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Placing traditional pro is probably the most difficult aspect of climbing, right up there with body positioning.
There are a few things that are the same with placing all traditional pro:
There are three main types of traditional protection, and different methods for placing each.
Friends are a fairly new invention. Before reading about how to place them, read through the equipment entry about friends.
When placing friends, it is important that the unit is not retracted too far. When placing a cam, you should only need to pull back about 3/4 of the way on the trigger. If you are pulling back more, then switch to a different size. If you don't have to pull back more than 1/5 of the way on the trigger to fit the cam in, then you should move to a larger size. All of the four (or three if there are only that many) of the cams should be touching as much of the rock as possible!
The depth of placement depends on the specific kind of cam. Some cams have flexible stems, and some do not. You don't want the stem to break if you fall on it, so place the cam deep enough that the stem is not on the edge.
Nuts are somewhat simpler than friends, partly because their stems are wires, and they have no moving parts. Before reading through how to place nuts, you should read the equipment entry about nuts.
Because of nuts' wedge shape, they are best placed in cracks that start wide, and get narrower. When placing nuts, be sure that they will hold a fall in any direction that you could fall in - sideways, outward, and downward.
Just like cams, they should be clipped with long webbing so that they don't rock out.
|A small nut in a small crack. Picture Credit.|
Hexes are kind of like 2.88 megabyte floppy disks - they are nicer than nothing, but they just aren't the greatest. Make sure to check out the equipment entry about hexes.
Hexes can be placed endwise in cracks that are just the right angle, but these cracks are few and far between. Another common hex placement is in a crack that allows entrance of the hex when it is turned one direction, but keeps possesion of the hex when it is rotated at all.
The most frequent hex placement is similar to that of a nut, in a crack that narrows.
Small hexes are slung with wire, but larger hexes are strung with spectra cord. Spectra cord is made up partly of kevlar, the same material used in bullet-proof vests. Spectra cord does not melt, and is very strong. Because it does not melt, the ends fray easily. Use tape on the ends to keep it from coming apart.