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Cams in wet cracks
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wetrocks


Dec 20, 2004, 6:20 PM
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Cams in wet cracks
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I always put a little bit more effort into finding that perfect placement when the crack is soaked with water. I haven't been able to convince myself that the water can make my hands and feet slip, but not the cam.

When I'm on the ground I believe that the water has a negligible effect on the cam's friction, but when I'm climbing my psychology changes and I get thinking that the cam could skidder outta there because of the water.

So, do you protect a wet crack like more or less like you would a dry crack or, like me, do the slick conditions decrease your faith in the cam's holding power? Is this feeling warrented?


fracture


Dec 20, 2004, 6:29 PM
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From the black diamond camalot manual:

In reply to:
Because spring loaded camming devices rely on friction between the cams and the rock surface, they could slip if the rock is polished, smooth, icey or wet.

So that's what the book says.... I've only fallen on cams in dry cracks. Anyone have some personal experience to lend to the discussion?

Why do you think the water would have a "negligable" effect?


shear_strength


Dec 20, 2004, 6:31 PM
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Passive gear may seem to be more trust worthy.


irockclimbtoo


Dec 20, 2004, 8:14 PM
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ab


radistrad


Dec 20, 2004, 8:22 PM
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Yup, a cam in a wet crack can very easily slip out.

Case in point: my friend BK was leading the first pitch of Serenity crack in Yosemite, it was his first time on the famously wet first pitch. Up he goes no pro until the bolt at about the 25' level, he clips and heads up a bit further to the wet part of the crack (its wet for up to 10' or so and it can be slimy). He places a .75 Camalot in the crack above his head and clips into the cam. At this point he decides his feet hurt and he needs to hang dog. He leans back on to his cam and a split second later it blows and he tumbles down the slab ripping his belayer from the ground and they both stop about 5 feet off of the deck. If it was not for the bolt he clipped he would have decked for over 30' up all because he carelessly placed his cam in the wet crack (as I recall he could have gotten a much better bottle neck placement with a nut or by placing the cam a foot or so lower).


barc


Dec 20, 2004, 8:24 PM
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The water does matter, but they still might work. The water will reduce the cofefficent of static friction between the rock and the cam. Thus, reducing holding power. Ice? I don't don't know. I'd definately would rather a nut there. Anyway, just my opinion.


myrmidon


Dec 20, 2004, 8:28 PM
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Cams in wet Canadian Shield Basalt? ....mostly trusty

Cams in wet Navajo Sandstone? .....time bombs


skecthballer


Dec 20, 2004, 8:35 PM
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hex's would be more bomber cuz of surface area


a_guy_named_smith


Dec 20, 2004, 9:14 PM
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i was seconding a pitch in the gunks and i got to a cam placed in a horizontal. Hmmmm i thought, my partner placed the 'booty cam' in a nice crack and sadly rope drag had walked it in a bit. No problem. I can clean anything i thought. Pulled every trick out of my bag and ....
nothing... nada. Crap.

There i was pissed off at having to unstick the booty cam from a seamless weld to the rock for a second time, beginning to wonder why i would put a cam that got so stuck it became a booty piece on a trade route in red rocks on my rack, when i noticed the sweat pouring down my face. Man it was a hot day at the gunks.
I remembered that i had brought my nalgene with me.
LIGHT BULB

I drank half, and prompty poured my partner's half in the crack and let it soak for a good 5 minutes as i slowly rotated the cam through its entire 1mm range of movement.

And i can proudly report that yes water helped unstick my cam, though i think it was because i cleaned all of the dirt out of the crack.


On a side note, for the engineers out there
wouldnt water have an effect based on the type of rock.

what would the differences be between
say zion sandstone, yosemite granite, and
gunks conglomerate


Partner gunksgoer


Dec 20, 2004, 9:25 PM
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The title to this thread looks so naughty, but anyways

yes, i tihnk the rock type probably has EVERYTHING to do with wether the cam will hold in a wet crack. Places like the gunks with bullet hard conglomerate, complete with pebbles, seem much more trustworthy with wetter placements then a cam in a wet sandston, or shale (crappy when not wet too). A wet sandstone placement id be iffy about, but a cam placed in wet shale, um, i wouldnt even tie my dog to it at the base.

Just be carefull.

Oh, and tricams work really well in wet cracks too


Partner ctardi


Dec 21, 2004, 12:04 AM
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In reply to:
The title to this thread looks so naughty, but anyways

I've got to say it...

Being a cam, i would say that we generally prefer wet cracks to dry ones...


smearhound


Dec 21, 2004, 5:34 AM
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My anecdotal response is a qualified yes. The only time I've seen a cam come out of placement was on wet rock. You might say I've gotten lucky, but my partner (who placed the piece) and I agreed that the disloging was caused by the moisture.


crackrn


Dec 21, 2004, 6:37 AM
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Ditto to the above. In Indian Creek last year my BF was able to retrieve 2 cams that had walked in by having us send up my Camel Bak on a rope and spitting water on them. :lol:


vashie


Dec 21, 2004, 8:49 PM
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Reading this post just gave me an (bad :shock: ) idea. What if a cam had some big ol' fangley teeth on it, it could work in those awkward holes in deep ice. They would be way faster than any screw. Humm, if I take a saw to a forged friend.........


tallnik


Dec 22, 2004, 1:16 AM
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I'll have to remember the trick with the nalgene to unstick a cam, it'll probably come in handy sooner or later.

Cheers,
Nik


dontmaytagme


Dec 31, 2004, 8:12 PM
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Mine have usually held, usually. However, I do keep in mind that Water is THE BEST lubricant that exists.

ja.


curt


Dec 31, 2004, 8:53 PM
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In reply to:
Mine have usually held, usually. However, I do keep in mind that Water is THE BEST lubricant that exists.

ja.

Actually, water is a pretty crappy lubricant. Its a great coolant though, due its very high heat capacity.

Curt


dirtineye


Jan 1, 2005, 12:37 AM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
Mine have usually held, usually. However, I do keep in mind that Water is THE BEST lubricant that exists.

ja.

Actually, water is a pretty crappy lubricant. Its a great coolant though, due its very high heat capacity.

Curt

Let's see, no gravity on the mooon, water the best lubricant-- what will these climbers come up with next?


dontmaytagme


Jan 1, 2005, 5:42 PM
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[quote="curt"][quote="dontmaytagme"]Mine have usually held, usually. However, I do keep in mind that Water is THE BEST lubricant that exists.

ja.
Actually, water is a pretty crappy lubricant. Its a great coolant though, due its very high heat capacity.

Curt
err.. One of the best for this application. I should have delineated it further. As far as stoopider things? Look around. ;) Let the populace amaze you.


bootleg


Jan 1, 2005, 6:48 PM
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I just ripped cams in a wet placement at the Glass in NC. One person posted that Tri-Cams work good in wet placements. Has anyone else tried tri-cams in a wet crack or better yet a Looking Glass eyebrow?


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