How To Place Climbing Cams

By Matt GerholdLast update: 2023-11-29

Learning to defend correctly is an important ability when you advance as a business climber. Many kinds of trade pro are available, such as cams, nuts, hexes, ball nuts and others. The common feature, in contrast with fixed gear that is attached completely to the rock, is that they are removable (such as bolts).

To place trading gear safely and effectively, you must look at where the gear is going and know how to find a safe position against a dangerous one.

In this article, we’ll focus on placing the most common types of gear: The cams.

1. How To Place Cams

How To Place Climbing Cams

Cams are a kind of safety short for spring-loaded camming equipment (SLCDs) aka moving parts. It's very common because it's very simple to put it in general. There are several different camera formats, but their concepts are somewhat close to how they function and how they are placed.

Simply put, cams work by translating the pulling down and out of a fall against the walls of a crack. This force will hold the cam in the crack and pick you up as you drop along with friction.

In general, cams should be placed faster and quicker than nuts. The triggers are forced to retract the lobes of cams, the cam installed and the trigger releases so that the lobes can extend and reach rocks. In order to ensure a cam placement, though, you need to be able to locate the best spot for the cam, choose the right cam size and position the cam.

Locating The Right Cam Placement

Look for cracks with parallel sides or narrow pockets when searching for a position for a cam. Typically, you want to prevent cracks that grow over or behind the cam as it tends to shift into a wider area. The word "walking" is renamed.

How To Place Climbing Cams

Avoid cracks which flare up or down excessively. Flaring fractures also do not give the cam's lobes sufficient surface contact to produce a safe position.

Just like with any positioning, remember that a cam is just as solid as the rock. When a cam falls, a huge amount of external force will leverage pieces of rock. Evaluate the rock to be confident that it is strong and suspect with blocks and flakes. Just tap your hand on the rock and hear the echo that creates it. See if you can locate another spot in the cam if it sounds hollow.

Choosing The Right Cam Size

How To Place Climbing Cams
Cams come in different sizes so that they can be placed in cracks less than one-half inch wide to cracks larger than 5 feet thick. To make the safest positioning it is very important to select the appropriate size cam for a crack.

As a guideline, choose the biggest cam that suits the crack. You have to evaluate the path though and consider where cams are to be used. You don't want all the big cams just to figure out early you need to go one step further.

Besides only examining a crack, you should use your hands and fingertips to weigh the crack, and estimate which cam in scale would fit better. You will discover from observation that a crack that matches the tips of your fingers takes a certain cam scale and a crack that fits your cupped hand takes a different size. Finally, you would not even have to see a crack to know how big the cam is, you can only imagine the crack. However, we do not recommend putting cams blindly; check your positioning always visually if necessary.

It can take a little while before you can pick the correct cam size on your first attempt, since you are new to positioning cams, and even with years of practice you can not get it right at all. However, the higher you ascend, the faster you get.

Placing Cams

To mount a cam, split the cam out of the harness or gear bolt to remove the cam lobes from the lever. Put the cam in the crack and release it so that the lobes can extend and touch the rock.

When the cam is positioned, think of a pull path if you drop and put the cam in that direction. This is basically down, but relying on the path or the precise use of the cam, the direction can be different.

To check if the lobes are retracted, check how you picked the correct size cam. Most cam producers prescribe how often to pull a cam and we advise you to obey these instructions. Their iconic Camalot cams propose a 50 to 90 percent removal. Metolius places color dots on cam lobes which show that some of their cams are ideally retracted.

You can detect the extent of retraction with a cam in your side. The cam is 0 percent retreated when you hold the cam and not pull the lever. Pull the pull as tightly as possible and the cam pulls up to 100%. Whether the cam is cracked, mess around with the button to figure out that the cam lobes are retracted by 50 percent. This is usually a decent starting point for a strong cam positioning. Anything other than that won't be very stable.

2. Common Mistake While Placing Cam

How To Place Climbing Cams

The retraction rate is significant since it increases when a cam is measured after a fall. If the cam is scarcely retracted (under cammed) to start with, it will not grow as stable as the retract cam once it is measured. Furthermore, a cam which is insufficiently retracted continues to sit loose and can walk about in cracks.

A cam that retracts more than 90 percent is at a danger of being permanently trapped in the crack at the other end of the continuum. If you put a cam that is completely or almost entirely retracted, over retracting is a cam aka over-camming.

Usually an over cam cam is really safe, but can be removed almost impossible since the cam remains with very little retraction. Cams are really not inexpensive, so try not to let them stuck


Cams are simply a supplementary tool, but once it is bought it offers up an entire new level of climbing experience. When you learn the requisite skills to ascend or move safely into the mountains, you can still follow expert guidance and teach. And for such questions, give us a message or come and visit us at Climb On. If you have particular questions. We want to speak to you about equipment to find the best answer!

"I'm Matt, love travelling, sports especially climbing. The more I climb, the more resilient I am, that's not only apply for my hobbies but also true for everything in my life. I'd love to be here, a part of Gearinstant to share my experience, guides, tips and especially any gears that work for you."

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