• 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
  • How Often Should You Place Trad Gear?
  • 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
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  • Rap Ring Strength
  • Spinners and Losers
  • Why Do People Use Oval Biners?
  • Is it Ethical to Clean a New Route?
  • Aid Climbing = Moped Riding
  • 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
  • How to Toprope
  • How To Rig Trad Anchors/Belays
  • 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?
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  • Difference Between Double and Twin Ropes
  • Dealing With an Argumentative Partner
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  • 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
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  • Do Heavy People Shock Load the Rope?
  • Can Offset Cams Subsitute for Regular Cams?
  • Can I Resling My Cams Myself?
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  • The Truth About Climbing Supplements
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  • Rope Stretch Facts
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  • 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
  • Will Dog Urine Harm My Rope?
  • Using Steel Carabiners for Fixed Quickdraws
  • Petzl Tibloc and Climbing Rope Sheath Damage
  • How to Train for Rock climbing
  • How to Rappel
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    Is Weight or Range More Important in Cams?

    27-Jun-2016
    By

    I'm in the mood for a set of cams, but can’t decide whether I should get units with the greatest range, which are usually the heaviest, or buy cams with less range, but are lighter weight.

    —Kenneth via rockandice.com

    Weight vs camming range, which is more important?My wife, too, has moods, and when she’s in one it would be easier for me to grasp oil in my right hand than to deliver a satisfactory answer to her queries. Nevertheless, I’ll take a stab at your question.

    At a traditional crag such as Indian Creek, where you jam 80 feet up a 400-foot wall, clip chains and lower, whether a cam has a large or small range is of nominal importance. What is important is having a butt-load of cams.

    You are correct by inferring that expanded-range cams weigh more than regular cams, so it would seem that a "butt load" could add up. But, a Number 3 Black Diamond Camalot weighs only an ounce more than its closest neighbor, the Number 3.5 Helium Friend from Wild Country, which has slightly less range. An ounce per piece isn’t enough to sweat your swami over, even when you are carrying a big-wall rack, so move on, please.

    The number that tips the balance is range. Cams with greater range are more forgiving of sizing/placement error, adapt better to irregular cracks and pockets/pods, and fill a range with fewer cams, so, while you might still need 10 cams, you might only have to carry four sizes instead of five or six. This is bueno because you then have fewer decisions to make, and are less likely to grab the wrong size.

    The big daddy of range is the Omega Pacific Link Cam. Hands down. These have gotten a bum rap because they are heavy, and I would like to dispel the myth. Link Cams in the two smaller sizes, the .5 and .75, weigh about the same as the closest units with the nearest maximum size from Black Diamond and Wild Country. The Number 1 and Number 2 Link Cams are roughly two ounces heavier, and that is noticeable to anyone who obeys the laws of gravity, so good point there. Yet for alpine climbing and routes where you mix nuts with cams, and you only carry a few cams, my go-to units are Link Cams. Two or three of these practically guarantee that you will have something that fits.

    When it is all added up, weight versus range is blah! Both are considerations, but bigger factors are ergonomics, whether the units instill confidence, and price.

    Next!

     

    This article was published in Rock and Ice issue 217 (April 2014).

     

    Find More Climbing Gear Advice Here

     

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

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