My first climbing rack 2013

A couple of years ago I wrote an article about buying your first climbing rack.  As I’ve actually been climbing a few years now I’m a bit more qualified to make suggestions.  So with out too much further ado, here they are.  Again this is a starter rack aimed at folk climbing mainly on limestone, so no cams.  They’re easy to get wrong and on easier climbs you’ll find plenty of good nut placements.  Generally.  You’ve got a good choice for krabs.  Generally I personally prefer DMM kit.  They’re a great company and do excellent gear.

For nuts the choice is simple.  DMM Wallnuts, the full 1 – 11.  You can often get deals that come with a racking krab.  If not, oval wiregates make good racking karabiners.

Hexes, the choice is equally straight forward, DMM Torque nuts 1 – 4.  These should be racked individually on colour coded DMM Spectres.  You could go for a full set of Wild Country Hexes on wire, but they’re more expensive and the extendable slings on the Torque nuts means you need less quickdraws.

The choice gets a bit trickier at the quickdraw level.  However generally I’d go for the standard DMM Spectres.  But if you want the no snag nose of the Alphas, then they’re worth the extra money.  Also the Alphas fit into your hand really nicely.  Lengthwise you need a mix of 18cm and 25cm.  12cm is simply too short for 90% of trad climbing.  If you’re thinking, well I can use them for sport climbing, don’t, it’s best to have a set of cheap draws made of solid gate krabs with nylon slings for sport.

However one thing you do need lots of is slingdraws.  There’s a good article about slingdraws at Planet Fear. Basically they’re excellent for extending gear that’s a bit far off the line or on a traverese.

So you’ll need a few locking karabiners for belays.  Again I think it’s fairly simple, a DMM Boa to create a central point on your belay and about 2 or 3 DMM Phantoms for the gear on the belay.

If you’re trad climbing, you want half ropes.  8.5mm to 9.0mm would be ideal.  Thinner is only good if you are planning on doing Scottish winter stuff.  Basically something that’s thickish, as it’ll mean the rope is less likely to tangle like hell on the belay.  Cause it will.  Trust me.

Finally you’ll need some slings.  Not loads, just a couple of 120 cm slings and a large one for boulders.  I have a 400 cm cordlette from Wild Country.  But you can grab a 240 cm sling instead.

The list:

  • DMM Wallnuts 1 – 11
  • DMM Torque Nuts 1 – 4
  • 6 DMM Spectre Quickdraws – 18 and 25cm lengths
  • 4 Sling draws (made from spectre wiregates)
  • 1 DMM Boa Locking krab
  • 3 DMM Phantom Locking krabs