• Will Dog Urine Harm My Rope?
  • What's the Point of Spotting Highball Boulder Problems?
  • Closet Car: Is it Safe to Store Climbing Gear in Your Vehicle?
  • Can a Belay Device Jam Open?
  • Marking the Middle of a Rope
  • Fitting Rock Shoes to Problematic Feet
  • Defining the Cheater Stick and Stick Clip
  • When Your Partner Steals Your Gear...
  • Can You Climb on a Wet Rope?
  • Can You Decrease Fall Factor?
  • Should You Be Allowed to Practice Lead Falls in the Gym?
  • Rope Certifications: Twins, Doubles, or Both?
  • Are Cam Placements Compromised in Wet Rock?
  • What's the Correct Way to Girth Hitch to Your Harness?
  • Choosing Ice Screw Length
  • The Holding Power of Nuts
  • Should You Clip the Belay As Your First Lead Pro?
  • Should I Worry About Spinning Bolt Hangers?
  • Belay-Loop Myth
  • Rock Cleaning Made Easy
  • More, on the EDK
  • Why Not Clip Directly to Cam-Stem Loops?
  • Can You Recommend A Self-Release Knot?
  • What's The Protocol For Naming a Route After Yourself?
  • Is Dropped Gear Still Safe?
  • Can Ropes and Slings Be Contaminated By Essential Oils?
  • Is It Okay to Wear Socks with Rock Climbing Shoes?
  • How Should You Test Gear Placements?
  • Can You Use Adhesive Tape on Ropes, Cords, Webbing?
  • A Better EDK?
  • What's the Difference Between a Double and a Single Rope?
  • Does It Count As a Free Ascent If You Grab the Anchor?
  • Can You Use Cams As Passive Pro?
  • I Found a Rope - Is it Safe to Use?
  • Am I Using a Daisy Chain Wrong?
  • Should I Buy a Plastic or Foam Helmet?
  • Why Doesn't Anyone Climb in Knickers Anymore?
  • Is Weight or Range More Important in Cams?
  • The Mysterious Phenomenon of Rope Shrinkage
  • Worst-Case Scenario - A Factor 2 Fall
  • The Trouble With Glue-In Bolts
  • The Nuts and Bolts of Nuts and Bolts
  • Why Are Climbing Shoes So Expensive?
  • Flaws in the Yosemite Decimal System
  • How Durable is Trad Gear?
  • Using Super Glue on Your Fingers
  • The Worst Gear Ever Invented
  • Rap Ring Strength
  • Spinners and Losers
  • Why Do People Use Oval Biners?
  • Is it Ethical to Clean a New Route?
  • Aid Climbing = Moped Riding
  • Cam Care and Maintenance Guide
  • Will Sweat Harm My Harness?
  • Should You Use Rope or Webbing to Connect to an Anchor?
  • Choosing Between C4s and Friends
  • Can You Lead On a Static Rope?
  • Can I Use Climbing Bolts For Anchors in a Gym?
  • Are My Modified Crampons Safe?
  • Are Falls Held or Breaking Strength More Important In a Rope?
  • Does Poop Harm a Climbing Rope?
  • Are Homemade Draws Reliable?
  • Shopping for Economy Carabiners
  • When You Fly, Can You Carry On Climbing Gear?
  • Can I Trust Fixed Draws?
  • Which Helmet WIll Fit My Big Head?
  • Are Adjustable Leg Loops Useful?
  • Should I clip Ice Screws with Screamers?
  • How do I Make a Bomber Anchor?
  • Can I Modify my Crampon Without Compromising the Integrity?
  • How to Place Ice Tools and Crampons - Will Gadd's Tips
  • How to Place Ice Screws - Will Gadd's Tips
  • Hot Versus Cold Forging
  • Caring For Your Fingertips
  • Are Sewn Slings Stronger Than Knotted Ones?
  • When to Replace Climbing Webbing
  • Using Grip Dip To Color Code Gear
  • The Benefits of Cotton
  • How to Pull a Rappel Rope
  • How to Properly Orient a Carabiner Gate
  • Are My Fuzzy Quickdraws Safe?
  • How to Stretch Climbing Shoes
  • Are 1/2-inch bolts really better than 3/8-inch?
  • Should I Resole My Rock Shoes?
  • How to Hand Drill
  • Lonely Climber Looking for Woman
  • Is My Invented Knot Safe?
  • Difference Between Double and Twin Ropes
  • Dealing With an Argumentative Partner
  • Will Antifreeze Ruin Rope?
  • Why Is a Rack Called a Rack?
  • Rock Shoes For a Big Guy
  • Do They Kill Geese To Get Down?
  • How to Wash a Rope
  • Do Cam Teeth Do Anything?
  • Can I Fix Delaminated Rock Shoes?
  • Can I Mix a Static With a Dynamic Rope for Rappelling?
  • Should You Lower Or Rap Through Anchors?
  • How Should The Middle Man Tie In?
  • How Do I Get a Good Climbing Man?
  • Do Falls Weaken Bolts?
  • Should I Rope Solo?
  • Should I Angle Ice Screws Down?
  • How Should Old Climbers Train?
  • Can I Make a Belay Loop?
  • Reusing Ice Screw Holes
  • Overcoming the Fear of Falling
  • Choosing a Stove Fuel
  • Will My Hiking Boots Work With Crampons?
  • Do Heavy People Shock Load the Rope?
  • Can Offset Cams Subsitute for Regular Cams?
  • Can I Resling My Cams Myself?
  • Are Older Alien Cams Safe?
  • Will sports drinks freeze more slowly than water?
  • The Truth About Climbing Supplements
  • Can I Make My Leashed Tools, Leashless?
  • Rope Stretch Facts
  • How To Cut a Rope Without a Knife
  • Secrets of the Toprope
  • How to Sharpen Crampons
  • Should I Become a Climbing Guide?
  • Preventing Climbing Rope Wear
  • How to Remove an Old Bolt
  • How to Customize Ice Tool Picks
  • Double Rope Facts
  • Do It Yourself Fruit Boots
  • Climbing Rope Sheath Slippage
  • Rockfall Safety
  • Do Screamers Work?
  • Climbing Skin Care
  • Selecting a Gym Rope
  • Quick Links for Climbing
  • Are Russian Cams Good?
  • When To Retire Climbing Gear and Ropes
  • Should I Get a Link Cam?
  • How to Get a Climbing Mate
  • Using Steel Carabiners for Fixed Quickdraws
  • Petzl Tibloc and Climbing Rope Sheath Damage
  • Overcoming Anger
  • Fixing a Spinning Bolt


  • Cam Care and Maintenance Guide

    27-May-2015
    By

    This guide is brought to you courtesy of Metolius


    The first and most important step in cam maintenance is inspection. Inspect your cams frequently. If you have any reason to doubt the integrity of a camming unit, (or any of your gear) heed your instincts and retire it. If it is a Metolius product, you can send it to us for inspection. You should destroy retired gear to prevent any chance of future use.

    Look at the teeth on your cams. If they are worn unevenly or have been flattened in a hard fall, it probably means that the cam has lost its shape and is unsafe to use.

    Check for slop between the cams and the axle. There should be some free-play, but too much play indicates that the axle holes in the cams have become oval. Compare the free-play to a new cam of the same size to get an idea of how much is acceptable.

    Anatomy of a cam.Inspect the cable body carefully. It is okay to tweak the cable to straighten it after a fall, but if any of the wire strands that make up the cable have been broken or severely kinked, the unit needs to be retired.

    Look at the springs and cam stops, which can break if the unit is improperly placed and then loaded. Also take a look at the axle. It's possible to bend the axle of a small unit in a hard fall, in which case it needs to be retired.

    The most likely places to find damage to your units are the trigger wires or the sling. Straighten the trigger wires if they become bent. Try to get the wires completely straight so all the cams lobes retract at the same rate. The cam lobes should line up evenly when fully retracted or fully open. Keep an eye on the swaged joint on the trigger wire. It is the most likely place for the wire to fray. On Master Cams and Supercams, look for cuts or abrasions on the trigger cords. If you can see the Kevlar core, it’s time to replace the cords.

    Replace the slings if you see any signs of damage (cuts, abrasion, broken stitching or discoloration), after a severe fall or after five years. Even though your cam slings may show no significant signs of wear, the nylon will deteriorate with the passage of time. Metolius will replace slings or trigger wires on our cams for a nominal fee. We don't offer repair kits for the triggers because we like to get damaged or worn cams back in-house for a thorough inspection.

    Care of your cams is a simple process. Keep them clean and dry. If they get wet, don't just throw them in the closet until the next trip. Dry them off and re-lube them as soon as possible. If they get corroded, you can use steel wool or a Scotch Brite pad to remove the corrosion. Keep your cams away from any corrosive substances or solvents. Acids are exceptionally bad for cam slings and other nylon climbing equipment. Even fumes from a car battery can reduce the strength of your slings by as much as 90%. If your cams come into contact with any corrosive substances or solvents, have the slings replaced immediately. If you have any doubt, contact us to see if the corrosive substance could have compromised the metal parts of the unit.

    Store your cams in a cool, dry place away from U.V. light sources.

    Metolius Master Cams.

    To clean your cams, heat water in a pan until it is near the boiling point. Swish the heads in the hot water while working the trigger bar, being very careful not to burn yourself. Apply liquid dish washing detergent directly to the cam head, and then use a stiff-bristled brush to clean thoroughly all around the head, especially in the springs and inside the cam lobes. The Metolius M-16 brush is perfect for this task; but a toothbrush also works well. Depending upon how dirty your cams are and what lubricants you have used in the past, they may require several cleanings to work all the dirt and old lube out from the axle. Using compressed air to blow the cams out while still wet can help. Dry the cams thoroughly before lubricating. No amount of lube will restore good action to a dirty cam, so make sure your cams are cleaned thoroughly.

    For lubricating your cams, we recommend Metolius Cam Lube because it is self-cleaning and waterproof after it has dried completely. When dirt attaches itself to the fully dried film, small particles of the lube will break away, carrying dirt with it. MCL keeps cams working smoothly and helps them last longer. Graphite lubricants like Lock-Ease and oil-based lubes like WD40 or Tri-Flow also work, however oil-based lubricants attract and hold dirt particles so they aren’t recommended for dry, dusty environments.

    Shake Metolius Cam Lube vigorously, at room temperature, to mix all solids. (Use body heat to warm MCL if used in colder outdoor climates.) Apply MCL (or whatever lube you’re using) to the cam pivots and springs and work it in until the smooth action is fully restored. Wipe off excess lube with a rag then let MCL fully dry (several minutes to an hour). For optimum penetration, apply MCL to cams at or above 40°F (5°C). MCL can be applied to wet parts, but it will take longer to dry before becoming a waterproof, dirt-repelling shield.

     

    Special Instructions for Maintaining Cams in Saltwater Environments

    Sea-cliff climbing presents an added challenge to keeping your cams working smoothly. The high-strength aluminum alloy used in cam lobes is very susceptible to salt water corrosion. In this harsh environment, the steel parts will also corrode, even if they are stainless steel. Before sea-cliff climbing, make sure your cams are well lubricated. After climbing, clean your cams thoroughly in fresh water, dry them with a towel, and re-lubricate.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that all carabiners, as well as some harness buckles and nuts are made of the same high-strength aluminum alloy as cam lobes, and are very susceptible to saltwater corrosion. Be sure to give them a thorough rinse in fresh water after each outing to the sea cliffs, especially in tropical environments. Hot, humid climates accelerate the corrosion process.

    If you do not completely understand any of the above or if you have questions, contact Metolius at (541) 382-7585 or info@metoliusclimbing.com.

     

    GOT A QUESTION? E-mail Gear Guy! rockandicegearguy@gmail.com

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