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Ask Dr. Piton - Help me get dialed in with cam hooks
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milesdesbrie


Mar 8, 2002, 2:30 PM
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Ask Dr. Piton - Help me get dialed in with cam hooks
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I'm the proud owner of a newish set of Leeper cam hooks and have fiddled with them on the local chosspile where I practice solo aid. Now I'm curious to know the "best" (most efficient, reasonably bomber) way to use them on the wall.

Say I'm on a nice C1 or C2 crack. Do I just sink a bomber piece and then make a coupla cam hook moves above them and then attempt to put in another bomber piece?

Also from some of the reading I've been doing it looks like leaving them binered in to your aiders is the way to go if you're planning on using them a lot. Of course since there're 4 different sizes of the cam hooks what's the likelihood of having the right size on the free set of aiders at a given time...

See these are the nagging little thoughts that keep me busy as I'm revving up for my first wall. Details, details.


mpepe


Mar 8, 2002, 3:42 PM
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milesdesbrie-

Excellant! Cam hooks are one of your most useful tools while aid climbing. If I am leaving my cam hooks on my aiders, unless the crack above looks very beat out, I leave the standard size cam hooks on. Go with the wide ones if it is really beat out. On the routs I have done I haven't used the narrow, I probably just have't been looking for the chance. Anyway the standard size works in a pretty wide range of places. I can only handle about 3 or 4 hook moves before I start to look down at all that rope to my last piece, this slows me down considerably . I would slap in a good piece whenever you start to get gripped since in my humble opinion getting gripped is the fastest way to slow you down(next to not knowing what you're doing of course). While I haven't seen any fixed cam hooks, it doesn't surprise me to hear they are out there. Maybe with any luck I'll fix one myself someday, wouldn't that be a great story


passthepitonspete


Mar 8, 2002, 5:31 PM
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I am Dr. Piton,

and I am a bit of a chickenshit when it comes to using cam hooks!

This is because lately I have been climbing mostly harder aid routes, and I seldom look a gift pin in the mouth. On hard, or hardish, aid I'll whack in an LA and breathe a bit easier.

Were I to climb something easier, like say the West Face of the Leaning Tower in May, I would get some use out of my cam hooks.

With any luck, Ammon can tell you a bit more about these things.

In my experience, they're pretty good once you get used to the fear factor. They work amazingly well even placed upright beneath roofs.

I tap them in gently with a hammer.

You can use them for pro. And they do become fixed if you're not careful!

Cheers,

Dr. P. [dreaming of daffodils]



milesdesbrie


Mar 8, 2002, 11:25 PM
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Thanks for the feedback, all. Now I just have to find myself a partner, get my butt out to the Valley and put the cam hooks to work.


krustyklimber


Mar 9, 2002, 2:37 AM
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Hey,

Great question! Welcome to the Dark side!

I Am not Dr. P either nor am I chickens**t when it comes to using cam hooks, I love 'em.

I keep two on each aider, one wide (aluminium) and one small. (I call 'em... micro, small, large, and wide which is the aluminium one)

A good way to practice with them, is to set up a toprope on a good long finger crack, and try to do every move with just cam hooks. That's what my partner and I did on Monday, he still doesn't trust them, even though he made over 40 cam hook moves and only one failed (I think he unweighted it over aggresively bounce testing it).

I want a pair of REALLY BIG ones for the Hollow Flake pitch!!

Check back through the posts, Ammon makes a comment about wearing out the slings.

Did I say I love 'em?

Jeff

P.S. I've only gone 6 cam hook moves in a row,and only one time! 3 is my usual limit.

I'm afraid of "sharp hooks", I just know I'm gonna end up with some sick unwanted nipple piercing!!






[ This Message was edited by: krustyklimber on 2002-03-09 02:49 ]


milesdesbrie


Mar 12, 2002, 10:49 PM
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Okay today I went out to the crummy crumbly rock face where I've been getting my aid system down and I did several cam hook moves and was astounded at how secure they felt. I can only imagine what they feel like in some good clean granite. I think they just may be the bee's nuts.


socalclimber


Mar 16, 2002, 9:19 PM
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I have to jump in here and issue a warning about cam hooks. Be careful using them in shitty, crumbly cracks. They put a hell of alot of force on the crack and will blow. I have made this mistake twice and taken a 10 foot ride. Certainly not the end of the world, but one of the rides caused me to deck. No harm, no foul, but it certainly opened my eyes! If the rock is less then stellar, you might want to look into the fragile flake cam hooks that are intended for Sandstone. They are aluminum, not steel, and flex a bit to reduce the stress on the crack. Maybe Ammon can shed some more light on these! I haven't used them.

socalclimber


mpepe


Mar 16, 2002, 10:52 PM
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Not being the enginering type I may be a little off base here but here it goes. I don't think the fragile flake cam hook being made out of aluminum and flexing has anything to do with the amount of force it creates in the crack. I believe the amount of force is reduced because it is so wide that it doesn't cam across(twist to horizontal in) the crack as much as a narrower cam hook would, thus there is not as much force being directed in a horizontal plane. By using a wider cam hook(fragile flake) you are not creating as much horizontal(outward) force on said flake and as a result it is less likely to blow on you.

Of course I would like a more educated answer to this if anyone is willing to work some force(vector?) sketches or equations out.

Happy Trails


addiroids


Mar 18, 2002, 7:09 PM
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As one who likes using new gear, I bought some of the Pika cam hooks (www.pikamtn.com). Well, I found out the hard way that these are the flexible kind. That being said, I still blew out a placement in Zion 4 days ago with the large one. I don't think flexible/inflexible matters for blowing out rock. The flexible ones just ooze out of the placement more and f*cking bend when placed upside down. So get the Leepers. They are the only way to go.

TRADitionally yours,

Addiroids

And I don't mean to knock Pika. Josh makes some good gear. It's just that the cam hooks are not included in that category.


crswallrat


Mar 21, 2002, 8:12 AM
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Addiroids, what climb were you on when you blew out that cam hook? I had a similar experience on the 2nd pitch of moonlight, and haven't even brought cam hooks to Zion's since. Any hooking in Zion's is sketchy at best in my opinion but camhooking seems worse. Too much leverage on weak rock. But on granite....another story. My favorites are the small and large, they seem to be the best and easiest to place. And the best way to get good and comfy on them is to keep doing it, and try to push them as far as you think they'll go. Getting them to stick in the sketchiest placements will help you learn what they can and can't do.


elcapbuzz


Mar 21, 2002, 10:29 AM
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I am NOT Dr. Piton but I HAVE been his sherpa. Haa ha.

I think everyone has a general idea of how to use cam hooks. It's obvious that cam hooks are going to be stronger in granite than sandstone, especially if the sandstone is wet.

I personally don't use cam hooks on the trade routes in Zion but use them a lot on First Ascents there.

I don't have a degree but have a ton of experiece in aid/trad placements. As far as the force they create? Let me tell you a little story:

I was soloing the Shortest Straw and was on the "Sun and Steel" pitch, facing an expando flake. This is a REAL expanding flake, not the ones that expand and then snap off.

So, I botched the sequence of the placements and got sent for a 60-70 foot ride. I alternated between pins and small caming units. They would shift, groan and pop as I moved from one piece to the next.

Well, after I blew almost every rivit hanger on the pitch.... I went back up, hooked through the four heads that I blew and then cam hooked through the expanding flake.

The crack turned and traversed out right which forced the cam hooks upside down. The flake would expand and then stop. They worked where anything else would have been hairball, and without the dicey noises.

The best placements are the ones that fit tight against the bend of the hook. When weighted the arm should not dip below "4:00 o' clock." If it does, it may hold but it is not the best placement (they can slide out).

As the crack widens the arm will dip further down, depending on the size of the cam hook.

It's good to keep the webbing away from the rock just a hair, to prevent the webbing from shredding (unless this compromises the placement).

My favorite cam hooks are the Leeper, mediums, and are the only ones I keep on my daisies.

The most important thing to remember is to keep on using them and you'll find a comfortable level of what you personally want to do with them.

Cheers, Ammon


[ This Message was edited by: elcapbuzz on 2002-03-21 10:51 ]


bigwalling


Mar 21, 2002, 6:40 PM
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I am NOT Dr. Piton but I HAVE been his sherpa. Haa ha.

I love it.


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