Welcome to SP!  -
Areas & RangesMountains & RocksRoutesImagesArticlesTrip ReportsGearOtherPeoplePlans & PartnersWhat's NewForum

Best small cams

Post climbing gear-related questions, offer advice. For classifieds, please use that forum.
 

Best small cams

Postby AlexeyD » Thu Jul 28, 2011 6:23 am

With CCH out of business, what are people's thoughts on the best small-size cams currently on the market? I know Metolius TCUs are popular, but I find the double stem to be disadvantageous for small, pea pod type placements (and also easier to get stuck). Other thought?
User Avatar
AlexeyD

 
Posts: 2058
Joined: Thu Jun 06, 2002 11:13 am
Location: Boulder, Colorado, United States
Thanked: 56 times in 44 posts

Re: Best small cams

Postby brenta » Thu Jul 28, 2011 7:05 am

Actually, Aliens will be produced by Fixe and should be available in a few months. In the meanwhile, the Master Cams use the same lobe profiles as the TCUs. I also like the C3s. I have no experience with Wired Bliss, Micro Robots, and Zeros. Totem Cams, the smallest of which is comparable to the largest C3, are not small cams, but I just noted that their prices in the US have gone down quite a bit.
User Avatar
brenta

 
Posts: 1978
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2004 1:43 am
Location: Boulder, Colorado, United States
Thanked: 20 times in 16 posts

Re: Best small cams

Postby The Chief » Thu Jul 28, 2011 7:24 am

I also like the C3


C3's are garbage!

Sent three back to BD two weeks ago. The Trigger mechanism is made out of plastic and the trigger wire is not securely attached to the plastic retainer. Any negative pull on the lobe instantly pulls the trigger wire completely out of and off the plastic ring and that is all she wrote.

Had that happen to all three of my C3's, brand new mind you, on my first outing with them.

Chinese junk.

Best, strongest and easiest to place in more situ's than you could imagine small cam out there and has been for over two decades:
Image
The Chief

 
Thanked: time in post

The following user would like to thank The Chief for this post
FRhoderick

Re: Best small cams

Postby Autoxfil » Thu Jul 28, 2011 2:36 pm

AlexeyD wrote:With CCH out of business, what are people's thoughts on the best small-size cams currently on the market? I know Metolius TCUs are popular, but I find the double stem to be disadvantageous for small, pea pod type placements (and also easier to get stuck). Other thought?


As others said, hold out for the new Fixe Aliens. If you can't:

I really like the very smallest C3s (000 to 0). The triggers get really stiff in the bigger sizes. Most people I climb with use them and love them. I've never seen one break. I have seen sliding nuts break.

Mastercams seem to be the best cam in the next size range - about 1-4 on the Metolious scale. The smaller ones (0 and 00) are too wide with too little range - they only work well on perfectly parallel placements. The bigger sizes (5-6) have too floppy of a stem and the 6 in particular is a pain to place, especially when new. I'll swap my almost-new number 6 for a red C4 in a heartbeat. But, 1-4 are much better than the bigger C3s and smaller C4s. The heads are very narrow and they are significantly lighter.

I use Met TCUs sometimes, but mostly save them for super-light alpine racks and doubling up. The Master Cams just place much nicer with the thumb loop. Due to the central stem, the 4-lobe Master Cams actually fit into much narrower pockets than the TCUs.
User Avatar
Autoxfil

 
Posts: 558
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2009 5:40 pm
Location: NEPA and Upper Jay, United States
Thanked: 36 times in 29 posts

Re: Best small cams

Postby CClaude » Thu Jul 28, 2011 3:10 pm

Everyone has a difference in opionions which is cool. I didn't like CCH aliens and given the soft lobes I won't like the Fixe version either. I just destroyed too many of them. Personally, my rack is 99% BD (and I am not sponsored to say that), and the C3's have allowed me to do things that were impossible without. When Mike and I went and did the first all gear ascent of Shangri-la (Mike did the crux pitch) the only reason that it could be done was C3's were narrow enough to fit
Image
(Mike on the bolted 5.12d pitch tpotally on gear)

and here is the rack
Image

Nothing else fits, metolius, aliens,.... they all are too wide. The metolius with the braze on the outside just takes up too much valuable real estate. Aliens are just too wide. Slider nuts while I use on leads of other routes in granite or basalt, I would not trust taking long falls on the soft sandstone due to the expansion range.

I am going to do a three pitch linkup next month which will require 12-14 of them (I joke if I can find a long enough rope since my longest is 100m, I'll do a 5 pitch linkup).

Personally, on another route while trying to work through the crux, I took multiple 30fter's onto green (0) BD C3's, three of them in the same day on the same piece, without any problem of durability. I've also taken whippers onto the purple (size 00) and the grey (000) and without saying also the red (1).

I will say Metolius tri-cams and such are well constructed and durable pieces but for what I climb they just don't work for me.
User Avatar
CClaude

 
Posts: 1551
Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2004 9:37 am
Location: Flagstaff, Arizona, United States
Thanked: 69 times in 41 posts

The following user would like to thank CClaude for this post
bdynkin

Re: Best small cams

Postby brenta » Thu Jul 28, 2011 9:29 pm

The Chief wrote:Sent three back to BD two weeks ago. The Trigger mechanism is made out of plastic and the trigger wire is not securely attached to the plastic retainer. Any negative pull on the lobe instantly pulls the trigger wire completely out of and off the plastic ring and that is all she wrote.

Had that happen to all three of my C3's, brand new mind you, on my first outing with them.

Chinese junk.

I believe this is a known problem of the C3s. It has happened to me once in about 5 years. BD fixed my #2. The problem is a design flaw, which allows the cam stops to disengage under some conditions. It is not a manufacturing problem. Once the cam stops are disengaged, it is possible to apply to the wires more force than they are designed to withstand and they untwist off the retainer. The easiest way to cause the problem is to let the C3 walk. I think that's what happened with my placement because my partner had trouble cleaning it. If it wasn't the case with your three, I'd like to hear more about it.
User Avatar
brenta

 
Posts: 1978
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2004 1:43 am
Location: Boulder, Colorado, United States
Thanked: 20 times in 16 posts

Re: Best small cams

Postby Buckaroo » Sat Jul 30, 2011 6:36 am

Autoxfil wrote:Mastercams seem to be the best cam in the next size range - about 1-4 on the Metolious scale. The smaller ones (0 and 00) are too wide with too little range - they only work well on perfectly parallel placements. The bigger sizes (5-6) have too floppy of a stem and the 6 in particular is a pain to place, especially when new. I'll swap my almost-new number 6 for a red C4 in a heartbeat. But, 1-4 are much better than the bigger C3s and smaller C4s. The heads are very narrow and they are significantly lighter.


the Mastercams are made by Metolius, they are the exact same colors, size, and range as their TCU's. The overall cam is narrower but the lobe contact area is a little wider than the TCU's.

If you lube the #6 with some cam lube or graphite lock lube it will work better.

Some may disagree but I think the 00 is aid gear only. The 0 works sometimes when nothing else will. (but then again I don't climb 5.12)

Sometimes variety is good especially when doubling up. The MC 6 is a lot narrower than the #1 C4. The smaller C4's are confidence inspiring and have better range.
User Avatar
Buckaroo

 
Posts: 140
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2008 4:49 pm
Location: tukwila, Washington, United States
Thanked: 8 times in 6 posts

Re: Best small cams

Postby The Chief » Sat Jul 30, 2011 4:20 pm

Slider nuts while I use on leads of other routes in granite or basalt, I would not trust taking long falls on the soft sandstone due to the expansion range.


They were my primary "go to's" throughout my four years of "Clean" solo aiding many routes in Moab, River Road ("Artists Tears" A4+) Kane Creek (Deep Voodoo A4) Fisher Towers ("Intifada" A6????) Arches and Zion.

Even took several 20, 30 & 40 footers on em. All held thank god!

As posted, in granite, they are the ticket hands down in pin scars and small parallel thin cracks.

As far as the C3's go, all three were placed in somewhat flaring cracks, they partially walked and apparently flared one of the lobes open. In retracting to reset, the lobe caught the lip of the crack preventing any further closing movement. That is all she wrote.....ping! Had they had some sort of stop on the wire ends, it would prevent this from happening. The current design does not have anything to prevent the wire from unraveling and breaking free from around the plastic cylinder that they are attached to, when any negative tension is applied to the trigger.

Edit: Grammar Correction
Last edited by The Chief on Sun Jul 31, 2011 7:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The Chief

 
Thanked: time in post

Re: Best small cams

Postby SKI » Sun Jul 31, 2011 4:50 am

All I know, is that when I find a slot for a C3, it's bomber (keep falling on my red and green one, #1, 0?). I can't get a purple one to place worth a damn though.

I've belayed someone who had an alien become dismantled before my eyes (scary) and have heard several other stories about similar occurances...

Lot's of good info on this page though. Just my 2 cents. I don't have any experience with ball nuts...
User Avatar
SKI

 
Posts: 275
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 2:52 pm
Location: The Cascades, United States
Thanked: 46 times in 26 posts

Re: Best small cams

Postby brenta » Sun Jul 31, 2011 5:07 pm

The Chief wrote:As far as the C3's go, all three were placed in somewhat flaring cracks, they partially walked and apparently flared one of the lobes open. In retracting to reset, the lobe caught the lip of the crack preventing any further closing movement.

Yes, this should be the same failure mechanism. Thanks!
User Avatar
brenta

 
Posts: 1978
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2004 1:43 am
Location: Boulder, Colorado, United States
Thanked: 20 times in 16 posts

Re: Best small cams

Postby AlexeyD » Sun Jul 31, 2011 6:26 pm

SKI wrote:I've belayed someone who had an alien become dismantled before my eyes (scary) and have heard several other stories about similar occurances...


This probably is a case of a manufacturing defect - I've heard of other similar horror stories involving Aliens.

Thanks everyone for your input - all very interesting comments!
User Avatar
AlexeyD

 
Posts: 2058
Joined: Thu Jun 06, 2002 11:13 am
Location: Boulder, Colorado, United States
Thanked: 56 times in 44 posts

Re: Best small cams

Postby CClaude » Mon Aug 01, 2011 12:53 pm

The braze problem on the CCH aliens was a well documented problem. I have friends who worked really hard to keep a guy alive, successfully, who had a braze separated when he weighted one.with Fixe making them in the future this should be a non-problem.

The 00 BD C3's work great, along with the 000. A partner this week used one (a 000 in a situation where it saved his butt).
User Avatar
CClaude

 
Posts: 1551
Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2004 9:37 am
Location: Flagstaff, Arizona, United States
Thanked: 69 times in 41 posts

Re: Best small cams

Postby The Chief » Mon Aug 01, 2011 3:18 pm

CC:

I believe that the C-3's are more suited to the consistent smoothness found in sandstone cracks/flakes in your climbing environment, than in those inconsistent one's found in granite, basalt and tuff etc. There is far less chance for the lobes to catch on any small flake during retraction thus hindering/preventing them from retracting and then creating stop situ with the results that occurred in my scenarios
The Chief

 
Thanked: time in post


Return to Gear

 


  • Related topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests

© 2006-2013 SummitPost.org. All Rights Reserved.