Climber Spotlight: Danny Hupp
Danny Hupp is a route setter at Climb Nashville located in Nashville, TN and has been climbing for 7 years.
Favorite Crag: PMRP at the Red River Gorge
Favorite Route: Keep Your Powder Dry at Red Rock Canyon
Favorite Boulder: Golden Shower at Rocktown
Climbing Mantra: "¡Venga, animal!"
We sat down with Danny and asked him to spill some knowledge about his favorite go-to gear:
Sport climbing is simple. At least, in my mind it is. One rope, a grip of quickdraws, two harnesses and some rubber on your feet and you can make it up just about anything. The more you bring to the crag the more complicated sport climbing becomes, distracting you from your daily effort to avoid yelling a rapid and panicked repetition of "TAKE!" halfway through some indistinct, low-percentage crux sequence. But, alas, we are all slaves to our corporate overlords, and we take zealous and perhaps misguided pride in our various knick-knacks and doo-dads. Here are some of my favorites, all of which I can be easily found hanging on, in or lowering off of.
My go-to rope is currently the Sterling Helix 9.5mm. It is the ideal diameter for the type of climbing I typically do (moderately long single-pitch), and offers a fantastic balance of durability and performance. To give you some perspective, I have climbed on my Helix somewhere in the ballpark of 25-30 days, and haven't felt the need to chop any off the ends (those climbing days always involve copious hang-dogging). Sterling makes the best handling ropes in the business, which I find hugely important when I'm on either end of the rope. Saving time while clipping means I can fall somewhere higher on my project. Thanks Sterling!
I'm a Black Diamond fan, without a doubt. I think they make awesome gear and I really like their logo, which to me is just as important as the quality equipment. I am currently sporting the Black Diamond Chaos harness, and I recommend it to everyone, no matter what kind of climbing your into (including boulderers. Gotta top-rope Kaya before you go for the redpoint, right?). Generous gear loops, high-end comfort, and longevity are only some of what you get with this harness. Another cool, certainly unintended feature is this harness sounds reminiscent of snow-pants when you're walking around in it. Trust me, you'll hear it too.
I think I could write a lengthy book on all of the climbing shoes I have thoughts on. It wouldn't be a very good or coherent read, but there would be some vaguely beneficial information in it to help readers decided on which pair of climbing boots they wanted to spend too much money on. I wear Five Ten shoes mostly. I think they have the most sensitive and precise shoes on the market with the best rubber in the world. In my bouldering days the Dragons and Teams were my weapons of choice, but I've moved on to slightly cushier options including the Hiangles. All three of these shoes are tops, and I think you ought to try them all on at some point. Bottom line though: don't wear shoes that "perform well" if they are really uncomfortable. That defeats the purpose of "high-performance shoes". Whoever convinced the public that performance and comfort can not coexist needs to be quietly but not necessarily swiftly dispatched.
My quickdraws are a motley crew. I have some C.A.M.P. draws I won at a comp, a set of Trango Reacts, and then random carabiners that I've accumulated connected with shoestring, scotch tape, hair-ties and other perfectly safe material. I am a huge fan of the Trango Reacts, and would likely use only those if I had enough to protect every climb I got on. They have the beefiest dogbones that I am not ashamed to pull on, and the gate action is as smooth as melted butter. I also recommend the Petzl Spirit Express for another great reliable option.
No one is paying me to tell you this. No one is giving me free gear to recommend these items. I do it because I love each and every one of you like family.
So here's the tough love part: buy a big enough backpack, put all your gear in that backpack (notice how that reads "all", not "everything but my shoes, draws and harness"), and for God's sake don't climb with a GoPro on unless you intend to untie and jump from the anchors.
Other gear I usually have with me: Y&Y belay glasses, Arc'Teryx chalk bag, Petzl Grigri, and plenty of athletic tape.