/ Protection for "parallel" vertical cracks

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martinph78 on 25 Aug 2012
I'm leading more and more but finding quite a few places where I need to place gear but can't get anything to stick. I have hexes and nuts, but in vertical cracks that don't narrow to allow them to chock, and are wider at the front than the back, I obviously can't get them placed. Usually finger width or thereabouts sized cracks. I seem to be coming across a lot of them lately and whilst I don't place gear for the sake of it I do want to have faith in that gear I do place as it is usually before a big move or the crux.

Unless anyone has any other ideas (apart from top roping lol) am I left looking at cams? I don't fancy those for the type of cracks I'm on about either and can't really afford them (I class them as "specialist" kit in that they have one single use, unlike the rest of my rack that can be stacked, used in several ways etc).


Open to suggestions and friendly advice appreciated before I waste my limited budget of zero :o)
In reply to Martin1978: Cams
JoshOvki on 25 Aug 2012
In reply to Martin1978:

How about tri-cams?
McGuinness - on 25 Aug 2012
In reply to Martin1978: I find biscuits work best. Hob nobs especially. Just stuff them in the crack and loop a sling over them. If you fall the oats rapidly heat up with friction and stick to the rock like glue. Bomber.
Scarab9 - on 25 Aug 2012
In reply to Martin1978:

well....cams?
While it's bad to get into the habit of using them everywhere when nuts would do the job, don't think of them as specialist.

But if you haven't got any and need alternative you ve either got tri cams, or you can cam hexes and nuts (look it up), or you can stack two nuts (one pointing up, one down).

But to be honest, get some cams unless you like really bold climbing. Stubbornness about using them will only stop I you progressing (well...or get you killed 6
sammycolon - on 25 Aug 2012
In reply to Martin1978:

Buy cams or learn to place your hex's in a way where they cam a little.
I can't think of many cracks in the UK where cams are essential.....
jkarran - on 25 Aug 2012
In reply to Martin1978:

Cams aren't 'specialist', they're core kit and they open up a lot of routes that would otherwise be underprotected. In the smaller sizes DMMs old 3CU are good and often available pretty cheap.

You could also try camming some small, oldschool hexes but if you haven't already got them I'd not bother. There is also the Tricam option but the cost is comparable with a spring loaded cam which is IMO more reassuring and easier to use.

jk
martinph78 on 25 Aug 2012
In reply to Martin1978: Thanks for the replies. You can tell it's a rainy Saturday :o)

I shall look at camming/stacking nuts. I do cam hexes but don't have any small enough for the cracks I'm stuck at. I am looking on ebay for some smaller as I do like them. Stacked two together for large cracks with success and find them my favourite bits of kit.

I looked at tricams but thought they were only good in horizontal cracks (in terms of camming)? Happy to reearch this further though.

I'm not againts using cams, I just don't have them and think that they are quite expensive for what is essentially one gear placement (I'm skint!). Of course, if they are needed they are needed. Some smaller ones would be useful for sure.

Will do some more reading.

Thanks, Martin



deepsoup - on 25 Aug 2012
In reply to Martin1978:
Tricams can work in vertical cracks, but buying them when its cams you want would be a false economy to say the least. Unlike cams I'd say they really are fairly 'specialist' bits of kit. There aren't that many tri-cam placements you can't use either a nut or a cam in. Most hex placements will also take a cam. But there are *lots* of cam placements where nothing else really works. There's a reason (almost) nobody stacks hexes any more.

How do you feel about second hand gear in general? If you'd like some old but usable flexi-friends for nowt email me your address.
Chi Cheng - on 25 Aug 2012
In reply to Martin1978:

Cams!!

I had a full set and find them a god sent on harder routes.

I take a lot of air time and fallen on them and have them hold.

There is a lot of deals out there like this one: 25% off if you buy 3 or more.

http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/news.php?id=4852
In reply to McGuinness:
> (In reply to Martin1978) I find biscuits work best. Hob nobs especially. Just stuff them in the crack and loop a sling over them. If you fall the oats rapidly heat up with friction and stick to the rock like glue. Bomber.

Weetabix is better - you just need to let it dry before you sling it and climb above it.
martinph78 on 25 Aug 2012
In reply to deepsoup: Hi, I shall send you a message, thanks. I have no problem with second hand kit, 90% of my gear is second hand or "ex display". The new stuff was only bought with big discounts/deals and that was when I had money lol. I'd love to give them a try. Have PM'd you.


martinph78 on 25 Aug 2012
In reply to Chi Cheng: Thnaks for the link. Go Outdoors have some deals on Black Diamond cams as well but it's still money I don't have at the moment. I am in no rush though so if they are right for the job I'll get saving/shopping around.

Cheers for the replies.

Martin
verygneiss - on 25 Aug 2012
In reply to Martin1978:

I decided to bite the bullet and buy a few cams recently. They're expensive, but ultimately necessary, and they're not going to get any cheaper. I bought DMM 4CUs in sizes 1 to 3, and they've proved their use several times when the only other option would be a huge runout.

http://www.needlesports.com/Catalogue/Rock-Climbing-Equipment/Camming-Devices/Standard-Cams/New-4-CU...
rgold - on 25 Aug 2012
In reply to Martin1978:

Cams are no more "single purpose" than nuts and hexes. If you want inexpensive classic pro, use machine nuts, preferably picked up from the Cloggy tramway, and a pocket full of stream pebbles. Or go for the full Elbsandsteingebirge approach and only use jammed knots. Read up on the tying techniques for various sizes and get the de rigeur "pusher stick" used for prodding the knots into place.

Tricams work fine in vertical cracks, but they are less stable than cams and are harder to place, especially if you are pumped or otherwise stressed. Tricam aficiandos have various strategies for stiffening the sling to make one-hand placement in vertical cracks more feasible, but then the stiffened sling makes the placements even less stable. Better sling 'em long.

Otherwise join the 21st century. Any discussion of grades and protection is going to assume you have cams.
cliff shasby - on 25 Aug 2012
In reply to Martin1978: I have a no1 friend i retrieved which was stuck and left by someone,if you send me a stamped addressd padded envelope i'll post it to you...
rgold - on 25 Aug 2012
In reply to Martin1978:

Following up on my previous post, here's all you'll need:

http://db-sandsteinklettern.gipfelbuch.de/bilder/354.jpg
martinph78 on 28 Aug 2012
In reply to cliff shasby: Thanks! You have a PM
martinph78 on 28 Aug 2012
In reply to rgold: I already have the jogging bottoms, just need the stripy long-sleeve top and I'm set :p I am interested in the knotted ropes and will be reading up on that further. Not saying I'll use it but who knows, might be helpful if I ever leave my rack at home :)

I am going to give some cams a go. I have taken the guys up on their generous offers above and shall make a donation to mountain rescue as a thanks.

Looking forward to trying cams and learning how to use them, and most importantly opening-up/protecting a few routes I would love to progress further on!

I've found the thread helpful, so thanks.

Jamie Abbott - on 28 Aug 2012
In reply to Martin1978: Cams do make life easier, but you could always stack your nuts: http://cremnomaniac.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/blog_pics-0004.jpg

Cheers,
Jamie
Blue Straggler - on 28 Aug 2012
In reply to Martin1978:
> essentially one gear placement

What does this even mean? They are no more "one gear placement" than is each nut, sling etc.
cb294 - on 28 Aug 2012
In reply to Martin1978:

The knotted slings are great. They make beautiful rock decoration and if you fall they will pull out and automatically make a nice ornament around the impact crater.

Don“t bother with learning this technique in detail (I had to, as I a currently working in Dresden). In all cases where you place them in cracks a nut would do a much better job, and slinging rock spikes or threading holes is obvious anyway (place slings low and/or over the largest diameter of the rock structure that is supposed to take the load).

CB
professionalwreckhead - on 28 Aug 2012
In reply to Jamie Abbott:

Jamie, do stacked nuts have a tendency to unseat easily? Normally when I place a single nut, a good tug wedges it in with rock on both sides...but with stacked nuts one of the sides has a lot less friction. Do they stay put OK if extended well (i.e. a long slingdraw)?

Will have a bash at placing some of these (preferably close to some bomber gear though!)

Stone Muppet - on 28 Aug 2012
Looking at your profile you're not far from the Yorkshire grit.

Cams are near essential on grit, unless you want to either (a) restrict your climbing to a very limited subset of routes, or (b) climb with 1960s levels of boldness.

They're anything but single purpose.

Various places have been doing sets of 3 DMM 4cus for around 80 quid lately.
martinph78 on 28 Aug 2012
In reply to Jamie Abbott: Great pic of stacking nuts, thanks. Looks like just the sort of crack I was talking about so I will certainly try that.



martinph78 on 28 Aug 2012
In reply to Stone Muppet: I'm in Durham, so tend to climb around Durham and Northumberland, with odd visits to the wainstones and less frequently the lakes.

As I say, money is very tight at them moment but I shall keep my eye on cam deals nearer xmas, and once I have tried the second hand ones from the guys above I'll know what sizes/uses I need. As always, I'll keep my eye on the forums and ebay for second hand gear as well. Done pretty well building my rack this way so far!

Cheers, Martin
Kemics - on 28 Aug 2012
In reply to Martin1978:

the thing about cams (especially double axle) is that they cover a wide range. So unlike say a size 6 nut, which can only sit in a few places. A medium cam can fit into a fairly wide range of placements. A basic set of 3 cams should do you right. Should be able to pick up a decent unit like the 4cu for a set of 3 for £70-80 new. or cheaper second hand.

For granite and grit, cams are pretty much essential. My grit rack consists of 9 cams. Then a small bunch of small/medium wires.
Jamie Abbott - on 28 Aug 2012
In reply to professionalwreckhead:

> Jamie, do stacked nuts have a tendency to unseat easily? Normally when I place a single nut, a good tug wedges it in with rock on both sides...but with stacked nuts one of the sides has a lot less friction. Do they stay put OK if extended well (i.e. a long slingdraw)?

I've only placed a pair a couple of times and haven't loaded them, a good tap with a nut key gets them seated for me. I mostly use cams though, it's a bit of a faff!

Cheers,
Jamie
martinph78 on 28 Aug 2012
In reply to Blue Straggler:

I guess what I meant was several things, mostly based on cost though.

1) Cost per placement is MUCH higher for cams. A full set of nuts gives a lot more options (size of cracks/placements, especially if stacked) than a single cam of the same price.

2) Hexes I have placed in several ways, camming or chocked or stacked. Again, for the money five hexes give more options than one or two cams.

3) I also think one hex probably has more options than one cam (in that it gives a wider range of placements depending how it is used). Having not used cams I may be wrong, hence starting the post.

3) Slings can be threaded or placed over spikes so that gives two options.

As I say, I haven't used cams so they may prove to be more versitile in practice than on paper and I am happy to admit I am wrong. The thread was started as a question rather than me stating fact :)

SCrossley on 28 Aug 2012
In reply to Martin1978:
Looking at your profile I am quite surprised you have needed to stack Hexes or Nuts, personally it is not something I have ever had to do and I was for quite awhile a Cam luddite, though I know use them more and more, just speeds the job up.
Ramblin dave - on 28 Aug 2012
In reply to Martin1978: The thing about cams is that they'll go in quickly and easily in placements where placing anything else would be difficult, insecure, error-prone or impossible, and those placements are quite common on some rock types (eg grit).

Complaining that you can only use them one way is like complaining that you can only use a car one way (ie sit in the driver's seat and drive to your destination).
victim of mathematics - on 28 Aug 2012
In reply to Martin1978:
> (In reply to Blue Straggler)
>
> I guess what I meant was several things, mostly based on cost though.
>
> 1) Cost per placement is MUCH higher for cams. A full set of nuts gives a lot more options (size of cracks/placements, especially if stacked) than a single cam of the same price.
>
> 2) Hexes I have placed in several ways, camming or chocked or stacked. Again, for the money five hexes give more options than one or two cams.
>
> 3) I also think one hex probably has more options than one cam (in that it gives a wider range of placements depending how it is used). Having not used cams I may be wrong, hence starting the post.
>
> 3) Slings can be threaded or placed over spikes so that gives two options.
>
> As I say, I haven't used cams so they may prove to be more versitile in practice than on paper and I am happy to admit I am wrong. The thread was started as a question rather than me stating fact :)

You're conflating the number of ways a piece of gear can be placed with the number of available placements here. Just because there are several ways to place a hex doesn't mean that there are more placements on routes than cam placements for a similar sized cam. So the cost/potential placement for cams might be more favourable than you think.

They will also go where other things won't, which is difficult to factor into any cost benefit analysis.

It all depends what rock type you climb on. Perhaps there aren't many cam placements on whatever it usually is you usually climb, but if you aspire to climbing on a variety of crags around Britain, then you really ought to beg/borrow/steal/buy some cams at some point.
In reply to Martin1978: I've got some old ones somewhere I'd be happy to flog. They will need re-slinging I think but beyond that they're fine. I've got 4, and they've each got a krab, that I could sell for say 20 quid. Any interest?

http://bitsandbobsandoddsandsods.blogspot.fi/2011/07/cams-for-sale.html
deepsoup - on 28 Aug 2012
In reply to Martin1978:
> 3) I also think one hex probably has more options than one cam (in that it gives a wider range of placements depending how it is used).

I'd definitely disagree with this one I think. My regular climbing partner is the opposite of a cam luddite (a hex-sceptic?) and frequently tells me whenever I rack a hex on my harness that there's no hex placement where a cam wouldn't fit instead. Slightly annoyingly, he's right much more often than he's wrong. Conversely, there are *lots* of good cam placements where a hex won't work.

(Having said that, we do mostly climb on gritstone which, as several posters have said already, does tend to suit cams particularly well.)

I put my old Flexible Friends in the post this morning btw, should be with you in the next day or two.
deepsoup - on 28 Aug 2012
In reply to deepsoup:
Incidentally, for some good general cam-related information, this would be worth a read: http://www.wildcountry.co.uk/download/files/2010-11_Catalogues/V1146_Wild_Cam_book_v602.pdf
martinph78 on 29 Aug 2012
In reply to victim of mathematics:
you really ought to beg/borrow/steal/buy some cams at some point.


Already in progress :)

I'm not against cams. This thread has helped me justify the need for them ;)





martinph78 on 29 Aug 2012
In reply to Ramblin dave:

Not complaining :) I agree with your initial points and shall be giving some a go when they arrive.

Thanks, Martin
martinph78 on 29 Aug 2012
In reply to TobyA: Thanks for the offer, I have some on their way so will see how I get on with those first. I might be in-touch if you still have them available in a few weeks.

Cheers, Martin
martinph78 on 29 Aug 2012
In reply to deepsoup: Thanks, I'll let you know when they arrive.

Also GREAT link, already reading it and it's very useful.

I don't need convincing about cams, I need convincing that I should spend my money on them lol.

I am now :)
martinph78 on 29 Aug 2012
In reply to sjc:
> (In reply to Martin1978)
> Looking at your profile I am quite surprised you have needed to stack Hexes or Nuts, personally it is not something I have ever had to do and I was for quite awhile a Cam luddite, though I know use them more and more, just speeds the job up.


My profile doesn't say very much - certainly not enough to suggest what gear I do or don't need lol. I do a lot more than I list.

I'm not a luddite, just a skint climber. Even when I wasn't I wouldn't buy gear without researching it first and seeing if I can make do with what I have.


There are some bold moves I need to protect when leading and these are holding me back, hopefully cams will give me that protection so I can carry on :)


Thanks again all, some helpful replies. I'm gonna need more gear loops soon ;p





ads.ukclimbing.com
martinph78 on 29 Aug 2012
In reply to deepsoup:

> I put my old Flexible Friends in the post this morning btw, should be with you in the next day or two.


Just arrived, the postman was early! Very, very happy and thanks again. Itching to get out and try them now :p I shall make a donation to your local mountain rescue team and also "pay it forward" when I can.



martinph78 on 01 Sep 2012
In reply to Martin1978: Tried the cams yesterday, AWESOME! Opened up some new leads for me and I'm definiately going to be saving for some more.

Now I just need to go back to my favourite venues and tick of some more climbs :)

Cheers all, Martin
sikcby - on 03 Sep 2012
In reply to Martin1978:

Wood blocks they“re really cheap and will make you look like the cover photo of a climbing magazine.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-4H0yww3GTbU/UDOLdHN2u4I/AAAAAAAAKLY/8dPgswOJoS0/s1600/Tacos%2Bde%2Bmadera....

Helping make first ascents since... well.. since the beginnings.

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