I have been practicing trad climbing and I've run into some difficulty managing and handling the gear. Specifically, I'm awkwardly taking cams off my gear loops, fiddling with them, and finally placing them in the crack. To summarize my basic technique:

  1. Grab the carabiner of the cam with my hand and unclip from my harness.
  2. Bite the stem of the cam.
  3. Slide my hand to the cam trigger.
  4. Place cam and clip rope.

The #2 and #3 bullets seems awkward to me. I've found plenty of articles online about cam placement and harness configurations but can't find any about handling/managing techniques.

What technique am I missing here? Would a gear sling help? I referenced cams but I'm also having similar issues with nuts, so any and all advice is appreciated.

  • 1
    What you're talking about sounds right, except that you didn't mention extending the pro with a sling, which is pretty much always required. I don't think a gear sling is any more or less efficient than a harness while you're placing the gear. I find gear slings awkward, but they do make changeovers quicker if you're alternating leads with someone on a multipitch climb. Basically placing trad gear is time-consuming, and you want to do it from a comfortable stance if at all possible.
    – user2169
    Commented Nov 20, 2015 at 3:59
  • I have never in my climbing career ever stuck anything in my mouth...
    – ShemSeger
    Commented Nov 20, 2015 at 5:54
  • 3
    Seriously @ShemSeger. My nuts spend more time in my mouth than they do in the wall o_O
    – user2766
    Commented Nov 20, 2015 at 8:34
  • 1
    @Liam: Are you sure your comment is SFW (safe for work)? ;-) Commented Nov 20, 2015 at 9:01
  • The double entendre is completely on purpose! :() @BenediktBauer
    – user2766
    Commented Nov 20, 2015 at 9:05

1 Answer 1


I don't grab the biner first, I grab the cam first, pretty much as I would if I were placing it, I then unclip the biner from my gear loop with the cam in hand. There's no fumbling with it during or after, the more steps you put into placing gear, the more likely you are to drop it. I watched a video of this one girl climbing a 5.14 on trad, she had her gear duck-taped to her belt so she could grab it off her belt and place it all in one quick, smooth motion. So that's my advice, grab your gear off your rack as you intend to hold it when you place it.

  • 1
    Unclip the biner with your other hand? Commented Nov 20, 2015 at 12:03
  • 3
    Please describe how you unclip the biner while holding the cam as you would for placing. I just tried doing that and it was extremely cumbersome and slow, so there has to be a trick?
    – imsodin
    Commented Nov 20, 2015 at 12:13
  • 1
    I want to see the video of someone climbing 5.14 trad.
    – user2169
    Commented Nov 20, 2015 at 23:26
  • @BenCrowell, I'm pretty sure I was at a mountain film festival when I saw that one, I can't even find the name of the girl who did it now. I just remember she was tiny, she taped her gear to there harness, and I want to say the climb was a crack in Colorado?
    – ShemSeger
    Commented Nov 21, 2015 at 5:45
  • 3
    Here is a video of Didier Berthod climbing 5.14 using velcro to secure the cam for his "quick shooter." He estimates it saves 3-5 seconds for the placement. youtube.com/watch?v=Vkeo5WNG7d4&t=1m00s
    – Kenn
    Commented Jul 30, 2016 at 6:38

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