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More on ART Spiderjack cam (clutch) wear

Richard Tregoweth - Tuesday, May 03, 2011

As discussed in the blog yesterday, the first cam (clutch ) on a new Spiderjack seems to wear much faster than subsequent replacement cams.

According to Spiderjack expert Joe Harris , the initial wear on the Spiderjack cam might be due to the novice (Spiderjack) climber overusing the cam itself rather than controlling the amount of friction leading to the cam with the thumb-activated wooden block. 

There is a subtle balance to be had between the two 'brakes' (wooden block and cam) which makes the Spiderjack function as it does.

Treetools suggested the initial cam wear might be due to 'cleansing' effect the Spiderjack has on the rope but Joe's practical analysis is more likely to be correct.

Many climbers are taking the opportunity to trial climbing product on the Treetools indoor 'tree' at Kerwyn Ave.

The Spiderjack is one device that most climbers visiting the store want to try. Almost all 'trialists' tend to overuse the the downward functioning clutch release mechanism.

It's only after a few drops do they figure out that greater control can be attained by also utilzing the wooden block. The 'block' controls the speed of the rope as it enters into the clutch mechanism and produces the smoothness seen in Joe's climb.

The difference between a worn clutch and a new one is minimal to the naked eye. Treetools has a worn clutch (donated by Matt Glen) to demonstrate the differences to would be Spiderjack owners and most can barely spot the difference between the two (new and old).

All this talk of worn cams and people might think you'll suddenly drop from the tree. That is not the case, a worn cam just means the Spiderjack will creep slowly on the rope. The creeping effect gets worse as the cam continues to wear but there is no sudden or un-anticipated release.

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