16. Traditional Climbing – Racking for Lead

In this video we look at ways for the lead climber to rack for their climb. Here are a few tips from our pros:

1. First, consult a guidebook, topo, or other climbers to find out what sizes and types of gear you need to safely protect the route.

2. Shoulder length slings can be worn over your shoulder, or you can shorten them to the size of a quickdraw, making them into an “alpine quickdraw” (see above video for demonstration).

3. Decide on a system to separate slings, quickdraws, stoppers and cams to prevent tangling.

  • This could mean keeping shoulder length slings, or extendable “alpine quickdraws” on one side of your harness and cams on a sling on the other side of your body.
  • You can also try racking cams on the front gear loops of your harness and draws in the back.
  • Many organization methods exist, it’s personal preference!

4. A padded gear sling may be useful for racking and carrying gear. It can be used in addition to, or instead of, gear loops on your harness.

  • This sling can make climbing wide cracks easier because you can swing big cams behind you and prevent them from getting stuck as you grovel up a squeeze chimney.
  • This sling can also throw you off balance on a challenging slab climb if it suddenly slides off your back and falls between your knees.

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.