Pretty much the only choices I had were 8s and Sticht plates. And hip belays, which we used routinely for the first few years. (I've even done high angle Dulfer's--not recommended, though good to know if/when things go to crap). Al, you can belay just fine with an 8: Shove a bight through the little hole and clip it to a locker. Just like an ATC, and wouldn't twist the rope as bad as a Sticht, which was really bad. I never had much issue with twisting the ropes rapping with an 8, but as soon as Tubers came out i was on it.
And little tri-cams rock. Funny how all of Rotert's old death routes in NC became reasonable (sort of) when tri-cams and TCUs came out. If you don't carry at least the red and 'Little Pinky' (official mascot of the HPSC), you're just a dad blamed fool. Granted, the big ones aren't good for much besides whacking sport climbers upside the head.