When preparing for a trad climb, I usually divide my rack into separate groups where each group is connected to a single carabiner. So for example all the small nuts go into carabiner 1, middle range cams go to carabiner 2, etc.

The problem is that when I need a specific piece, I need to be able to separate the desired piece from the carabiner. This is often pretty hard to do with one hand. The other pieces can be pretty heavy too.

I was thinking that maybe there is a solution that allows me to detach a single piece and put it back (if it does not fit) easily using one hand. Maybe a magnet of some kind or a detachable ring.

Has anyone here found a nice elegant solution for this problem?

  • I've found that removing a nut from the carabiner is usually pretty easy (sometimes too easy) if I've already placed it while it was still clipped into the biner. Or, to put it another way, if I remove the biner from the nut instead of the other way around. Clipping the biner back to the nut isn't a problem either. But you phrased it as a racking question, so maybe I'm missing something? Aug 18, 2019 at 18:40
  • I guess it pretty easy for straight forward placements. But sometimes I find myself placing nuts into very narrow bridges and deep slots. In that case the carabiner really stands in the way and I must first remove the nut from the carabiner in order to test whether it will match or not. Aug 19, 2019 at 14:22

1 Answer 1


When racking up, you have a spectrum of possibilities between two extremes:

  • At one end, you could put every single piece of gear on the same carabiner. While the weight savings would be incredible, it would be an absolute pain to place a piece.

  • At the opposite end, you could rack every single piece of pro on its own carabiner. You pay a penalty in weight (and room on your harness/gear sling), but every piece is immediately accessible.

Where you fall on the spectrum basically boils down to personal preference and some foreknowledge of the route. My personal system that works well for me:

  1. A full set of stoppers goes on a single carabiner, or perhaps split onto two.

    • If I have time at a stance to futz around with a stopper, then I'm usually okay to deal with reclipping the remaining pieces and carabiner back on my rack.
    • Stoppers are pretty small and light, so it isn't too cumbersome to hold the entire collection in one hand.
    • Stoppers are prone to needing to check the adjacent sizes when sussing out a placement---why not already have them in hand?
    • I'm almost always going to clip a stopper with a quickdraw or sling. As such, having a spare carabiner clipped to the place stopper is useless.
    • Depending on the brand, a full set of stoppers is around ten pieces. Only a few of them will generally get used in a single pitch---why waste the harness space with having each on a single carabiner?
    • If I'm carrying a double or even triple rack of stoppers, each set gets its own carabiner. I don't want to completely destroy my options if I happen to drop it. Plus a carabiner starts to get really crammed at that point.
  2. Each cam is racked on its own carabiner.

    • If the route runs reasonably straight and I'm not worried about a placement walking, I usually just clip the rope directly to the carabiner the cam was racked on. No need for a separate sling or quickdraw.
    • The benefit of cams is that they're quick and easy to place. Why compromise that with needing to deal with re-racking pieces every placement?
    • Modern carabiners are pretty light, so the difference in weight of having each cam on its own carabiner is somewhat negligible in comparison to bringing along that cam to begin with.
    • A set of cams in a reasonable range is around six pieces, so even a double rack doesn't create too much clutter on the harness.
    • If I'm carrying a giant rack (e.g., aid climbing) and gear loop space is at a premium, I will still put each cam on its own carabiner, but clip duplicates off of a carabiner holding the same size piece, rather than having three or four of the same piece taking up room on the gear loop.
    • Many manufacturers make carabiners that are anodized in colors that match their cams. This can be a nice way to easily pick out the appropriate piece from the rack when you're pumped silly. For example, yellow carabiner = #2 Camalot.
  3. I generally try to organize my rack to have smaller pieces towards the front and larger pieces towards the back where they can stay out of the way.

  4. If I know that there is going to be a hard/pumpy placement, I will try to anticipate this and have that piece front and center. For example, having a specific nut racked on its own quickdraw, or a certain cam located on the front of the gear loop that is easiest to reach with the hand with which I'll need to place it.

This video of Beth Rodden goes over basically the same system I use. However, it truly just comes down to finding an organization system that is functional, efficient, and logical to you!

  • 1
    This is a great answer. I think point 4 is really critical especially for beginners on easier climbs where you are more likely to be stuck in a nasty off width with no access to the gear you want or cams digging into you side.
    – StrongBad
    Aug 19, 2019 at 14:37

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