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What's in your Sierra rack?

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What's in your Sierra rack?

Postby SierraSummits » Thu Nov 22, 2012 1:03 am

After a couple of years of consistent climbing and a fair amount of class 3 and 4 scrambling I'm ready to build an alpine rack. Looking for suggestions on what others have in their rack and why. Currently have a set of C4's and nuts. I plan on doubling up on the C4's and adding mastercams or maybe waiting for spring for the x4's. I have a 9.7 70m rope ... too much weight? Suggestions on moderate alpine routes? Swiss arete looks interesting or maybe Lone Pine north ridge .... though looks like many climb that free.

Might as well also open this up to your favorite gear in general ... cams, ropes, tents, bivy sacks, whatever else as well.
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Re: What's in your Sierra rack?

Postby RickF » Thu Nov 22, 2012 2:16 am

Although I've climbed some challenging Sierra Peaks, here's some advice from someone who's more peakbagger and skier than rock & ice climber. just collect all the pro/gear to make a good basic trad rack. Then for Sierra backcontry alpine climbs pare your gear down to the minimum you'll need for the particular route. There's no need to carry excess pro & rope. You can get beta on the routes from this forum, guide books, and just talking to people who've done the climbs.

Other than being easy to place in a big crack, those C4's are bulky to pack and heavy to carry. If the route goes without, leave those monsters home. Nuts & stoppers take a little more patience to place but tend to walk around less and are lighter and more compact.

A lot of Sierra peaks have only short technical crux sections and ample belay ledges between pitches. So unless you know you're gonna encounter a mega-long rappel you probably won't need the 70 meter rope. Again it depends on the route. If you just need a belay through a short exposed section without risk of taking a big whipper, you might find that a 8mm x 30 meter rope will do the job.

Take some advice from climber/author Mark Twight, sometimes lighter and faster is safer.
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Re: What's in your Sierra rack?

Postby Vitaliy M. » Thu Nov 22, 2012 7:42 am

It depends on what kind of routes you are looking to do. Climbing North Arete on Matterhorn Peak will require a different rack than climbing Mithril Dihedral on Russell.
Personally I have a set of Metolious cams, a set of BD cams (which makes it a double rack), and a set of offset metolious cams that are very useful for climbs in Yosemite Valley (pinscars).
Usually with a double rack to #2 and 1 #3 and 1 #4 you should be able to be ok on most routes, but again will depend on the route. Some require big cams for Offwidths (biggest cam I own is a #6). As far as nuts go I have a regular set of BD nuts and a set of brass nuts (real small).

Cragging rope vs rope for a BC alpine route vs a rope for a mostly low 5th stuff do also vary. SOme people prefer twins, or doubles, or 1 single rope. All have own advantages, and vary route to route. If you do not mind weight/bulk I would say single 70m is good for everything- wall, alpine route, cragging. Doubles would be good for long ice routes/alpine routes where you might need to bail or rappell a lot. Having doubles would allow you to lose elevation twice as fast, but enhances a chance to get your rope stuck (since it is that much longer and will travel through more terrain on the way down when pulled).

Basically there is never enough gear.
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Re: What's in your Sierra rack?

Postby Vitaliy M. » Thu Nov 22, 2012 6:39 pm

The Chief wrote:
Basically there is never enough gear.


Modern day mentality.


Handful of nuts and cams along with climbing at ones strong ability was the rule back in the day.



Exactly why The Chief owns A LOT MORE gear than people back in the day- he has that 'modern day mentality'. Please tell us about all those crampons that you have and tried, about that lightest harness that you own, about several sets of ice tools that you use etc etc. :lol: Love the climbers that always talk about BITD and do not follow anything that they try to preach on the internet.
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Re: What's in your Sierra rack?

Postby Rike » Fri Nov 23, 2012 7:39 am

Back in the day here they use to use meter long pitons and thats no shit, look it up. But you must remember here in New Zealand climbing is actually hard, hence why we arrived at the top of the highest peak in the world before all other fail countries, and hence why we have the womens speed record on El Capitan.
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Re: What's in your Sierra rack?

Postby luzak00 » Fri Nov 23, 2012 10:36 am

Small pieces are valuable (Aliens or Metolius Master Cams). A double rack is unnecessary for most routes, and when it is, add your partner's rack and you're set. Offsets are great for the valley; you can get by without them elsewhere.

I'd consider just about everything else before getting a shorter/lighter rope. Get light biners from the start.
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Re: What's in your Sierra rack?

Postby pvnisher » Fri Nov 23, 2012 12:53 pm

+1 on the light biners. I bought a bunch of whatever cheap carabiners I could find, and now I wish I had bought the lightest ones around from the very beginning.
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Re: What's in your Sierra rack?

Postby Vitaliy M. » Fri Nov 23, 2012 3:43 pm

ODD, you have never met me in person nor have you ever personally inventoried my rock climbing protection hardware collection. By what factual authority do you have in making such claim in order to contradict my claim in my original post regarding such:


But I did observe your spraying about all the gear that you own here on SP.
Mr. Ice and his 'old school' tools. Aren't they supposed to be straight shaft?
http://images.summitpost.org/original/694456.JPG
Last edited by Vitaliy M. on Fri Nov 23, 2012 4:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What's in your Sierra rack?

Postby Vitaliy M. » Fri Nov 23, 2012 3:55 pm

It is basically important to note what you need the rack for. If you want to do East Buttress of Whitney or something similar light rack is reasonable for people with comfort. SOme don't rope up at all. But if you think the climb will be a tough one for you than you will need a heavy rack. Check out the Chief on his way to his 'High Sierra Projects" according to his photo.

http://www.summitpost.org/pig-hauling-t ... cts/421622
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Re: What's in your Sierra rack?

Postby Vitaliy M. » Fri Nov 23, 2012 5:42 pm

The Chief was headed up for a 5 day backcountry FA excursion. The PIG contains everything including food, bivy sac, stove, cooking/eating kit, sleeping bag, hand drill, 30 bolts/hangers, 4 ropes, rack, hammer etc etc etc.

Thanks for the very nice plug, but both of your last two posts as do most of your posts here on SP, have absolutely nothing to do with the OP


Your reading comprehension sucks. My point is that there are MANY types of routes in Sierra that require different racks. I will not take the same rack to climb east face of Whitney as I would to climb Red Dihedral on the Incredible Hulk, or for a potential FA. You do not have to comment on every post I make, and every joke - like 'there is never enough gear.' Which is true in a way. When one wants to climb long ice climbs, aid routes, offwidths,free climbs, in all 4 seasons of the year, yes there is A LOT of gear that you need (just listen to what you listed "The PIG contains everything including food, bivy sac, stove, cooking/eating kit, sleeping bag, hand drill, 30 bolts/hangers, 4 ropes, rack, hammer etc etc etc" + whatever you have in your partner's bag).
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Re: What's in your Sierra rack?

Postby TimmyC » Fri Nov 23, 2012 7:25 pm

pvnisher wrote:+1 on the light biners. I bought a bunch of whatever cheap carabiners I could find, and now I wish I had bought the lightest ones around from the very beginning.


Yup, spot-on. Absolutely right. Most of my biners are older BD ovals because that's what I could afford then. There's nothing wrong with them, they work just fine, so I still have them. That said, when I climb on my most regular partner's rack, he has lots of brand-new shiny wire gates (OP? Camp? Can't remember.) that weigh less than half of what my ovals weigh. I'm not a gearhead or a weight weenie, but DANG it's awfully nice to cut part of your rack weight in half!

There are always gear sales (Black Friday, anyone?), and, depending on your tastes, your biners don't all have to match, so pick up the lightest ones you can afford, as many at a time as you can until your rack is good. I'm not saying I regret not getting wire gates since they may not have existed when I started building my rack, but as I retire ovals or leave them at raps -- seriously, in bulk I'm pretty sure that BD ovals are cheaper than rap rings -- I'm replacing with much lighter wire gates.

If you're climbing below your grade, and you'd like to carry fewer pieces, I cannot recommend the Omega Pacific Link Cams too highly. They're awesome. When they first came out, I thought they were gimmicky, but after using them on my friends' racks, I really am in love with them, despite their cost.
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Re: What's in your Sierra rack?

Postby Vitaliy M. » Fri Nov 23, 2012 7:42 pm

Yup, spot-on. Absolutely right. Most of my biners are older BD ovals because that's what I could afford then. There's nothing wrong with them, they work just fine, so I still have them. That said, when I climb on my most regular partner's rack, he has lots of brand-new shiny wire gates (OP? Camp? Can't remember.) that weigh less than half of what my ovals weigh. I'm not a gearhead or a weight weenie, but DANG it's awfully nice to cut part of your rack weight in half!


I found Madrock ultralight biners to be nice since they are cheapest light biner I found-good value
http://www.outdoorgearlab.com/Carabiner ... Light-Bent

One of my friends uses Wild Country Helium, but they are much more expensive. The lip allows easier clipping
I recommend you guys check out the reviews on the page bellow:
http://www.outdoorgearlab.com/Carabiner ... try-Helium

And more reviews for climbing gear in general:
http://www.outdoorgearlab.com/climbing
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Re: What's in your Sierra rack?

Postby Vitaliy M. » Fri Nov 23, 2012 7:56 pm

Regarding OP link cams:

I advise you google "link cam failure"
https://www.google.com/#hl=en&tbo=d&spe ... 65&bih=662

Thread started by a SP member here:
http://www.mountainproject.com/v/omega- ... /107576613

Personally I have two link cams, but avoid using them too often after reading about some of the failures. Nothing against these cams, look over the links and make your own decisions...

http://www.outdoorgearlab.com/Camming-D ... c-Link-Cam
"he Omega Pacific Link Cam camming deviceis revolutionary in design and is an awesome free climbing crux piece for those "Oh sh*t" moments."
"here are a lot more moving parts and areas of weakness to take into account. Omega Pacific emphasizes that proper placement in line with the direction of pull is critical for placing Link Cams. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, as we should be concentrating on proper placement for all camming units, we feel that some other cams are more forgiving of marginal diligence in placement than the Link Cam."

Must be placed well. Not sure if it is a good thing to throw one in quickly at the crux without properly inspecting the placement. At least I avoid doing it. But up to each individual. Stay safe!
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Re: What's in your Sierra rack?

Postby TimmyC » Fri Nov 23, 2012 8:29 pm

Vitaliy M. wrote: Omega Pacific emphasizes that proper placement in line with the direction of pull is critical for placing Link Cams. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, as we should be concentrating on proper placement for all camming units, we feel that some other cams are more forgiving of marginal diligence in placement than the Link Cam."

Must be placed well. Not sure if it is a good thing to throw one in quickly at the crux without properly inspecting the placement.



You're not wrong, that's for sure. The only cams I've ever had walk on me are those Link Cams. They really need to be the very best of friends with your longest runners.

The Chief wrote:Be careful with them Link Cams. They do have a terrible habit of fixing themselves if over extended in the most obscure locations.


Totally agree. The only "oh shit, I just overextended a cam and can't get it out and will owe my friend a hundred bucks because I'm dumb" moments I've ever had with cams have also been with Link Cams. They do require more attention/patience to place properly; the or-else is a lot easier to achieve than with, say, Camalots.

Upon reflection, maybe I should temper/clarify my recommendation to include not just climbing below your grade, but at placements where you're not pumpy and in a hurry. Yes, all placements should be inspected and not hasty, etc.; safety, safety, safety obviously. But the advantage of having one piece that covers the range of two or even three other pieces can be worth it. Now, having said that, they are NOT half the weight of two cams, despite covering their range. They're heavy-ish, and yeah, they have a lot of moving parts -- hell, they're nothing but moving parts. I have a couple of trusty old Trangos that look positively post-modern in their simplicity. But if you can carry, say, two or three Link Cams, instead of five or seven regular cams to go do a run-up of mid-grade local you know pretty well (and you have the cash to drop)? Uff-da.

Link Cams are kinda that super-hot boy/girlfriend who is a maybe little more high maintenance than you'd normally date, but, if you're willing to give them enough attention, they're TOTALLY worth it.

(Okay, maybe that last analogy is a little sketchy...)
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Re: What's in your Sierra rack?

Postby Vitaliy M. » Fri Nov 23, 2012 10:20 pm

Did any of you encounter many large size (dark red 3.5' for example) Metolious cams stuck places? I have seen more than a few and one of my friends had the same observation...
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