How to Set a Tri-Cam

How to Set a Tri-Cam
CAMP tri-cams, also written as tricams or tri cams, are a versatile piece of climbing protection. Tri-cams are placed in one of two ways: Either as passive protection, like a nut, or in "active" camming mode. While not all climbers like using tri-cams, they're one of the few methods of protecting horizontal cracks and pockets in the rock. Once you've placed a tri-cam, if the placement is secure, you can clip your rope to its sling and continue climbing, secure that a well-placed tri-cam will hold you should you fall.


Difficulty: Moderate

Placing as a Nut

Things You’ll Need:
  • CAMP tri-cam Carabiner Climbing rope
  • CAMP tri-cam
  • Carabiner
  • Climbing rope
Step 1
Slide the tri-cam into a constricted crack, with both cam rails and the tripod point in as much contact with the rock as possible.
Step 2
Evaluate which direction the rope will tug on the tri-cam as it moves due to your climbing or if you should fall. If the rope's tugging will be tugging on the tri-cam in such a way that it slides out of the placement, the placement is poor or the tri-cam must be oriented differently.
Step 3
Evaluate any surface the tri-cam's sling may come into contact with as you climb or if you fall. If the sling runs across anything sharp that may cut it or abrade through it, you should find a different placement.
Step 4
Tug firmly on the tri-cam's nylon or dyneema sling to help seat it firmly in place.
Step 5
Use a carabiner to attach the rope to the tricam's sling. You can also use another carabiner to clip an extra sling between the tricam and the rope, if necessary, to make the rope slide more easily as it goes by.

Placing as a Cam

Step 1
Fold the sling against the tri-cam so that it runs down the cam channel between the cam rails.
Step 2
Find a rugosity or other some other suitable protrusion in a vertical or horizontal crack against which you can anchor the tripod point of the tri-cam. You can also place tri-cams in holes or pockets using this method.
Step 3
Make sure that both cam rails are in full contact with the other side of the crack.
Step 4
Evaluate the angle at which the rope will pull on the tri-cam as you keep climbing past it. Also evaluate the angle at which the rope will pull if you should happen to fall. If a pull from either angle might dislodge the tri-cam, this is a poor placement and you need to try another one.
Step 5
Check any surfaces against which the tri-cam's sling may rub as you climb or if you fall. If there's anything sharp which might abrade through or cut the sling, you need to find another placement.
Step 6
Give a good jerk on the tri-cam's sling to help set it in place.
Step 7
Clip the rope to your tri-cam's sling using a carabiner. You can use another carabiner to clip an extra sling between the tri-cam and the rope, if necessary, to help reduce drag on the rope as you climb.

Tips & Warnings

A good tug on the sling after placing the tri-cam in camming mode will help illustrate how it cams against both sides of the crack or pocket.
Rock climbing is an extremely dangerous sport. Always seek expert supervision and guidance when learning new skills. Remember that you are ultimately responsible for your safety and for evaluating any hazards or dangers you may encounter.

Article Written By Marie Mulrooney

Marie Mulrooney has written professionally since 2001. Her diverse background includes numerous outdoor pursuits, personal training and linguistics. She studied mathematics and contributes regularly to various online publications. Mulrooney's print publication credits include national magazines, poetry awards and long-lived columns about local outdoor adventures.

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