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For Safety’s Sake Don’t Do This: Use Body Fluid for Cam Lube

This story goes beyond gross.

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We were racking up at the base of the Grand Wall in Squamish. We’d opted to use my old rack, but the trigger on one of my #1 cams was stuck. My partner asked to see the cam, turned around, and then I heard a tinkling noise. He was peeing on the cam head. The urine lubricated the cam, but I forced him to carry it for the climb. Instead, I chose to run out the Split Pillar hand crack.
James Lucas

LESSON: Gross. While urine isn’t particularly dangerous, tests have shown that a rope soaked in urine overnight broke after 30 percent fewer test falls. It could weaken the cam’s nylon sling slightly. But this is more an issue of etiquette. Before peeing on your partner’s cam, try the standard method: Clean it in warm, soapy water, and then lube the moving parts with WD-40, bike-chain lube, or a climbing-specific lube. Climbers on Internet forums like to debate the merits of various options. If you’re unsure, Metolius’s wax-based formula is a safe bet. If that doesn’t work, you still shouldn’t pee on it. Peeing on climbing gear is never the answer.

You would think he would’ve tried water before pee.

READ MORE AT THE SAFETY’S SAKE HALL OF FAME (OR IS IT SHAME?)

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Belay Off Your Gear Loop

Clean Your Pro On Lead

Belay With a Knife In Your Hand

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