If you’re an avid climber or mountaineer, you know how important it is to have reliable gear. Your camming device is no exception, as it is a crucial piece of equipment that ensures your safety while climbing.
But to ensure that your camming device is performing at its best, you need to maintain it properly.
In this blog post, we will discuss everything you need to know about maintaining your camming device, including the features to understand, regular maintenance practices, troubleshooting, and tips to extend its lifespan.
How Can I Maintain the Performance of My Camming Device?
Your camming device is a mechanical device, and like any mechanical device, it requires proper maintenance to function at its best. The first step to maintaining your camming device is to keep it clean and free of debris.
It’s important to inspect your camming device before and after every climb to ensure that it’s functioning properly. Additionally, lubrication and proper storage are crucial in maintaining the performance of your camming device.
What Features to Understand in Camming Devices?
Camming devices work on a simple principle of using cam lobes to grip the rock and secure the device in place. Understanding the different types of camming devices, their parts, and how they function is crucial in maintaining their performance.
Camming devices come in various sizes, and each has a specific range of placements that it can fit. It’s important to understand the limitations of your camming device to ensure that you’re using it correctly.
How camming devices work
Camming devices work on the principle of using cam lobes to grip the rock and secure the device in place. When a climber falls, the camming device activates, and the cam lobes expand, creating friction between the device and the rock.
This friction provides the necessary force to hold the climber in place and prevent them from falling.
Different types of camming devices
There are several types of camming devices, including single-stem, double-stem, and offset cams. Single-stem cams are the most common type of camming device and are suitable for a wide range of placements.
Double-stem cams provide additional stability, while offset cams are designed for use in flared cracks.
Parts of a camming device and their functions
Camming devices consist of several parts, including the stem, trigger, cam lobes, and axle. The stem connects the trigger and cam lobes and provides stability to the device.
The trigger activates the cam lobes, which expand and contract to grip the rock. The axle holds the cam lobes in place and ensures that they move together.
What Are Regular Maintenance Practices?
Regular maintenance practices refer to a set of activities aimed at keeping various types of equipment, machines, and systems functioning optimally over time.
These practices are preventive and are designed to minimize the risk of equipment breakdowns, malfunctions, and other forms of failure that could lead to costly downtime, repairs, or replacements.
Inspection before and after use
One of the most important maintenance practices for camming devices is to inspect them thoroughly before and after use.
A pre-climb inspection involves checking for any visible damage or wear and tear, such as cracks or deformation of the camming lobes, bent or broken axles, and worn trigger wires.
You should also make sure that all moving parts are working smoothly and that there is no rust or corrosion.
After each climb, it is equally important to inspect your camming devices thoroughly. Make sure you remove any dirt, sand, or debris that may have accumulated on the devices during your climb.
Also, check for any signs of wear and tear that may have been caused by the climb, such as frayed or damaged trigger wires, bent axles, or damaged camming lobes.
Keeping your camming devices clean is an essential part of regular maintenance. Dirt, sand, and debris can cause the device’s moving parts to become stiff or not work correctly, leading to a loss of effectiveness or even failure.
The best way to clean your camming devices is to use a soft-bristled brush, warm water, and mild soap. Avoid using harsh chemicals, such as solvents, as they can damage the device’s surface finish.
Once you have removed any visible dirt and debris from your camming devices, rinse them thoroughly with clean water and dry them with a soft cloth.
Make sure you get into all the nooks and crannies of the device to remove any remaining dirt or water. You can also use compressed air to blow out any dirt that may be stuck in hard-to-reach areas.
Replacing worn or damaged parts
No matter how well you maintain your camming devices, wear and tear are inevitable. Replacing worn or damaged parts is essential to ensure that your camming devices remain in optimal condition.
Some of the parts that commonly wear out include trigger wires, camming lobes, and axles. If you notice any signs of wear or damage during your pre or post-climb inspection, it’s time to replace the part.
You can purchase replacement parts from the manufacturer or an authorized dealer. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when replacing parts to ensure that the device remains safe and effective.
How to Solve Troubleshooting?
Troubleshooting is an essential skill that can help you identify and solve problems with different kinds of systems, tools, and equipment. It can be a challenging process, but with the right approach and tools, you can quickly get to the root of the issue and fix it.
Common issues with camming devices
Camming devices are made of several moving parts that work together to keep you safe while climbing. These parts can experience wear and tear, leading to issues such as:
The springs in your camming device can become stiff, making it hard to open or close the device. A bent stem can cause a camming device to sit at an angle, reducing its holding power.
Triggers can become worn, making it difficult to engage or release the device. Frayed or worn cables can reduce the holding power of the camming device, making it less safe to use.
Identify problems and potential hazards
Before heading out for your climb, it’s essential to inspect your camming devices to identify any potential issues or hazards. Here’s what to look out for:
Check the springs. Ensure that the springs are not stiff and can move smoothly. Make sure the triggers are not worn and can engage and release the device smoothly.
Inspect the cables for fraying or wear and ensure they are securely attached to the device. Ensure that the stem is not bent and can hold the device at a perpendicular angle.
How to Extend the Lifespan of Your Camming Devices
One of the essential maintenance practices for camming devices is regular cleaning. Dirt, grime, and sand can get into the device, causing it to malfunction.
It is best to clean your camming device after every climb to remove any debris that may have accumulated during the climb. Use a soft-bristled brush to remove dirt from the crevices of the device.
Proper storage is crucial to maintaining the performance of your camming device. Store your camming device in a dry and cool place to prevent rust and corrosion.
Exposure to moisture can damage the springs and cables of your camming device. Avoid storing your device in direct sunlight or extreme temperatures, as this can affect the integrity of the rubber and plastic components.
Maintaining your camming device is crucial in ensuring your safety while climbing. Regular maintenance practices, such as keeping your device clean and free of debris, lubricating it, and inspecting it before and after every climb, are essential.
Understanding the features of your camming device, including the different types, their parts, and how they work, is also important in maintaining its performance. By following these tips, you can extend the lifespan of your camming device and climb with confidence.
Read more about Maintaining the Performance of Ascender and Descender.
You should clean your camming device after each use, or at least once every few uses. This will help to prevent dirt and debris from building up inside the device and interfering with its function.
A cam device uses the shape of a rotating cam to convert rotational motion into linear motion. As the cam rotates, its shape pushes against a follower, causing it to move in a specific path.
Justin Harrhy is a skilled writer and mountaineer with a passion for mountains and exploring various places around the world. He is excited to share his knowledge and experiences with the Mountaineering community.