How To Clean Climbing Cams
First of all you need to inspect your cams to make sure there isn’t any damage on them. Open and close the lobes, and check for any kind of wear. Including on the sling attached to the stem, the wires and trigger.
If you are worried about the state of a cam consider retiring it, or sending it back to the brand you bought it from so they can check everything is ok.
Use a toothbrush to brush away any obvious dust and mud. You can use a specie cam cleaning brush for this, but anything small will do. A bouldering brush isn’t a great idea as it might have chalk residue on it, and this will get into the cam.
Then place the cam into just off boiling water and swish it around a bit. Keep the trigger and sling away from the water. Open and close the lobes and make sure it is thoroughly rinsed.
Take the cam out of the water and use some dishwashing soap or washing up liquid to them. Try to avoid anything with alcahol, or perfumes in them.
Scrub the cam lobes and moving parts with the toothbrush and soap.
Once clean, place the cam back into the water and thoroughly rinse. Take your time and make sure all of the soap is removed.
Then take out the cam, and dry with a lint free cloth.
At this point you might want to use some compressed air to blow onto the cam and remove the last traces of dirt and make sure all the water is gone.
Finally we need to lubricate the cam. Today we are using Metolius Cam Lube which you can buy from the EpicTV shop. When dirt attaches it’s self to the dry film of the lube small particles will break off carrying the dirt with it.
You can use other products but avoid oil based lube as dust is more easily attracted to it.
Open the cam up and squeeze the lube into the cam, making sure you coat the springs and pivots. Try to avoid getting any on the lobes themselves.
Finally wipe off any extra lubricant let the cams fully dry and your good to go!
How often you do this really depends on how much you are using the cams. However, certain environments like deserts or sea cliffs where the gear is susceptible to salt water corrosion and requires more cleaning. At the very least rinse your cams in warm water after using them in these situations.
Washing gear is great for your safety but it also prolongs the life span of your equipment.
We will be doing a few of these cleaning articles over the next few months looking at how to wash down items and hardshells.