Forums: Climbing Disciplines: Trad Climbing:
Cams working in limestone happy stories?
RSS FeedRSS Feeds for Trad Climbing

Premier Sponsor:

 


stoopid_face


Aug 21, 2013, 4:28 PM
Post #1 of 19 (6472 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 21, 2013
Posts: 2

Cams working in limestone happy stories?
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Hi,

I keep hearing stories about cams ripping out of limestone? Has anyone fallen on a cam placement in limestone that hasn't ripped?!

I have been working my way up through the grades here in the canadian rockies for the past couple summers. I havent fallen on my gear but i am starting to climb harder routes and am (was) beginning to trust my cam placements. However this last weekend i experimented by taking a small whipper on a reasonably placed cam backed up by a bolt. Needless to say it ripped, i tried placing it several times in different orientations and it still popped. Definetly kinda concerning.

It was an orange metolius ultra light power cam. It was placed in a relatively parallel vertical crack that had no mineral deposits on the inside of walls, was not dirty, and was slightly textured (ie not smooth). The limestone was as bomber as it gets around here. The cam lobes were deployed in the green zone (almost yellow). It wasn't placed super deep, maybe an inch and half back from the outside surface. It was mostly aligned in anticipated direction of fall but was slighty rotated up and away from the direction of fall due to the geometry of the crack and nearby rock (slightly overhanging route, not totally vertical crack). I climbed about 4 feet above the cam (just below my feet) with about 30-40ft of rope out when i "fell". My partner was using a standard atc. To my surprise it popped. I could feel it pop so it held for a bit before the extended bolt caught me. When i checked the crack it looks like it tracked out (hard to tell for sure- some small scratches but no deep "tracks" like i would have expected). I placed it once more with the lobes flipped around and that time i could barely feel it pop.

Regardless, it wasn't an awesome placement but then again i would have happily taken it if i was on lead and wouldn't have been super eager to plug another piece.

What i learned from this:

Cams in PARALLEL limestone might really suck. Need to experiment some more to come to this conclusion.

Don't fall in the rockies....

I'm really second guessing my faith in cams (which could be agood thing?)

So has anyone fallen on cams in limestone and lived to tell about it?! All i seem to find on the internet is cams ripping...Also i don't care to hear about all damn theory behind cams i would just like to hear about real life climbing situations (ie empirical evidence).

Thanks!


bearbreeder


Aug 21, 2013, 5:30 PM
Post #2 of 19 (6446 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Feb 1, 2009
Posts: 1960

Re: [stoopid_face] Cams working in limestone happy stories? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (1 rating)  
Can't Post

if you want place you can "fall" and hopefully not die in the canadian rockies go to the quartzite at lake louise ...

or come to squamish ...

if you do climb on limestone, place a lot more gear, especially passive

the metolius is as good as it gets for small cams for the placement you mentioned ... it has the lowest camming angle ...

some say aliens work better because of the softer lobes ... but with their large camming angle i am unwilling to test that theory on lead personally

theres a reason sport is so popular around canmore

Tongue


granite_grrl


Aug 22, 2013, 5:00 AM
Post #3 of 19 (6349 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 25, 2002
Posts: 14800

Re: [stoopid_face] Cams working in limestone happy stories? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Key to placing cams in limestone is to find slight consrictions or pods to place them in. I have caught falls on cams placed like this, though there was also that one time the cam turned in the pod an my husband bent the lobe on his #4 C4.

On another route with a more paralell sided crack he ripped 3 cams and fell into the talus. It was after that we decided to save most of our gear climbing for area with better rock and that clipping bolts on limestone was a lot more fun.


kennoyce


Aug 22, 2013, 5:45 AM
Post #4 of 19 (6333 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Mar 6, 2001
Posts: 1312

Re: [stoopid_face] Cams working in limestone happy stories? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Ah, cams in limestone, this reminds me of this one time when I was sport climbing on limestone and had taken a small rack with me for some reason. As we were there, someone in my group who had never trad climbed before asked me to show them how cams work. I happely abliged and found a lovely 1" parallel sided crack to place a cam in to demonstrate how they work. I placed the cam perfectly at about 1/2 expansion, gave it a tug, and it pulled right out of the crack. Needless to say, my demonstration didn't inspire a lot of confidence in my audience, but it did teach me one important lesson, limestone is for sport climbing only.


ecade


Aug 22, 2013, 6:33 AM
Post #5 of 19 (6311 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jun 23, 2011
Posts: 132

Re: [stoopid_face] Cams working in limestone happy stories? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I live in Ontario, we have limestone, having climbed in the rockies a little, I think our limestone might be better, who'd have thought.

We have route called Nutcracker, 5.8 great hand jams nice line. A buddy who is a very strong and experienced trad climber having onsighted it and repeated it many times decided he was going to take some falls on his pro. He was trying to get me to be more confident in our rock. He purposefully fell 3 times on lead on 2 different cams. Both held. On both falls he was about 5'-6' above his piece (his feet were either at or just above/below the piece)

Another time on a route called Tits Up at Mt Nemo, I took on a cam, I sussed out the moves, climbed up, got spooked for the 1 committing move, down climbed back and took, this ensued 4 -5 times. on the last time, I noticed the cam lobes coming out, luckily, I grabbed a monster jug before the lobes fully cam out, I then plugged in 2 nuts and cam equalized with a nylon sling and lowered back to the ground. In this instance, I should have extended the cam to have prevented wrong directional pull (upward from repeated up and down climbing). My buddy then rocked the route and I seconded it, amazing what being calm does because that move that seemed tough was really at the grade and that grade is well below what I can sport climb (the move wasn't really much a trad/crack move, it was more of a sport style move then required minimal crack skills so i'd not chalk it up entirely to my poorer crack skills)

I guess, C'est la vie... goes to show you never can tell.


(This post was edited by ecade on Aug 22, 2013, 6:38 AM)


stoopid_face


Aug 22, 2013, 2:37 PM
Post #6 of 19 (6228 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 21, 2013
Posts: 2

Re: [stoopid_face] Cams working in limestone happy stories? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

There are too many radical limestone trad routes around these parts to stop climbing them so that isn't really an option for me. Granite, quartzite, gneiss is obviously the bomb when it comes to placing gear especially when you're coming from a limestone background. Its super confidence inspiring, but seeing that I'm "stuck" here in this limestone playground (damn first world problems) i had better figure out wether a cam in parallel limestone is worth a damn. When placing cams i always try to slot them in a pod or a feature that "locks" it in place but sometimes that isn't an option.

So...I think im going to pick up some smaller cow bells to compliment my larger ones and to fill in the gap bewteen my tricams and big cowbells; even if i get ridiculed at the crag for making all that damn noise with those "archaic" pieces. (Typically by that individually racked cam hoarding, sport draw only, single rope toting climber...) Wink

Anyways thanks for sharing and im going to try and test a few more pieces (smaller hexes included) for my own peace of mind soon. I'll try and snap some photos and post those too.

Thanks!


roninthorne


Aug 22, 2013, 5:35 PM
Post #7 of 19 (6182 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 27, 2002
Posts: 641

Re: [stoopid_face] Cams working in limestone happy stories? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Climb on metamorphic limestone here in WV, and have had some interesting falls on passive and camming gear. Still here, no horror stories or near-death experiences (at least, none that can be blamed on the combination of cam and limestone). Longest fall- 15 feet on a #3 in a pod- we don't have many parallel-sided cracks around this part of the Panhandle... that's all down in the Gorge.

It's an acquired taste, leading on limestone... there are over 38 routes at the nearby crag, 100 further down the road, and only one of them is a trad line... oddly enough, it's mine. Trad climbers usually head over the mountain to Senecas Rocks, so I have plenty of lines to snag, with no waiting.

I'll say this... leading with trad gear in a limestone crack makes bolts so very happy and convenient, when you head back to the sport crags.

Climb on-

B)


kennoyce


Aug 23, 2013, 6:09 AM
Post #8 of 19 (6116 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Mar 6, 2001
Posts: 1312

Re: [roninthorne] Cams working in limestone happy stories? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

roninthorne wrote:
Climb on metamorphic limestone here in WV, and have had some interesting falls on passive and camming gear. Still here, no horror stories or near-death experiences (at least, none that can be blamed on the combination of cam and limestone). Longest fall- 15 feet on a #3 in a pod- we don't have many parallel-sided cracks around this part of the Panhandle... that's all down in the Gorge.

It's an acquired taste, leading on limestone... there are over 38 routes at the nearby crag, 100 further down the road, and only one of them is a trad line... oddly enough, it's mine. Trad climbers usually head over the mountain to Senecas Rocks, so I have plenty of lines to snag, with no waiting.

I'll say this... leading with trad gear in a limestone crack makes bolts so very happy and convenient, when you head back to the sport crags.

Climb on-

B)

Metamorphic limestone? Sorry, but that just doesn't work. Limestone is a sedementary rock, and when it is metamorphosed it becomes marble.


bearbreeder


Sep 4, 2013, 12:36 PM
Post #9 of 19 (5770 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Feb 1, 2009
Posts: 1960

Re: [kennoyce] Cams working in limestone happy stories? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

kennoyce wrote:
Ah, cams in limestone, this reminds me of this one time when I was sport climbing on limestone and had taken a small rack with me for some reason. As we were there, someone in my group who had never trad climbed before asked me to show them how cams work. I happely abliged and found a lovely 1" parallel sided crack to place a cam in to demonstrate how they work. I placed the cam perfectly at about 1/2 expansion, gave it a tug, and it pulled right out of the crack. Needless to say, my demonstration didn't inspire a lot of confidence in my audience, but it did teach me one important lesson, limestone is for sport climbing only.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MW1teH6k9xo

a big gray dragon (same as #4 camalot) no less

Tongue


acorneau


Sep 4, 2013, 5:19 PM
Post #10 of 19 (5735 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Feb 6, 2008
Posts: 2889

Re: [bearbreeder] Cams working in limestone happy stories? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

bearbreeder wrote:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MW1teH6k9xo

a big gray dragon (same as #4 camalot) no less

Tongue

Yikes!

Wonder if the same thing would have happened if they used a cam with a lower camming angle like a Metolius.


bearbreeder


Sep 4, 2013, 5:26 PM
Post #11 of 19 (5733 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Feb 1, 2009
Posts: 1960

Re: [acorneau] Cams working in limestone happy stories? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

thats a dragon with a 13.75 deg

i believe the metolius has 13.25 deg ...

its possible, but i wouldnt stake my life on it ...

if you can pull whats basically a #4 camalot, you know yr just effed ...

Wink


Partner rgold


Sep 4, 2013, 6:28 PM
Post #12 of 19 (5716 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Dec 3, 2002
Posts: 1801

Re: [stoopid_face] Cams working in limestone happy stories? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Get a set of Totem Cams. They were designed, at least partially, with an eye to limestone placements and, by construction, ought to have higher holding power than most everything else.

Then learn the fine art of redundant protecting strategy. Betting the farm on a single cam in limestone is probably not a way to have a long climbing career.


roninthorne


Sep 19, 2013, 8:34 AM
Post #13 of 19 (5302 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 27, 2002
Posts: 641

Re: [kennoyce] Cams working in limestone happy stories? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Take it up with the geology majors I've heard toss the term around when I asked, if that is the most important point you get out of the discussion.


fng


Sep 23, 2013, 9:19 AM
Post #14 of 19 (5158 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 20, 2003
Posts: 84

Re: [roninthorne] Cams working in limestone happy stories? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Don't have to worry about limestone near me, all granite. I would think, as with iffy pro in granite, the belayer should know to do a soft catch when appropriate. Just curious if that would make a difference in limestone.


USnavy


Sep 23, 2013, 11:35 AM
Post #15 of 19 (5132 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 5, 2007
Posts: 2661

Re: [fng] Cams working in limestone happy stories? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (2 ratings)  
Can't Post

fng wrote:
Don't have to worry about limestone near me, all granite. I would think, as with iffy pro in granite, the belayer should know to do a soft catch when appropriate.
Fixed that for you. The pro is irrelevant. The belayer always should, except under specific conditions, perform a soft catch.


markspend01


Oct 2, 2013, 6:02 AM
Post #16 of 19 (4903 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 2, 2013
Posts: 3

Re: [USnavy] Cams working in limestone happy stories? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Hey Guys well i think that's really appreciating post about cams in limestone.Thanks!!


http://www.gmgstone.com.au/


(This post was edited by markspend01 on Oct 5, 2013, 8:58 AM)


anarkhos


Oct 16, 2013, 4:56 PM
Post #17 of 19 (4543 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 31, 2006
Posts: 227

Re: [stoopid_face] Cams working in limestone happy stories? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I never had a tri-cam rip out....oh you mean THOSE cams.

I know some Spaniards who trad climb in limestone and they only use totem or aliens due to their narrow heads and flexible stems.

But you should really consider just using tricams.


sonso45


May 5, 2014, 10:35 AM
Post #18 of 19 (1998 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 31, 2002
Posts: 963

Re: [anarkhos] Cams working in limestone happy stories? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I've climbed lots of trad on Limestone. In Spain, Montrebei is a 1500' trad crag and it is great rock. Pedra Forca is also a big trad place in the Pyrenees. The Dolomites are big and trad protected.

I have never had gear rip out but I don't fall much. I do find myself using more passive pro and looking for constrictions when placing cams.


olderic


May 5, 2014, 1:10 PM
Post #19 of 19 (1972 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 17, 2003
Posts: 1536

Re: [USnavy] Cams working in limestone happy stories? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

USnavy wrote:
fng wrote:
Don't have to worry about limestone near me, all granite. I would think, as with iffy pro in granite, the belayer should know to do a soft catch when appropriate.
Fixed that for you. The pro is irrelevant. The belayer always never should, except under specific conditions, perform a soft catch.

Fixed


Forums : Climbing Disciplines : Trad Climbing

 


Search for (options)

Log In:

Username:
Password: Remember me:

Go Register
Go Lost Password?
$3.56 (10% off)
$24.26 (10% off)
$40.46 (10% off)
$5.85 (10% off)



Follow us on Twiter Become a Fan on Facebook