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Author Topic: Worth buying hexes in New England?  (Read 973 times)

Kaya____

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Worth buying hexes in New England?
« on: June 15, 2013, 11:37:38 AM »

I'm slowly starting to put together a trad rack, so that when I finally get around to learning to lead trad, I'm not faced with a massive list of gear to acquire. I have an opportunity to get a whole set of good condition used hexes for $50. I'm already getting an almost complete set of nuts and some other odds and ends, so I'm debating whether the hexes are worth it. I've heard that they aren't particularly useful in the north east, and that I'd be better suited to use that money on cams. Any advise would be greatly appreciated.
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DMan

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Re: Worth buying hexes in New England?
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2013, 12:38:34 PM »

$50 for a whole set, I'd say go for it... as you fill in sizes with cams you can start leaving some (or all) of them at home. Hex's are great for leaving behind in a pinch on bigger alpine routes... 1 bomber hex make a great bail anchor...
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xcrag_corex

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Re: Worth buying hexes in New England?
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2013, 09:34:49 PM »

They got their place. I say go for it
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Jeff

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Re: Worth buying hexes in New England?
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2013, 11:07:51 AM »

Have to agree with Dave and xcrag_corex--remember that every pre-1980 climb in the northeast was led hundreds (thousands?) of times without cams!! They certainly can still be effective, just not deployed as quickly as cams and certainly not as easily as clipping bolts. A certain guy named Henry still only carries nuts and hexes! :-\
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M_Sprague

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Re: Worth buying hexes in New England?
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2013, 06:40:50 PM »

...He wears those hideous driving caps too. What does that say about his judgment?   :D

I bought some when I first started climbing. I ended up never using them except for a couple that were just bigger than the largest regular nuts. Some of the bigger ones I never even ended up threading with cord. For 25 years they sat in a box. I have actually started using them more now, as semi fixed pieces while cleaning routes  so I don't beat on my cams or worry much if they get stolen. A good placement of a 1 to 2" hex feels more bomber to me than a cam and they can take getting beaten on, so yeah, they do have their uses.

Personally though, I wouldn't bother with the set unless you have money to burn or there are a bunch in the set and you like the sound of Swiss cows. Maybe buy a couple to augment your larger sized regular nuts a little, but don't bother with the bigger ones. As soon as you get some cams they will most likely never be used.

As far as building up your trad rack, If you can I think it is good to get a feel for the gear and how it is used by seconding you friends  first, and then borrowing their stuff for your first easy leads. If your partner could use  some gear to fill the rack out then buy those first.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2013, 06:48:22 PM by M_Sprague »
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danf

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Re: Worth buying hexes in New England?
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2013, 08:19:30 PM »

Everybody above me has a LOT more trad experience than me....  That being said, I believe I have led 6 trad routes since I started leading trad about a month ago.  Of those 6, I'm pretty sure I've placed a hex on 2 of them.  I got my set pretty cheaply as well but then had to buy cordage to sling them with- which is where you will eat up some cash.  Keep in mind that a triple fishermans on 5.5 mm Titan cord takes around 18" of cord to tie.  I think I was getting 5 hexes slung with each 20' section of cord...  Just FYI. 
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lucky luke

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Re: Worth buying hexes in New England?
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2013, 08:53:11 PM »

I'm slowly starting to put together a trad rack, so that when I finally get around to learning to lead trad, I'm not faced with a massive list of gear to acquire. I have an opportunity to get a whole set of good condition used hexes for $50.

hexes are interesting because it make a distinction between the wedge effect of knots and camming action of tricam and friends. As you understand how they work, you will be able to use the technique for the other active cam, instead of just plugging a friends here and there.

More precisely, we can easily see with hexes how the energy is disperse into the rock. An other important think to understand is that the large surface diminish the pressure on the rock at a square level. For example, if you have a pressure of 1000kg per square inches with a stopper of one by one, you will have a strength of 1000kg per 4 square inches (or 250 kg per square inches) for an hexes of 2.9 inches x 1.4 inches).

Practically, that means that you can use hexes without danger on less than solid rock and it will hold. Practically, it is a little bit harder to place than a cam. So, as a beginner, looking to place an hex will be a little bit harder (better on aid), but will be a better practice that plugging a cam wherever there is a crack without knowing the theory.

Practically, I have three hex, mostly on my climbing box at home, and I rarely use them. I bring them some times, but just if I don't have enough big cam. I don't suggest you to buy hexes for 50$ as you can buy two new ones for around thirty and a tricam at 20 for the same total of 50 box. As a leader, always better to know how your protection was used. it will save your life. So it worth the few extra box.   
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strandman

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Re: Worth buying hexes in New England?
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2013, 09:11:18 PM »

Maybe. Maybe a # 4,5&6  maybe... I would by more wires myself... in NE you can never have to many wires  esp mid size
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frik

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Re: Worth buying hexes in New England?
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2013, 10:17:26 AM »

Back in the ice age we lead everything with nuts... but mostly stoppers. I think our typical rack only ever had 3 or 4 hex's on it...mid range. $50 for a full set is a good price, but you won't use most of them.

 
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Kaya____

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Re: Worth buying hexes in New England?
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2013, 11:30:06 AM »

Thanks you all for the generous advise. I ended up buying the set of hexes and an almost full set nuts (1,2,3,31/2,5,6,7,8,10,11,12,13), a couple small rp's, nut tool and some racking biners for $150. The plan now is to just play around placing them and building anchors at ground level and maybe on top rope. I suppose the next order I action would be to get a few cams and work on getting a feel for those?
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frik

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Re: Worth buying hexes in New England?
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2013, 01:24:16 PM »

There are lots of perfectly safe leads in NE for nuts only ascents.... don't be shy about setting forth. 
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terminusnout

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Re: Worth buying hexes in New England?
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2013, 03:20:39 PM »

A great way to get into it would be to set a tr on kiddie crack at the north end of cathedral, take a second rope for a mock lead and place whatever you have so you get used to using your gear, the more you know your rack the more it becomes "first" nature as to when and how you use it. The hexes would def get used on that climb.
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frik

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Re: Worth buying hexes in New England?
« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2013, 04:18:53 PM »

Or you could just lead the thing.... you gotta start sometime.
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Wally

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Re: Worth buying hexes in New England?
« Reply #13 on: June 17, 2013, 04:33:31 PM »

The best way to learn how to lead is to follow a compentent leader and observe their placements carefully as you remove them. After you follow a climb and clean it (without falling), then go right back and lead it as soon as you can. You will have confidence on lead knowing a) where the placements are, and b) that you already did the climb without falls. Good luck and be safe.
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strandman

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Re: Worth buying hexes in New England?
« Reply #14 on: June 17, 2013, 06:40:30 PM »

Maybe, Wally, maybe.... i think fiddlin' with the gear around the start of routes and placing some on tr is the way to got. THEN lead routes under your ability..  You'll live

i too have climbed with " the legend who won't use cams"  fucking stupid

KAYA -- variety is the key.. many diff climbs, easy and harder......the same climb over and over won't teach you shit about leading
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