Recommendations on rock climbing racks

Overview

If you’re serious about climbing, you may want to consider buying a ‘rack’, or set of climbing equipment. Or you may want to add to what you’ve already got. Before you fork out, you need to consider carefully the variety of equipment you need. The answer will depend on what kind of climbing you want to do. Take a look at our handy guide to racks for every climbing eventuality…

People On Mountain

First of all, the basics. Pretty much every rack will include:

  • Harness
  • Helmet
  • Belay device and HMS carabiner
  • Rock climbing shoes
  • Chalk bag and chalk

Beyond that, the components you need in your rack will be dictated by the kind of climbing you’re going to be doing. The suggestions below are based on our experience and preference. If you’d like further information please get in touch.

Trad climbing rack

  • 2 x dry treated half ropes (between 8 – 9mm) (its length depends on the length of the route you are looking to climb, usually 50m or 60m. Make sure these are two different colours)
  • 4 x short quickdraws
  • 4 x long quickdraws
  • 4 x extra long quickdraws (made up of two snap gates and a 60cm sling)
  • One full set of nuts (divided on two snap gate carabiners)
  • One set of cams from smallest size (blue DMM Dragon cam size 00 up to blue DMM Dragon cam size 5, or the equivalent sizes from another brand)
  • A couple of hexes (i.e. the bigger sizes, as these are lighter and cheaper than the cam equivalent)
  • A nut key
  • 2 x 5-6mm prussik loops
  • 2 x 120cm slings
  • 2 x 240cm slings
  • 5 locking carabiners
Clean aid climbing equipment

Big wall clean aid climbing rack

  • 2 x 60m single ropes (between 10 – 11mm.  They will get a lot of wear from jumarring and hauling, so they need to be thick!)
  • 2 daisy chains (adjustable ones are very useful)
  • 2 x 5 or 6 step etriers/aiders (two different colours helps identify what is connected to your gear, and more importantly what needs unclipping)
  • Fifi hook
  • A chest harness or bandolier for racking gear on
  • One set of DMM offset nuts
  • One set of DMM brass offset nuts
  • Nut key
  • 2 cam hooks
  • 2 sky hooks
  • 2 full sets of cams (DMM Dragon cams or Black Diamond C4 up to size 5)
  • 1 each of Black Diamond C4 size 5 & 6 (or equivalent)
  • 1 set of small cams (i.e. Aliens, Totem, Black Diamond X4, Metolius Master cams)
  • Petzl Micro Traxion or Pro Traxion (hauling)
  • 2 Ascenders (one left handed and one right handed one)
  • 8 quickdraws
  • 40 snap gate carabiners
  • 8 – 10 locking carabiners
  • 4 x 240cm slings
  • 2 x 120cm slings
  • 4 x 60 cm slings
  • Auto locking or assisted braking belay device is useful

Sport climbing rack

  • Dry treated single rope (between 9.5 – 10.5mm)
    (dependant on the length of the route you are looking to climb)
  • 12 x quickdraws (maybe more, dependent on your route)
  • 3 locking carabiners
  • 120cm sling

Winter (or mixed) climbing rack (in addition to the climbing axes and crampons)

  • 2 x 60m dry treated half ropes (between 8 – 9mm. Ensure two different colours)
  • 12 x extra long quickdraws (made up of 2 snap gates and a 60cm sling)
  • One full set of nuts (double up on the bigger sizes)
  • A full set of hexes (these are invaluable in winter)
  • 2 x 5-6mm prussik loops
  • 6 x 60 cm slings
  • 4 x 120cm slings
  • 1 x 240cm slings
  • 10 carabiners (Note: locking carabiners can freeze up in winter conditions)
  • A few pegs: a small knifeblade, a small angle piton, a fat and a thin lost arrow
  • 3 x 16cm ice screws
  • 2 x 22cm ice screws
  • One bulldog

Alpine climbing rack (in addition to the climbing axes and crampons)

  • 1 x 60m dry treated single rope (between 9 – 9.5mm)
  • 1 x 60m dry treated half rope (between 8 – 8.5mm)
  • A half set of nuts (either odds or evens)
  • 3 cams (green DMM Dragon cam 2, red DMM Dragon cam 3, and yellow DMM Dragon cam 4)
  • 8 quickdraws
  • 6 x 60 cm slings
  • 2 x 120cm slings
  • 2 x 16cm ice screws
  • 2 x 22cm ice screws
  • 4 locking carabiners
Old School hammered aid climbing equipment

Big wall hammered aid climbing rack

  • 2 x 60m single ropes (between 10 – 11mm.  They will get a lot of wear from jumarring and hauling, so they need to be thick!)
  • 2 daisy chains (adjustable ones are very useful)
  • 2 x 5 or 6 step etriers/aiders (two different colours helps identify what is connected to your gear, and more importantly what needs unclipping)
  • Fifi hook
  • A chest harness or bandolier for racking gear on
  • 2 cam hooks
  • 2 sky hooks
  • 10 small beaks
  • 5 medium beaks
  • 5 large beaks
  • 2 RURP’s
  • 5 thin/short blades
  • 5 short Bugaboos
  • 5 long Bugaboos
  • 10 short arrows
  • 5 long arrows
  • 6 small angles
  • 4 angles
  • 1 short z-peg
  • 1 long z-peg
  • Climbing hammer
  • Petzl Micro Traxion or Pro Traxion (hauling)
  • 2 Ascenders (one left handed and one right handed one)
  • 8 quickdraws
  • 40 snap gate carabiners
  • 8 – 10 locking carabiners
  • 4 x 240cm slings
  • 2 x 120cm slings
  • 4 x 60 cm slings
  • Auto locking or assisted braking belay device is useful

The exact composition of your climbing rack will depend on the route you have chosen to climb, and a great deal is down to personal preference. The more experience you gain, the more confidence you will have in adjusting your rack to suit your own style and preference. Just keep in mind that the longer the route, the more equipment you are likely to need, and that climbing with heavy equipment means you will have to climb more slowly.

If you need any further advice or information, feel free to contact us – we’re always happy to help.