 each angles and "Z,s" Micro nut set Offset nuts Tie off loops Scream- aids As many oval carabiners as you can get ( then get some more) Double gear sling Belay seat Haul bag Poop tube Water jugs with slings and covered in duct tape Rolls of tape, tincture of benzoin, nail clippers, Emory board & superglue Comfy boots with stiff sole Durable pants (cathartt with double fronts) Ascenders 2 static ropes Smaller diameter tag line Helmet (if you don't already own) A knowledgeable mentor, willing partners Psych meds, willlingness to endure pain, scars I'm sure I left something out. You can never have enough gear This in addition to standard free/ trad rack!
This is a good list except for the following which a beginner shouldn't be getting into:
Hooks
Beaks, peckers, tomahawks
Hammer
Heads
Punch, chisel
Pitons
Scream-aids

People new to aid climbing should be sticking to clean aid until they get a feel for it, especially if they aren't trying to do big walls like the OP. This means no pitons, hammer, heads, punch, chisel. At the beginner level, hooks aren't necessary and shouldn't be used without extensive instruction from a knowledgeable teacher/guide/mentor. Beginning aid climbers also shouldn't be getting into a situation where they need a screamer or scream-aid.

I would also add ballnuts and offset micro nuts to the protection list. And your gonna need a whole lot more than 95% of a rack. More like doubles of most cams, triples of some, multiple sets of nuts in all/most shapes and sizes. Add in large cams (#5,#6) and maybe some big bros if you're desert aiding.
Karsten Duncan · · Sacramento, CA · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 2,145

Lots of good points above. I felt that I must also inform you of the traditional recommendation provided to all budding aid climbers - You're gonna die. That is all.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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