Big Wall Bible - My Big Wall Rack - Cams, Nuts & Hooks


EPISODE: My Big Wall Rack - Cams, Nuts, and Hooks

The Big Wall Bible

Knowledge is zero grams. Take it with you.

This is free resource by HowNOT2 that will help you get up big rocks. Big walling is a big topic so we broke it into bite-size "pitches" with a video to START each one. The aim is to have lots of videos, photos, and written content in each section, not just by us, but from others as well.

This book is in a blog format. This page points to all 14 chapters, and the end of each chapter points to the next.

A downloadable PDF is available HERE.


Pick your poison. You have to carry 30+ lbs of gear and have two ropes attached to you (lead line and haul line). Do you want some of the weight on your shoulders but covering access to your harness, or do you want all of that cluster on your hips? Then you need to decide if you want the most used gear up front and center, or the gear you will need when you are most desperate. Regardless of how you skin this cat, do it the same every time so you can be blind at night or low on sugar and still grab what you want on your first try. Stay organized!

If you go with someone who likes a chest harness and you don't, see if you can find a middle ground where you can both rack the same, OR you can lead in blocks so you only have to switch everything over 1x per day. Learn each other's systems because when you are following and cleaning a pitch and your partner is leading the next pitch, deliver the gear to them in an order they like.

To mirror or not to mirror. It can be nice to have a blue totem on each side of your harness. You never know which hand is going to be most free as you are smashed into a flaring chimney where the only usable crack is way in the back of it. Putting your 2nd cams on opposite sides, or mirroring, gives you options but it can also be hard to keep track of how many you have left or even stay organized. Sometimes it's nice to just clip them all next to each other if you have lots of gear loops or one on the other, pulling the bottom one off first.

How NOT 2 Store

I started a store and sell (almost) everything you need for big walling. We have all the ropes, bags, pulleys, portaledges, and everything you need for a triple rack. Buying from us helps us make more content and if you get 20% off EVERYTHING if you become a $99-a-year supporter.

Ryan's Rack

Big picture: chest harnesses cover your waist harness gear making accessing the gear a PITA. Gear on it also can hook to waist harness and prevent you from standing up at the most in-opportune time. EVERYTHING is on my waist harness. Personal gear goes on back loop. Gear is racked in groups by brand with the smallest towards the front. I'll carry a triple rack and even quadruple blue/black totems, but they are only taking one spot on my harness as they are clipped to each other with their own biner. I do not mirror anything. I can keep track of how many I have left easily this way. All cams have the same color biner associated with them except my offset aliens so I can tell them apart from the normal aliens by just looking down really quick.

Personal Gear
  1. Always pants, never shorts. Long sleeve lightweight shirt with hoodie to keep sun off my neck
  2. Low ankle approach shoes
  3. NO knee pads
  4. Grivel's 3 finger gloves - these protect the pinky unlike other fingerless gloves
  5. Hard shell helmet (not styrofoam kind) with headlamp
  6. In my pocket - topo, snack, spare batteries and 2 Zip lock bags if I haven't shit that day yet.
  7. Alfifi by Skot Richards
  8. Yates adjustable daisies
  9. 2 Yates ladders independently in their own carabiner
  10. Both ascenders when I'm following, 1 ascender when I'm leading
  11. Grigri & ATC
Lead Rack
  1. 2 Sets of offset micro nuts - no normal micro nuts. Each set has it's own carabiner
  2. 1 Set of normal size off set nuts. All these are on one carabiner
  3. Every cam below has its own CAMP Dyon or Photon
    1. Double rack of totems, 4x of blue and 4x of black, I don't take the largest orange size
    2. Double set of Aliens
    3. Double set of Offset aliens
    4. Triple Rack of #0.75-#3 C4s no need to overlap my totems with smaller sizes when I have so many aliens
    5. Only a #4, #5 or #6 C4 if required
    6. 4 quickdraws, 6 double lengths (120cm slings)
  4. 6 Free carabiners with rivet hangers dangling on some of them
  5. 4 spare lockers
  6. 1 grapple and 1 talon and 1 cam hook regardless of grade
  7. Quad anchor with 4 HMS lockers attached to it ready for the anchor on the back gear loop
  8. If I have a hammer (rare), its hanging on the sling below my feet, not on my harness
  9. Water bottle half full on the back loop
  10. VT prusik and knife are my entire emergency kit and are on the back loop
  11. Protraxion on the backup loop
  12. Haul line attached to 2mm string tied to my rear full strength loop. If the haul bags fall for whatever reason, it breaks the string, not my back
  13. On my shoulders: 15x 10mm Dyneema 60cm length slings with one carabiner per sling

NO JOKE. Take a Rocky Talkie. It's worth its 199grams in gold if anything out of the ordinary happens. It really sucks to depend on your partner doing the right things in the right order if you can't talk to them and only have rope tugs to communicate. Take it fully charged and you won't even need spare batteries. You get 10% off with this LINK.

We are both wearing the same rack. Less bulky with it all weight on the hips or more bulky with the weight on the shoulders

Jeremiah's Rack

Big picture: personal gear goes on waist harness and chest harness gets all the lead rack. He splits evenly the gear between both sides. Nothing is stacked on anything else. Cams are placed in order of size not grouped by brands.

Personal Gear
  1. GTX shoes to protect ankles, TC Pros Climbing Shoes if free climbing
  2. Knee pads
  3. AlFiFi
  4. Petzl Evolve Adjustable Personal Anchors
  5. Grigri
  6. Nut Tool
  7. Atc
  8. At least 5 Lockers
  9. Ascenders - even on lead
  10. Nalgene
  11. Gloves
  12. Tibloc, nano trax, knife
  13. Chalk bag
  14. Sunglasses sometimes
  15. Rocky Talkie
  16. Helmet with headlamp
  17. Hammer in a hammer holder
  18. Funkness device
  19. 12-18 draws
  20. Anchor Coordallette
Leading Gear on Chest Harness
  1. 2 Yates Ladders
  2. Micro Off Set Nuts
  3. Mixed nuts including offsets
  4. Micro Cams including blue and black aliens, BD Z4s, Metolius X4s
  5. 2 set of totems up to Red
  6. 2 sets of BD C4s
  7. Inside the chest harness pouch: Mechanical advantage setup

Just the Tips

Vertical Clipping Warning: If you clip a cam to its sister cam's carabiner, you must remove the lowest cam first. If you don't you will drop the lowest piece of gear as you rotate the higher carabiner. Practice at home dropping gear if you pull it off wrong so you understand how it can happen and prevent doing it up high.

Hammer Hack: If you are doing a clean route, you can bring a small hammer like THIS with a hole drilled in the wood handle to put some paracord on it so you can hammer out your nuts and clean your gear. You don't need a big ass hammer for basic tasks like that.

String Theory: Put a 2mm string on your haul loop. Clip the haul line to your rear in a way it can break the string before your back if for some really horrible reason the haul bag disconnects from the anchor.

What's Next?

Big Wall Episode #6 - Placements