My climbing partner said that double-axle cams such as the Black Diamond C4s can be used as passive protection with the cams all the way out in a constriction. Is this true for all double- axle cams of different brands and sizes, or is there a limit?
—Nico Wright via e-mail
The three double-axle cam designs, the Black Diamond Camalot, Wild
Country New Friend and the DMM Dragon, are all CE-certified for passive use and in all sizes as long as the unit has double axles (the smaller Camalot
X4s have single axles). But, Nico, let’s be honest for a change: You are more likely to see Christ’s face in the clouds than to come across a passive
A passive cam placement requires, to paraphrase Liam Neeson in Taken, “A very particular characteristic.” That being either a “T” shape, an extreme
bottleneck, a downward taper or other womb-like aberration that will trap the umbrella-ed cam and keep it from rattling out.
This placement is so particular that in my nearly 45 years on the rock, I’ve yet to see one outside an instructional manual. Then again, I’ve got this
new how-to book on shibani, and there’s plenty in there I’ve never seen. Gear Guy has spoken!
This article was published in Rock and Ice issue 235 (July 2016).