/ How many cams in your rack/ collection do you need, generally?

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ade sheffield - on 28 Dec 2013

All ideas please- honestly, not trolling.
Single, double axle, 3/4 cams, sizes, double slings etc, for trad, grit/ lime/ mountain rock up to about E2-3?
Thanks in advance.
Post edited at 22:03
MischaHY - on 28 Dec 2013
In reply to ade sheffield:

The gear-hoarding part of me screams 'ALL THE CAMS.' But actually, I only have four in my rack, 0.5, 1.0, 1.5 and 3 - these have taken me up to E4 thusfar. At the end of the day, you use what you have, so buy a few over a wide range if you're on a budget, or buy as many as you want if cash isn't an issue.
angry pirate - on 28 Dec 2013
In reply to ade sheffield:

I carry a full set from 1 to 4 including half sizes, which have accumulated over a good few years. Most are dmm 4cus as they're cheap but there's the odd friend and dragon in there.
How many do I need? Hmmm, used to find a 1, 2 and 3 cam was plenty but do like to lace routes with gear now that I'm a dad and consequently less brave!
The size 4 was a recent gift and is a real luxury though I did manage to place it on the first route I carried it :)
Kemics - on 28 Dec 2013
In reply to ade sheffield:

The more the better! Really it depends on the route. It sounds obvious, but no point in lugging a size four up a finger crack. For long multipitch routes (where it's not possible to guess gear) I usually take around six cams. Covering everything from micros up to a BD camalot size 2. I don't usually bother above 2 because they're too heavy.

However, for long hand crack pitches ive entirely left my wires and just taken 10-15 cams. How long is a piece of string really.
dagibbs - on 28 Dec 2013
In reply to ade sheffield:

As many as the route you're leading needs, and not more.

I think my "normal" rack has about 13-14 cams on it, and I've got an (old-size) BD #5 Camalot that I only rack if needed. For some climbs, I'll pull some/all the cams off the rack, if I don't feel they'll be needed. If I'm getting into an unknown route of moderate length, without or with minimal gear beta, I'll bring them all. (I've also got a bunch of nuts and tri-cams, plus a few hexes.) I've finished pitches wishing I had more gear to build an anchor, and I've finished pitches wishing I hadn't hauled half the gear up that I did.
ade sheffield - on 28 Dec 2013
In reply to dagibbs:

That's more along my thinking- have an old WC Friend2 30 yrs old (- reslung), Quadcam 2.5, and now have Dragon's which I really like, and some smaller 0.3-0.75 C4's.
Thanks.
1poundSOCKS - on 28 Dec 2013
In reply to ade sheffield: 19 in my collection now, I think at most I've taken 14 with me (but that was when I 'only' had 14).

The Pylon King on 29 Dec 2013
In reply to ade sheffield:

Just a few for grit, you don't need cams on lime or mountains.
Donnie - on 29 Dec 2013
In reply to ade sheffield:

seventeen
Jon Stewart - on 29 Dec 2013
In reply to The Pylon King:

> Just a few for grit, you don't need cams on lime or mountains.

I tend to take the lot (about 10) on big pitches (don't have anything except wires and cams, never seen the need), but just whatever looks right on grit.
paul__in_sheffield - on 29 Dec 2013
In reply to The Pylon King:

> Just a few for grit, you don't need cams on lime or mountains.

+1 for this. WC friends 1,1,2,2,2.5 have got me up most things in that grade range (30 yr old solid stems) and some wires.
Kemics - on 29 Dec 2013
In reply to The Pylon King:

> Just a few for grit, you don't need cams on lime or mountains.

Granted you dont need. But there's certainly times ive been glad to have them!
Jon Stewart - on 29 Dec 2013
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:

> +1 for this. WC friends 1,1,2,2,2.5 have got me up most things in that grade range (30 yr old solid stems) and some wires.

No hexes or anything bigger than a big wire?

Sounds unecessarily scary to me. I don't know why anyone would think it was better to climb anywhere without some cams. I genuinely can't think of a single route on lime or mountain rock where I haven't used plenty of cams. And several where they're semi-crucial (i.e. much the best the gear) e.g. Saxon (large cam protects the crux after a long run-out), Star Wars (crap small wires until the break is reached with a sense of relief).

So given that it's easy to think of uber-classic low E-grade routes on lime and mountain rock where cams make a big difference, and that they're always useful because they're quick to place due to their ability to change size, how could it possibly be sensible not to take them on routes where you can't see what the gear is? Sounds like a load of crap, possibly motivated by either machismo or stick-in-the-mud-these-new-fangled-devices-just-don't-seem-quite-right-to-me-back-in-my-day-we-used-to-make-do-with-two-tin-cans-and-a-piece-of-string-instead-of-these-e-phones-or-whatever-you-kids-call-them...

(And the solid stems made me smile, given my previous post).
Liam Ingram - on 29 Dec 2013
In reply to The Pylon King:

> Just a few for grit, you don't need cams on lime or mountains.

Have you heard of mountains made of granite?
Kemics - on 29 Dec 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:
Usually if large gear provides crucial protection, the guide book tells you (or you're offwidthing). But for the most part, while it is possible to place large cams or hexes. It's just a psychological placement. Nearly every time you'll be able to climb another meter and place a smaller piece. I never take larger than a camalot 2. And while I double up my smaller wires. I usually only take 1 of each from 7-11 in wallnuts.

Dump those torque nuts and hexes off your harness...they're only weighing you down :)

though small/medium cams are damn essential whatever the rock type! You'd be a dumbass not to use them :)

The only restrictions are financial!
Post edited at 17:41
Ciderslider - on 29 Dec 2013
In reply to ade sheffield:

You can never have too many cams, trust me - see how they shine precious one ;-)
HeMa on 29 Dec 2013
In reply to ade sheffield:


Depends... scandinavian granite is good for cams and the pitches can stretch full 60 m, plus you'd need to build the stand on the same crack you just climbed... so pretty much double set on camalots 0.3 to 3 and a few overlapping micros (as in all sizes, doubles if possible) and perhaps some bigger stuff as well.


It depends on the route in question.

For single pitch, it's easier... read the route and leave what you deem unnecessary.
The Pylon King on 29 Dec 2013
In reply to Liam Ingram:

> Have you heard of mountains made of granite?

very true
Jon Stewart - on 29 Dec 2013
In reply to Kemics:

> But for the most part, while it is possible to place large cams or hexes. It's just a psychological placement. Nearly every time you'll be able to climb another meter and place a smaller piece.

That's alright when you're not at your limit. On a steep E3, I want to be placing the best, easiest gear from the best holds, not fiddling in unnecessary wires when I could have just slammed in a lovely blue camalot. I don't take anything bigger than that though, too heavy.

> Dump those torque nuts and hexes off your harness...they're only weighing you down :)

They're not, I don't have any.
cyberpunk - on 29 Dec 2013
In reply to ade sheffield:
Aliens
Black,Blue Green

BD C4 / Grey x1, Purple x2, Green x2, Red x2, Gold x2, Blue x2,Grey x1 Purple x1

BD C3 full set
ade sheffield - on 29 Dec 2013
In reply to Donnie:

Would that be 8 x 0.3 Camalots and 9 x size 6 Dragons then
:-)
Robert Durran - on 29 Dec 2013
In reply to The Pylon King:

> Just a few for grit, you don't need cams on lime or mountains.

And nor do you need a rope if you don't fall off.

A silly statement.
Pyreneenemec - on 29 Dec 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:

End of year fun !

Given the silly money people spend on these cam devices, surely we would all be better off climbing on bolts !

andrewmcleod - on 29 Dec 2013
In reply to ade sheffield:

I have so far bought Dragons 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6, and managed to find a placement too small for the 5 and too big for the 3. So all the cams indeed? :P
Robert Durran - on 29 Dec 2013
In reply to Pyreneenemec:

> End of year fun !

For the record, my "normal" rack has 13 cams (Friends 0 to 2.5 and camalots from little blue to big blue), though I have smaller ones and bigger ones and doubles of most when needed.

> Given the silly money people spend on these cam devices, surely we would all be better off climbing on bolts!

No
paul__in_sheffield - on 29 Dec 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart: hi John. No I have no concrete reason, but have never owned any hexes. Just a double set of WC rocks and some extra 4s and 10s. Those plus the antique solid stems got me to E5 and a couple of harder. I don't think it's stick in the mud because it' just works and hasn't stopped me climbing stuff. It's certainly not machismo because I'm a big scaredy cat!
The +1 for the quote was a bit tongue in cheek, because I've stuffed many limestone breaks with cams just like you suggest. I pretty well gave up trad climbing for bouldering and bolt clipping now, so what do I know!

Jon Stewart - on 29 Dec 2013
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:

> Just a double set of WC rocks and some extra 4s and 10s. Those plus the antique solid stems got me to E5 and a couple of harder.

Can't say fairer than that!
The Pylon King on 29 Dec 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:

> And nor do you need a rope if you don't fall off.

No thats the silly statement!

There is no alternative to a rope.

but you can virtually always place nuts.
The Pylon King on 29 Dec 2013
In reply to Pyreneenemec:

> End of year fun !

> Given the silly money people spend on these cam devices, surely we would all be better off climbing on bolts !

They are just rich gear freaks, not proper climbers.
Jon Stewart - on 29 Dec 2013
In reply to The Pylon King:

> but you can virtually always place nuts.

Well you can, it's just more difficult. You could leave all your medium nuts too and then it would be even harder, great!
Pyreneenemec - on 29 Dec 2013
In reply to The Pylon King:


Seriously, when the first 'rigid Friends' hit the scene, they were frowned upon by 'purists' !

You see far too many climbers with the most ridiculously over-loaded racks !

Perhaps they have problems with the size of their nuts !

Pyreneenemec - on 29 Dec 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:

We're almost talking about real climbers !

I've done many 600m climbs in the Pyrénées and only used one of two cams, there was always better natural protection available to use with a simple sling or large hex.

Where's the fun in having the weight of 13 cams on your hips ?
Robert Durran - on 29 Dec 2013
In reply to The Pylon King:

> No thats the silly statement!

> There is no alternative to a rope.

> but you can virtually always place nuts.

So why not restrict yourself to a huge rack of RP's? Enough ingenuity and most things will be adequately protectable. It is you who is being silly.

Jon Stewart - on 29 Dec 2013
In reply to Pyreneenemec:

> We're almost talking about real climbers !

Can you explain this boring cliche? I don't get it.

> I've done many 600m climbs in the Pyrénées and only used one of two cams, there was always better natural protection available to use with a simple sling or large hex.

Maybe the rack you carry is the most appropriate for the routes you climb. No one is going to persuade me that when I climb low E routes in Pembroke to leave all my cams behind, because it's a shit idea.

> Where's the fun in having the weight of 13 cams on your hips ?

I take 10 (minus what's in the belay), more than that feels too heavy/crowded. The lack of hexes or other stuff helps. The fun comes from having a decent rack to protect the pitch.
needvert on 29 Dec 2013
In reply to ade sheffield:

Seems to me that there's no piece of pro that anyone strictly needs in general.

A Cammalot C4 may be able to be replaced with a tricam, angle, big bro or hex.

A DMM Wallnut may be able to be replaced with a knot, tricam, C4 in passive mode(!), piton, hex.


So sure you can be bold and wander about with your spartan rack of 1960s technology. Me, I'll be buying more cams.
ade sheffield - on 29 Dec 2013
In reply to needvert:

Errm.... I'm a cam convert, as far back as 1978, when Don Morrison's and "Tanky's' in Sheffield started selling them.
I have original hex nut axled rigid Friends through to Dragoncams and C4s, wouldn't be without them, but some of my newer/ younger partners seem more reluctant.
My rack nuts/gear are much bigger than my biological Kahunas!
Can any of the older UKCers remember an "enemies' cartoon/ diagram in, possibly Crags magazine with the cams everted/reversed? Gordon / Al ???
If so a photo post of it would be welcome.
needvert on 30 Dec 2013
In reply to ade sheffield:

Sorry that wasn't specifically directed at you :)...Who evidently isn't opposed to cams.

(I replied to the thread but was lazy in deleting OPs name)
Bob on 30 Dec 2013
In reply to ade sheffield:

Well, "back in the day" (i.e. when I was brave) I'd take Friends 0.5, 1.5 & 2.5 for most routes in the Lakes unless I knew that the route needed something different. This was good up to E5. I had a full set of Friends but would typically only take the above.

On grit it would depend on the route - some such as Calvary need a 2.5 and a small one near the top, others like Dark Continent take a full set from 0.5 to 4 with the crux protected by a 3.5 & 4 in the horizontal slot.

Limestone, not so much as I preferred to use hexes which you could work in to pockets.

Standard rack for mountain routes was: Rocks full set, doubled to #7; hexes #1 - #7 on short loops (i.e. about the same length as the wire loops on the Rocks); 1 full set RPs; Friends 0.5, 1.5 & 2.5; four or five slings of tape or cord; eight quickdraws (maybe take 12 if the route was known to eat gear).

To some extent there was a lot of trust in there being gear placements coming up so you didn't put gear in every available placement, you'd put gear in and only look for the next placement after climbing 3 metres or so unless there was an obvious stopping place with bomber slot. So a forty metre pitch might only get a dozen pieces placed.

These days the rack is a full double set of Rocks and cams #00 to #3 and fifteen quickdraws plus whatever else :-)
mkean - on 30 Dec 2013
In reply to ade sheffield:
The correct number of cams is n+1 when you currently own n cams ;-)

I think I have 14 at the moment from zero friend size4 to camalot 6 the number is still slowly going up as I supplement the small to mid range sizes with totem cams (which are brilliant).
I have noticed that the number of cams I own is inversely proportional to the number of routes I do in a year though!
John_Hat - on 30 Dec 2013
In reply to ade sheffield:

Need? Probably none if you carefully choose your routes and are prepared to run it out. :-)

Want? Probably a dozen across the various size ranges.

Personally I've got about 30 in total - mostly old flexi-fix and Camalots - don't think I've bought a cam in the last five years. However its biased towards the smaller end of the size range. I'll take a selection of around 10 up routes based on what I think I'll need.
fire_munki on 30 Dec 2013
In reply to ade sheffield:

Aren't really expensive shiny things subject to the same rule as bikes? So that is n+1,where n is the amount you have!
CurlyStevo - on 30 Dec 2013
In reply to fire_munki:

tents also seem to fit the system :)
rgold - on 30 Dec 2013
In reply to ade sheffield:

For multipitch climbing in the U.S. (40-60m pitches, no bolted belays), my standard rack is a set of nuts, usually a set of micronuts, double cams from micros up to green Camalot, and one each of red, yellow, and blue Camalot. This has to be adjusted (in some cases radically) for certain types of climbing that involve far more big cracks.

I too have done many long routes using few or no cam placements, but those routes were two or more grades below my onsight limit at the time, so running it out was not a problem.

I think cam usage falls into three categories: (1) Essential in the sense that they radically diminish the risk level, (2) Not essential in previous sense, but they speed up climbing while reducing fatigue, (3) genuinely not needed. Of course, the spectrum is really continuous, not discrete.

For me, the "genuinely not needed" category is less than 20% of the pitches I encounter. Even when almost every placement is passive, a single cam can make a substantial difference in the risk level, and there is a night-and-day difference in the "endurance tax" between the exhaustion of fiddling opposed nuts into a horizontal crack at the lip of a roof and the relaxation of just stuffing in a cam. Although climbing grades don't take the difficulty of placing protection into account, having cams on strenuous routes can make all the difference in terms of success or failure.

Personally, I climbed for a solid ten years using only passive protection. In the areas I climb in the most, cams completely changed the risk level and the speed/fatigue level. Nowadays, the safety and difficulty of those climbs is rated assuming the leader has modern equipment, and a climber using only passive gear will most likely have an entirely different experience from anything suggested by the ratings.


Jon Stewart - on 30 Dec 2013
In reply to rgold:

Ah, the voice of reason.
Rick Graham on 30 Dec 2013
In reply to Bob:

I remember that rack, including the secret weapon bootlace sling for micro spikes. Cannot believe we managed without quickdraws until about 1981.

This obsession with cams bemuses me, take a selection of everything depending on the rock type.

Seen too many long falls resulting from over confidence in cams.

A cam placement can never be better than it looks.
A nut placement is usually as good as it looks.

Into "passive days " on the crag now. ( except on Grit, cos I'm lazy ).
mrdigitaljedi - on 30 Dec 2013
In reply to ade sheffield:

ive got 8 on my rack 0 through to 4 but have 3 2 1/2 as i use them the most
ade sheffield - on 30 Dec 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:

+1 to rgold's comment, many thanks,

... subject closed?
jezb1 - on 30 Dec 2013
In reply to rgold:

A good post there rgold - as always.
Morgan P - on 31 Dec 2013
In reply to ade sheffield:

Don't ask me why but size 1.5 and 2.5 DMM 4CUs seem to be eternally placable

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