Sonnie Trotter
Credit: Corey Richards

Pro climber Sonnie Trotter shares how he stays organized

Sonnie Trotter’s 2006 clean ascent of Cobra Crack, a 5.14b/c Squamish aid line, is still considered the hardest gear climb ever completed. For climbs like this, Trotter plans every movement carefully, including how he organizes the gear on his harness. “I will often rack up in sequence of placements, so that it rolls off smoothly without wasting energy and time,” he says. “I used to actually write down the gear on paper so I would remember it all for the next day.” Even when he’s not pushing the envelope, Trotter still racks up carefully. “I usually put the smallest gear toward the front of my hips and then bigger and bigger gear toward the back,” he says. “This way the big heavy cams won’t get in the way of my climbing, by banging and clanging around. Also I can remember the order better this way. Now I can even remove gear without looking; just by feeling I know which piece it’s going to be. If I need quick links, quick draws, slings or anchor gear I put them on the very, very back, almost out of reach. That way I forget about them entirely until I really need them."