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What's the smallest cam size you frequently use?


Original Post
SeƱor Arroz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 10

Thinning the herd as I go through my rack and I'm looking at some of smaller sizes I own but almost never use. I own #.1 and #.2 BD X4s and a Metolius #0 (same as the BD .1, basically). The few times I've ever placed these in retrospect were just "mental" protection. Other than as aid pieces do many of you frequently place those sizes in free climbing situations? What about the #.3 BD size?

I'm no longer interested in hauling around gear that's primarily theoretical in its usefulness.

Porter McMichael · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 20

Personally a metolius 1 (blue) is the smallest I own and have no interest in anything smaller (given where I climb). I favor nuts if there is an option as I get toward the smaller sizes. Never fallen on the 1, but I'm sure it would hold in a perfect placement in good rock and not much else. Small cams are very light and small so there's not a lot of harm in having them right?

Ryan Swanson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2018 · Points: 35

For small placements, I'm usually putting a nut in there.  I also don't climb many splitters.  My orange metolius tcu finds a way to be placed regularly, but I almost always rack down to my #1 metolius.  If I have good gear beta, I leave the pieces I won't use on the ground.  Ain't nobody got time for that.

For example, there is a parallel seam on Moscow on the second pitch that takes a Metolius 00 perfectly. I would never look at the little gray bastard and look forward to placing it, but it is as snug of a cam placement that one could ask for.

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 442

I regularly use everything down to the blue metolius size. I also have the green c3 and the two smallest ballnuts that are usually carried but rarely used. If placed well in solid rock, these small pieces can be more than just "mental pro", but they have to be damn near perfect placements since there isn't much margin for error. I would ever call something that small "bomber", but they can be good enough for at least some small falls. 

C Archibolt · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 871

I use blue Metolious or BD .3 all the time. Smaller than that is more rare, but still common enough that I would not get rid of those pieces. In fact, I'd buy your .1 if the price is right. 

Andrew R · · Arizony · Joined Jun 2006 · Points: 3,790

If you decide to lose the purple metolius PM me ;)

Edited to be productive: I place tiny cams (00-1 Metolius/C3) regularly in southern Arizona, even on easy routes. I never leave the ground without them unless I have detailed gear beta that leaves them out. Often I’m glad to have doubles.

greggrylls · · Salt Lake City · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 62

As I get out to the ends of my rack I find I use the extreme sizes less and less.  I regularly place my blue metolius and .3 BD cam.  I also find myself placing my .2 but less frequently.  .1 Is a piece I rarely rarely place but when I need it i'm happy to have it.  Small cams are not heavy so I don't mind carrying them.

OP I'd ditch the extra .1 size.  I've got singles in those sizes and never feel the need for doubles unless specifically called for on a thin route.

Ryan Dirks · · Washington, DC · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 5

When I was buying my first BD 0.3 I remember thinking "I hope I never fall on this one."  Ironically I've fallen on that size more than anything else, due to the prevalence of finger cracks in my former local crag.  The caveat is that none of those falls were that big, and the only piece I've ever pulled was a small cam (red C3).  So of course, the protection is only as good as the placement and the rock.

I knew someone who preferred small to medium cams, as you can "nest" them in constrictions more easily than the larger sizes.  Personally I'm still nervous thinking about falling on anything smaller than my trusted 0.3, although MP has its share of stories of people taking big whips on tiny gear.

John Wilder · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,530

0.2 and 0.3 BDs are pretty common for me. The 0.1 is pretty rare for me in red rock- a cam that small in sandstone is often just mental if I only have one and/or the rock isn't super varnished.

John Clark · · San Francisco, CA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 216

I've only ever whipped on 0.2 and 0.3 X4s, so definitely not decoration pieces.

Steve Marshall · · Concord NH · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 40

blue and yellow metolius... often feel super solid climbing above either of those (mostly granite here). have fallen on the blue one at least a few times and it's always held, i don't worry about it. actually i get excited when I find a placement for it! I believe these are roughly equivalent to BD .2 and .3. The yellow metolius / BD .3 is probably my favorite size cam for whatever reason. They seem solid.

I carry the purple metolius and place it more often than I expected, never fallen on it, and I agree that nuts are better in that size. don't carry anything smaller than that unless specifically called for.

the other day I placed a white tricam backed up with a black alien. felt pretty good about it, but didn't test it XD. climbing on someone elses rack.

climber pat · · Las Cruces, NM · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 215

I regularly use the .3 and carry two of them.  I rarely use the .1 and .2 and sometimes do not bother bringing them along.  Some of my partners really want the 0.1 and 0.2 so I will bring the small cams if I am climbing with that partner.

I carry a small of nuts for smaller cracks.  And a pink tricam, of course.  If I think the route is going to be really scary with small gear I bring lowe balls (or whatever they are called now).

Eric D · · Gnarnia · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 230

It all depends on where you climb.  At the Waterfall in Arizona 00 and 000 cams get used all the time.  And they are often bomber.

Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 471

I place a green alien on damn near every pitch. Blue aliens about half the time. Green/purple C3 on maybe a 1/4 of the pitches. 000 c3 or #1-3 ballnuts maybe two pitches a year.

Two largest DMM brass offsets get placed very frequently as do the 0-3 wallnuts. 

Ashort · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 35

I've fallen on a purple metolius, on granite. They are definitely not only mental. I've caught fall onto a 000 C3 on red rock sandstone. 

John Wilder wrote: 0.2 and 0.3 BDs are pretty common for me. The 0.1 is pretty rare for me in red rock- a cam that small in sandstone is often just mental if I only have one and/or the rock isn't super varnished.

Do you ever use ballnutz in red rock? I was thinking of picking up the smallest sizes. 

Nick M · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 0

Rarely leave the ground without a red c3 in Squamish, often two. Green and purple c3 come in handy all the time unless it’s 5.10- or mostly hand sized cracks. Grey dmm peanut goes in all over the place.

Stephen Lander · · Columbus, OH · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 10
 I've caught fall onto a 000 C3 on red rock sandstone.

My sphincter tightened just reading this

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 442
Stephen Lander wrote:

My sphincter tightened just reading this

Me too. I remember placing a yellow zero which is about a green c3 size (2 sizes bigger than the 000 c3) on the last pitch of tunnel vision in red rocks. About 20 ft above it, I got to the knobby headwall and the wind was threating to blow me off the rock. I really did not want to fall on that one. 

Nick Sweeney · · Spokane, WA · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 612

I use a blue alien (totem basic)(equivalent to BD 0.2) surprisingly often on alpine rock climbs.  You can often protect sections that the old-school hardmen just had to run out.

Ashort · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 35

So far my most memorable red rock experience was being run out 30ft above a cam with 2 lobes engaged equalized with a shitty nut. What fun! At least it was a totem....

John Wilder · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,530
Ashort wrote: I've fallen on a purple metolius, on granite. They are definitely not only mental. I've caught fall onto a 000 C3 on red rock sandstone. 

Do you ever use ballnutz in red rock? I was thinking of picking up the smallest sizes. 

I have in the past back when I was doing more exploring on new rock. I don't know if they're really something I'd say is needed for most red Rock routes, but there are certainly lines out there where they're helpful.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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