/ Aliens, worth the £? What else could I consider?

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rock waif 01 Jun 2006
Hi

Now we can get Aliens (little cams) in the UK I've been thinking of getting some. Only hitch is they are ~£50. In the US they seem to be about £30 (but then there's shipping and import tax.
http://www.mtntools.com/cat/rclimb/cams/cchalienscom.htm

I've been using my friends Aliens when climbing and ususally place them, so I know I like them.

How do people rate Aliens compared to the other mirco cams around?

Cheers
Tom Ripley 01 Jun 2006
In reply to rock waif: i'd get long stemmed zeros as they are stonger, have cam stops (not that they are of any use on cmas that size!), are longer, so will go in deeper (stronger) placements. also they have a doubled up sling which reduces the number qds needed.
jkarran 01 Jun 2006
In reply to rock waif:

Options are Aliens/Zeros clearly. Zeros are a stronger more modern design with flashy adverts and some clever manufacturing.

Having used both though, the Aliens still have it. They're just somehow nicer to use and the drawbacks of shorter sling and lack of camstops are marginal as long as you're aware of them.

Green Yellow and Blue are best in my opinion. Black seems a waste of time as do the larger sizes.
rock waif 01 Jun 2006
In reply to jkarran: Yes, I was going to get green and blue to compliment my existing cams.

;o)

I think it will be case of trying them out in the shop. I was just wondering if anyone knew of any other technical reasons why/why not to get cams? I know they were not sold in the UK before as IIRC they did not have a CE rating (???)

Cheers
endless winter 01 Jun 2006
In reply to rock waif:

they are nice but not worth the cost over here, by some zeros or metolious ones.
jkarran 01 Jun 2006
In reply to rock waif:

How much are Zeros now? Haven't bought any gear for years, I thought they were pricey. They're supposed to be good in very shallow cracks but I don't think I'd be keen to test one.

Aliens have been available in the UK for a good few years. Have they been missing from the shelves recently?

I used some Metolius 3 cam jobbies in the US and they were pretty good. Some of the DMM 3CU are good as well as cheap, purple one's rubbish, no amount of cleaning/lubrication keeps it working for long. Purple 3CU lives in the bottom of my rucksac, Green one lives on my harness.
rock waif 01 Jun 2006
In reply to jkarran:

Zero are £45 (on Needlesports). Not that much difference between them and Aliens in price.

Ah! and they have Aliens for about the same price.

:O)
beardy mike 01 Jun 2006
In reply to rock waif: Maybe ghosts... they're going cheap at the minute...

Cotswold have them for £32. Saw a few in a basket at the MCC on saturday.
endless winter 01 Jun 2006
sandywilson 01 Jun 2006
In reply to jkarran:
> Some of the DMM 3CU are good as well as cheap, purple one's rubbish, no amount of cleaning/lubrication keeps it working for long. Purple 3CU lives in the bottom of my rucksac, Green one lives on my harness.

Use purple one a lot (on limestone) - no problems!

IainWhitehouse 01 Jun 2006
In reply to endless winter:

The new Camalot C3s would be a much better bet. Mine finally arrived today so I expect you'll see tham in all good climbing shops within a week.
Iain
IainWhitehouse 01 Jun 2006
In reply to jkarran:
> (In reply to rock waif)
>
> Options are Aliens/Zeros clearly.
And C3s and baby Metolius TCUs......

> Green Yellow and Blue are best in my opinion. Black seems a waste of time as do the larger sizes.

Poppycock

> Having used both though, the Aliens still have it. They're just somehow nicer to use and the drawbacks of shorter sling and lack of camstops are marginal as long as you're aware of them.

That I can agree with. Aliens are nicer to use.
John Lisle 01 Jun 2006
In reply to rock waif:

I *love* my aliens and waay prefer them to zeros.

Do you know anyone in the US that can buy them for you and then ship as a gift (slightly naughty suggestion)?

John
Apollo 01 Jun 2006
In reply to IainWhitehouse:

But they look like they were constucted by a blind, dyslexic monkey with all the structural engineering skills of Bonanno Pisano.

rock waif 01 Jun 2006
In reply to Chris Tan Ver. XLVIII SP2:

Thanks. They are not on their website and MCC is a bit far for me to go but cheers.
rock waif 01 Jun 2006
In reply to John Lisle: Yes, that thought has occurred to me. I am sure if I leave it a bit I will think of someone.

;o)
jkarran 01 Jun 2006
In reply to IainWhitehouse:

> Poppycock

If you read carefully, I stated this was "my opinion". Which bit do you object to anyway?
rock waif 01 Jun 2006
Great I was hoping from some "discussion".

Haha!
jimkeeley 01 Jun 2006
In reply to Chris Tan Ver. XLVIII SP2:

Zeros or Aliens for £32 in Cotswold? I would be exteemly suprised if they were Aliens...

Jim
IainWhitehouse 01 Jun 2006
In reply to jkarran:
> (In reply to IainWhitehouse)
>
> [...]
>
> If you read carefully, I stated this was "my opinion". Which bit do you object to anyway?

That the small sizes are useless. (I am allowed to have the opinion that your opinion is poppycock aren't I?)
IainWhitehouse 01 Jun 2006
In reply to jimkeeley:
> (In reply to Chris Tan Ver. XLVIII SP2)
>
> Zeros or Aliens for £32 in Cotswold? I would be exteemly suprised if they were Aliens...
>
Perhaps that is a special price for outdoor professionals?

Lego 01 Jun 2006
The Aliens are made of a slightly softer alloy and therefore deform and bite easier - i find this is great climbing on sandstone etc. where they seem to sit better in marginal placements.

On other harder rock types (grit/limestone), i find them very similar to place, and like the better 'quality' of the zero and the cam stops.

The zeros are also very close to being as narrow as an Aliens so you don't loose much.

Um, maybe do what i did, and buy a Zero whilst also engaging on a long term stategy to get some Aliens from the states (i asked everyone i knew who might be going etc. until my parents obliged...).

rock waif 01 Jun 2006
In reply to Lego: Thanks! Are you saying Aliens aren't as good on grit? Bit confused (easily done).

I have to say I think your photo gallery is one of the best on here.

;o)
nic mullin 01 Jun 2006
In reply to rock waif: an important difference between aliens and most other cams is that the cam angle is bigger - 16 degrees for aliens rather than 13.75 deg used on most cams - this means that they hold better in flares, so good for pin scars and the grit etc.

as these placements tend to be shallow and blind the lack of cam stops is less of an issue as there's nowhere for the cam to walk to.

on limestone and granite (if there aren't peg scars) small cams often go into quite deep and less flared placements, so zeros, micro camalots etc would be a better choice as they have cam stops.

i've used aliens quite a bit and rate them better than anything else i've used as they hold in worse placements. having said that i've still not bought any cos they cost loads!
AndyH1710 01 Jun 2006
In reply to rock waif:

I'm in the states at the moment. If you want me to buy you some aliens and then post them to you when I get back to the UK(that won't be until the 29th June) then email me which colours you want and you're UK address to post them to.

Andy
rock waif 01 Jun 2006
In reply to AndyH1710: Thanks very much, that's really kind of you. I've emailed you. Very much appreciated.
Damian L01 Jun 2006
I too am waiting for the newe Camalot C3...officially the bomb...or so i hear...
David Hooper 02 Jun 2006
In reply to IainWhitehouse: Wow - are they here at last Iain and are they as good as they look?

Im gonna phone 1st Ascent and get my order in
beardy mike 02 Jun 2006
In reply to nic mullin:
> (In reply to rock waif) an important difference between aliens and most other cams is that the cam angle is bigger - 16 degrees for aliens rather than 13.75 deg used on most cams - this means that they hold better in flares, so good for pin scars and the grit etc.

This is nitpicking but increased cam angle reduces holding power whilst increasing range... te cam angle refers to the angle between the tangent to the cam surface i.e. as it increases the amount of metal touching the rock decreases... you'd probably not notice it in practice though especially with the softer cam material...
rock waif 02 Jun 2006
In reply to IainWhitehouse:
> (In reply to endless winter)
> [...]
>
> The new Camalot C3s would be a much better bet. Mine finally arrived today so I expect you'll see tham in all good climbing shops within a week.
> Iain

These -
http://www.bdel.com/gear/detail/c3_detail.php
John Lisle 02 Jun 2006
In reply to rock waif:

Bob Hughes is off to the US next week - see his thread.

J
nic mullin 02 Jun 2006
In reply to mike kann: sorry, this arises from my sloppy definition of holding power. to clarify:

the cam angle is the angle between the contact point of the cam lobe and a line going through the cam axle that is pependicular to a parallel sided crack (this corresponds with the angle of the tangent to the surface). hence increasing the cam angle places the axle of the cam further behind the contact point of the cam lobe. this decreases the component of the load perpendicular to the walls of the crack and means that the cams have to rotate through a greater angle for the placement to pull all other things being equal. hence an alien will stick in cracks that are more flared (by 2x2.25 degrees). as you say, range increases with cam angle - this is a good thing for small placements as small cams have a very small range and so smaller wrinkles on the inside of a placement can have drastic effects on its quality.

I think your point about the softer alloy is very valid - it can be very disconcerting watching a cam skate around on small crystals and edges inside a placement - aliens seem to bite into these when tugged and so inspire a bit more confidence!

I think that the old BD camalots used softer alloy than friends, but this may have changed on the new version.

the new c3's look very nice.
jkarran 02 Jun 2006
In reply to IainWhitehouse:

Fair enough, although I didn't say the small sizes are useless, just the black one. It's so tiny that any irregulatities in the surface texture of the placement seem to effect it's security.

Useful for aid and in perfect placements but not much more. Again just my opinion.

Blue is great. Get's placed whenever I get the chance.
In reply to rock waif: I've just replaced my (heavily used) 5 year old Aliens with a new set from CragX Really rate them, and although I also have a couple of Zero's, I always seem to use the Aliens in preference.
jkarran 02 Jun 2006
In reply to nic mullin:

Most modern cams seem to have a very hard surface layer from the anodising which is presumably done purely for cosmetic reasons.

Has anyone noticed their cams get better as this wears/scratches off? Hadn't thought about this until now so could be talking shite.

I dont think Aliens are anodised are they?
Rosie A02 Jun 2006
In reply to rock waif:

<drool>

me too wanty wanty. I used Anni's at the weekend and they're fine.

beardy mike 02 Jun 2006
In reply to nic mullin: I think the point here is that because of the increased caming range on each of the cams, they allow for a a greater number of placement as the inner lobes can retract further when compared to the outer, giving you better flared placement... as I say I believe part of the reason for the soft material is to compensate for the direct loss in friction resultant from the more accute angle but as you say it also aids "bite".

BD Cams because of their double axle design also have a different camming angle and although I've never looked at this in detail, it is reckoned to be about 15 degrees. Looking at the changed ranges in the C4 range this may well have changed to compensate for a harder material used for the cams to improve durability... and you're right c3's do look pretty damned plush. Nearly as plush as those pesky Metolius Supercams!
Martin W 02 Jun 2006
In reply to rock waif: If you're thinking of getting Aliens, I'd suggest you have a look on rockclimbing.com as they seem to get discussed there quite regularly! For example, have a look at these threads:
http://www.rockclimbing.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=1277671
http://www.rockclimbing.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=1285954
http://www.rockclimbing.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=998605
http://www.rockclimbing.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=1366495
There are plenty of other threads there which you should be able to root out using their search function.

rock waif 02 Jun 2006
In reply to Martin W: Thank you Martin. I am just trawling through the threads, trying to work ou if the Alien cam failures were only in the recalled Aliens (purchased post-2004) .
endless winter 02 Jun 2006
In reply to rock waif:

any aliens you buy here won't be part of the recall
rock waif 02 Jun 2006
In reply to endless winter: yes but I just wanted to check if the problems were all on recalled cams. Cheers
Timmd 02 Jun 2006
In reply to rock waif:Aliens have a cam angle of 16 degrees, but have a softer alloy than usual, and seem to grip well on grit from what people have said on here, and Metolius camming devices have a cam angle of 13.25, which is smaller than the cam angle of 13.75 degrees on Zeros, and in theory has more holding power. Though i don't know how a difference in alloys effects how much of a bigger cam angle you can have and still have the same holding power as a cam with a smaller angle but a harder metal,(with Zeros and Metolius cams both being made of a harder metal than Aliens). Metolius cams would definately be grippier than Zero cams, or have more holding power, unless the actual cam is a different width on one of the cam designs (and has more or less contact with the rock), which would also affect the holding power, if the width of the cams is the same on them both then Metolius cams have a bit more holding power but a bit less range per camming device, range is how big and how small they go. ()

Cheers
Tim
Timmd 02 Jun 2006
In reply to rock waif:I did some research a while ago and it seemed a waste to not put it on a thread for other people.
Tim
Lego 02 Jun 2006
In reply to rock waif:

No, not going as far as saying they aren't as good, and i probably still use them more but that the benefits of Aliens are less on the harder stuff; whilst the Zeros have cam stops, better engineering and are harder wearing.

Hope this helps...

Oh and thanks, will be adding photo's but keep forgetting the camera!
sdavies141 02 Jun 2006
I have been climbing around the world in Oz, NZ, USA as well as alot of time back in blighty,and have had the opportunity to use Aliens, C3's and Micro camalots, as well as Zeros And TCU's. I can say with out a shadow of a doubt aliens are the best out there. All the BD's and TCU's only flex in one direction, this means in a horizontal cracks they walk quite alot (even with long QD's) I found the C3's to be the worst for this, although the C3's are a great Aid climbin piece.

This leaves really Zeros and Aliens, Both are very flexible in small and marginal placements, but aliens seem to fit better are easier to cam down and seem to get alot less f***ked over time. I have taken some monster whippers onto the aliens and they are totally bomber. I would really recomend them. Get a double set, Blue, Green, Yellow, One Gray and Two Reds. Thjat rack of small cams is solid and will work for climbin all over the world. Only get a black if you are doing some aid or really desparate climb.

.....ALIENS ROCK MY WORLD.....
rock waif 14 Jun 2006
In reply to Sambo: Thank you.

http://www.aliencamsbycch.com/index.html
that's for my ref
stone honkey15 Jun 2006
In reply to rock waif:

Aliens have softer metal than zeros which means they don't wear as well but will holds falls better. I haven't fallen on mine, but a mate has and his looks pretty worn
Anni 15 Jun 2006
In reply to rock waif:

Aliens every time. They just *feel* better. They give me far more confidence than Ive had with any other camming device, as they bite better in any type of rock Ive found. Its all very individual really but personally Ive never liked anything as much having used all types available. Definatley worth the money, Im slowly increasing my collection
Jus 15 Jun 2006
In reply to Anni:

Aye me too.

They are always the first bit of gear I look to place, and I've got a lot of gear!

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