Choosing ‘trad’ protection on a climb
This time I’m going to give you a little tip on how your mind should work when selecting ‘trad’ gear to place as protection on a climb.
First, an analogy. Imagine that you have to repair a hole in a wall in your living room. You repair the hole as required with filler or plaster, or whatever (I’m a mountaineer, by the way, not a builder/decorator). Now you have to paint over the repair to make it blend it perfectly with the surrounding paintwork. So, off you go to B&Q and pick up one of the little colour charts or key-rings with coloured tabs on them, covering the range of colours that you are likely to use. Carefully, you hold up your colour cards alongside the existing paintwork, flicking between them until you find the perfect match.
So it is with placing ‘trad’ gear. Identify a potential crack as the placement, then hold up your wires or cams alongside until you find the best match.
Don’t do it the other way, which is to choose a piece of gear that you like and then search the rock for somewhere it will fit…