NEClimbs - information for New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont rock and ice climbers
Current conditions in North Conway, NH at 12:28p on 07/29/14 - Temperature: 76.3 F - Wind speed: 0.0 mph - Wind chill: 76.3 F - Barometric pressure: 29.215 in - 3 Hour Barometer Trend: Rising Slowly - Humidity: 48 %
BugCON 2: some mosquitoes, possible blackflys swarming with minimal biting
2 out of a possible 5
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May 28, 2009

Hi Folks,

To paraphrase the terrible Capital One credit card ads that are all over TV these days - "What's on YOUR rack?" I've been out climbing with a variety of people lately and observing what they carry, and have also been looking over my own rack thinking about streamlining it a bit. It was kind of surprising to me to realize just how much stuff I've been carrying around, and how old some of it is. What about you?

So here's a picture of my normal trad rack. what a real mess-o-stuff it is.

Als trad rack

It may be a bit hard to discern from the picture, but here's the mix:

23 assorted nuts & stoppers grouped by size on 3 biners
1 purple Metolius
2 green Aliens
1 orange Wild Country TCU
6 BD Camelots from silver through blue
4 Tricams from pink through blue

I use one of the old Metolius gear slings with the padded shoulder and 4 fixed plastic loops. Yes it does hand down and can be annoying on overhanging climbs, but I don't climb that hard any more, so it is rarely a problem. [wry grin]

Of course this doesn't include the 12 slings with 2 biners on each, 4-6 spare locking biners, 4 wire gate biners, 1 or 2 belay devices, 2 cordalettes with locking biners and nut tool. All these are spread over another sling and the gear loops of my harness. With clients I usually bring a GriGri as well, just to make belaying (and sometimes lowering) easier. Even with ultralight wiregate biners on Dyneema slings, all this stuff adds up to a hefty 16 pound. That's a lot of stuff to haul up a cliff, on top of my already overweight body!

So we've had 3 rainy days in a row, and I'm looking over all this stuff thinking what can I dump? Hmmm..... Well of course I can always try and suss out the route before I climb it and only take what I need. For something like the Saigons I only take slings, cordalette and a handful of gear, 'cause I pretty much can remember the gear I need. For Standard Route on Whitehorse I know I need to bring it all 'cause I'll probably use most of it at one point or another. You would think that there has to be something that I can more or less permanently dump, right? Occasionally I leave the blue Camelot off the rack when I know I don't need it, I can drop one of the double green Aliens the same way and I don't always use a GriGri since I have a Guide ATC that works OK when I 'm not on a long route with more than one client. I have a number of doubles of my stoppers, but they are so light it really doesn't matter. And besides there are just a lot of times when I need that extra #6 Rock. So all that saves a little weight, but I still want all the nuts, all the small and medium cams up to the gold Camelot, all 12 slings & biners, the spare lockers, the nut tool and cordaletts. [sigh]

So basically I'm still left with 13-14 pounds of gear whenever I'm out cragging trad. I see a few folks like Henry Barber out climbing with just the bare minimum of stuff, and here I feel as if I'm carrying a whole gear store around my neck. I have to wonder, am I just an old fuddy-duddy here? I guess it just goes with the territory, until the invent ultra-strong and ultra-light gear. Or maybe I should switch over to sport climbing, where all I have to carry are draws. Naaaah!
Bug Report:
Still holding at a BUGCON 3 right now. They are definitely out there & this 2 day rain even will likely kick them into a frenzy, so stay tuned.



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Have fun and climb safe,


Al Hospers
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire


I'm getting cooked on all this wall climbing slavery. I want to sit on the beach, get a tan, and look at girls !
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