Monday, May 24, 2010

Tri-cam Rips Out

"This tri-cam is probably a bad example.  They can dig into soft rock pretty easy, and it's in there good.  You got me?"

Kevin was on top-rope on a new 5.6 just right of The Contortionist.  We were thinking that it might be a good easy trad route, and so he was testing to see how gear would hold.

Kevin leaned back off the cliff,  quickly weighting the tri-cam, as the top-rope stretched ... and SNAP! the tri-cam ripped and shot out like a bullet.  Kevin looked into the horizontal crack and said, 'It broke off the crystal that was holding it (the stinger.)'

Lesson learned.  The rock quality at the Powerlinez is at times great for climbing.  At times,  holds break off in your hands.  Trad rock pro places even greater stress on the rock than the pulling, stepping and wedging of climbing.  Trad pro at the Powerlinez is sketchy,  and bolting lines with 3 and 3/8 inch bolts has proven pretty prudent.

The CAMP TRI-CAM manual states: "The ability of TRI-CAMS to convert most shear forces to expansion (when used in their standard mode) means that they are the most secure form of protection available for decomposed granite and soft sandstone ... "  So, this experiment was a good guage for trad prospects at the Powerlinez.  Now to be exhaustive, there are some great trad only routes at the Powerlinez, and quite a bit of thought and expertise has gone into making that call.


  1. Hmmm...pinging pro and tricky tricams! Looks like I gotta whip on you bolts, Batman!

  2. Was the tri-cam weighted in the direction of the fall?

    Also, placing any pro on a single crystal is no ideal, this seems like a bad placement more than anything.

  3. Sorry for the slow reply - In many types of rock, placing a tri-cam behind a crystal is very strong. The point being in this case, not in the rock on the Good Book wall at the Powerlinez. Kevin has placed quite a few tri-cams in his time, and the rock just didn't hold up. At the heart of this example is the fact that we're experienced trad climbers, and abhor bolting anything that doesn't warrant it.