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#16660 - 10/18/05 11:59 PM cams in wet rock?
onionman Offline

Registered: 07/09/01
Posts: 178
Having spent the Columbus day weekend leading in the rain,
I couldn't help but wonder, "how well do cams work in wet
rock"? Since cams require friction to operate, I assume the
placements are less secure... but then again water isn't a
very good lubricant so maybe the pressure of the cams
against the rock will force the relevant water out of the way
before it can interfere with the coefficient of static friction.
Does anyone have any data on this? How about real world
experience... any of you hardmen (or hardwomen) taken
hard falls or hauled pigs (or seconds) on cams in wet rock?

#16661 - 10/19/05 12:47 PM Re: cams in wet rock? [Re: onionman]
dalguard Offline

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1515
Loc: CT
You should feel the rock in the Dolomites. Slick like glass. Like wet, oiled glass. There's trouble with basalt placements as I understand it, so yes, you were right to consider it. But even wet Gunks rock is probably still not so slick.

#16662 - 10/29/05 04:08 AM Re: cams in wet rock? [Re: dalguard]
cranken Offline

Registered: 10/27/01
Posts: 122
Loc: the south, the north, the east...
the meta-quartzite in north carolina can get greasy too. Climbing in the rain? That's why you bring the cowbells.
"hrumph... I've got rocks at home to clean." - Marge Simpson

#16663 - 12/31/05 04:47 PM Re: cams in wet rock? [Re: cranken]
jason1 Offline
old hand

Registered: 07/25/00
Posts: 841
Loc: moab
i've seen cams rip in limestone (not wet)... and in sandstone less than 24 hrs. after a rain...

#16664 - 01/01/06 07:14 AM Re: cams in wet rock? [Re: jason1]
drkodos Offline

Registered: 05/02/04
Posts: 674
Loc: Chattanooga, TN
Devil's Lake in Wisconsin is the slipperest rock I have climbed on. I believe it to be a schist. I have seen several cams pull out of seemingly decent placements (the type that would hold at places like the Gunks, or in a decent sandstone).

I was also twice the direct victim of a cam ripping out of a crack due to wetness and it happened both times at the Gunks. First time on a route at Lost City. I fully anticipated it to happen, warned the belayer that it had a high probability of doing so, and had it backed up a few feet lower by a bomber #9 WC Rock. It was still a sobering thing to have happen.

And again it happened while I was attempting The Great Wall of China with Tom Rust in fall of '94. Seconding a pitch down at the far end of the cliff, in somewhat schwaggy territory, and while climbing in a heavy downpour, I had my foot slip as I approached the piece. I literally saw it rip right out of a seemingly secure placement and shoot right at my left eye. I still have a rather nice scar there from the incident. One of the bizarre and comitting things about that climb is that so many times, with run-outs, you can be in a continual and sustained groundfall zone despite being on the 10th+ pitch or so. Just crazy.

Best of all, later that day, bloodied, soaked to the bone, and stoned to the bejeebies, I met my future Mother-in-law for the first time.


#16665 - 01/01/06 03:56 PM Re: cams in wet rock? [Re: drkodos]
ScottR Offline

Registered: 05/27/05
Posts: 99

I believe it to be a schist.

Quartzite actually, and it makes Central Park Schist feel like sandpaper. Many is the tale I have heard of cams pulling out there.

#16666 - 01/16/06 04:02 AM Re: cams in wet rock? [Re: onionman]
rackrat Offline

Registered: 12/20/02
Posts: 160
Loc: NYC - UWS
Simple Answer... yes it has an impact.

But, I've had good placements hold in paralell cracks that were very wet.

Trad is the only way to fly.


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