Novelty Trad Gear!
Just one of many reasons Trad is great is the range of new gadgets and gizmos to play with, it's not just rope, quickdraws and Gri-gri!
Here's just a small selection of some of the more peculiar gear available ...
Trying to describe Tri-Cams and how they work, rather than demonstrating usually becomes a confusing word mess, but let's give it a go. The basic premise is that you push these cleverly shaped blocks into a crack or pocket, such that the pivot (where the webbing tape meets the piece) is at the rear, then when the webbing is pulled back and loaded the Tri-Cam rocks over and actively bites into the placement. Or, more simply they can also be used like Nuts and chocked.
So did that make any sense? Guessing not so here's a demonstration using our handy IKEA Footstool - hopeful it will become clearer. On the left is the placement method and in the middle how they act when loaded. What's wild is the size these pieces of kit go up to, look at that Yellow monster! Relative to the equivalent Cam they're actually pretty light and given they can cover a couple of size ranges both actively and as chocks, they become more and more attractive. Prior to narrow width cams, these were the go to for protecting narrow pockets such as on Master's Edge.
Talking of Cams, in recent years Manufacturers have started extending their double Axle Cam range in to smaller single stem options. Black Diamond have their Z4-Range, Wild Country their Zero Friends and DMM their Dragonflies.
At the smallest size range, Black Diamond Z4's Green cam has a range of 7.5-11.8mm, 4.3mm from smallest to largest, given not all that is 'bitey range' seems ridiculous but whoa are they a relief when you're run out and there's nothing but a super-skinny slot in front of you! Truth be told most will be used for Aid climbing rather than protection but good to know in a decent placement they're rated to 5kN.
So you're all racked up and ready to go, when you realise that all you've got between the ground and the good gear placement high above is a skinny seam ... What do you go for now? As you can see above, your smallest cam isn't going to cut it! This is when you clip your brass micro-wires onto the harness and get ready to nestle them in. These little beauties don't exactly inspire confidence but a few of them together might not 'all' rip if you fall on them? Again, more for use for hard, clean aid than free climbing, it's still well worth having a couple tucked in amongst your wires - 'just in case'.
Finally, it's not just novelty Protection you get with Trad Climbing, there's also a few quirky Belay devices available. The most recent innovation being the DMM Pivot. Whereas previously in guide mode, if you had to lower off a climber slumped below you, it was a faff of lifting the full weight of them or arrange a confusing loop of sling to stomp on ...
The DMM Pivot however changes this with a nifty pivot, no longer do you need to lift the full weight of the climber, in fact with a karabiner in the nose (or even a strong palm) you can rock (pivot) the device up and lower off the climber below relatively easily.
There we go, just some of the reasons to get into Trad Climbing if you like novelty gear and new toys! Once the shop re-opens we're ready to go, showing you all manner of other things but in the meantime if there's anything you'd like to ask about, don't hesitate to get in touch!