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Does this look like a good Gunks rack?


Original Post
Andrew Alexander · · Ithaca, NY · Joined Nov 2016 · Points: 30

Hi guys! I'm headed to do some stiff multipitch trad in the Gunks this weekend, and thought I'd pull out my dad's old Gunks rack from the 80s. None of it has been used since the Reagan administration, which means it's all still in pretty good shape and pretty safe.

Here's what I've got:

  • a 50m rope
  • a harness that has to be manually double-backed and only has one tie-in point
  • some hexes (a couple made by hand at the University of Chicago student machine shop, others vintage Chouinard Equipment)
  • some nuts (looks like a few have survived a whipper!)
  • a couple rigid-stemmed Friend cams that I hear are great for all the horizontal cracks in the Gunks
  • a plate-style belay device and a figure-8 device
  • some knotted slings
  • a nut tool also handmade at the University of Chicago student machine shop
  • and a bunch of 'biners, most of which are pretty hard to open, but I guess that just makes them safer.

Do you think this is enough? Are there any routes I *shouldn't* try with this?
John Wilder · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,535

This is one of those questions that if you have to ask, you probably shouldn't.

I'd say if you're a solid 5.10 trad leader, you are probably experienced enough to make the call as to whether that's a good enough setup to climb a given pitch at the gunks. If you're not, I'd think long and hard before taking that rack to the gunks...

Floyd Eggers · · Kennewick, WA · Joined Mar 2018 · Points: 251

If you climb with that stuff, just tick it off as a free solo. That stuff does not count as protection.
At least do some falls at home on the gear to make sure its GTG. 

Troy Silber · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2018 · Points: 0

lol do it

Harumpfster Boondoggle · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2018 · Points: 0

2/10

Fredrik Ehne · · Stockholm, Sweden · Joined Mar 2017 · Points: 0

Do it and report back to the thread.

ViperScale . · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 240

Just free solo, if the gear is as old as you say it is I wouldn't trust anything that is not metal to not break.

Before anyone brings it up. Ropes last a long time if stored properly and you know what chemicals it has come in contact with etc. However unless you know 100% it has not had accidental contact with a substance that could destroy it consider it destroyed.

Alan Emery · · Lebanon, NH · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 251
Andrew Alexander wrote: Hi guys! I'm headed to do some stiff multipitch trad in the Gunks this weekend, and thought I'd pull out my dad's old Gunks rack from the 80s. None of it has been used since the Reagan administration, which means it's all still in pretty good shape and pretty safe.

Here's what I've got:
  • a 50m rope
  • a harness that has to be manually double-backed and only has one tie-in point
  • some hexes (a couple made by hand at the University of Chicago student machine shop, others vintage Chouinard Equipment)
  • some nuts (looks like a few have survived a whipper!)
  • a couple rigid-stemmed Friend cams that I hear are great for all the horizontal cracks in the Gunks
  • a plate-style belay device and a figure-8 device
  • some knotted slings
  • a nut tool also handmade at the University of Chicago student machine shop
  • and a bunch of 'biners, most of which are pretty hard to open, but I guess that just makes them safer.

Do you think this is enough? Are there any routes I *shouldn't* try with this?

It looks like the picture is about 20+ years old.

Harold Sutton · · Syracuse NY · Joined 24 days ago · Points: 0

Andrew, The one time i made it down there It was helpful to have a assortment of cams for all the Horizontal creaks you will find (I see 2 above).  

If your really comfortable leading a 50' run out because you've ran out of gear give it a go !  

But in all reality you would probably be safer soloing everything than worrying about your life on that old gear.  There are tons of low grade routes that you could likely lead with 2 or 3 pieces, but this is really bad practice and puts your partner and the rest of the community at the crag at risk in the event you fall.  I don't know if you could even safely Top Rope with that setup.  Your much safer getting some newer gear and knowing you and your partner can depend on.  Then Again we all have different ideas of acceptable risk exposure.  

Heck I have a spare harness I would loan you if we were going down to the Gunks. Shoot me a PM and maybe we can get a trip together, i am just up in Syracuse and always looking for people to climb with.

Andrew Alexander · · Ithaca, NY · Joined Nov 2016 · Points: 30

Just to be clear, guys, I posted this as a historical curiosity––not actually planning on USING any of this gear!   I'm pretty sure that webbing will crumble if you even LOOK at it for too long.

(Well, I'm tempted to use the nut tool... but it weighs about five pounds.  )

Andrew Alexander · · Ithaca, NY · Joined Nov 2016 · Points: 30
Alan Emery wrote:

It looks like the picture is about 20+ years old.

Hey, I took that picture this afternoon! But yeah, the paint on my deck is definitely about that old 0.o

slim · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2004 · Points: 1,107

looks like the perfect rack for directississima.  do it in one pitch.

JSH · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2007 · Points: 961

1982 called, it wants its troll back!

SeƱor Arroz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 10

Definitely take a wire brush to that nut tool. Otherwise good to go. Drive over in your DeLorean.

Troy S · · Somerville, MA · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 75

Throw in an Elderid Ohm and you should be good to go.

rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 525

Troll?  I'll pretend not...

By modern standards of protection, and forgetting about whatever reduction in strength there has been in what might be forty year-old webbing, that rack is inadequate for "stiff multipitch trad."  You don't have enough total pieces, you don't have a good size variety, and the cams have to be equipped with Gunks tie-off loops or they won't be worth much in horizontal cracks. Don't know how many carabiners you have, but you don't have enough slings.  You might manage ok if you do under 30 meter leads and can avoid building gear belay anchors (which otherwise will consume half your rack). You might have to rig opposed nuts in horizontals, an almost forgotten skill in this age of cams.  Forty years ago there were probably more decent fixed pins around, and this might have made that rack a little more plausible, but if that is all your dad had he probably combined with others.  

If you don't mind R-rated runouts on relatively easy ground, you might see how some of the 5.1's to 5.3's feel, but I'd strongly recommend finding someone with appropriate modern gear and cimbling skill and experience to go with it and at least experience some of the climbing with good gear before you even think about trying it with that ancient rig.
Christopher Woodall · · Somerville, MA · Joined May 2015 · Points: 138

I'd say just add a pink tricam and you are good to go

James Sweeney · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 30

  (845) 255-0919

 Ask them to send Bob Elsinger. He'll get to you.

Andrew Child · · Santa Clara · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 660

Just do a gunks tie off on those friends and you should be good.

petzl logic · · Montreal, QC · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 0

whisky mike is looking for a partner 

Troy Silber · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2018 · Points: 0

The nut tool is really my favorite.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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