Over-camming: Really a Problem?

Over-camming: Really a Problem?

August 27, 2017 fmg-adminRock Climbing

 

I overheard some friends teaching each other to lead climb the other day. They were doing a good job of managing safety by using a top-rope and having the climber mock lead. Then they said “ok the number one thing is don’t over-cam.” I hear this mode of thinking about over-camming a lot, even from seasoned instructors. If you look at this from a pure risk management standpoint, there is actually no good reason to encourage this behavior.

Camming angle stays the same throughout the range of the cam. On Black Diamond Camolots this angle is 15˚. The theoretical best angle would be 14 based on many folks geeking out in the labs.

So the only real reason to encourage someone to under-cam would be to prevent pieces from becoming stuck in the rock. This of course could result in the leader being scared to overcam, taking a fall, ripping gear and becoming injured.

I teach students to have a 90˚ angle or less with the bottom of the cam lobes. You can see this tip and a few more in the video below.

Karsten Delap, AMGA Certified Rock and Alpine Guide

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  • Chris Knippenberg

    I actually can’t appreciate this post and video enough. Keep it up!

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