Big Wall Climbing Gear

Andy YosemiteTom Richardson wrote an excellent article in Climb Magazine May 2013 entitled Supersized Big Wall Gear. As an importer of a key big wall climbing gear brand Moses Enterprises and a stockist of renowned big walling brand Yates we were surprised to see that Yates in particular didn't get a mention. We agree with what Tom says and his recommendations but think there are some equally good alternatives and in some cases better options currently available here in the U.K.

In terms of Haul Bags and Porta Ledges we are in agreement with Tom that Black Diamond and Metolius provide the best readily available options out there.

For ascenders as well as the classic Petzl Ascension and Tibloc that Tom mentions we feel that the Petzl MicroTraxion and ProTraxion progress capture pulleys and a Petzl Swivel should be mentioned for hauling.

Standard DMM Daisy Chains are always useful and we agree that the Metolius PAS system or Grivel Daisy Chain are super safe and easy to use and have useful applications for most climbers. Slightly different are Metolius Easy Daisies or better the Yates Quick Adjust Daisy Strap which allow you to pull your harness into the correct position to load your gear instantly and easily rather than having to find the best eye of your traditional daisy chain. These latter options are for body weight manouvers only and are not for use in belay set ups where traditional daisies will be better.

In terms of hooks for placing over irregularities in the rock we recommend both the Petzl skyhook range, the Moses Enterprises Logan Hook and the Black Diamond Cliffhanger, Grappling Hook and the awesome Talon which allows you to always get the best hook along with good stability on face placements.  

Moses Enterprises Cam Hooks or Leepers are scarey bits of kit that enable you to quickly climb cracks by working like finger locks.

Moses Entreprises Tomahawk For pegging you will need a good hammer that is comfy to use in confined spaces for long periods of time, we love the Black Diamond Yosemite Hammer, but we still think a good pair of gloves like the Black Diamond Stone will help your hands a bit. In terms of what you will be helping into or shaping around the rock in front of you we stock Copper Heads, Aluminium Heads and Circle Heads from Yates for the most marginal progression placements in seams and shallow flares. The next step up is the famous Black Diamond RURP and hooking pitons like the Black Diamond Pecker and the excellent Moses Enterprises Tomahawks which have regular and left and right versions depending on the direction of your placement in corner cracks. We stock a wide selection of more recognizable pegs or pitons from Black Diamond, including; angles, knife blades, lost arrows and bugaboos.

We stock Rivet Hangers from Moses Enterprises and Yates for hooking over old rivet and bolt heads.

We favour Black Diamond Camalot X4's for bigwalls in places like Yosemite where much climbing is on old peg scars as the heads are narrower to pit in those scars.

For actually climbing  we agree with Tom that full etriers or ladders like the Metolius 5 Step Aiders and Yates 6 Step Big Wall Ladders are best for full on big walls where you will be standing about placing lots of aid gear, however, for big walls with only short sections of aid or if you are just seconding we feel that the simpler and lighter Petzl Etriers and our favourite the Yates Speed Stirrup will be more appropriate.

We also recommend the Black Diamond Rope Bucket and Black Diamond Bosun's Chair to make life easier and more comfy at your belays, the Yates Big Wall Chest Rack or the Black Diamond Zodiac Gear Sling for carrying everything on.

We recommend John Long and John Middendorfs How to guide to "Big Walls" to help you get your technique sorted before you get out there for real.

Whatever you choose have fun out there and take care.


Other related Up and Under Blogs:

Big Walls

Black Diamond Yosemite Hammer Review


Related Up and Under Video Clips:

Yates 6 Step Big Wall Ladders Review


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