The WeighMyRack Instagram feed boasts a wide range of gear storage options. From simple plastic tubs, to closets, to full on gear rooms, the options are endless. When We shared @johngassel’s gear room, it was obvious climbers wanted to learn more. We was asked John if he’d be willing to share, and his story is what comes next.

When I started climbing, my run down one-bedroom apartment barely accommodated my house plant—for a long time, its sole adornment. Naturally, space constraints didn’t discourage my rapid acquisition of the tools necessary to experiment in every facet of the vertical realm. From bouldering, to aid climbing, to ice and mixed, as quickly as I could learn the basics, I allocated my funds towards new gear.

Lacking any storage, my climbing gear commingled with my (unused) cookware which abutted my Christmas decorations which sat on old college textbooks. This menagerie filled a colorful and chaotic corner of my living room for years. At the center of it all, stood a three-foot tall plastic snowman who stoically bore the weight of slings and ropes.

snowman gear storage
Phase 1 Gear Storage: Where it all began…

Eventually, my mom tactfully informed me that I had outgrown my space by sending me a listing for a bright apartment with an office. She may have held visions of an austere workspace, but I saw its true potential right away. The weekend I moved, the first order of business was building storage for my gear in the office space. We spent the day at IKEA puzzling over their PAX system to select the features suited to my sizable collection of climbing gear. As any owner of an IKEA assemblage can relate, we spent a few days cursing their minimalist Swedish instructions before building anything that resembled cabinetry.

At last, my gear found its home.

Full Gear Storage Setup
Phase 2: Full Gear Storage Setup

At some point, I shared a photo of the closet which garnered quite a bit of attention on social media. I’m not sure how these things snowball, but I found myself bombarded with questions and a fair bit of speculation from hundreds of complete strangers. “His gear is too shiny, doubt he’s a real climber” “Why does he need so many crampons?” “Those cams are color-coded, he must be compulsive.”

I had the good sense to keep to myself, but the masses did pose some interesting questions which I’ll attempt to shed light on. The first is easy–speculation about my gear being shiny is a generous illusion of the camera. Although my ropes will sometimes get a wash, the rest usually carries a light layer of dust and dirt that I rarely find the time or discipline to attend to.

For those curious about the ropes I use, here’s the list (mostly left to right):

As an avid ice climber in the northeast, a new rope with good dry treatment is a must-have. I really like 70m ropes on ice for places like Lake Willoughby where you can rap from the top of most routes to the base with doubles in a single rappel. They’re great for when you eventually have to chop the ends after some overzealous swinging! My ropes last on ice for a season or two and then become my rock ropes.

In regards to my credentials as a climber, I can’t boast any great accomplishments, but I’ve decorated the cabinets with an eclectic collection of stickers from the places I’ve climbed.

cams and stickers
As for the crampons, six pairs may seem like overkill for me alone, but my gear closet plays host to both my gear and my girlfriend’s (who has her own healthy collection). With the long winters here in the Northeast, we use these crampons for various approaches and styles of ice climb.

From left to right you’ll see:

  • Petzl Vasak: Classic mountaineering crampon
  • Grivel Air Tech Light (2 pairs): Alpine climbing and glacier approaches when weight is critical
  • Black Diamond Stinger: All around vertical ice crampon
  • Grivel Rambo 4: My favorite vertical ice crampon for steep ice, it climbs very well
  • Petzl Dart: Lightweight ice climbing crampon, good for long approaches and mixed climbing where weight matters


I used to hang our cams arranged by color, but my girlfriend was rarely game to play along and the racks would often find themselves re-instituted in the order of our last climb. I realized that by leaving each single rack on a sling, packing, unpacking, and drying was made much more efficient.

carabiners and cams on slings
A friend and climbing guide often describes the climbers who bumble around with floppy ropes and various climbing accoutrement strapped and dangling from their pack as “junkshows.” I’ve made every effort to ward off this epithet, but I can’t seem to rise above the ubiquitous gear junk drawer. I have a few which house various accessories like fuel, water sanitation, camp gear, and other kick knacks.

junk drawer

Over the years, my gear closet has evolved to become a model of efficiency; the packing and unpacking process perfected for quick weekends away from the city. But despite the set-up, my girlfriend and I have grown a little tired of micro-adventures and have been dreaming of extended trips. Like many climbers do, we took the plunge and bought an empty cargo van. We spent the better part of this year converting it into a cozy home but we’ve left the most important build for last: the gear storage. Stay tuned…

cargo van


Any gear questions? Ask in the comments!



This Gear Stash post is Part 4 of 11 and is sponsored by Backcountry. This means, all opinions are 100% the author’s and there has been no manipulation of the gear being displayed, but gear links go directly to Backcountry’s website when available. This sponsorship helps to keep WeighMyRack alive, to pay authors, and allows more articles to be written. Also, since Backcountry has the biggest online selection of climbing gear of any US retailer, it made sense for us to partner with them for our Gear Stash stories.

If you’d like your rack to be featured on our Gear Stash series in the future, tag #weighmyrack and #gearstoke on Instagram. If we share your post on our feed and it becomes a most liked photo, we’ll reach out about becoming officially featured as an Ultimate Gear Stash.