Trad Climbing is pretty gear intensive, Cams, nuts quickdraws, hexes, nut tools: where to start? The gear market has exploded in the last decade and with so much to go at, its hard to know which gear, and how much of it, to chose. Below, I will explain the difference types of trad climbing gear, and look at putting together a rack.
Active vs Passive Protection
Active pro is, simply put, equipment that has moving parts to wedge itself into the crack in order to hold a fall. The obvious example, and most commonly used on a trad rack, is cams. There are a variety of other specialist bfs of kit such as sliders and even Try-Cams which count as active protection/
Active protection is generally easier and quicker to place and clean and be more versatile in cracks of differing size.,
Passive protection has no moving parts and is the simplest, and likely most used, type of protection. It is a necessity to any trad climbing rack. Typical examples include nuts and hexes.
Types of Protection
Nuts are, arguably, the staple of any trad rack, especially in the UK. Also known as "stoppers" they are light, inexpensive and easy to place well.
Lke nuts, but smaller! Often made out of brass, these are very good for pin scars and micro cracks but arguably not necessary on a beginners rack.
Spring -Loaded Camming Devices (SLCDs) or "Cams" are the most popular choice for active protection. They typically have four "lobes" at the top that contract and expand to fit the sides of a crack, using the trigger below. Cams come in a massive variety of shapes and sizes. Old-school cams came with rigid stems: avoid these and ensure you have flexible stemmed cams. Modern cams are often double-axel, which allows them to be used passively, as a "chockstone."
Cams, but smaller :) Be careful though, the smallest of micro cams are not rated to take lead falls and are designed for "progression only," i.e. lead climbing.
SO many types! These come in all shapes and sizes. Screwgate karabiners are what we recommend that you use to secure yourself to anchors.
Quickdraws are an essential part of any trad rack. This is what we use to link our rope to the protection we have placed. Length is important here, as too short quickdraws will result in a lot of rope drag. We recommend "alpine draws," these are extendable and make a huge difference to rope-drag.
Slings are used to extend protection, to put around spikes, sling threads and to equalise belay anchors. the key length is 8ft, these are the most useful and widely used slings in a trad rack. It can useful to have one 16ft sling for building belay anchors.
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