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What's the smallest cam size you frequently use?


David Bruneau · · St. John · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 1,243

I often rack the 00 metolius, and it's held each time I've fallen on it. Took a pretty big whip on one going for the belay on P2 of The Moratorium in Yosemite. With those size pieces, I make sure it's backed up pretty well, as others have said - it's hard to see how well the inner cam lobes are seated in some placements.

In rock types other than granite, I've found ballnuts tend to work better in those sizes.

rockklimber · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 0
Healyje wrote:

Small, marginal pro - it's a thing, but it's shouldn't be a beginner or intermediate leader thing. The deal with leading over marginal gear is that it's a matter of solid skills, experience, and judgment. Your ability to see and assess such placements needs to be above average, your placement skills need to be excellent, and you need to have a decent track record of calling the odds on a marginal piece[s] holding/blowing. Bottom line? If it's just a complete wild-ass guess you should bail.

I've taken 30-40ft falls that held on small brassies, tenuously stacked hex/nut combos, #3/4 ballnuts, slipknot-slung horns, pebbles I've picked up while climbing, and a #3 Crack-N-Up rigged for free climbing - none of them were blind luck or an accident and I had a pretty good feel for the hold/blow ratio of each of them such that I was willing to play on through. I've also placed a lot of marginal pro and then thought better of it, down-climbed and bailed. The only hard and fast rules are you better know what the hell you're looking at and be good at judging how performant the rock and placement will be.

And in placing small, marginal pro millimeters count, dirt and dust count, rock quality counts, placement-to-piece geometry matching counts, small subtle features count, and together they all make the difference between getting on with it and bailing. And it's all that squared when you're talking about being runout over a three, four, or a half-dozen such pieces in a row on new terrain on an onsight FA. Don't guess - know (within some reasonable margin of error) - is my best advice when it comes to small, marginal pro along with having a fucking crystal ball when it comes to a sober understanding of the potential consequences of that pro blowing.

+1.  Good advice.  well said.  

Small gear requires a lot more skill and judgement of the placement and quality of rock.  This comes from a lot of good experience (there is such thing as bad experience which reinforces poor skills).When I teach a new leader I take the small gear off the rack.  Only when they have a lot more experience and dialed in gear placement skills do I recommend adding snaller gear to the rack.    
Michael Parker · · Tulsa, OK · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 4,061

The .4 X4 is probably one of the most used pieces on my rack which is unfortunate because I have doubles down to .5.  I stopped carrying the .1 & .2 X4s shortly after I bought them.  Okay, you've talked me into it, I'm gonna order a 2nd .4.

Rob the tricam · · Springdale, Utah · Joined Sep 2009 · Points: 0
Abram Herman wrote: I've taken many falls on the 0/green BD C3. When placed properly, in good/hard rock (not soft sandstone), they really do work! 

They work fine in sandstone. So do 00 and 000. 

SeƱor Arroz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 10
Michael Parker wrote: The .4 X4 is probably one of the most used pieces on my rack which is unfortunate because I have doubles down to .5.  I stopped carrying the .1 & .2 X4s shortly after I bought them.  Okay, you've talked me into it, I'm gonna order a 2nd .4.

I have a .3./.4X4 offset, a .4 X4 and a C4 .4. I just need more hands. 

trice Rice · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 0

I whipped on a blue totem basic (.2 x4) in a shallow/flared crack and when I pulled back up to my gear it only had 2 lobes in contact with the rock. It has given me confidence in small gear and .2 cams are incredibly common placements in eldo. Almost everyone carries doubles in those sizes when climbing .10s or harder it seems. I really try not and leave the ground when climbing near my limit without doubles in .2's, .3's and 1 .1 (but I am also a weeny)

Abram Herman · · Grand Junction, CO · Joined May 2009 · Points: 20
Rob the tricam wrote:

They work fine in sandstone. So do 00 and 000. 

That's a broad statement. I would trust them in Red River sandstone, or Eldo. I wouldn't trust them in Garden of the Gods.

Hans · · Squamish, BC · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 2,114

My partner took a big whipper,  probably about 12 metres,  and fell past the belay. Was caught by a 00 Mastercam that only had two lobes in the crack because the crack was so shallow.  Nuts wouldn't fit.  

They work, and I use those small sizes all the time.

Caleb Schwarz · · Colorado Springs, Colorado · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 115
Abram Herman wrote:

 I wouldn't trust them (000's) in Garden of the Gods.

I just peed a little

Christopher Smith · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0
Abram Herman wrote:

That's a broad statement. I would trust them in Red River sandstone, or Eldo. I wouldn't trust them in Garden of the Gods.

Should you really trust anything in that choss pile?

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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