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Cams, Friends.

Posted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 1:40 pm
by Wynand
So i am slowly buying gear and was wondering if someone could perhaps assist me in telling me which size's is the ones that are used on regular basis and diffrent makes has got diffrent size's corect. i.e Comet 4 is smaller or bigger than say a no.4 Black Daimond. And where is the best shop/place to buy these items.

Regards Wynand.

Posted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 4:54 pm
by Oldsmelly
Depends where you are in the country. In Joburg just go to Drifters in Sandton City. In CT you may as well visit Cityrock or try visit Mountain Mail Order. Sure some people can order stuff over the internet but initially the touchy feely (& fit properly) part, as a hands on experience is a good idea. Naturally everyone has their preferred place to buy stuff, these are merely my suggestions.

The sizing of Cams was initially based on inches, however it is entirely irrelevant to a first time buyer, what is important is to know that the retracted size to the working position is what you should care about. So any cam has a range in which it works & above & below this is where it will either get stuck or just fall out. For this working range see (Black Diamonds site) & the Wild Country Site. As you will see the different makes numbering systems do not really relate, so physical inspection is the only simple way of determining which units of one make are the approximate same range as another. Because some have better ranges then others (ala Camalot from Black Diamond) you can in theory fit them in more places. Everyone has a sales spin. Try buy the best quality units as your life depends on it.

Maybe someone will run to a more technical explanation but otherwise find out what's available to you & check out their websites. Each should show their range & numbering system. Then compare the theory with the practice. Have fun :D

Posted: Thu Oct 12, 2006 3:02 pm
by Lofty
BD camalots are one of the best cams to look at buying if you are starting a rack. They are easy to place, have a greater placement range per unit and tend not to \"walk\" as much in cracks as do Wild Country friends.
To start with, look at getting the following range: #0.75, #1, #2 and #3. This will cover a range from a finger to a fist sized crack. From there you can fill in the gaps of #0.4, #0,5 and #4. Later you can consider getting the small cams in the micro range.

I have a set of Metolius cams that I bought in the US back in '98 and I love them. They are narrower and lighter than other cams and seem to be wearing well.

It is possible to mix brands on your rack without creating gaps in sizes. I rack up with 4 small Aliens, #4-#10 Metolius and a #4 camalot. Check the specs of the brands from their catalogs to see is sizes can be compared.

Good luck with your new gear purchases and remember that no cam can replace a well placed nut.

Posted: Thu Oct 12, 2006 3:17 pm
by Wynand
Thank you for the input you guys have given me so far, especially Lofty with the size's. Just a stupid question then how many nuts do you take on a climb? I have got a full set of them bur if you say a nut placement is better than a cam should I take more nuts. and what about hexis are thay also better than cams.

Regards Wynand

Posted: Thu Oct 12, 2006 5:00 pm
by Lofty
Hi Wynand, glad to be of assistance.

I have about 30 nuts on my rack which includes 6 hexes.
Trust the BD nuts, they are of the best, if not the best nuts on the market. They place well and don't stick too easily making retrieval simpler for the second. Try avoid Wild Country Rocks and DMM Wallnuts in the small sizes as they are tough to place and stick very badly. The big DMM Wallnuts are good and place well in gnarly cracks.
Start out with BD nuts sizes 3-12 then add some hexes to extend the range. If you find you place a lot of nuts then double up on those sizes. Don't worry about micro-nuts until you think you are ready to trust those tiny things, they are a whole different story.

I have BD hexes sizes 4-9 on my rack. This hex range covers the cam sizes #0.4-#3. Hexes are bomber when placed correctly, as with any pro but take a little getting used to. Your climbing buddies will also not find it hard to locate you in the mountains. Just jingle a couple of hexes around to see what I mean.
The BD hexes are availible on wires but mine are still of the old type where you had to add your own \"spectra\" cord. My hexes are my most trusted gear and have never popped on a fall. (touch wood)

The Wild Country \"rockcentrics\" are also great, they have a good range and fit easier into cracks than the BD hexes. This also means that they stick easily and can be a bugger to get out again. They come with Dyneema tape and the colour coding makes it easy to distinguish the sizes.
Learning to use hexes can be easy if you spend a bit of time reading the pamphlet that comes with the gear and playing around at the base of the crags, testing the kit out.

Most crags around the country take good hex placements.
Good skill with nuts and hexes cannot replace any cam. :)

Posted: Fri Oct 13, 2006 8:35 am
by Marshall
Hexes on \"spectra\" cord are difficult to place & the clanking noise is quite irritating. Cams can often be placed in hex placments, but nothing beats a good hex. I carry 2 large plastic nuts & two large plastic hexes. These are light enough to be wired & thus easier to place...& they are clank free.

Most of my small nuts are DMM peenuts. These are way sweeter than normal nuts. Try them out.

Posted: Fri Oct 13, 2006 10:10 am
by Wynand
Hi Marshall, Thankx for your input as-well. You say you carry 2 large nuts and hexes but what size is that becuase the biggest nut I've got is a no 9. And you say it is plastic, is that stronger than alloy or copper, or do you just prefer it becuase of it's weight.

Regards Wynand

Posted: Fri Oct 13, 2006 11:06 am
by Lofty
I'll agree with you on the DMM peenuts, Derek but plastic hexes :shock: Where did you get those?
I like my jingling hexes on spectra, besides being great pro they scare off any snakes that might be along my path when approaching my favourite crags. Yes the spectra hexes are a bit awkward to place and I will upgrade to wires hexes when the time comes.

Posted: Fri Oct 13, 2006 12:56 pm
by Marshall
The plastic hexes & nuts are made in Australia. The largest nut is more than twice the size of the largest DMM nut. The largest plastic hex avalible is larger than a span 4 friend. They are tested....totaly bomber.
Rather carry only a few of the larger hexes. A large nut is easier to place than the equivalent hex, especialy if the hex has spectra cord.