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What is the smallest size cam that would hold a lead fall?
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allan_thomson


Aug 30, 2004, 9:38 AM
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What is the smallest size cam that would hold a lead fall?
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The title says it all really. Was looking at my Wild Country 00, 0 and 0.5, and finding it hard to believe that any of them would actually hold a leading fall. Are they just designed to slow you down, or do they actually hold falls?

Also wondered to what extent does the gear determine the force it can hold, and to what extent does the rock type, and quality determine it?

I normally climb on Slate, but there is also Limestone, Sandstone (unlikely to be lead), and Basalt over here if that makes any difference?


grayhghost


Aug 30, 2004, 9:41 AM
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check out the Black Diamond site
(www.bdel.com, under community, then videos)
to see a 50 ft fall on a small cam, in
sandstone.


curt


Aug 30, 2004, 9:57 AM
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The very smallest cams like the ones you are talking about, as well as the black Alien - etc., are probably more useful for aid climbing than free climbing. Having said that, I have heard stories like the one above, of a very small cam holding a long lead fall.

As to the limiting strength factor regarding cam vs. rock, this is really a common sense matter. If a placement fails, it will be at the weakest point, which may be either the rock--or the cam itself. Of course, the softer or weaker the rock is, the more likely it is that the failure will be due to the rock breaking away.

Curt


dingus


Aug 30, 2004, 10:08 AM
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Re: What is the smallest size cam that would hold a lead fal [In reply to]
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In reply to:
check out the Black Diamond site
(www.bdel.com, under community, then videos)
to see a 50 ft fall on a small cam, in
sandstone.

Is that Potter's fall? With most of the rope out? THAT... was a soft catch. A 3 foot FF2 fall would destroy the same piece.

The poster is correct to be suspicious of these pieces. They can and do break in leader falls, and probably pull out just as or even more frequently. There is so little 'wiggle room' for a small cam that if it starts to pull out the cam can't self adjust very far to compensate. The smaller metal mass of the cam heads is easier to deform as well. I've broken both #0 and #1' in falls, more than once each (without severe consequence)!

But to say they won't catch a fall is saying too much. One of my broken cams held the fall and another one, I have no idea how I cracked the axle, but crack it I did.

You're 20 feet out with another hard move to make a good stance and some bomber pro. Trouble is, that safety is 5 feet above you. The only placement is a #0 TCU right in front of you.

Do you just run it out on a doubtful move with the consequences of a 60 footer staring you in the eye? Of do you make that #0 placement, knowing it is by definition "marginal" and hope like hell it will hold a short fall with a lot of rope to soften the catch even though you are 99.9% sure you aren't going to be testing that theory?

There's your free climbing value to the weaker pieces.

Now if you're running it out again another 20 feet above that #0 cam, then nothing I write here will help.

DMT


Partner euroford


Aug 30, 2004, 10:09 AM
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the smallest cam i keep on my trad rack is the Blue (.51-.75) wild country zero. at this point i've only used it in ultra hard quartzite, but when i'm able to place it correctly i'm as happy to climb above it as i am a #2 camelsnot.

one thing i've always noticed with small cams, you have to be confident with them becouse the only time you decide to fiddle around with them is when it really matters. if i'm facing a long runout or a gnarly crux and all i'm presented with is a small feature, its time to get out the tiny cams and fiddle in a perfect placement. if it wasn't a desperate situation i would run it out until i had a placement that would take a bomber nut or a larger cam, otherwise its not generally worth it to take the time to place a small cam.

and IMO, if your not taking your time setting small cams, they probobly arn't that good. if you wiggle them into a good spot and carefully judge the lobe contact you should be in good shape.


cgailey


Aug 30, 2004, 11:12 AM
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I'm glad this topic has been posted. I have always wondered what other's opinions were regarding small cams...I know that I am happy placing a small cam even if it is marginal...after all, what else is better? Running it out? I think the issue here has already been stated...what are you more comfortable with...marginal pro or no pro at all? That question determines whether you use your black aliens for aid only or not...;)


nthusiastj


Aug 30, 2004, 11:22 AM
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I climbed with a guy once that said he took a fall on the purple (?) WC Zero. He said it held but retired it.
I've taken a short fall on my blue Alien and still use it.


Partner euroford


Aug 30, 2004, 11:25 AM
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In reply to:
I climbed with a guy once that said he took a fall on the purple (?) WC Zero. He said it held but retired it.
I've taken a short fall on my blue Alien and still use it.

whoa :shock:

i've more or less retired my purple zero without ever using it! a very cool piece, but i almost have trouble seeing it hold bodyweight, let alone a fall. someday though, i'll head out for aiding and it may save my butt. we'll see i guess!


ricardol


Aug 30, 2004, 11:52 AM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
I climbed with a guy once that said he took a fall on the purple (?) WC Zero. He said it held but retired it.
I've taken a short fall on my blue Alien and still use it.

whoa :shock:

i've more or less retired my purple zero without ever using it! a very cool piece, but i almost have trouble seeing it hold bodyweight, let alone a fall. someday though, i'll head out for aiding and it may save my butt. we'll see i guess!

.. smallest piece that has held a fall for me has been a black alien ..

... it was a 10 or 12 footer with about 100' of rope out .. so it was a soft catch .. the rock type was granite ... bomber placement .. didn't even budge.

-- ricardo


dirtineye


Aug 30, 2004, 3:37 PM
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To answer the original poster's question, you can't say for sure. THe placement quality had too much to do with the piece pulling or not.

I've taken lead falls on the green zero, the yellow zero and the smallest gold tech friend (repeated falls, some 20 feet, on the little gold tech friend in fact, and it never budged and is wirking great). They all held, but they were all good placements. Better than good, htey were great. I've also seen the yellow zero pull under body weight in a less than good placement.

None of these falls were more than .75 FF, most were considerably lower.

I won't even talk about leading over the purple zero, I hate that piece, wish I had never bought it. The purple zero is aid only, and even then a crap shoot unless the placement is PERFECT.

Better pay attenti0on to what dingus said. Any piece (except maybe the purple zero) is better than nothing to protect a very short distance and prevent a long fall, but a long runout over small gear is asking for trouble, especially with ah high FF


bandycoot


Aug 30, 2004, 4:10 PM
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This is why i bought some ball nuts! Rated for 5-8kN if I remember right.


ricardol


Aug 30, 2004, 4:34 PM
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In reply to:
This is why i bought some ball nuts! Rated for 5-8kN if I remember right.

ballnuts are great .. but if you fall on them .. good luck getting them out ..

they are difficult to remove even when all you've done is put body weight on them ..

.. in fact i fixed one on zodiac last year.

-- ricardo


grover


Aug 30, 2004, 4:50 PM
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Took a short fall on a Metolious #0 in RED ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!
It held, still use the same one.
If anyone is retiring small cams send them my way. :)


danabart


Aug 30, 2004, 5:24 PM
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I took a fairly long fall on a Metolious 00 and it held.


dirtineye


Aug 30, 2004, 6:30 PM
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In reply to:
This is why i bought some ball nuts! Rated for 5-8kN if I remember right.

Ballnutx are great but worse than nothing if you don't do em exactly right.

Rated strength has no meaning unless the placement is good. I get the impression that some of you are deciding what gear is best by the tated strength.

The best geat is the gear that you have set in a perfect placement for that particular piece.

Study placements not gear ratings!


grover


Aug 30, 2004, 6:42 PM
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Well put dirtineye.
Making bomber [when] placements boosts the confidence and keeps the sphincter facter down.


topher


Aug 30, 2004, 6:45 PM
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i have fallen on to a 00 wild, it was bout a 10 foot fall and there was alot of rope out dont know the exact length. it was a little... small gear can hold but if your real scared 2 will hold more and if you have the option add a screamer in there for good messuer.....


microbdcamalot


Aug 30, 2004, 9:52 PM
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I took my first leader fall on an orange metoluis cam. Thing held like a bolt, i was dangling there amazed looking at it bending down holding me...then i screamed to be lowered..hehe.


billcoe_


Aug 31, 2004, 11:01 PM
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You can't always evaluate it; I saw a #1-1/2 ridged friend hold 2 people who fall 150 feet onto that piece alone.

It was @ half way into a shitty rotten seam, the cam lobes were not all in the crack but out into space.

Both people died, we had to cut the sling on the cam to lower them the knot was so tight from the fall (clove hitch).

And then you get stories of like Goran Kropp who pulled 3 (Three) out of a deep crack (and broke a biner on a Metolius TCU which held) before he ran out of pro cause of the cams pulling out and fatally decked.

You can't always tell, but the small ones should be plenty strong enough to hold you if you don't get crazy with your run outs. You might toss in a few wireds between you and the ground to play it safe.


healyje


Sep 1, 2004, 12:21 AM
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I've taken repeated 8-10 foot falls off a couple of roofs, some with only 15-20 feet of rope out on the two smallest Lowe Balls stuck straight up vertical into the roof seam - never, ever have I had any trouble getting them out after repeated falls.

I now have a dozen of them and use them relentlessly, and again, have never had any trouble getting them out. That said you have to use them intelligently - they can't be slammed into a crack like a cam - instead you have to place them like a nut and always be concious of the ball/plate alignment and look for irregularities (bumps) in the surface to place them behind if possible. If you are having trouble with them, then you aren't being careful enough with your placements. They are definitely one of the cornerstones of my don't-ever-leave-the-ground-without-it gear list.

[Tech Tip: I also heat the lower tubing on them until it is soft enough to flatten and have it stay flattened (almost bubbley). This gets the tubing thin enough to not be an obstacle to getting the small ones in a seam and also does a better job holding the wire in alignment so the ball moves around [sideways] less.]

P.S. In the late 70's I took a 30' fall on a #2 Crack'n'up in Eldo and it held; in fact, I just used it on a [free] pitch this weekend that went with four Crack'n'ups and two of the smallest Lowe Balls in a row for pro - I have complete confidence in both or I wouldn't use them.

[Tech Tip: The Crack'n'ups on my rack have all just been upgraded to dyneema slings (through the hole, up over the anchor, and down around the shaft - the sling should come out on the side of the shaft angle is bent to; then tied in place with thin nylon line). These fit far better than super tape or spectra slings. The dyneema is also sport-taped side-by-side together as it comes down and out through the sling hole. And the #0, #1, and #2 pieces also got some plastic tape wrapped around the top of the hole and bottom of the shaft to prevent sling cutting). They then got swagged, thin wire racking loops. Very nice!]


alpnclmbr1


Sep 1, 2004, 12:59 AM
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Anybody remember RP's?

A 00 tcu at 4.4kn is pretty good compared to a #2 rp or steel nut at 3kn. (50% stronger)

In good granite (and maybe a good basalt) placements, these are plenty strong enough to hold a typical low FF sport climbing type fall.

I haven't taken many falls on small cams and never more then 6 to 10 feet. They have held everytime so far, without any damage to the gear.

As far as I am concerned a black alien is to hard to place correctly to be worth carrying.

Anything harder then a 5.9 and I carry my 00 and 0 tcu's.


cantbuymefriends


Sep 1, 2004, 1:36 AM
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Hi, I took the liberty to translate this from a swedish climbing site. First-hand experience from a swedish guy climbing in Yosemite:

“I have this summer fallen, and caught, 3 falls on the 2 smallest Wild Country Zeros, (purple and green).

Fall #1
The climber was standing on a copperhead, 2 m above a Green Zero with 30 m rope out. The Zero had an Aid Screamer connected. The copperhead ripped, and the Screamer ripped totally, but the Zero held the fall (FF about 0.15). A small bend in the axle.
(South Seas, El Cap)

Fall #2
15 m rope out, 1 m above Purple Zero, standing on a small nut that ripped. Purple Zero broke at the connection between head and wire, leaving the axle with the camlobes in the crack. The Zero was clipped with an ordinary quickdraw.
(Ten Days After, Washington Column)

Fall #3
40 m rope out, 5 m above Green Zero. The fall started with a ripping Copperhead. This caused the following also rip: One offset brass nut, one birdbeak and one copperhead with an Aid Screamer. Next was a Green Zero with an Aid Screamer. The Screamer ripped 2/3 before the fall stopped. The axle on the Zero bent so much it’s unusable.
(Pacific Ocean Wall, El Cap)

Conclusion: I’m surprised how strong the Green Zero is, and how “delicate” or weak the Purple one is. I will definitely replace the Green, but probably not the Purple one.”


dirtineye


Sep 1, 2004, 11:55 AM
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I totally agree, the green zero is great, the purple should never have been crated LOL.

At least you got the purple to stay in and break.

I free climb on the green yellow and gray zero friends regularly, and have fallen on the green more than the others. Mine is in great shape still.


Partner phylp


Sep 4, 2004, 7:56 PM
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I've taken short (less than 10') lead falls on granite on Lowe Balls a few times. No problem removing them after. I love them. Like Healyje, I never climb without them.


mankyone


Sep 11, 2004, 1:59 PM
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:lol: I took a 12 foot fall on a 00 TCU at Devils Tower last May. Thank GOD it held! My butt was in my buds face, but he cought me. I would rather have a pease of pro in , then run it out !

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