Okay! Â Yer all a bunch of Gear Happy Weenies!
First my credentials; Â I've been climbing my entire life, and leading for half of that, and guiding for a quarter of it! Â I on-sight lead 5.11 trad, 5.12 sport, have climbed to 6000 meters numerous times, and have FA's above 15,000 ft., and I climb 300-plus days a year.
(and i'm not a trustafarian) Â I'm a climber!
Here is what I've learned. Â Without endorsing any one brand (but surely dissing some).
1) You get what you pay for. Â $20 cams work like $20 cams! Â $60 cams work like $60 cams!
2) Don't double-up on shit! Â Unless the pitch contains a "splitter" or 4 plus-inch crack that is longer than two body lengths, or if the belay isn't bolted (which never happens anymore) Â Thin-air doesn't count, the belay takes thin gear that you don't use on the pitch. Â On all of Cathedral, the only one that comes to mind is Retaliation; It's hard to build an anchor after the crux lead. Â Most people bring way too much shit up the wall with them. Â Be crafty with your nuts and you won't need more than one set of cams.
3) I have safely climbed the Prow, the Mordor Wall, Recompense, Moby G, and all of the North End Cracks without a cam on my harness. Â They aren't as essential as you all think! Â Remember way back...They were designed for Indian Creek-style climbs. Â Next time you climb, put your cams on the back of your harness and try to use nuts as much as possible. Â You might find that cams aren't as important.
4) I have fallen on every piece of gear I own (from the 00 Metolius and numerous small nuts, to the 6 friend that I borrowed from a friend last week) and (knock on wood) since I started leading in '92, have never had a piece "blow". Â
5) If your brand of gear determines whether you succeed or fail on a route, you're gettin' soft brother! Â It's all personal preference!
6) If it's not a "locker" it has a wire gate on it!
7) My students can always get $60 cams out of the rock.
All you need is right here!
1 set of thin stuff up to yellow TCU or Alien.
1 set of cams from grey to yellow.
Rack each cam on its own Neutrino or Omega Jr.
1 set of nuts (double the 6-10 if needed)
pink and red Tri-cams. (if you're climbing with someone who's familiar with how to get them out) I never guide with them!
6 runners(one biner each)
9) When you attain an "eclectic" mix of cams you end up too much over-lap in some areas and not enough in others. Â One rack should consist of two brands one brand for the thin stuff and one brand of mid-large stuff (Though W.C. and BD have the mid-large stuff figured out, they don't know how to make thin stuff. Â And though TCU's and Aliens have the thin stuff wired, stay away from their bigger stuff) Â Well, i guess i did it, I endorsed! Â Really folks, those are the only brands you need to know. Â All that other cheap stuff works well when you need four sets of each size in Indian Creek or if you haven't started making a five digit income yet, but around here they don't matter. Â I own cheap cams, but they get used in Utah only.
I'm a bit oppinionated, but it comes from experience. Â Take from this what you will!
Just about everyone I climb with used to climb with two sets of cams (at least the popular sizes) I have weened them off of this bad habbit, they bitched a little at first, but now they are true believers!
If you can't stop eating the fast-food and twinkies, it's the quickest way to lose 1-2 pounds!