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SillyG


Jun 1, 2012, 12:45 PM
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Thoughts on cams over passive pro?
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I've been slowly working my way into the trad sphere, building my rack over the last few months, and I've found myself relying heavily on cams for protection because they are easy to place and feel secure.

For a new guy who can afford it, do you think a cam heavy approach is OK? I like placing stoppers, but it seems like most other forms of passive pro can be replaced by active pro. From my reading, a leading reason people recommend other pro, hexes for instance, is because they are cheap or specialized.

I guess it's worthwhile to mention that I don't have a great network of trad climbers... all my friends are gym/sport climbers, so I've been developing my skills more or less myself. I also climb really easy trad, ~5.5 (5.10a/b in the gym), which may contribute to my gear collection approach.

I don't know... what do you guys think?


bearbreeder


Jun 1, 2012, 12:55 PM
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use as many nuts as possible where there are constrictions ... itll serve you well when you lead longer multi climbs where weight matters ...

dont bother with hexes when starting off


vinnie83


Jun 1, 2012, 2:04 PM
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Being able to make solid passive gear placements is a must.

Like Bearbreeder said they allow you to climb longer routes with a relatively light (and cheaper) rack. Even with all the new micro cams available today a well placed small nut gives me much more confidence than a small cam, and good luck trying to fit a cam in a micro nut sized placement.

They both have their pros and cons, learn how to climb with both. My hexes on the other hand rarely get used.


healyje


Jun 1, 2012, 2:33 PM
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SillyG wrote:
I've been slowly working my way into the trad sphere, building my rack over the last few months, and I've found myself relying heavily on cams for protection because they are easy to place and feel secure.

This is a fairly modern turn of events and i's actually pretty funny to watch folks slamming cam after cam while passing up perfect nut placements. I see folks take doubles and triples of cams up routes I do with a rack of eight stoppers total.

I'm old, however, and will always prefer a solid nut placement to a cam. I agree about skipping the hexs these days. Just get two sets of nuts - one straight sided of almost any brand and a set of DMM Alloy Offsets and learn how to use them.


curt


Jun 1, 2012, 4:44 PM
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healyje wrote:
SillyG wrote:
I've been slowly working my way into the trad sphere, building my rack over the last few months, and I've found myself relying heavily on cams for protection because they are easy to place and feel secure.

This is a fairly modern turn of events and i's actually pretty funny to watch folks slamming cam after cam while passing up perfect nut placements. I see folks take doubles and triples of cams up routes I do with a rack of eight stoppers total...

That's still about twice as many as Henry Barber used to carry. Cool

Curt


tradmanclimbs


Jun 2, 2012, 5:20 AM
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In the smaller sizes nuts are often much stronger than cams. Saw one accident where a kid placed a #00 TCU in the same spot that I place #5 BD stopper. The micro cam ripped and the kid decked @ the belay and got hurt pretty bad. I caught my fried Alex on that same fall on the stopper and it was bomber. Cams instead of hexes is a smart move most of the time but your large fingers and smaller should be stoppers whenever possible.


theextremist04


Jun 2, 2012, 7:54 AM
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Cams are usually easier to place, and faster, so if you were leading at/beyond your limit and worried about pumping out at placements I can understand using lots of active pro. But when leading five grades below your limit, use lots of passive, a good placement is way more bomber and it also saves the cams for when you really need them.


mikebarter387


Jun 2, 2012, 9:14 AM
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Played around with some hexes last summer. Bit of info here. If it's all you have great but decided in the end camd were much more stable.
http://youtu.be/ohuc2QMvkr0


tradmanclimbs


Jun 2, 2012, 9:58 AM
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Load of Bull honkey from kansas! stoppers are just as easy to place as cams especialy if you aqre at your limit. Save the cams for parrelel sided cracks that do not take stoppers or use the cams to save the stoppers for when you really need them.


guangzhou


Jun 2, 2012, 7:07 PM
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theextremist04 wrote:
Cams are usually easier to place, and faster, so if you were leading at/beyond your limit and worried about pumping out at placements I can understand using lots of active pro. But when leading five grades below your limit, use lots of passive, a good placement is way more bomber and it also saves the cams for when you really need them.

I place nuts just as fast if not faster than cams in many cases.


dagibbs


Jun 2, 2012, 9:03 PM
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healyje wrote:
SillyG wrote:
I've been slowly working my way into the trad sphere, building my rack over the last few months, and I've found myself relying heavily on cams for protection because they are easy to place and feel secure.

I'm old, however, and will always prefer a solid nut placement to a cam. I agree about skipping the hexs these days. Just get two sets of nuts - one straight sided of almost any brand and a set of DMM Alloy Offsets and learn how to use them.

I'm not old in trad-leading years, it's only been 3 or so years I've been doing it, but I also far prefer a solid nut placement to a cam.

I feel that recognising a placement for passive gear, and doing it quickly and well is a skill that takes development, and it is clear that it takes that development. Cams give the illusion that a secure placement is easy to get, with minimal skill -- just plug-and-go. But, the problems with cams are more subtle, and learning when they are/aren't a good placement takes as much learning as for nuts, but it isn't obvious to a beginner that there is this learning curve.


billl7


Jun 3, 2012, 4:55 AM
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I'll go as far as to say a leader is handicapped if the standard rack heavily relies on SLCDs. In a general sense, there are often passive placements that are lousy SLCD placements.

Bill L


Partner j_ung


Jun 3, 2012, 5:12 AM
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SillyG wrote:
I've been slowly working my way into the trad sphere, building my rack over the last few months, and I've found myself relying heavily on cams for protection because they are easy to place and feel secure.

For a new guy who can afford it, do you think a cam heavy approach is OK? I like placing stoppers, but it seems like most other forms of passive pro can be replaced by active pro. From my reading, a leading reason people recommend other pro, hexes for instance, is because they are cheap or specialized.

I guess it's worthwhile to mention that I don't have a great network of trad climbers... all my friends are gym/sport climbers, so I've been developing my skills more or less myself. I also climb really easy trad, ~5.5 (5.10a/b in the gym), which may contribute to my gear collection approach.

I don't know... what do you guys think?

I'm going to go ahead and agree that at this stage of the game, and screw it—pretty much every stage of the game, the nuts may serve you better than the cams. There's not a climber on Earth who can accurately judge the value of his placements 100% of the time, and most of the time it's easier to judge the value of a stopper placement. Some people may not agree with that, but I think cams sometimes offer the illusion of perfection rather than a fact.

That said, your geography will certainly play a role in your rack selection. If you climbed exclusively at, say, Looking Glass Rock in NC, I'd call you a moron for eschewing all cams.


hafilax


Jun 3, 2012, 11:45 AM
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If you don't need to extend the placement, cams can be quite a bit faster. With nuts you have to select the right nut and then extend it. Otherwise, they are probably pretty equal to me for placement time.

As for security, the rock dictates what will work best.

Nuts are way lighter. A cam only rack is really heavy, takes up a lot of space, and is more expensive.


josephfazioli


Jun 4, 2012, 11:32 AM
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I tend to use cams only in weird placements- that is, parallel or flared-edge cracks (where I've got to dig in deep) and placements where nuts are simply too small. I love my #4 cam, but not much else works there.

I also have a few giant hexes actually, and got pretty good a placing them.


healyje


Jun 4, 2012, 1:03 PM
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hafilax wrote:
If you don't need to extend the placement, cams can be quite a bit faster. With nuts you have to select the right nut and then extend it. Otherwise, they are probably pretty equal to me for placement time.

It should be noted that probably the most common mistake I see when out climbing is the failure to sling and extend cams when necessary. And make no mistake, being in the habit of not slinging cams appropriately is huge mistake, not a 'no big deal' one. By and large, the type of pro and the characteristics of an individual placement don't dictate the need for appropriate slinging, but rather the rope path over the course of a pitch.

Also, the lack of slinging on cams results in your cams below the top piece rotating to the horizontal when tensioned in a fall. If the top piece then fails your cams are put into motion pivoting back to the loading angle and then stop in that position. I don't know about you, but once cams are in motion I don't have all the confidence in the world around them stopping where you want them to stop - they do most of the time, but you're still gambling in that regard.


(This post was edited by healyje on Jun 4, 2012, 1:04 PM)


Partner drector


Jun 4, 2012, 1:08 PM
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I never carry mine anymore but placing a hex does come with some amount of satisfaction. Climbing is supposed to be fun and sometimes trying to use all passive pro on a route can be part of that fun.

Plus, if you have hexes and a bear comes along, they can make a lot of noise if you shake them around a bit.

Dave


Motumoyo


Jun 25, 2012, 8:31 PM
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It is actually very interesting to see folks cry cam cam, through the improvement of the nut deposits.


shockabuku


Jun 26, 2012, 4:13 AM
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Motumoyo wrote:
It is actually very interesting to see folks cry cam cam, through the improvement of the nut deposits.

All your nuts are belong to us!


ecade


Jun 26, 2012, 7:13 AM
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In reply to:
For a new guy who can afford it, do you think a cam heavy approach is OK? I like placing stoppers, but it seems like most other forms of passive pro can be replaced by active pro. From my reading, a leading reason people recommend other pro, hexes for instance, is because they are cheap or specialized.

I'm in a similar spot to you, learning learning learning.

I don't know where you climb but I find that here in Ontario on chossy limestone I like to place Hexes. Sometimes there is a great horizontal hex placement at the begining of a route which i like as its camming but also, passive. i.e. multi directional up down and is better than a cam when the rock quality is suspect.


Hexes i believe exert less force onto the rock so if weighted the likelihood that the rock blow is reduced.

I hate tying oppositional nuts so I use hexes often.

But eh, what do I know, I've only been doing this for a year now and have never fallen only taken on my gear. So this could all be wrong and if so, sorry.


Partner cracklover


Jun 26, 2012, 9:09 AM
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SillyG wrote:
I've been slowly working my way into the trad sphere, building my rack over the last few months, and I've found myself relying heavily on cams for protection because they are easy to place and feel secure.

For a new guy who can afford it, do you think a cam heavy approach is OK? I like placing stoppers, but it seems like most other forms of passive pro can be replaced by active pro. From my reading, a leading reason people recommend other pro, hexes for instance, is because they are cheap or specialized.

I guess it's worthwhile to mention that I don't have a great network of trad climbers... all my friends are gym/sport climbers, so I've been developing my skills more or less myself. I also climb really easy trad, ~5.5 (5.10a/b in the gym), which may contribute to my gear collection approach.

I don't know... what do you guys think?

I think you'd be surprised at how shitty some of your cam placements really are.

Beginning leaders (myself included once upon a time) actually place much better nuts than cams. There are a lot of things that can be bad about a cam placement that are not obvious to a beginning climber. A few examples:

- Flares in one side of the crack which, if the cam rotates, will cause one set of lobes to umbrella open.

- Crystals the lobes are sitting on, which will shatter when fallen on, lubricating the lobes.

- Rotten rock in the crack, which turns to junk under a moderate load.

- Slick rock.

- Small cams with a very tiny usable range. A little shift from where you put it, or if you just slam it in and hope for the best - it's probably junk.

- Placements too near the lip in soft rock.

- Placements that flare out inside, where a cam that walks will either umbrella completely, or one set of lobes may invert.

In every one of the above cases, a cam will fail under a moderate load, where a passive placement will not. That's why many beginning leader's nut placements are probably much better than cam placements. And why if you're not relying on your nuts, you're probably really screwing yourself.

There are areas where a good cam placement is a no-brainer, and quicker to place than a comparably good nut. But in my experience, that's only about half the places I've climbed. The rest of the time, a good cam placement often takes as long or longer to make than a good nut placement.

As for hexes - they're a matter of personal preference. I love my hexes, and get a ton of use from them up to around 5.9, but others use them only as a specialty piece. You'll need to figure that one out for yourself.

GO


iknowfear


Jun 26, 2012, 9:46 AM
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shockabuku wrote:
Motumoyo wrote:
It is actually very interesting to see folks cry cam cam, through the improvement of the nut deposits.

All your nuts are belong to us!

what is that smell? I think I smell spam comming up...


shockabuku


Jun 26, 2012, 11:48 AM
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iknowfear wrote:
shockabuku wrote:
Motumoyo wrote:
It is actually very interesting to see folks cry cam cam, through the improvement of the nut deposits.

All your nuts are belong to us!

what is that smell? I think I smell spam comming up...

Fried in a sammich!!

But I think that dude is just an ESL case and I feel kind of bad but I couldn't resist.


iknowfear


Jun 26, 2012, 12:09 PM
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shockabuku wrote:
iknowfear wrote:
shockabuku wrote:
Motumoyo wrote:
It is actually very interesting to see folks cry cam cam, through the improvement of the nut deposits.

All your nuts are belong to us!

what is that smell? I think I smell spam comming up...

[image]http://cdn.spam.com/img/Classic-SPAM.png[/image] Fried in a sammich!!

But I think that dude is just an ESL case and I feel kind of bad but I couldn't resist.

meh, I'm not that optimistic.
If I'm wrong, sorry Motumoyo!


donald949


Jun 27, 2012, 9:22 AM
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Lots of good advice here, and a couple iffy ones. But head the warning about taking care with those cam placements. Just because a cam can be slid into the crack and fits doesn't mean its a good placement. Plug and go they are not.
Also, I always use an extra sling to extend my cams. As such I've never had a cam walk or move out of its placement.
For Hexes, just think of them as large nuts with 3 sides. Some people will cam them, and that is one of there uses, but a specialized one. I climbed on them plenty back in my poor student days, and loved them. But they really have been replaced by cams on my rack these days.

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