Valley Giant Cams. Ya dig?

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AllezAllez510

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Feb 14, 2009 - 09:42pm PT
One of my goals this year to finally become proficient at climbing the wide. So, the giant cams? Are they worth it? If I'm gonna buy a couple it has to be soon before I lose my job in June. I know that many people successfully climb OW without giant cams...but I'm a pussy and I don't like bigbros.

I'd be especially interested in hearing from anyone who's fallen on one.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Feb 14, 2009 - 09:46pm PT
Crap!

I thought this was about mirugai.
Russ Walling

Social climber
Upper Fupa, North Dakota
Feb 14, 2009 - 09:48pm PT
I think the word on the street is if you become "proficient" then you don't need the VG's. Was it Pratt that said something like "technique is my protection"?

Anyway, I don't own any, as I'm just too poor. Your thing says SantaCruz.... there are some pretty good wide guys in them parts. Look 'em up.
ec

climber
ca
Feb 14, 2009 - 09:52pm PT
"...become proficient at climbing the wide."

...is only done through the mental and physical control learned by climbing like you ain't got no pro...

LOL

 ec
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Feb 14, 2009 - 10:06pm PT
In the old days you'd follow a wide master around, seconding up a lot of wide problems, get your technique dialed and then be able to fire the leads with confidence.

These days, you're your own master, and shoving a cam up above you is your top rope. Now just because you have a wide cam or two (or 6? et Brutus) doesn't mean that you'll always find a place to put them. So you still have to push through some wide without pro.

But I'd say, yes to big cams. BigBros work, I've held falls off them, I've fallen on them, they work, they're a part of the quiver so you should be familiar with how to use them. They can supplement the wide end of the spectrum.

Also, it is almost universally believed that a #6 Friend is a better piece than a #5 Camelot. I think this is true... a #6 Friend is more stable, and structurally more sound, so don't buy the BD #5 if you are buying in that range.


'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Feb 14, 2009 - 11:03pm PT
Valley Giants are bigger, better and stronger than #6 Friends. I've placed them, fallen on them, belayed and hauled off 'em, they're superbly crafted. They've been tested to failure at over 5000 lb, which is a lot stronger than commercially made cams.

Comparing a Valley Giant to a Big Bro is like comparing a #2 gold Camalot to a 2" bong.
rich sims

Trad climber
co
Feb 15, 2009 - 01:55am PT
PPP Whats in your Bong?
kc

Trad climber
lg, ca
Feb 15, 2009 - 11:01am PT
A definite 'yes' to the Valley Giants. The 9 and the 12 are really great. They place well and can hold falls (short ones, at least!). They help to boldly go up the darn wide. Good pro can never be a bad thing!
spyork

Social climber
A prison of my own creation
Feb 15, 2009 - 01:12pm PT

They are pricey, they weigh alot and are bulky. But when you are leading and tired and get to a placement, you are glad you brought them. Maybe you just need that one piece in the wide to get piece of mind and the ability to finish the pitch.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Feb 15, 2009 - 01:24pm PT
Actually, a #9 [single axle] does knott weigh that much more than a #5 [double axle] Camalot. And neither is a Valley Giant that much heavier than a #12 Big Bro, although it takes up rather more space.

Maybe you can still get a #12 magnesium [for aiding only, not for falling on as it doesn't have the same 5000 lb rating] which is quite lightweight indeed.
Jay Wood

Trad climber
Fairfax, CA
Feb 15, 2009 - 04:39pm PT
Ed-

You mean to compare #6 friend to #6 camelot, right?

I retired a friend when one cam lobe became floppy- I think I landed on it during a fall.

Camelots may be stronger in that respect. I have a #2 with a bent lobe, but it still functions OK.
Brutus of Wyde

climber
Old Climbers' Home, Oakland CA
Feb 15, 2009 - 05:28pm PT
"These days, you're your own master, and shoving a cam up above you is your top rope. Now just because you have a wide cam or two (or 6? et Brutus) doesn't mean that you'll always find a place to put them. So you still have to push through some wide without pro."

Uhh... seven, at last count. four #9s, 3 #12s including one magnesium #12.

Good pieces for the moveable toprope.

And like The great Hartouni preacheth, you'll still need to be able to suck it up & run it out.

Big Bros are a good tool as well. As are knee pads, knee braces, elbow pads, Hand jammies, ace bandages, neoprene head piece, and tape... lots of tape... Don't forget high top shoes. Did I mention tape? Jaybro... couldja do that again? Was that a palm-out fist stack? Did someone eat my tuna? Where's my beer? Am I on belay? What were we talking about?

Brutus
Jaybro

Social climber
wuz real!
Feb 15, 2009 - 05:31pm PT
4, 9s? Have you used em all in one pitch?


a tuna/palm sandwich sounds reaally good right now.
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Feb 15, 2009 - 06:00pm PT
I agree that the large friends are better than the large camalots. My partner and I learned to climb wide cracks without valley giants. I own a couple now. The learning curve probably would have been quicker if I had always had them.

There are a number of wide cracks in the valley that you can set up a TR on without having to lead and get some practice in. But being able to push a cam up above you certainly makes it a lot easier to jump on lead and push the grades.

BBs are more compact to carry and slightly lighter, but outside of Indian Creek, I've never used them much.
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Feb 15, 2009 - 06:06pm PT
You don't need high top shoes. But if you climb in low top shoes, I would recommend taping the ankles. Long sleeve helps and some shirts have better traction than others (watch out for the super slick synthetics).

Yea, full tape job on the hands/fist/thumb is good, although a bigger issue for ow than chimneys. If you climb with kneepads, be careful. My partner had a knee jam that he slide down on a few inches and the bottom of the kneepad inverted (the bottom rolled back up the sides). He couldn't pull it out and instead spent half an hour cutting his pants leg and the knee pad out with a small knife(having a knife that is easy to access isn't such a bad idea).
pimp daddy wayne

climber
Feb 15, 2009 - 06:26pm PT
yeah bong
Brutus of Wyde

climber
Old Climbers' Home, Oakland CA
Feb 16, 2009 - 01:54pm PT
"4, 9s? Have you used em all in one pitch? "

Nope, although I would definitely take all the 9s for the Wide Wall on El Cap, the famous and frightening Sword in the Stone. Which, if I ever did another El Cap route, would be high on my list of choices.

I HAVE used two on one pitch (and wished for more) while the other two were making their way up (for the second time) Salathe' Wall.

"Whatcha mean, 'trickle-down theory of economics'? 'Round these parts, we practice 'clatter-down' theory of cams."

Brutus
Old Climbers' Home
Tom

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
Feb 16, 2009 - 08:48pm PT
Was it Pratt that said something like "technique is my protection"?

Pratt was peerless, and only a rare few can come close.


At the other end of the spectrum are people like me, who say:

My protection is my technique.


EDIT: The Valley Giants are, indeed, heavy. But the alternative is to have a questionably strong piece. The failure mode is due to structural instability, and not strength, per se. With time and an R&D budget, the weight could be reduced, but who has any of that?

Also, I challenge anyone to say that the Valley Giant is not the best cam they've ever pushed up a crack. The solid spring wire trigger wires stabilize the head of the cam, so it doesn't turn sideways, clack open, and fall out.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Feb 16, 2009 - 09:03pm PT
The solid spring wire trigger wires stabilize the head of the cam, so it doesn't turn sideways, clack open, and fall out.

until, of course, you push it up to a point in the crack where it is too wide for the cam... always a tad disconcerting, especially if you have neglected to leave any pro below you.
Tom

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
Feb 16, 2009 - 09:22pm PT
Ed, when the crack gets that wide, you grab for the VG12.

When the crack is too wide for the VG12, most people can fit inside and get a no hands/no feet lock-off by simply breathing in.

If you can't fit inside a crack too big for the VG12, I can make (and have made) a special-order VG16 that is so absurd I donated one to the Yosemite Climbing Museum.


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