How To Big Walls Book - brand names of devices vs. generic


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Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 8, 2008 - 08:32pm PT
ok, this is totally subject to revision, but i am thinking of going with:

ascenders, jugging or jumaring (have not decided)
cams, offset cams
nuts, offset nuts
brass nuts, offset brass nuts
daisy chains
hauling device (to describe waul hauler, pro traxion, mini traxion)
mini traxion

Oct 8, 2008 - 08:36pm PT

Offset aluminum nuts (RIP HB)

I assume you will use Screamers rather than some convoluted "load absorbing/impact reducing device" crap?

Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 8, 2008 - 08:49pm PT
you can still get the HB nuts here:

UPDATE: those nuts are out stock at the Yosemite Mountain Shop and won't be available till Spring 2009

Mountain climber
Oct 8, 2008 - 09:20pm PT
Jugs have better connotaions attached to them than jumars. Use brand names, be specific with what works the best. If a new toy is invented after your book is published, people will need to learn how to use the new toy with its nuances. Every day we hear about newbies messing up with their GriGri's, so like Ed said, review the principles, then specific on how you set up a haul with a miniTraxion.

I'd prefer referencing Camalots/Cams and Aliens, everyone I climb with uses them, especially on big walls. The DMM offset nuts with a little modification work as well as the old HB aluminum offsets, and it is always nice to go back to magazines/books 20 years later and see specifically what people were using.

Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 8, 2008 - 09:28pm PT
i could maybe get a few product placement dollars, but i would rather not have any obligations to specific companies. that way i can recommend what i think is the best and change that recommendation as the gear changes

here is my current rack i use:

Trad climber
Oct 14, 2008 - 06:28pm PT
lets put it this way. the guys that told me how to wall climb, pulled gear out and told me what to use, specifically, and in many cases, for good reason. being the c.mac bible to bigwall technique, i'm sure you use certain gear for specific reasons on many occasions. just give us the straight dope and tell it like it is.


Trad climber
Joshua Tree Ca
Oct 14, 2008 - 08:41pm PT
you could always add a short GLOSSARY in the back to explain what a "GRI GRI" or "Mini Traxion" is...

someone probably alrady suggested that...

cost more I suppose...

Social climber
down south
Oct 14, 2008 - 09:00pm PT
Don't forget Fefe!!! She's a daisy.

EDIT: That's right, she hooks to the daisy (not really, but maybe)

Edit#2 maybe it's Fifi.... hehe.. and I do believe she hooks the daisy.. and a fine resting place she provides.

Big Wall climber
Oct 14, 2008 - 09:32pm PT

I'm really new at this aid stuff. I don't even know what a 'set' of hooks is (I have a couple of hooks, but a set?)...

I think that its important as a 'mentor' to us beginners to tell us what you use and what other people use. A GriGri is a GriGri and you use it for a reason instead of other devices. I think it's important to convey that message.

Fashions and names change but I want to know what the experts are using right now and why - so I think using specific 'brand' names is okay.

I REALLY don't want plugs because of some financial agreement with a sponsor - if you can get it, great, but be subtle at least. That really turns me off of a book - I would just prefer to know what the best tool for the job is so I can succeed like you guys.

I do think a section in the book giving examples of various types of the same device would be great... i.e. showing more than one hauling device, what are the pros, cons etc.

Cheers, Graeme.

Trad climber
Truckee, CA
Oct 14, 2008 - 09:48pm PT
Mac, your list posted on Oct 8 looks good. I also agree with the idea of briefly describing, in an introductory gear chapter, the differences, advantages, disadvantages, of alternatives that exist as of publication date. Also agree with other posters that this isn't a book for newbies to multipitch, complicated anchors, hanging belays, etc., so the amount of detail needn't be excessive.

Big Wall climber
Oct 14, 2008 - 10:07pm PT

Actually - and I never thought of this - Mongrel is spot on. As an experienced traditional climber there are certain things I wouldn't expect to find in the book - if you will, I come to the book as an expert in one field - the prerequisite to big walls. If I didn't know about anchors etc I wouldn't be reading the book. Great point, Monrel!

Rgds, GraemeK.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Oct 14, 2008 - 11:10pm PT
Chris - ask yourself these questions:

1. Which one of your books has the fewest typos, and the best editing?

2. Who is the best damn editor you have ever used? Does he actually have any big wall experience, and if so, how much?

3. Should you waste time on the general public in an internet forum, or should you just send the right person the damn chapters?

Of all the many questions you ask in your posts above, he has the answers, but he will likely not squander them in a public forum.

Evidently you are a fan of Chongo's book, in which he used incredibly confusing terms like "rope clutch" instead of Gri-gri, because he was afraid of getting sued for suggesting the use of gear in non-traditional uses. There is an answer.

Another thing you might want to avoid is suggesting that a Mini-Traxion - which is a hauling device - is actually a solo top-rope belay device, which it is knott.


P.S. I broke my leg on one of your routes from your McTopo guide, on a pitch that was rated only A3. It was not rated A3R, nor was there any mention of a ledge. Accordingly, my lawyer will be in touch with you.

Social climber
down south
Oct 14, 2008 - 11:14pm PT
PTP... you broke your leg? that sux dude... how ya healin?
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Oct 14, 2008 - 11:17pm PT
It was a few years ago. I took a lob and hit a ledge - it was all McTopo's fault. Plenty of other climbers had climbed this route without incident.

It was a bi-molalular [sp?] fracture where you whack off the ends of your tibia and fibula, which are the two bumps on the outside of your ankle. Four months, two plates, thirteen screws, one crutch and a half-dozen Valley Giant cams later and I was back sending Son Of Heart on El Cap. My ankle is stiff but workable, it doesn't hurt, and I can still climb and cave and hike and schlepp and stuff.

I was lucky. My bone doc said, "Don't break it again." I believe him. Osteoarthritis awaits, I am told. I try to focus on anti-oxidants, like shiraz and cabernet.

Social climber
down south
Oct 15, 2008 - 12:09am PT
you da' man bro!

3hrs to El Cap Meadow, 1.25hrs Pinns, 42min Castle
Oct 15, 2008 - 01:11am PT
You might need to check with the manufacturers to get permission to use a trademarked name. For instance--is Petzl going to be ok with you saying you should use a mini traxion for top rope self belay? If you use a trademarked term without the manufacturers consent, you may be subjecting yourself to legal action.

However, be specific whenever possible. Give a few options if they're available, thus you'll avoid the sense of product placement that turns some readers off.

Sorry if I just repeated others comments. It's late, and I skim read this thread far too fast before I posted. Good luck on the book. Despite my distaste for many of your guides, bigwall climbing is one thing I have no doubt you can teach us all something about.
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