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Old 10-31-2007, 06:00 AM   #12
pico23
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Between the Cats and Daks
Posts: 727
those czech cams aren't all that bad. anything CE certified is usually safe to climb on. just because brand X or y makes it doesn't mean it's magical or holds any better.

I picked up a set of Rock Empire Robots before going to J-Tree, and I figured they'd be fine for aiding in the Gunks/Daks/Northeast and fill in my rack when I needed extra cams on trad (i hate SLCDs so these things see no use). They are the same as the Trango Flex cams so they are legit.

However, while I'm not a gear snob I do think going with either Friends or Camalots are better (and I hate to say this) because everyone else uses them (this is coming from the anti-conformist). The reason, guide books list things in Friend and Camalot sizes and while it's not all that hard to cross reference it's just easier to pull the Green Camalot (#5 or is it #6) out of the gear box when you know that will get the job done.

seconding though is key. more so than getting guided lessons. My partners and I learned from scratch, and I feel because we weren't force fed it in a rushed day of guided climbing we really knew the stuff we were learning. Too many people think if they spend a day or two with a guide they are good for life. Sadly, when the poopie hits the fan, the guide usually isn't there. That IS NOT TO SAY that guided lessons are a waste. Quite contrary, but you do need to practice what you learn, and regularly. And it helps if you have the basic principals of every guided lesson down before you head out on a guided lesson. Practice afterwards, even the stuff you figure you'll never use.

It's been a few years since I worked on escaping the belay and such and while the prinicipals are still in my head, I'd probably struggle to do it under durress, if I could do it at all, a day of practice and I'm sure it will come back.

Personally though seconding is something that should be emphasized. I jumped on the sharp end way too soon. In the end it held me back, still does. Truthfully, I've probably led more pitches than I've followed. Thats not to say I'm not a competent second, actually I'm a damn good second but I'm not much of a leader despite more experience. I place really good gear, build good anchors, and enjoy the challenge but the confidence just isn't there as a leader because I $h!t my pants way too many times early on when I should not have been leading.
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