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Expanding the desert rack question

Original Post
NickO · · Utah · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 35

I have fallen in love with the desert and would like to spend more time climbing cracks. I have doubles in C4s to #3 and singles of 4-6. I was going to get triples in hand sizes but often see pro recommendations of 2.5 or 3.5 and figured it would be best to get a different brand to fill in some gaps of in between sizes. At a quick glance, it seems that all brands of hand sized cams cover roughly the same range. Is it worth looking for older versions of BD cams that are sized differently or is there a brand that you like to supplement your desert rack with or am I simply overthinking it all? Thanks!

D Condit · · Colorado Springs, CO · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 95

You're probably over-thinking. My rack is mostly old style. I found for desert crack climbing it helped to have 3-4 #2 (yellow) Camalots. However, if adding now I would suggest a couple Link Cams as it might give more versatility. Another option is to buy a 40 of malt liquor to boost your courage and then run it out with your current rack.

Sunny-D · · SLC, Utah · Joined Aug 2006 · Points: 700

Metolius and older Wild Country fit the bill nicely for the odd sizes between BDs sizing check them out. I like having different brands on my rack.

NickO · · Utah · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 35

Appreciate the feedback. Budget constraints may lead to the 40oz option. How many 40's equal a new cam? Who cares. 40s it is.

Greg Gavin · · SLC, UT · Joined Oct 2008 · Points: 766

Nick in my experience the funky size gaps are small BD 0.3 and lower which Metolius blues and purples cover. Next comes tight 0.75's that Red Metolius covers, and then tight #1's which Black metolius covers. Baggy #3's and Tight #4's get covered really well by WC 3.5's and 4's. Right now just get whatever's cheapest or if you wanna be a baller just get a small run of metolius cams and couple larger WC's. If you live in SLC go to The Gear Room, and you can get most cams for super cheap both used/new. Or if you go to Moab hit up the Moab Gear Trader for super cheap used cams.

Bill Czajkowski · · Albuquerque, NM · Joined Oct 2008 · Points: 30

I expanded my desert rack here on MP buying used, mostly Camalots. Not small stuff, but mostly 1s and up. Got 'em reslung just to be safe. I have some other brands of cams and mostly find that the others just confuse things. Trying to figure out whether I want the black or red Metolius cams with the green or purple BD cams or the green Alien with the yellow Metolius, etc., is more aggravating than it's worth.

So, if I had it to do over again, I'd just stick with the BD standard sizes in all of the C4 sizes. For smaller stuff I'd probably continue to have a mix.

With one exception - I do have one red Totem cam which, as far as I can tell, is the same size as a BD #1 and I really like it. So yeah, still standard size even though it mixes the brands.

George Perkins · · The Dungeon, NM · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 3,019

I may still be stuck in ~2005, but I still like the 4 OP link cams as my go-to "3rd set" of cams for varied-size crack climbs that I don't expect to take stoppers well. In addition to covering the gap sizes, it's nice to not think about whether I should be bringing 2, 3 or 4 of a purple, green, or red-size cam on a given route, it's covered. Buyer beware: many people dislike them for valid reasons, primarily weight and walking tendencies.

However, if a #0.3 C4 is your smallest currently, your first purchase should be some micro-cams smaller than a #0.3 (i.e., buy 1 ea. #0.2 and #0.1 X4s, or equivalent in Metolius, C3s, Aliens, Zeros, etc.). I agree that mismatching brands is more useful in the finger size and smaller ranges compared to the larger sizes.

You will also sooner or later likely want a 2nd #4 C4 and a 3rd #3 C4 (or non-BD at similar sizes) for climbs with substantial wide hands/fists. Unless you masochistically seek them out, you won't be climbing many cracks that need more than 1 of the #5 or #6.

If a route calls for more than 3-4 of any given size (usually happens only at the Creek or other Moab-area sandstone cracks), then I'm typically happy with whatever I can get my hands on, starting with my partners' rack(s) or whatever old gear I have laying around, but I would be unlikely to buy new gear just for the sake of making that happen.

grog m · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 70

Dont bother getting 3.5s or in between sizes. The new cams are made to overlap enough. And typically if it doesnt fit in one place, you can go with deeper, or higher, or lower placement and it will fit.

doligo · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2008 · Points: 269

My most used off-size cams at the Creek are: #2 Friend or Black Metoli, #3 Friend, Orange, Yellow and Blue Metoli. Also #3.5 Friend (it's not really an in-between size as it mostly overlaps with #3 C4, but I like the weight saving when the climb calls for a lot of #3 Camalots). Not so often-used but when you need it, really need it, sizes are old #3.5 Camalot and #1.5 Friend - these are very climb-specific and I wouldn't rush to get them unless you stumble upon those climbs.

I don't like OP Linkcams at the Creek - heavy, expensive and not very confidence inspiring.

rkrum · · Here and there · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 75
grog m aka Greg McKee wrote:Dont bother getting 3.5s or in between sizes. The new cams are made to overlap enough. And typically if it doesnt fit in one place, you can go with deeper, or higher, or lower placement and it will fit.
I strongly disagree with this. There is definitely a size gap in the 3-6 c4 range. The worst, imo is 4 to 5, and this happens to be a still terrible size for me. The bd old 4 or 5 friend fills this perfectly. There are cracks where a new 4 is hopelessly tipped out but a 5 is absolutely not going to fit into the crack.

At the small end, red Metolius I don't find very useful but black Metolius/2 friend is a great sized piece to have. Red alien and smaller complement bd sizes nicely.
NickO · · Utah · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 35

Thanks everyone. I do have small cams (C3 and TCU) but left that out since I am newer to crack climbing and will mostly be on the hand/fist sized cracks and maybe some easier finger cracks. When you talk about Metolius cams are people using the fat cams or power cams? Supercams? Cheers

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Trad Climbing
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