6. Cam Placement and Retrieval

In this video we look at how to place and remove cams.

The most important tip for retrieving a cam is also the simplest: first, try to visualize exactly how the cam was placed, then just reverse that motion to get it back out again.

For example, if the cam is placed in a narrow constricted section of a crack that widens slightly above that point, then it’s likely the lead climber had initially inserted the cam in the wider section, and pulled it down into the constricted section (note that cams are best when placed in pods, not in gradually tapering cracks—this might be more suitable for a nut or hex).

When removing a cam, squeeze the cam trigger gently to release it from its set position in the crack. Move the cam to the wider section, wherever that may be. Often, you will be able to pull a cam straight out, but sometimes you will need higher powers of visualization (or tips from the leader) to get the cam out.

Tip – When retrieving a cam, pull the trigger just enough to wiggle the cam free. If you pull the trigger all the way—so the cam is fully cammed—and then accidentally move it into a tighter space, the cam can get really, really stuck.

We hope you found this video helpful. Feel free to comment below with questions or thoughts!


Please remember, climbing is inherently dangerous. Climb at your own risk.