AMGA Instructor Team Member Geoff Unger Reviews the CAMP Tricam Evo

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The CAMP Tricam Evo. Photo: Geoff Unger

Throughout a 20-year climbing career, the Tricam has been a bit of a niche piece of gear for me. That said, I have used it extensively where no other piece of gear would work. In aid climbing, they can be a lifesaver. In traditional rock climbing, there is no better piece of gear in horizontal cracks and solution pockets. Another application for Tricams is in alpine climbing when there is a parallel sided-crack with verglas coating the rock—Tricams can bite where traditional cams would skate out of the crack.

My first impression of the TriCam Evo was, “What a great innovation!” CAMP has added a tapered aspect to the original, making it much better as a passive chock. Initially, I was skeptical about the stiffer webbing while using the Tricam Evo in horizontals, but it proved to make them much easier to place and remove. In addition, the stiffness did not seem to affect the placement: Though I was initially concerned about increased walking of the piece due to the more rigid material, this turned out to be a non-issue and in fact made the piece much easier to remove. Ease of removal is especially important for clients who need coaching to remove these.

Like with stoppers and cams, the size has a big impact on strength. The Dark Blue (.25) should probably be used as a piece of protection mid-pitch or significantly backed up by other pieces if incorporated into an anchor. Everyone talks about the Pink one being the best size, and that is no exception with the Evo, but the Red and Brown are equally good especially given the expanded versatility of the tapered head.

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The classic Pink Tricam in action. Photo: Geoff Unger

Traditionally, I’ve only carried Tricams on certain routes and for specific applications. The Gunks is a prime example of where Tricams are indispensable. With the advent of the Tricam Evo, I will definitely be carrying them more. The weight and the tapered head are great. Where overall weight of the climbing rack is important in the alpine, the Tricam Evo can replace larger stoppers with added range, including active and passive placements. CAMP has succeeded in making a great tool even better.

 

Tech/Features

•From CAMP’s website: “Features new, stiffer sewing on the slings for easier one-handed placement and extraction”

Weights:

Weights:

•Dark Blue (0.25) – 17 g, 0.6 oz
•Pink (0.5) – 29 g, 1.0 oz
•Red (1.0) – 37 g, 1.3 oz
•Brown (1.5) – 57 g, 2.0 oz

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Tricam range chart, via camp-usa.com (sizes changed to individual piece colors).

 

 

 

 

2 Comments on “AMGA Instructor Team Member Geoff Unger Reviews the CAMP Tricam Evo

  1. The .25 is black, not dark blue. As far as I know, this size has always been black, on both the older tricams and the Evos.

    At 5kn, this piece is on the weak side, so I agree it’s good to be conscious of this, especially when using it in an anchor. But don’t let that keep you from using it! It’s my second most-used size (after the pink of course), and I often find it essential for both anchors and general protection, often it gives me a solid placement where I have no other options! If it’s my only placement after a long runout (or my first piece), I might put a screamer on it, but generally 5kn is enough for me to feel safe.

    Speaking of weak pieces, you make no mention of the smallest tricam, the white .125. This is scary weak at only 3kn active, 2kn passive. Basically it’s rated as an aid piece, and therefore I very rarely use it (also because it’s potentially hard to clean). However, on a runout slab or thin crack with no other options, it might be better than nothing. Whenever I carry white tricams, I bring two- I figure if I’m desperate enough to use it, I’ll try to get both in the same crack, right next to each other. Then I can clip them with the same carabiner, and essentially treat them as one stronger (but still marginal) piece, and also clip them with a screamer. That’s much better than nothing in my opinion, it should hold a moderate fall, and even if they break, it would slow you down and absorb some of the energy, giving your next piece a better chance of holding. On most climbs this is probably more hassle than it’s worth, but on runout climbs or anything rated pg or worse, I like having the option.

  2. No article on tricams is complete without a mention of the epic ‘Ode to a Pink Tricam’ (from http://www.swarpa.net/~danforth/climb/sinkthepink.html ):

    Ode to a Pink Tricam

    Oh Pink’s the one I love to place
    when I’m alone way up in space
    on some exposed and airy face.
    They sink where other gear won’t go.
    When all you’ve got is manky pro,
    This tricam saves your butt from woe.

    But it’s often hard to get them out;
    They make your second moan and shout
    And wave his nut tool ’round about

    But that’s why you’re the one on lead
    Your problems are a different breed
    As long as someone does the deed…

    “Oh quit your whimpering,” you rumble,
    “And get it out or there’ll be trouble”
    “Get to work now, on the double!”

    Although it sometimes takes a while,
    They do come out with vim and guile,
    (or chiselling and curses vile.)

    Pink will do what all the rest.
    Won’t do when they’re put to the test.
    Oh pink tricams are just the best!

    — Charles “Pinky” Danforth

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