Placing good runners and anchors is the foundation of the safe ropework. Poor placements will make your other efforts futile if the anchors are all going to fail. A placement will only be as good as the rock it’s in, loose rock and super cial akes will be poor placements. Follow the three S’s when placing gear:
Solid – is the rock integral to the placement solid?
Shape – is the shape of the placement suitable for the gear choice? Size – is the gear the right size for the placement?
As a general rule of thumb as well there is a hierarchy of gear placements. Although this is often over-ruled by what you can place and how good it is, but if there is a choice.
- Spikes, Threads and Trees
- Nuts and Hexes
Gear placement exercise
After reading the skills for placing all different types of gear walk round the bottom of a crag, practicing gear placements, and discuss with friends how you rate them using the following system 1 to 6 numerical system.
- You would hang your worse enemy’s jacket on it
- You would hang your jacket on it
- You would hang your enemy on it
- You would hang off it
- You would hang your enemy’s car off it
- You would hang your car off it
Advanced Gear Placement Exercise
To practice gear placements for trad lead climbing, stand back from the cliff and choose three places where you think you can place gear. Walk to the first and try to anticipate what gear will fit before you get there. You are going to try and make the first placement fit. This first placement fitting will safe you so much energy on lead rather than hanging around attempt to get half you rack to fit before you find the right sized piece.
Judge yourself on the time and how few goes it took to place each runner. Under three minutes with first time placements is a good point to aim for in the long run.