|Climbers follow a route in the High Sierra (A. Stephen)|
Organize, Re-Mark, Inspect
The first step is sorting out the gear. I lay out all cams, stoppers, and other hardware, and separate carabiners from slings. Once everything is laid out, I will inspect everything to make sure it is in good working order. Things I'm looking for:
Cams/Nuts: Rust? Frayed cables? Trigger action?
Carabiners and Other Hardware: Dings or potentially sharp blemishes that could mess with my soft goods? Good carabiner gate action? Acceptable wear (See photo below)?
Soft Goods (Rope, slings, cords, harness): Core shots? Frayed slings? Sun damage(discoloration, or a stiff/chalky feeling)? Especially important to carefully examine Dyneema! Alot of slings will tell you the date they were made- if it was more than five years ago, retire it! If you can't tell whether or not you have a core shot, try to bend the rope in half at the point of damage. If you can, it's a core shot.
|This sling was retired this year due to fraying and general wear. |
Note the fuzziness of the sling itself as well as the fraying at the bar-tack
|This worn carabiner will be retired after this year, and will not be one I use|
as a connecting point in a top-rope setting ever again.
|I remark all my gear every year- nail polish seems to last the longest.|
The best way to clean your cams is with a large pot of boiling water, a pipe-cleaner, and a teflon-based lubricant. You can buy specialized cam lube from Metolius, but I have equally as good luck with Tri-Flow, a teflon-based bike lube that is easier to find and sometimes cheaper.
|Metolius Cam Lube|
The next step is to clean the dirt and grime away from the moving parts of the cam. I focus on the axles and springs. Make sure to pull the trigger to get access to different aspects of the axle.
Now your rack is all set for another season of sending the gnar!
--Andy Stephen, Instructor and Guide