Tri-Cams have a reputation for fitting where other protection will not, and they are light weight and inexpensive compared to SLCDs.

Unfortunately they also have a reputation for being hard to clean (remove from the rock) after being set. Therefore:

  1. What is the correct technique to remove Tri-Cams?
  2. Do some nut tools work better than others for these?
  3. What should be considered during placement to prevent getting one stuck?

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1 Answer 1


before reading any of this please remember safety first. If you are not comfortable with placement for any reason then you probably shouldn't be placing it there. NEVER sacrifice safety for convince. All suggestions here are for placement concerning removal NOT safety ,direction of pull or anything else. Also, there is no substitute for experience or an experienced teacher, in person, on the wall.

Also, All suggestions are to be read with "Try... if you can." So "Don't put it too deep or out of reach of a tool" Becomes "Try not to put it too deep or out of reach of a tool if you can."

  1. It depends on if you placed it using the caming action or just as a nut.
    • If you places as a nut then there tends to be not much of an issue.
    • If you place as a cam, then there is usually an issue.
      • the best advice for cleaning them is to remember that you will have to remove it when you place it.
        • Don't put it too deep or out of reach of a tool.
        • Don't place it as tight as you can. Place it where you have to pull on it a bit to activate the cam before it is set.
        • Place straight in rather than slotting, much easier to get straight out rather than slide around then remove.
        • Don't use a parallel crack when one with a downward constriction exists.
      • Visualize how it is going to be removed before touching it.
      • Push it on the rails to remove the caming action.
      • Don't use your fingers. Use a nut tool from the start.
      • Understand where the fulcrum point is on any placement and know that you will have to effect it to remove the cam.
      • Basically release the tension on the fulcrum and then wiggle out.
      • Once the tension is released, use the nut tool to stop it from catching and re-tensioning itself.
      • ON the larger ones with a hole, use the hole and pull toward the sling to release the tension.
      • Modify the sling with a straw. Cut the straw to fit just in the loop and tape it in. I use thirst buster straws because they are wide, but any should work.
      • If the point has become really mangled use a file to return it to it's original shape. (I wouldn't do this more than once per cam before replacing)
      • Understand that if you do fall on it, it very well might become a permanent placement.
      • Use a sling attached to the webbing. This will allow less drag on the rope and the rope will pull on the pro less which will tension it less which will make it easier to remove and less litely to wiggle free from where you placed it.
  2. As for the nut tool. I used to have an Omega Caranut and had some difficulty but life got a lot easier when I switched to a Metolius Freenut. One of the guys I climb with is pretty much a guru at removing these things and he uses a Ushba Titanium Nut Tool (He got it after the gear review came out). I have tried it and didn't find it any easier than mine though.
  3. See answer 1

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