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By LawHous
From Colorado Springs, CO
Mar 12, 2013
Post climb celebration drinks with a sweet line in the background

I'm wanting to start adding active pro into my rack of mainly passive pro. I was wondering, being on a budget, what size of camming devices are most commonly placed at most crags in CO (where I do most my climbing). I can't afford to go out and buy a whole set, so which three should I buy first, or which three will I end up using most? Thanks


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By wivanoff
Mar 12, 2013
High Exposure

Have you climbed with other people and used their racks? What sizes did you mostly use?


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By John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Mar 12, 2013

whatever size crack you're bad at would be my first choice, so you can protect those quicker. for most, this will land somewhere around purple and green camalots (these two plus grey or red, depending on your hand size).

if i had to pick 3- it'd be gray, purple, and green camalot.


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By FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
Mar 12, 2013

#1,2 and 3 Mastercams would be my suggestion. YMMV, as they say on the Internet.


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By Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Mar 12, 2013
Bocan

Tough question...

I definitely say the .75 green camalot as one of the most versitile overall cams.

Also probably a #1 red camalot.

For a smaller finger size I'd probably pick an orange or red Metolius TCU.


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By Unassigned User
Mar 12, 2013

You will never get a general agreement to this question. It's quite variable and depends on that you are going to climb most. I personally love OW and hand cracks. Most of my gear is in that range. If I were to buy three pieces it would be the BD #.75 #2 and #3. That's what I grab the most.
I recommend climbing and buying gear for the climb. That means you have a route you want to do but you need a #2 cam to protect the crux. The rest you can pro with nuts. So you buy a #2. Send. Find next climb. Repeat.


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By Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Mar 12, 2013
Bocan

J Hazard wrote:
You will never get a general agreement to this question. It's quite variable and depends on that you are going to climb most. I personally love OW and hand cracks. Most of my gear is in that range. If I were to buy three pieces it would be the BD #.75 #2 and #3. That's what I grab the most. I recommend climbing and buying gear for the climb. That means you have a route you want to do but you need a #2 cam to protect the crux. The rest you can pro with nuts. So you buy a #2. Send. Find next climb. Repeat.


Absolutely!!

Buy the .75-3 BD's for sure. Every other size we can argue till the cows come home.


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By JohnnyG
Mar 12, 2013

Black diamond 0.75, and 1. Then it's a toss up between the 0.5 and the 2.

I often climb with just those 4 cams (purple, green, red, yellow).

One more piece of advice: stick to one brand for your first set.

And your question reminds me of my first cam: a pink, rigid stem Friend circa 1990. I would save it on every pitch for when things got desperate. Can't tell you how many times I got to to within a few feet of the anchor before I dared to use that magic bullet.


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By LawHous
From Colorado Springs, CO
Mar 12, 2013
Post climb celebration drinks with a sweet line in the background

Thanks for the comments so far guys. It seems the common consensus is .75 to the #3 range. Also I noticed everyone is agreeing with using BD cams as opposed to other brands. What about Wild Country Friends? They offer a three piece combo pack with #s 1,2,and 3 friends. They don't have as much range as BD cams but the 1 is closest to a BD .5 cam in range.


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By wivanoff
Mar 12, 2013
High Exposure

LawHous wrote:
Thanks for the comments so far guys. It seems the common consensus is .75 to the #3 range. Also I noticed everyone is agreeing with using BD cams as opposed to other brands. What about Wild Country Friends? They offer a three piece combo pack with #s 1,2,and 3 friends. They don't have as much range as BD cams but the 1 is closest to a BD .5 cam in range.


I'd agree with the BD .75 to 3 range.

My first cam was a #3 Rigid Stem Friend sometime in the late 70s or early 80s. I added 1.5, 2 & 2.5 Friends. Then some Metolius TCUs. Used that rack for many years.

I finally bought BD .5 to 3 just two years ago. Still use those Rigid Stem Friends for a second set when needed.


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By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Mar 12, 2013
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.

When you say Wild Country do you mean Heliums or Technical? I can't speak on the Tech Friends, but I have a couple of the WC Heliums, and I love them. Very well made, definitely one of the best single axle cams out there- up there with Totems and Mastercams imo (although Totems are in a league of their own), very light, and slightly longer stem than the Black Diamond C4s.

JHazard has the best advice so far. Find a route that you really want to do and find out what size cams it takes. Get those because you know you're going to use them (obviously a uniform crack that eats up all #2 sizes is probably not the best choice with regard to diversifying your rack). When I started buying cams, I went all willy nilly and although I've used all of them at this point, there are a few I rarely use and definitely could have done without.

The stated range of .75 to 3 is what you will use the most. Anything that only protects with tight fingers or stuff bigger than a 3 or 4 is probably not ideal for starting out gear protected routes anyway.

That is unless of course you're a bit of a risk taker and masochist in which case you'll be in good company.


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By Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Mar 12, 2013
Bocan

LawHous wrote:
Thanks for the comments so far guys. It seems the common consensus is .75 to the #3 range. Also I noticed everyone is agreeing with using BD cams as opposed to other brands. What about Wild Country Friends? They offer a three piece combo pack with #s 1,2,and 3 friends. They don't have as much range as BD cams but the 1 is closest to a BD .5 cam in range.


So that's kind of another conversation that has a ton of threads on it. Without drifting too much I do use the WC tech friends in the upper ranges (red and yellow) to coffset my BD's since their range is a little smaller but comparable with a smaller head size.

Same thing on the lower aspects, I use BD's AND metolius TCU's.

For your first rack though? You can't go wrong with BD in the big sizes and to help save money I'd recommend metolius power cams in the finger to tip sizes.


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By michael voth
Mar 12, 2013
2nd pitch of Womb.

.75, 1, and 2 bd sizes are probably going to be good


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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Mar 12, 2013

Presumably, you will be combining racks with your partner(s) at this early stage.

So the proper questions should be: My partner already has XYZ on his rack, I can add 3 cams, what should we add?.

The most-placed piece on my rack, without question, is the 0.5 camalot. Second is the .75 or 1, third is 3/4" perfect fingers (yellow tcu/alien/C3). Since you can often pro finger cracks with stoppers, that would have me buying the .5,.75.,1...but what if your partner already has doubles in that size and nothing bigger than a #2?..then you'd get a #3, etc.

The budget thing is a false economy. You will later buy more, and probably end up replace the old cheap ones (if you bought based on low price vs. performance...I've seen the cycle many times where someone bought like Czech or other eastern bloc cheap ass cams and then ended up replacing them a year or two later)


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By bearbreeder
Mar 12, 2013

i actually use my el cheapo rock empire micros MORE than my WC zeros lately ... and that means whippahs ;)

what you should do is go out with people who climb in your area ... and climb on their gear ... do that with as many people as you can to try all sorts of gear ...

THEN youll know what you need to buy

if you have to ask what cams you need to buy on the intrawebs ... you need to go out and get more mileage in ;)


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By Allen Corneau
From Houston, TX
Mar 12, 2013

I started buying my first set of Metolius cams sometime in 1998, starting with odd sizes of TCU's #1 and #3, and Power Cams #5, 7 and 9. Six to eight months later I picked up the rest of the sets (TCU's #2 and #4, PC #6, 8, and 10).

Just last month I bought some new cams, Wild Country Helium Friends #1, 2 and 3. Twelve-plus years between buying cams... not bad.


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By Dylan Weldin
From Austin, Texas
Mar 12, 2013
Summit of my first tower, the Rectory via Fine Jade

-Consider purchasing sizes that are not readily protected by the passive gear that you already own (i.e. larger stuff) ((i.e. .75, 1, 2))

-Great advice from guy about complimenting your regular partner's rack. Consider nudging the people you get out with most often to also buy a few pieces

-BD has been the "gold standard" in camming units for-ev-ver

-Look for 20% off/ dividends/ site-wide coupons/ etc. to make it easier to drop dollas

-Always ask questions and don't hurt yourself

-Look at any criticism you'll ever receive as constructive
(You are officially a trad gumbie! Enjoy!)

for-ev-ver
for-ev-ver


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By rob bauer
From Golden, CO
Mar 13, 2013

.75,& 1. Then it's either .5 or 2 as others have said


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By rogerbenton
Mar 13, 2013
Whoever this guy is, he's just plain irresponsible.

another vote for purple, green and red c4's.


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By David Appelhans
From Lafayette
Mar 13, 2013
Imaginate

Third vote in a row, .5, .75, 1 camalots (purple, green, red).


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By MTKirk
From Billings, MT
Mar 13, 2013
Me on Supercrack

I'll buck the trend a bit and say get 1,2,&3 C4's. Only because at those larger sizes that's all that works well. You can cover the range of .5 & .75 C4's with a pink, red, & brown tricam (get all three for about the same as one C4 & they will round out your rack later). I also think you should keep watch for a set of 5 (.5,.75,1,2,3) C4's on sale, you'll get five cams for the price of four & they will be your most used cams.

Definitely buy C4's for your first set, you can't go wrong with them. If you decide you want to get rid of them, they can be sold instantly here or on e-bay for almost what you paid for them.


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By Jeff J
From Bozeman
Mar 13, 2013

My most placed goes to the 1,2,3 metolius TCUs; Blue, yellow, and orange. But I like finger cracks.


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By Mic Fairchild
From Boulder
Mar 18, 2013
personal photo

I'll admit it was a hundred years ago (there were no 1/2 sizes) when I got Friends 1, 2, and 3. I'd probably swap the 3 for a 2.5 if I was getting them today and could only afford three.


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By T Howes
From Bozeman, MT
Mar 22, 2013

rob bauer wrote:
.75,& 1. Then it's either .5 or 2 as others have said



this is correct.


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By John Ryan
From Poncha Springs, CO
Mar 22, 2013
No Name Crack, 5.10, Supercrack Buttress, Indian Creek, Utah

#2 Metolius TCU!!!!! Most placed piece ever!! Second place goes to BD Camalot #2. Third place goes to #1 Camalot. This hierarchy seems to be valid for CO as well as for most places I have climbed. Edited to add - the Yellow TCU!


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