The truth about tricams
I recently saw a post on mountainproject about tricams and all their wonderful versatility and manifold uses. This raised an eyebrow. Now I HAVE climbed at Looking Glass – the tricam afficionado’s coup de grace to end all tricam bashing arguments – and I climbed there (gasp) without using a single tricam. It was fine. Horizontally placed cams were, in almost all cases, equally good.
Now, I’m not generally one to privilege technological advances over tried and true old school tools. But in the case of protection, there’s only one thing you need to know about tricams: they are obsolete. I don’t care if you can place them in a passive or active mode – you can do that with BD camalots as well. What BD camalots don’t do is take a lot of time to place properly, become difficult to clean on many occasions where user error is not involved, and lack versatility. Or metolius cams, or aliens, or DMM cams, or whatever. Cams, guys. Cams.
Without being unduly harsh or critical, tricams WERE an amazing invention, and certainly had their place in climbing history. That said, their day is done. If you are seriously considering investing in one, you are probably being misleadingly enticed by some content-hungry gumbies desperate for material. Buy a cam. If you happen upon the one or two places in the world where only a tricam will work, and you don’t have one, climb past it, and place a different piece higher.