When it comes to safety while climbing, few things are more important that a good pair of cams. Cams, also called SLCDs (spring-loaded camming devices), are one of the most versatile pieces of climbing gear and can be used in a variety of different situations.
Cams are essential equipment for modern traditional climbing. These highly engineered devices allow safe passage up cracks narrower than a centimeter, all the way up to wide enough to fit your body inside. After decades of design and redesign, modern camming devices are the preferred method of protection because of their ease of placement and removal. While a competent trad climber can place bomber stoppers and other types of passive protection, nothing beats a confidence-inspiring #2 Camalot placed in bullet-hard stone. So, if you're looking to get into trad climbing, make sure to pick up a few cams!
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Climbing Cams Offer Variety
One of the great things about cams is that they come in such a wide variety of sizes and shapes. This means that no matter what size or shape crack you're dealing with, there's probably a cam that will fit snugly inside and provide a good amount of protection. In contrast, other types of gear like nuts can be more difficult to place in irregularly-shaped cracks, making them less than ideal in many situations.
Climbing Cams are Highly Effective
When placed properly, climbing cams can provide an incredibly high level of protection. Cams are often considered to be some of the most secure forms of protection available, which is why they're often used by guides when leading groups up multi-pitch routes. And since they're so secure, you can often place them further apart than other types of gear, making them ideal for long runouts where other gear might not provide enough protection.
Climbing Cams are Quick and Easy to Place
Another advantage of cams is that they can be placed relatively quickly and easily. This is especially true if you're using pre-placed cams, which can simply be thumbed into place without having to fiddle around with carabiners and runners. This makes them ideal for situations where time is of the essence, such as when trying to climb past a storm before it hits or when descending in darkness
Climbing Cams FAQs
People are often intimidated by climbing gear, especially cams.
Climbing cams can be confusing and intimidating if you don't know how to use them.
We've put together the most Frequently Asked Questions about Climbing Cams to help make sense of them.
Do I need friends for Climbing?
Just as you wouldn't go on a long hike without the proper footwear or hit the slopes without a good pair of skis, you can't go rock climbing without the right gear. One of the most important pieces of equipment for rock climbers is the friend, also known as a cam. Cams are essential for creating secure holds in cracks and crevasses in the rocks. They use a spring system to press the jaws into the sides of the rock, forming a tight grip. This grip is what allows climbers to safely make their way up steep and tricky terrain. Cams come in a variety of sizes, so it's important to have a selection with you when you climb. That way, you'll always have the right size for the job, no matter what kind of cracks you encounter. If you're new to climbing, make sure to do your research and invest in some quality gear. Your rock climbing friends will thank you for it.
Do I need to buy Camming Units?
Whether or not to buy a camming unit is a personal decision that every climber has to make at some point. For newer climbers, it may not be necessary to invest in a full rack of cams right away. If you're content to stick to bolted routes in the gym or on sports climbs, you won't need them. You can save up and buy a rack later on when you're more experienced and have a better idea of what you need. In the meantime, focus on improving your strength and technique, and honing your craft. You can have a lot of fun climbing without traditional gear.
How secure are climbing cams?
Security of climbing cams depends on a variety of factors, including the type of rock, size and placement of the camming unit, and the climber's experience and technique.
In general, smaller cams are less secure than larger cams, since they have a smaller contact surface area. Also, due to the design of their lobes, cams are more secure when placed in parallel cracks than in perpendicular cracks.
Climbing cams should never be trusted to hold a fall on their own. They should always be used in conjunction with other pieces of protection (such as traditional chocks or hexes), and should only be considered for use in situations where there is no other available protection.
How much weight can a climbing cam hold?
It depends on the brand, size, and type of climbing cam. Generally speaking, cams can hold a lot of weight--sometimes over a thousand pounds.
Why are climbing cams called friends?
Friends are called climbing cams because they protect your life by providing a secure anchor when you're climbing.
If you're climbing without any protection, and you fall, you could seriously injure or even kill yourself. But if you have friends (climbing cams) attached to the rock wall, then you'll be safely anchored to the wall and will only suffer minimal damage if you fall.
That's why friends are such an important part of any climber's gear arsenal - they can mean the difference between living and dying. So always make sure to bring your friends when you go climbing! They could save your life.
Can you belay a heavier than you?
Yes. You can belay a heavier person as long as you are using an appropriate belaying device and have enough strength to hold the rope taut. Remember, always use common sense and be aware of your capabilities when belaying someone else. Never take unnecessary risks.
What are the best climbing cams on the market today?
How long does a climbing cam last?
It depends on how often it is used and the type of climbing. generally, a climbing cam can last for a few years if it is used regularly. However, if it is not used often, it can last up to 10 years.
When should I retire my climbing helmet?
Climbing helmets should be retired when they are no longer providing adequate protection.
Most climbing helmets are designed to protect against one or more types of impact, so it is important to inspect your helmet regularly for any signs of wear and tear. If the helmet has been involved in a major impact, it should be replaced immediately. Additionally, if the shell or foam liner is cracked, dented, or broken, the helmet should be replaced.
Helmet replacement guidelines may vary depending on the manufacturer, but most recommend retiring a helmet after five years of use.
As you can see, there is a variety of climbing cams on the market that offer different levels of security and safety. It’s important to do your research before purchasing a climbing cam so that you can find one that best suits your needs. We hope this article has helped you learn more about these helpful devices and given you some ideas for your next outdoor adventure. Thanks for reading!