12. Racking for Aid Lead – Part 2 of 2

In this video we continue to look at how to rack for leading aid climbs. Now that you know what gear you need, and you know how the process works, let’s consider where to put all that gear you’ll be using!

Be sure to review our video on “General Aid Gear.” The following guidelines are not the only way to aid climb; you will probably pick up other techniques from other mentors and instructors.

Here is the rest of our aid climbing gear list:

Big Wall Harness – In general gear placed here includes items that will be used infrequently such as:- Cordelette or your preferred anchor material, and a few locking carabiners.

– Rivet hangers and hooks
– Haul device
– Jumars (clip those off to the back and out of the way)
– 8 millimeter (mm) ‘tag’ line, used to pull up extra equipment as needed. See our video regarding this technique, as it is possible to accomplish the ‘tag’ with your haul line, which negates the need for a 3rd specialty line. This may also be addressed in our ‘route considerations’ segment.

Double Gear Sling – In general, gear placed here includes items that will be used more frequently such as:

– Cams
– Stoppers / Nuts
– Slings (can also be worn over shoulder)

Double gear slings usually have 2 slings per side for racking, one is set a little higher than the other.

On the higher sling, rack all the gear. This way it is easier to see, as you will be constantly grabbing and removing pieces. It also keeps them from hanging down and annoying you.  

On the lower sling, place the dozens of extra biners, which are termed ‘free biners’, as well as standard quick draws and any alpine quickdraws.

As a general guideline, put the smaller, less obtrusive, and more compact stuff up front. That includes offset and regular nuts, small cams such as your Aliens, as well as specialty items like off-set Aliens. Larger gear then goes towards the back, with your regular cams going from smallest to biggest. This is similar to racking for traditional climbs, but on a grander scale.

Keep in mind to balance the weight, so you remain comfortable and don’t feel like a ship about to capsize.

Shoulder length slings can be worn bandolier style. Some folks will clip 5 or more to a single carabiner and just let them hang. Typically we won’t rack them as ‘trick tripled’ alpine draws. In aid climbing, it is important to try to be as lightweight as possible. Since you often place a cam that already has a carabiner, this would otherwise quickly add up to an excess of carabiners.

Once again you’ll find your own system, this is just one of a thousand ways to do it.

We hope you found this video helpful. Feel free to comment below with questions or thoughts!


Please remember, climbing is inherently dangerous. Climb at your own risk.