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Moving from starter rack to intermediary rack

Original Post
Irish 86 · · Montréal · Joined Feb 2010 · Points: 0

I am getting back into climbing after 4-5 years of hiatus (other passion and activities kept me buys but I knew I would be back on the rock eventually).  I dusted off my safely stored rack sent most of it to Mtn Tools for reslinging, bought new webbing and a new harness. I most climb single and short multi-pitch route (Northeast, QC, NH, VT, MN, NY, etc...).

My current rack is what I consider a "starter rack plus" (I have little bit more than the base).

  • 3 small Metolius Cam (1 to 3)
  • 10 BD Cam (#0.3 to #6)
  • Set of Camp Tricam (PINK FOR THE WIN !!!)
  • Set of Wildcountry Hex
  • Set of BD nuts
  • Set of DMM offset nuts
Anyway, it decent although being away from the climbing news in couple of years I noticed a lot of new offering for cam (X4, ultralight, new aliens, dragon cam, etc...).  I am not certain what piece I should start adding or doubling.  I used to be very proficient with nuts (the offset DMM are awesome) therefore I am considering 0.5/0.75 X4, maybe offset, #1/#2 ultralight camalot, doubling small cam with some alien revolution.  I am not considering very large cam since I am unlikely to climb places that requires two #6.  What news gear did you found was really helpful in the recent years ?
Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 212

Have you heard of Totems?

Irish 86 · · Montréal · Joined Feb 2010 · Points: 0

I have seen them online but honestly I don't understand the hype/aura these seems to have.  Maybe it because I haven't played with any of them in my hands.  I recalled I stop climbing and the totems were barely becoming available where I was.  So please my good sir, inform me about why people seem to be crazy about these...

Edit: I just watched couple of YT video. Yup I am getting some of these now :D

Bill Lawry · · Albuquerque, NM · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,691

I like your rack as it is. :)

I’d just add two or three modem micro cams as you mentioned. For that I have BD C3’s which I understand have been replaced by BD with X4s (?).

Adam Fleming · · Moab · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 310
Irish Noname wrote: I have seen them online but honestly I don't understand the hype/aura these seems to have.  Maybe it because I haven't played with any of them in my hands.  I recalled I stop climbing and the totems were barely becoming available where I was.  So please my good sir, inform me about why people seem to be crazy about these...

Edit: I just watched couple of YT video. Yup I am getting some of these now :D

In my opinion they're not worth the hype unless you're aid climbing or placing in a lot of flares and pin scars. One other benefit is the narrower head width (they're about the same as an x4). People rave about the black totem like it can litterally never fail; it may have a higher strength than similar small cams, but it can still be placed poorly or used in bad rock. 

I would opt for ultralights before totems. 
Irish 86 · · Montréal · Joined Feb 2010 · Points: 0

I never liked the C3 stems and that why I got small Metolius back in the day.  Alien used to be super hard to get in Canada but MEC now carry them as online purpose.  So I am considering maybe 1/2+3/4 small alien with one 0.5/.75 offset X4 and couple of the fore mention Totem cam for the bigger sizing.   I had forgotten how expensive/impulsive rack purchase could be :P

My concern for expending my rack is that I won't have access to my partner's rack.  My new climbing partner is my SO and she won't be buying gear additional gear.  Climbing anchor-less route means that using a cam of two for both bottom and top anchor means that my selection of available gear gets limited very quickly.  This being said, trad climbing is about the adventure and not being overly prepare with a triple rack on a 60' route.

JCM · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 95

I would suggest you just start climbing on your current rack. It is sufficient for now, and it should become obvious with mileage at your local areas what gear you are missing.

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,931
JCM wrote: I would suggest you just start climbing on your current rack. It is sufficient for now, and it should become obvious with mileage at your local areas what gear you are missing.

I agree with this. You have a good range of gear, which suits the variety of places you climb.

A couple thoughts - if you climb in the Gunks you will probably like a few more cams in the small fingers - one inch range.  If you climb 5.9 or harder (anywhere) get some micronuts ("wires") for the thin seams that are so common on hard routes.
Daniel James · · Chicago / it's complicated · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 1,219

The answer depends on what you want to do, where you climb, and how hard you are climbing.  For example, here in England with a lot of face climbs and slabs, tiny cams and microwires have been a really useful addition.  But when I was climbing long cracks in Kentucky or Devil's Tower, it was more important for me to double up on my most common cam sizes.  

So yeah, the answer is "it depends" though most likely the answer would be either getting some tiny cams (my #0 mastercam is my most fallen on piece), picking up some microwires, or doubling up on some of the cam sizes. I guess then unless it is really obvious based on your local crags just go with what JCM said.

Jon Frisby · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 120

rack seems solid. Maybe eventually double up on .4-1 or 2. I've heard hexes can be refashioned into cool door handles and such

Bill Lawry · · Albuquerque, NM · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,691
Jon Frisby wrote: rack seems solid. Maybe eventually double up on .4-1 or 2. I've heard hexes can be refashioned into cool door handles and such

Oh man - a set of hexes is what you add when the beta sez double cams.

The ilk of Indian Creek withstanding.
Albert B · · On the road · Joined Apr 2018 · Points: 10

Looks good. 

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,931
Bill Lawry wrote:

Oh man - a set of hexes is what you add when the beta sez double cams.


True this. Sadly too many folks are too eager to get doubles and triples and never bothered to learn how to use hexes.

Irish 86 · · Montréal · Joined Feb 2010 · Points: 0
Gunkiemike wrote:

... get some micronuts ("wires") for the thin seams that are so common on hard routes.

Dear god I had forgotten about micronuts.  I think my previous partner had peenuts or something similar those were great to fit in place that nothing else would.

m Mobes · · MDI, ME · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 910

Consumerism will not help your rack, go climbing and maybe you'll know if you need more.

Soft Catch · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2018 · Points: 0

There is no such thing as a starter rack, intermediate rack, advanced rack...

Trad gear is trad gear and there is nothing specific to any level of climbing difficulty or skill.

Bill Lawry · · Albuquerque, NM · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,691

 My rack noticeably evolved when I went from what I would say is a beginner leader  to intermediate. Mostly in the area of added tiny gear.

 But the terminology  to so describe a rack does not seem very useful in general. 

Buck Rio · · MN · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 10

You don't have a beginner rack, Dude, you have a rack made for the places you climb the most.

If anything I would get doubles (of whatever brand you like) of .5-#3 Camalot range. I think Totem cover that range if you so desire, I'm sure that would be handy, people seem to love them once they make the plunge.

Gwillim · · Milwaukie, Or · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 42

I am a big fan of the X4s. That said, your rack is not insignificant as it is.  With the exception of really long routes or splitters requiring doubles or triples, you should be well set for your needs.  Get climbing and figure it out along they way.  When you finish a route or a day of climbing, contemplate what you feel you were missing, and whether or not it's worth the investment.  You might find that you don't need anything.  If you "want" to buy something, I would bet you'd find some joy in the X4s.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Trad Climbing
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