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Gear Guy

Why Not Clip Directly to Cam-Stem Loops?

I know it is recommended that you clip the sling on cams, rather than clip the stem loop directly (at least with Black Diamond cams). Why is this? Is it true for all brands or just Camalots?

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I know it is recommended that you clip the sling on cams, rather than clip the stem loop directly (at least with Black Diamond cams). Why is this? Is it true for all brands or just Camalots?

—Julie Morter

Some cams do not even have stem loops!If cam slings weren’t necessary, cam companies wouldn’t bother sewing them onto cams.

You shouldn’t clip the stem loop directly on any cam because the cam sling is the flexible connection that joins the cam to the rope. The sling minimizes
lifting and twisting on the cam due to rope action. This effect helps prevent the cam from “walking” into a suboptimal position, such as a flare, or
deeper into the placement, where it might get stuck.

The sling will also decrease rope drag.

Aid climbers and other cheaters may want to clip the stem directly with their aiders, to gain more height/reach for hanging on the next piece of equipment,
but they should still use the cam’s sling to connect to the rope—no reason not to. Gear Guy has spoken!

This article was published in Rock and Ice issue 232 (February 2016).