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I finally found pinky


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So after going to four climbing stores, I finally was able to track down the infamous pinky, the .5 tri-cam nobody can do without. It's a stocking stuffer for my wife, ever since last spring when she finally did her first trad lead (without me no less), she has been raving about tri-cams and we need a whole rack of them and nothing else and yadda, yadda, yadda.


So what's the deal with nobody carrying tri-cams any longer? REI only has the big behemoth ones (as opposed to those little behemoth ones rolleyes.gif) and several stores didn't carry them at all. But you can find Metolious cams at your friggin neighborhood Wal-Mart. madgo_ron.gif

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Pfft, they are awesome...period and its cool your wife likes and and feels comfortable with placing them, thats a skill bonus for her! As far as availability goes, they still are considered kind of "out there" in the pro realm even tho they have been around for so long. Given also that this region is primarily a hard stone/vertical crack region, most folks are content with the walmart pro. Go to Desert Rock Sports in Vegas or Outdoor outlet in St George and you automatically increase your finding em odds. Killer for SS smile.gif

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Ode to a Pink Tricam


Oh Pink's the one I love to place

when I'm alone way up in space

on some exposed and airy face.

They sink where other gear won't go.

When all you've got is manky pro,

This tricam saves your butt from woe.


But it's often hard to get them out;

They make your second moan and shout

And wave his nut tool 'round about


But that's why you're the one on lead

Your problems are a different breed

As long as someone does the deed...


"Oh quit your whimpering," you rumble,

"And get it out or there'll be trouble"

"Get to work now, on the double!"


Although it sometimes takes a while,

They do come out with vim and guile,

(or chiselling and curses vile.)


Pink will do what all the rest.

Won't do when they're put to the test.

Oh pink tricams are just the best!


-- Charles "Pinky" Danforth

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The reason that REI only has the larger sizes of Tricams right now is that REI discovered in their inventory a few months back that the size 2 tricam with a particular manufacturing lot number ( can't remember of the top of my head, but I think 2G) had hairline cracks around the pin in the head. They also determined that the tricam set as a passive piece did not meet the strength reported by tricam. While REI is resolving the manufacturing problems and the strength of a tricam as a passive piece, they have returned all of the smaller sizes, to be re-inspected, and to be marked with the correct passive piece strength. I found out about all of this a couple weeks after buying the four smallest sizes, and was able to return them to REI no questions asked, even though I had already used them (gently), and even though REI was only at that time aware of there being a problem with the size 2. The REI stores down in the Portland area have assured me that when they are confident that the product defects have been corrected they will start to carry the other sizes again. The larger sizes are not affected in this, because the larger sizes are manufactured by a different method (cold forged "panels" of metal, versus solid pieces) and the larger sizes have checked out to be full strength in either passive or camming mode.

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....by the way, I would really check out that pink tricam you bought. REI returned all the sizes manufactured by the same process as the size two, because in the size two they had a high number of their inventory had the cracks in the area of the pin, and on testing the size 2s that had cracks, they failed under the listed strength for that size as a passive piece, or as a camming piece. Your wife might get mad, if you give her a faulty piece of gear(but only for the few seconds as she falls to her death.).

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I'll chime in with the rest of the pink & red worshippers, they're wonderful tools. It's true they require a little bit of craft to use, but that's part of the charm. I got mine when I lived in Tucson, some of that stuff on Mt Lemmon just demands them, and I knew folks there who carried triples of the two smallest sizes. I imagine my seventeen year old tri-cams need new slings, but they've never shown any cracks around the pin, and are obviously from a much older manufacturing run.

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East coast shops usually have them in stock. Lots of horizontals back east. I echo the sentiment that I might carry the .5-3 in the hills, and on Zion aid climbs, but otherwise I leave em at home. It's a pain to place them one handed, and I feel that a properly placed TCU is less likely to wiggle out in a true parallel crack than a tricam.


Camp has been making them for at least 10 years. I've got some 10 year old red and pink that have Camp labels on the sling.

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I can't think if an instance in which I have used my tricams in the passive mode, that is not their best use. I'll use a wired stopper instead. They fit better and are easier to remove.


I've placed a few passively in some irregular basalt cracks where stoppers felt less than bomber. Sometimes the odd three point shape fits where nothing else will. That said they are a pin in the ass to fiddle with sometimes and I usually carry them only on easier ground.

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I was just waiting for Dru to sing the praises of the tri-cam cool.gif. Yes, MEC is a little bit more of a drive now, like two long days worth. Found them at Mountain Miser, and also some good access info for the South Platte.


CBS, I thought about writing an ode to pinky, but yours did more justice than I could have scribed. rockband.gif


Also my new home crag is in Golden and all basalt. I found the two tri-cams I have were the easiest to place. The cracks are smooth and slightly irregular, making slotting a nut a little more time consuming. But the cracks ate up the tri-cams like nobody's business




Also I'm going to email Camp. If there are questions about their security, then I don't think it's a wise gift for my better half. Her stocking stuffer breaking on a lead fall I think could lead to an anullment, and she's way prettier than me and I finally got her leading trad to swap some leads with me, so that ain't a good thing. confused.gifooo.gif


It's equal training. She leads gear, I started doing the dishes.

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Last time I was at Vantage, I was heading up a route and some guys told me, "there's a fixed red tricam about half-way up. But don't bother trying to get it out, we tried for a long time and it wouldn't budge." That tricam was mine in ten seconds.


When you're cleaning in Vantage, and a piece gets stuck, you can usually just pull really hard on it once or twice and rip out the rock that surrounds the stuck piece blush.gif .


This takes less than 10 seconds.

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