/ Removing a stuck cam - any tips?

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Fiona Reid - on 02 Jun 2014

Hi Folks,

I'm looking for some tips for removing 2 stuck cams from one of my local routes (Heathy at Rosyth quarry).

The online guides I've found seem to apply to newly placed cams, however these appear to have been there for a while - one us missing the handle/tape and has bare trigger wires poking out of the crack. The other one is more or less intact but well stuck and very deep in the crack They are right next to each other which makes getting past them a blooming nuisance.

They are both stuck in a corner crack that's about an inch wide which means getting at them will be fiddly. I can abseil in easily though. Tool wise I have a hammer, long flat blade screw driver, 2 nut keys, hacksaw and blades, some small wire cutters that will go through trigger wires but not much else, plus a big file which I might be able to use to whack things with.

Any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated.

Cheers

Fiona
Post edited at 08:21
Mr Lopez - on 02 Jun 2014
In reply to Fiona Reid:

A 'technique' i heard of but never used or seen used, so it could be an urban myth, is to cut up open a couple of drinks cans and oil one side of the alu foil, shimmy them on either side between the cam lobes and the rock so that they provide a slippery 'runway', and gently pull the cams out.

If you try it and it works please report back (and wear gloves) ;-)
elsewhere on 02 Jun 2014
In reply to Fiona Reid:
Get a nut key under the tip of the cam lobes and twist the nut key to push the cam tip. It does the same as pulling on the trigger wire but is much more effective.
Try levering in individual cam lobes with the screwdriver.
Deary65 - on 02 Jun 2014
In reply to Fiona Reid:

Brute force from pulling or getting a sling round them and pulling that in every direction possible seemed to work for a friend and I removing some old cams in Avon. One broke but the other was fully functional.
In reply to Fiona Reid:

Good luck Fiona, it'd be nice to see them gone
KiwiPrincess - on 02 Jun 2014
In reply to Fiona Reid:

Not on anything this stuck, but lubrication usually helps. In the mountains spit.
Chris Sansum - on 02 Jun 2014
In reply to Fiona Reid:

Put another cam in below and hang on it while you try to remove the other cam. Worked on a well & truly stuck cam for me at the weekend!
Jamie B - on 02 Jun 2014
In reply to Fiona Reid:

Crowbar?
Fiona Reid - on 02 Jun 2014
In reply to Jamie B:

> Crowbar?

Oooh, that might be quite a good idea actually. Not sure I will get it inside the crack but if I could get something behind the cam and then lever it I might just be in business.
jkarran - on 02 Jun 2014
In reply to Fiona Reid:

A pair of nutkeys hooked over the lobes at the contact point with the rock then jerked back or toward a widening. The hooks pull the lobes in away from the rock and move the cam working it free. Repeat for the other pair of lobes then repeat until it's free. Works for larger cams but maybe not something so small.

If they're really ruined then a gardening glove to protect your hand in the corner, a hacksaw blade wrapped in gaffer tape and some elbow grease to cut through the lobes.

jk
erictant on 02 Jun 2014
In reply to Fiona Reid:

Yesterday I managed to retrieve a 4CU that I got stuck a few weeks ago. After a bit of thought I stopped using brute force and tried a bit of finesse.

Loop some 2mm cord aroung trigger bar/wires to provide max hands free trigger pull and tie off.
Angle stem 20-30 degrees upwards and tap along axle downwards.
Angle stem 20-30 degrees downwards and tap along axle upwards.
Use a long flat screwdriver to ensure that tightest lobes are free.
Continue this zig-zag motion until it comes out.
Fiona Reid - on 02 Jun 2014
In reply to jkarran:

Thanks folks, all good ideas.

One of them is right inside the crack with just the tape hanging out so not sure I'll get the hacksaw blade anywhere near it.

The other has the trigger wires hanging out - minus much of the handle etc so there might be a bit more scope for getting nut keys etc at it.

jkarran - on 02 Jun 2014
In reply to Fiona Reid:

> One of them is right inside the crack with just the tape hanging out so not sure I'll get the hacksaw blade anywhere near it.

Just the blade taken out of the frame, use tape for a 'handle', gives you about 200mm of reach with a full size blade. It's awkward for sure.

> The other has the trigger wires hanging out - minus much of the handle etc so there might be a bit more scope for getting nut keys etc at it.

Have fun :)
jk
mattrm - on 02 Jun 2014
In reply to Fiona Reid:

If you are going at it with a hacksaw, you might find something like this useful:

http://www.screwfix.com/p/irwin-mini-hacksaw-24tpi-12-250mm/36273

I reckon you'll get a bit of extra reach with that.
wbo - on 02 Jun 2014
In reply to Fiona Reid:

DO they still have trigger wires - makes big difference to what you need to do. I guess they're 4 cams that have walked in - are they now completely contracted?
Brute force is only likely to make things work - fiddly and finesse are words that come to mind
RomTheBear - on 02 Jun 2014
In reply to Fiona Reid:
> Hi Folks,

> I'm looking for some tips for removing 2 stuck cams from one of my local routes (Heathy at Rosyth quarry).

BTW how is Rosyth quarry now ? Last time I was there it was a total dump, even more rubbish than usual.

Good luck with the cams, they might be a tough job, not only they are bloody well stuck but completely rusty as well. The only realistic way to get them out without damaging the rock might be to simply cut through them with some sort of saw, after all if they're aluminium it shouldn't be too hard.
Post edited at 11:52
Fiona Reid - on 02 Jun 2014
In reply to wbo:

> DO they still have trigger wires

One definitely does... but it's missing its handle etc. I need to take a closer look at the second one.

Fiona Reid - on 02 Jun 2014
In reply to RomTheBear:

> BTW how is Rosyth quarry now ? Last time I was there it was a total dump, even more rubbish than usual.

It's getting more overgrown and a bit more glass and rubbish than I remember from last year but not that bad (it's all relevant). The kids of trail bikes were circling last week which made communicating with each other a bit of a challenge.
Babika - on 02 Jun 2014
In reply to Fiona Reid:

Pour water down to get all the S**t and grit out that seizing things up.

Failing that I can lend you my mate Charles....
nniff - on 02 Jun 2014
In reply to Fiona Reid:

The approach that I've taken in the past is to examine the cams carefully to see which ones have some movement. If there is one, get some tension on its wire to stop it contacting the rock. Then find its pair and hook a nut key behind it, right in close where it touches the rock. Then get some serious tension on that. Do the same for the other side - usually a nut key on a cam on one side and a cam on the other is enough

Then pull harder on the nut keys and the wires and try and waggle the stem - if you're lucky, something will move. Ease off and repeat with your newly loosened cam. If nothing happens, push the cam stem away from you a bit - you may get lucky. Rigid stemmed cams cam also be tapped with a hammer, but you'll be lucky to get far with tapping a cable-stemmed cam unless the cable aligns just so.

If you can get some movement (say it pivots around one pair of cams, then try and isolate the loose pair from the rock with nut keys - bits of tin can sound like a good idea - and try and get something around the stuck pair.


Battery powered Dremel?
ads.ukclimbing.com
Firestarter on 02 Jun 2014
In reply to Fiona Reid:

Could you get something like molegrips on to the broken wires and see if you can release it that way?
gethin_allen on 02 Jun 2014
In reply to Fiona Reid:

If you get some fencing wire, make a few hooks that you can hook trough the holes in the cam lobes or otherwise behind where the lobes contact the rock then give them a careful tug.
Fiona Reid - on 02 Jun 2014
In reply to Fiona Reid:
Hi Folks,

Many thanks for all the suggestions. I am pleased to say that Heathy is now cam free.

A combination of a junior hacksaw and a 12" hacksaw blade with cardboard / bodge tape for a handle got them out. The first one was fairly easy, basically saw through a bit of a lobe and yank. The second one took a bit longer, I managed to saw all the way through a lobe and part of another but wasn't strong enough to pull it so asked my partner to have a go. It took him 2 big pulls and out it came.
Post edited at 23:11
abbeywall - on 02 Jun 2014
In reply to Fiona Reid:
Well done

Pain pillar insitus next? That Gaucho crack has gobbled a few cams as well.
I wonder who will be first to get their cam swallowed by Heathy again.
Cam disaster, never fear Reid is here!
I take it you are leaving the Waullie one
prog99 on 02 Jun 2014
In reply to abbeywall:

I ran out of daylight on The Waullie. Theres a lot of mud that needs excavated from behind the flake so that I can get into it properly.
(The mud may or may not be holding the route together)
Cameron94 on 03 Jun 2014
In reply to Fiona Reid:

It took him 2 big pulls and out it came.

That made me laugh.
Good job getting the cams out, the photos I've seen of the place are never as grim as people make them out to be.
Fiona Reid - on 03 Jun 2014
In reply to abbeywall:

> Pain pillar insitus next? That Gaucho crack has gobbled a few cams as well.

They aren't quite as much of a nuisance. However, if I get bored enough waiting on my hamstring to heal I may have a look. Finding an anchor I'm prepared to ab/hang from might be a bit more of a challenge along with getting on the route when the crag is quiet so as not to inconvenience anyone.
Fiona Reid - on 03 Jun 2014
In reply to Cameron94:

Gah , I give up. I re-wrote that bit several times trying to phrase it such that it couldn't be misinterpreted. I did initially have yank!

The quarry is mostly okay and actually quite pleasant on a sunny evening with a good view to the north from the top. Last night, no neds whatsoever.
In reply to Fiona Reid:

Nice one Fiona, enjoyed a cam free ascent yesterday and the route's better for it
Fiona Reid - on 23 Jun 2014
In reply to Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com:

> Nice one Fiona, enjoyed a cam free ascent yesterday and the route's better for it

No problem.
muppetfilter - on 23 Jun 2014
In reply to Fiona Reid:

Battery operated reciprocating saw if you can borrow one, it will get through them in minutes.
In reply to Fiona Reid:

Be great if you did The Waullie too! ;-)
Fiona Reid - on 23 Jun 2014
In reply to Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com:

> Be great if you did The Waullie too! ;-)

Will take a look next time I'm over that way. I've got more junior hacksaw blades now :-)


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