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summitchaserCJB

Be careful out there

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I'm glad he walked away!

 

I've only seen one piece of gear fail (a worn out fixed draw on a sport climb) in 12 years, and I climb quite a bit. One gear failure a year seems pretty out of the ordinary for my experience. I think you just have terrible terrible terrible luck.

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I think I've heard that campfire story before and was asking for verification of it because I didn't believe before and I don't believe now that Metolius would admit such a thing even if it were true.

 

I'm a sissy and I place gear damn near as often as I can get it. If every third piece is gonna fail on me I need a much, much bigger rack. :shock:

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No Mark, you have it mostly right from my memory. Doug Phillips, the owner of Metolius, said something like: "in testing, one in 20 cams, which otherwise look like good placements, will fail". I believe it was in some Climbing Magazine interview. Obviously I'm paraphrasing, and whenever someone my age paraphrases you probably should take it with less than a grain of salt:-)

 

However, he also said that a slight tug, as if to set the piece, upped the number of good placements dramatically. Of course, after I posted this I later googled it and came up with my own post of a year earlier:-) http://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/900381/Re_OP_Link_cam_failure_purple_

 

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No Mark, you have it mostly right from my memory. Doug Phillips, the owner of Metolius, said something like: "in testing, one in 20 cams, which otherwise look like good placements, will fail". I believe it was in a Climbing Magazine interview. Obviously I'm paraphrasing, and whenever someone my age paraphrases you probably should take it with less than a grain of salt:-)

 

However, he also said that a slight tug, as if to set the piece, upped the number of good placements dramatically.

 

First of all, 1 in 20 is 5%, not 30%. Also, do cams really need to be "set?" That sounds weird. Sure, I'll tug on a cam sometimes to make sure the placement is good, but I don't really think it's getting "set," nor do I think that the simple act of tugging on it makes the placement more secure. Why would it?

Edited by rob

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I sewed up Rodgers last week cuz I was off the couch, it has bomber gear the whole way. There are some loose spots but they are easily avoidable.

 

I tug on cams after placement, sometimes there's a loose flake inside a crack or mank rock.

 

My suggestion to fledgling leaders who are green with their gear. Aid City Park or something like that several times. It safely gets you past that stage where your gear is questionable. Not many listen to that advice though.

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for sure aiding city park is awesome. I loved that. We used to climb every weekend in my twenties. If it rained, we would aid climb the routes we freed on dry days. You learn gear placements quickly when every piece is weighted.

 

My apologies for my bad memory.

Bill, is this where you bought your "valley giant" big cams:

http://home.pacbell.net/takasper/slcd/no9cam.html

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No Mark, you have it mostly right from my memory. Doug Phillips, the owner of Metolius, said something like: "in testing, one in 20 cams, which otherwise look like good placements, will fail". I believe it was in a Climbing Magazine interview. Obviously I'm paraphrasing, and whenever someone my age paraphrases you probably should take it with less than a grain of salt:-)

 

However, he also said that a slight tug, as if to set the piece, upped the number of good placements dramatically.

 

First of all, 1 in 20 is 5%, not 30%. Also, do cams really need to be "set?" That sounds weird. Sure, I'll tug on a cam sometimes to make sure the placement is good, but I don't really think it's getting "set," nor do I think that the simple act of tugging on it makes the placement more secure. Why would it?

 

I can only think, by tugging, it could get the cam to bight a bit and ensure that enough friction is in play to let the cam do what it does - push outward. I rarely tug on cam placements. If you place them in front of your nose (not always possible), then you can pretty damn well tell if they're going to hold.

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I sewed up Rodgers last week cuz I was off the couch, it has bomber gear the whole way. There are some loose spots but they are easily avoidable.

 

I tug on cams after placement, sometimes there's a loose flake inside a crack or mank rock.

 

My suggestion to fledgling leaders who are green with their gear. Aid City Park or something like that several times. It safely gets you past that stage where your gear is questionable. Not many listen to that advice though.

couldn't agree more with that advice

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some notes from days of teaching gear climbing (same stuff maybe stated just a little differently):

 

-when learning to place gear, place some at ground level and jump up and down on it with a sling. yep. just like basic aid climbing...the old bounce test. (this IS hard on the gear). a person may learn a lot about how gear settles in when loaded. and remember that your gear may not be loaded in the purely downward direction when you fall. the rope may pull it outward first and rotate the piece around and not load it the way you thought it might.

 

-as it turns out, we don't all have the same aptitude to anticipate what is going to happen to gear placements when loaded by a fall. our minds have varying abilities to see how the gear will be loaded and what will happen when it does. some people can see forward very well while others must learn by experience (see above). some never learn very well.

 

-tug tests well leading are smart tests. the gear may settle in a bit and show it's weakness or just give that nice reassuring sound of a good placement and snap of the sling or draw. this habit may help your head.

 

-double up gear at critical placement points to reduce the chance of decking.

 

-wear gloves when belaying many people have let go when the burn get's bad. good job to the belayer for holding on.

 

-climbing is dangerous. and even when you think you've got it all figured out, unusual and dangerous things can and will happen.

 

-get experienced and have fun climbing.

 

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Hm. I have a friend who took a healthy fall onto a C3 and it blew, and sustained lobe damage like it sounds is described above.

 

Does this happen to other cams?

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Camalots can be often be 'rocked' just a bit to set them, and I usually do this. It reduces the liklihood they will rotate later, which may help prevent failure or keep them from walking somewhere you don't want them to go etc. Doesn't work for three cam units.

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A couple of comments...

 

As Bill said, Metolius crew has stated that 1 in 20 cams in perfectly parallel-sided placements will pull. However, it is also my understanding that they think there is no value in 'setting' cams beyond the psychological. (I have a call in to verify both statements)

 

-wear gloves when belaying many people have let go when the burn get's bad.

While I think your other advice is good I have a bit of a hard time with this statement. Are gloves a bad idea? No, but if there's any kind of "burning" going on then it's an improper belay from my perspective and gloves shouldn't be used to compensate for bad belaying.

 

 

 

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Hm. I have a friend who took a healthy fall onto a C3 and it blew, and sustained lobe damage like it sounds is described above.

 

Does this happen to other cams?

 

I've fallen on a green C3. The cam held, but one of the lobes dented a bit, and it was close to being fixed - I would guess a fairly low force fall. Recently, I fell a few times back to back on a Metoliuos #00 - short falls, but near the deck, nothing happened to the cam. Sometimes it's pretty hard to see into the tiny crack and see all of the lobes on the small cams. I'd think if one lobe isn't as engaged the other two get all or most of the force, mix in a slight rotation, and I can see the lobes getting beat-up.

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Hm. I have a friend who took a healthy fall onto a C3 and it blew, and sustained lobe damage like it sounds is described above.

 

Does this happen to other cams?

 

Yes. Cams get beat up from taking falls on irregular rock and if one of the lobes of a tcu gets deformed (or rotates) past the point of being in contact with the rock, it will probably blow. I've seen a 0 metolius fail from this and some other cams come close to doing so.

 

This can partly be delt with be inspecting your placements and tugging/wiggling your cam to make sure it seats between irregularities, is no where near tipped out and will not rotate in a fall or from rope movement.

 

It is also an advantage of 4 cams and cams with more range. At index, thin cracks are often quite parallel and i've found small 4 cams (c4's, power cams/FCU's, master cams, aliens in reverse order of confidence inspired) to be the ticket. Aliens and C4's are particularly nice because of the increased range but aliens loose points for the QC.

 

A double axel master cam would be rad.

 

At leavenworth or WA pass head width becomes more of an issue.

 

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Just got off the phone with Metolius. They don't commit to a numerical percentage of cams pulling in parallel-sided placements other than to say that if the placement is a decking one then you can't rely 100% on such placements no matter how good they look - you should always back them up.

 

They are definitely of the mind there is no 'setting' of cams - you set nuts, not cams.

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A couple of comments...

 

As Bill said, Metolius crew has stated that 1 in 20 cams in perfectly parallel-sided placements will pull. However, it is also my understanding that they think there is no value in 'setting' cams beyond the psychological. (I have a call in to verify both statements)

 

-wear gloves when belaying many people have let go when the burn get's bad.

While I think your other advice is good I have a bit of a hard time with this statement. Are gloves a bad idea? No, but if there's any kind of "burning" going on then it's an improper belay from my perspective and gloves shouldn't be used to compensate for bad belaying.

 

 

In drop tests an anchored GriGri will let a couple of meters of rope slip. Just imagine what happens with a tube device. rgold on stuportace and cockrhyming has been saying for years that hard falls onto the anchor are best handled with gloves and he's caught a couple.

 

I've definitely found loose flakes that I thought were solid on inspection by tugging a cam. I find that giving the sling a wiggle to test for walking immediately tests any optimism that the cam will stay in that spot. Aid climbers vigorously bounce test pieces, why should free climbers just plug and go? If possible I use a few tests to convince myself that piece is good and that blind faith isn't keeping me off the deck.

 

C3s go really small. What sizes are we talking about here? The margin for error with the little guys is terrible. My partner has a set and they are the last pieces I reach for although when they do fit it's a boon.

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A couple of comments...

 

As Bill said, Metolius crew has stated that 1 in 20 cams in perfectly parallel-sided placements will pull. However, it is also my understanding that they think there is no value in 'setting' cams beyond the psychological. (I have a call in to verify both statements)

 

-wear gloves when belaying many people have let go when the burn get's bad.

While I think your other advice is good I have a bit of a hard time with this statement. Are gloves a bad idea? No, but if there's any kind of "burning" going on then it's an improper belay from my perspective and gloves shouldn't be used to compensate for bad belaying.

 

 

In drop tests an anchored GriGri will let a couple of meters of rope slip. Just imagine what happens with a tube device. rgold on stuportace and cockrhyming has been saying for years that hard falls onto the anchor are best handled with gloves and he's caught a couple.

 

I've definitely found loose flakes that I thought were solid on inspection by tugging a cam. I find that giving the sling a wiggle to test for walking immediately tests any optimism that the cam will stay in that spot. Aid climbers vigorously bounce test pieces, why should free climbers just plug and go? If possible I use a few tests to convince myself that piece is good and that blind faith isn't keeping me off the deck.

 

C3s go really small. What sizes are we talking about here? The margin for error with the little guys is terrible. My partner has a set and they are the last pieces I reach for although when they do fit it's a boon.

True, but time can be of the essence. And the experienced leader should know a good placement by sight.

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-wear gloves when belaying many people have let go when the burn get's bad.

While I think your other advice is good I have a bit of a hard time with this statement. Are gloves a bad idea? No, but if there's any kind of "burning" going on then it's an improper belay from my perspective and gloves shouldn't be used to compensate for bad belaying.

In drop tests an anchored GriGri will let a couple of meters of rope slip. Just imagine what happens with a tube device. rgold on stuportace and cockrhyming has been saying for years that hard falls onto the anchor are best handled with gloves and he's caught a couple.

A grigri without a human braking the rope over the lip is not a belay. Tube devices have neglible 'slip' when used correctly. Yes, rgold and I have gone a few rounds on the topic in the past. I've caught a lot of big and hard falls, many hip belaying with no device at all; several straight on me before a first piece could be placed - I totally disagree with him on the point. In 36 years of belaying and holding hundreds of significant falls I've never once experience any 'slip' or 'burning' with either a device or a hip belay.

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i'm with Joseph on this one...done properly there is no burn, even for factor 2...

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