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Big tricams to protect offwidths?
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By Henry Braun
Apr 30, 2012

A friend and I were thinking about getting some bigger tricams as an alternative to size 4+ camalots. Right now we don't have any wide gear and we're cheap.

Has anybody exclusively used tricams for wide gear? Will it work well or will they limit what we can do relative to just getting normal cams? Would hexes work as well or better as a cheap/big option? I love the smaller tricams and feel pretty comfortable placing them so that's not an issue.


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By Kai Larson
From Sandy, Utah
Apr 30, 2012
Tour Ronde North Face

I love smaller tricams.

However, I don't particularly like the really big sizes.

I carried the big yellow tri-cam for a while for wide cracks, but I don't carry it any more.

They aren't as stable in a wide crack as a good cam. I found that they tend to shift quite a bit unless the placement is really good, and the sling on them is really long.

Also, with a big cam, I tend to place it and then push it along as I climb, extending the height of the placement. This isn't that easy to do with a tricam.

I'd just get a couple of big camalots if I were you.


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By Tyrel Fuller
From Denver, CO
Apr 30, 2012
Big Bend

The larger tricams can be very unstable. A bad experience with a number 7 tricam may have indirectly led to Luebben's invention of the big bro?


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By Allen Corneau
From Houston, TX
Apr 30, 2012

I carry/use the big Tricams (5, 6, & 7) as needed.

Sure, they're not highly stable but I've never had a problem getting them to sit well. I do usually sling them to help make sure they stay put.

If you're only going to need bigger gear once in a blue moon then go for it.

FYI: REI has the #6 and 7 on sale right now for $25 and $30 (respectively).

Tricams for sale


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By Lurking Queer
Apr 30, 2012
The Crew

Yeah man. Get on Big Guy with a buncha tricams. Heh.


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By Devin Fin
From DURANGO
Apr 30, 2012
dream canyon fun!

Henry Big Bros are the trick if yer cheep. they cover a wider range and are stable wen your trying to pass them . now Big Guy would be tuff with just Big Bros.. but with some Big Balls you could do it.


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By Kevin Hadfield
From Glenwood Springs, CO
Apr 30, 2012
Photo by Grant Bryans.

Yer Gunna Die... Ask Niels from SLC how that works. He and Alf walked up to Big Baby with a #4 Camalot a bigass Tricam and a #6... Skipped the pin and placed a tricam a bit past that. Continued past the tricam into more #5 C4 terrain about 10 feet and the thing fell outta the crack. The funniest thing was the sound of it hitting the inside of the crack and wall on the way down... dink, dink, dink. He looked down, then up and said, " Well, a #6 won't fit here!" He continued to fire the rig because he eats nails for breakfast but I woulda pooped big in my pants... Yer Gunna Die.


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By cms829
Apr 30, 2012
high e

I broke my ankle after falling on a small tricam placed in an offwidth. Given, it was a hail marry piece I put in just because I knew I was peeling off, And it probably wasnt set very well. But it did pop. I dont place tricams in offwidths anymore. Just because.


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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Apr 30, 2012
El Chorro

cms829 wrote:
I broke my ankle after falling on a small tricam placed in an offwidth. Given, it was a hail marry piece I put in just because I knew I was peeling off, And it probably wasnt set very well. But it did pop. I dont place tricams in offwidths anymore. Just because.


Why would you place a small tricam in an offwidth?


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By Rob Dillon
Apr 30, 2012

Go mow some lawns or something and buy yourself real gear.

Next question.


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By Henry Braun
Apr 30, 2012

Allen Corneau wrote:
I carry/use the big Tricams (5, 6, & 7) as needed. Sure, they're not highly stable but I've never had a problem getting them to sit well. I do usually sling them to help make sure they stay put. If you're only going to need bigger gear once in a blue moon then go for it. FYI: REI has the #6 and 7 on sale right now for $25 and $30 (respectively). Tricams for sale


Yeah, the REI sale is part of what prompted this thread. Seems like you're the only one saying to go for it though.

For everybody else telling me I'm gonna die, maybe offwidth wasn't the right term. I was thinking of routes like the Mace in Sedona, where you need at least a #4 but it's still not pure offwidth technique. I would be ok with doing the Mace with big tricams and I'm wondering how much more you could do with them before they are too limiting. Obviously Big Guy is out of the question, but where exactly is the cutoff point where they stop being useful? And is it worth the $30-50 for gear that I will eventually outgrow?


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By John D
Apr 30, 2012

I have the number 7 and I carry it if there is a big crack on a route cause I don't really have anything bigger than a 3.5 camalot. when it's placed well, you can hang a truck off of it, but I do find strong placements are hard to come by. it's so big that it's hard to find a spot in the crack for it to sit just right in. It's really great when you find a passive placement for it.

With the sale at REI, I'd say buy it. You probably will want some bigger cams at some point, but the tricams are lighter and are a nice tool to have in the box.


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By Rob Dillon
Apr 30, 2012

My tricams have resided in a box for the last 12 years . Some people swear by them, others swear at them.

I think that in the wide, where you generally don't get to carry a lot of pieces of a given size, camming units are way more useful and mentally soothing: if you're going to have to punch it above one piece, you want to feel like that one piece is not about to rattle back down the crack because the wind blew the rope around a bit.

I would rather have one #5 C4 than three try-cams, for the same money.

Tri-cams don't slide along with you.

Maybe there's a reason they have to put them on sale.


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By cms829
Apr 30, 2012
high e

Ryan Williams wrote:
Why would you place a small tricam in an offwidth?

In a constriction, however it was flared as well. like i said it was a shit piece i threw in before i blew...next piece caught me

Edit: after typing I realized that my situation had nothing to do with the original question of larger gear... LOL. My mind is shot this morning...father is in surgery.


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By Jamie Henrichsen
From Lake Morena, CA
Apr 30, 2012
Mexican Border Fence

If you like tricams and know how to use them, go for it. Bigger tricams are easy to kick out as you go past them though and don't push as well as cams. I have all the tricams and use them when I can but the bigger ones are usually reserved for backup pieces on longer routes or anchor builders. Big bros are great for offwidth. Huge range, cheaper than cams, light, and I don't worry about kicking one out.

If you really want to get cheap haul in some lumber and a hand saw and do like they did on Open Book @ Taquitz.


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By Henry Braun
Apr 30, 2012

Rob Dillon wrote:
My tricams have resided in a box for the last 12 years.


How much you want for them? I'm half serious.

Thanks for the input, everybody. Right now I'm leaning toward getting a 6 and 7 from REI - I figure that they will still be worth the money even after I eventually get big cams.


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By bearbreeder
Apr 30, 2012

a cam is more useful for the money, you can push em up as you go ... and this is coming from someone who uses the smaller sizes extensively


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By Stich
From Colorado Springs, Colorado
Apr 30, 2012
Coffee after freezing our asses off near James Peak.

I think you need to ask yourself what kind of climber you are. Could you kill two sport climbers in a knife fight? If so, you might be able to utilize such pro. I only know of one guy like that.

And no, I'm not making this up. You only think that I am.


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By Jeremy Kasmann
From Denver, CO
Apr 30, 2012

Henry Braun wrote:
Right now I'm leaning toward getting a 6 and 7 from REI - I figure that they will still be worth the money even after I eventually get big cams.


Once you get big cams they will be paper weights. Put the $55 towards a #4.


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By Matt Kuehl
From the desert
Apr 30, 2012
Plumbers Crack

They are great supplemental gear that looks badass/goofy as hell but aren't a replacement for large cams. They can be bomber but can be easily knocked out, I wouldn't climb too far above them. Bros are great, often more useful than the big tricams but also don't place well in flaring constrictions and can (at times) be tedious to place. Bros also double as rope guides and are great for keeping the rope out of the crack, i.e. after a roof pull. A lot of pro/cons of these pieces depends on the terrain you're climbing. But I think we'd all agree that large cams are the most consistently bomber and easily placed pieces for wide cracks.


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By Lyont72
From Foco, CO
Apr 30, 2012
Me

Henry

What I see more often then not is some one buys cheap gear thinking there saving mony only to relies later they still need that other gear! In the end you spend more mony cuz you end up buying the gear you were avoiding in the first place . . .

Also on the Mace, assuming your going after the Original Route, you do not want to be in a hard position trying to get a tricam in when you can just plunk in a nice C4 Camalot . . . Have fun crossing the void and don't skip the jump back, recommend tying in befor the jump my partner almost bounced off . . . .

Happy sending


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By Rob Dillon
Apr 30, 2012

"What I see more often then not is someone buys cheap gear thinking [they're] saving [money] only to [realize] later they still need that other gear! In the end you spend more mony cuz you end up buying the gear you were avoiding in the first place . . ."

Yep. +1 for that.

None of mine are the ones you think you want. Come to the garage sale in June.


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By Tim C
From Lakewood, CO
Apr 30, 2012
Grahh! There be a human in my Throne!

I have a #7 Tri Cam and would have to agree with most people so far. They can be good but its hard to set the bigger ones well and they can get moved.
Also, Why are the small pink tricams still $25 and the huge #7 are only $30?! I want cheaper pinkies!


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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Apr 30, 2012
El Chorro

cms829 wrote:
In a constriction, however it was flared as well. like i said it was a shit piece i threw in before i blew...next piece caught me Edit: after typing I realized that my situation had nothing to do with the original question of larger gear... LOL. My mind is shot this morning...father is in surgery.


I just though it sounded funny. When I read offwidth I think of a wide crack... nowhere for small gear of any kind. Obviously there are others that use the term differently.

Hope the surgery goes well and recovery is fast.


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By Rick Blair
From Denver
Apr 30, 2012
This is a novel auto blocking belay device.  I think it works quite well, depending on rope thickness and sheath quality, it belays very smooth.  Great to lower with.  You gotta love over engineering.  $3 at a gear swap!

As you're only wide piece I would say no. As a supplemental piece for anchors and easy stances yes. For me large tricams are not anything I would push my grade on.


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By nbrown
From western NC
May 6, 2012
Top of Shortoff with the Bonsai

Large cams are way better than large tricams for reasons already mentioned. Also, a large cam protects better than even multiple tricams would, because it can usually be (safely) walked along as you climb, unlike a tricam. For most pitches this greatly reduces the need for nearly as many pieces as one would ordinarily require, thus reducing the amount of gear you have to buy and carry.

The only time I've found large tricams to be useful is when protecting large narrow pockets. Other than that, they're not too useful.


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