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While browsing the (physical) shop both climbers and non-climbers alike are drawn towards our selection of cams.  I like to think it's because of the well thought-out, complex solution engineered to effectively protect a lead climber from a fall but its probably just because they are shiny.  

Modern spring-loaded camming devices (SLCD's) known as cam's or Friends have come a long way since their invention in the 70's but the principle remains the same - loading creates a rotational force allowing a single device to be placed quickly in a variety of situations (cracks) to protect against a fall.  Climbing cam design continues to evolve - from lighter hot forged components, stronger wires, extendable dyneema slings to having a greater range of use for protecting the most marginal crack through to shiny land-anchors for protecting off-width obscenities.   

Previously bold and run-out routes can now be climbed much easier and safer using this active protection allowing the climber and mountaineer to protect ascents using parallel and flared cracks which can (unlike pitons) then be easily removed without damaging the rock.