/ Climbing cams , whats in your rack ...
So after breaking out our old rack , and getting bk out this autumn we discovered that a few of our cams needed a little tlc , this when recently in the climbing shop made me think about starting to replace our cams.. currently we have been using a full set of Dmm 4cu's and a full set of 3cu's ..
Ive been having a little look at what we like , theres not much init tbh , I have to say after having a play in the shop with dragon 2 , friend , Camelot , we kinda liked the feel of the Camelot .. which surprised us a little ... we did really like the extendable sling on the dmm cams as it cuts down on quickdraws ..
Any way , im guessing this has been done to death on the net , but wanted to see what peoples thoughts are and what you are all using ? what you like , and dont like ... this might help us decide what way to go ..
Totems black-red, Dragons gold-silver. Previously also had a second set - 4CUs 1.5-3 and 3CUs 0.5 and 1, but I sold those last year as they weren't seeing much use and my usual climbing partners also own a set of cams for routes which require doubles. At some point I'll probably buy the Totem orange and Dragon red, as I find those to be the sizes I most often wish I had multiples of on grit.
The Totems are truly fantastic. I don't think I've ever placed a cam which feels more reassuring, even in the tiny sizes.
Extendable slings are brilliant. Such a simple little addition but really useful. Don't think I would go back to cams without them now.
I favour the Black Diamond Camalot C4s. The stiff thumb loop is great, makes the cam much easier to put into position with one hand. Most of my mates have Dragons and I like the sling but I'd never give up the thumb loop now. Also when I researched it I think I found that the C4s were the strongest cams. Not sure if that's still true.
I have (old style) Camelot’s as I liked the thumb loop and I didn’t get on with the pigs nose design of the Dragons and that out weighed the advantage of the doubled sling.However, having climbed with Dragons a lot more now (my climbing partner has a set), I think i’d go Dragons out of the two options as they feel lovely in your hand (well made), the doubled sling is very handy and the pigs nose isn’t embuggerance I thought it might be. I like them.
Having said that, everyone seems to rave about Totems so if I was thinking of doubling up (finances don’t allow so this is but a pipe dream) I’d be going down the Totem route.
Yeah I do like the thumb loop on the Bd's C4 ... Im gonna a have a look at the totems , these I have over looked ..
The 4cu and the 3cu , have been good to use , the 4's do walk in a little at times , reasonable to place tho and I have taken some whippers on them , found they move about a bit if ever sitting in the harness as my daughter found out a few weeks bk when it popped ... lol , I guess that would be much the same for any cams tho ..
> Extendable slings are brilliant. Such a simple little addition but really useful. Don't think I would go back to cams without them now.
I’m going to go against what appears to be the party line here and disagree with you. I find the extendable sling a) incredibly daddy and b) not really long enough to do the job of extending runners properly. Horses for courses and all that though. I much prefer camalots, for the thumb loop.
I like Camalots C4s from 0.5 upwards with totems from black to red and a couple of totem basics at the small end. The totems are ace for fiddly things (shotholes, pockets, limestone) and have been go-to gear since we got them. I do hear good things about the new mini DMMs/Wild Country though so psyched to try those in due course...
Decisions for camalots made based on:
Larger camalots thumbloop/trigger combo easier to use for smaller hands
Find extendable slings on cams too faffy (even worse seconding)
They're really cheap in the US
I like DMM Dragons. They feel robust and the extendable slings are nice. I have size 1 to 5, although I'm not sure I've ever used the biggest one. I also have a couple of mid-size single-axle Demons.
(If anyone want some budget-price cams, Needle Sports bought the last of DMM's stock of Demons and have a bin full of them for £35 each.)
Totems with Dragons in the larger sizes (and a spare set of Dragons for doubling up when needed)
As you've already worked out, there's not really much to choose between C4s and Dragon 2s. I regularly climb on both and alternate between which I seem to prefer.
However, I've recently been climbing on a partner's rack with a double set of Totems. Great kit, very reassuring placements and I've found no real downside from the slightly bulkier design.
I'm currently on a double sets of WC Zeros (3 up) and Dragon 1s. For consistency I might upgrade a couple to Dragon 2s if/when anything wears out or gets lost. However, if I won the lottery, I'd probably swap everything for Totems.
> As you've already worked out, there's not really much to choose between C4s and Dragon 2s. I regularly climb on both and alternate between which I seem to prefer.
I don't have a stake in the game, but are also looking into starting my trad rack. Why is no one (except beardymike) recommending the New Friends by Wild Country, they seem to be the perfect combination of C4s and Dragons?
Not sure if you were replying to me or just generally...
First there is the classic catch 22, not many climbers own the WC cams therefore not many climbers have used them and therefore have any worthwhile opinion. I've not used them personally so wouldn't feel confident recommending them.
Second, WCs new owners have been busy restructuring the business so marketing and sales activities have been impacted resulting in much less stock in shops and visibility generally.
BD and DMM will repair and resling cams, WC wont.
Not much between the camalots and dragons. I've got a set of camalots and I think I would swap them for a set of dragon two's. Couldn't say exactly why, they just feel a bit nicer in my opinion.
Totems feel really reassuring too.
I have to say the totem cams , seem really expensive , im gonna try and find one in a shop to look at before I decide ..
The new dragon fly cams look good , I cant help thinking that they should have added the same thumb loop in to the dragons 2 ...
I have at time noticed that the extended sling on the dmm cams have been a little short , I have them on the 3 and 4 cu's .. not felt awkward to use , hasn't been a pain when seconding so my daughter said .. but we have at time needed to add a extra Qd .. but overall is a handy little feature ..
I have a nearly full rack of Camalot C4s (sizes 0.4 to 5).
DMM Dragons from camalot size 0.5 to 4.
Older Metolius Master Cams from the smallest to Camalot size 0.5
Camalot C3s from the largest (about camalot C4 size 0.3) to the second smallest
A few original CCH Aliens
For easier terrain the extendable sling on say Dragons is nice... but when I'm at my limit, it's really fiddly to use them when compared to the Camalots.
And the Aliens (so Totem Basic) are absolutely stellar in the smaller sizes.
Were I to revamp now my cams... Id's prolly get the following:
New Camalot C4s from 0.5 to 3
Camalot Ultralights from 0.75 to 3
Totem Basics from the smallest to Camalot size 0.5
Some other micro cams from the smallest to Camalot size 0.4
Big cams (doubles on camalot size 4, single 5 and single 6)... well what is light and available... In these sizes (especially 5 and 6) double axels aren't really all that beneficial... so even the WC Techs (red & green) might be nice... but also the new C4 Camalots are rather light and have the nifty "lock" to keep 'em closed while racked.
I'm biased so ignore me
Fort what it's worth I think all the doubkle axle cams from DMM, and BD are superb aswell as the WC. I don't think you'd go far wrong with any of them. And Totems are hands down the best Microcam at the moment...
> And Totems are hands down the best Microcam at the moment...
Totem or Totem basics?
And Totems are hands down the best Microcam at the moment...
From what I understand the Totems differ in their design because they use Bowden cables instead of rigid stems? Is this only good for small sizes (because you say microcams)?
Basics. Not tried the Totem totems in anger so couldn't comment on those...
Sorry - should have said Basics...
> I'm biased so ignore me
> Fort what it's worth I think all the doubkle axle cams from DMM, and BD are superb aswell as the WC. I don't think you'd go far wrong with any of them. And Totems are hands down the best Microcam at the moment...
Re the WC New Friends, Beardy - I had a bit of doubt when I read they have hollow tubular axles. Not being of an engineering bent this sounds less robust to me. From what I've read of your comments here you seem to be pretty genned up on this sort of thing. What's your take on hollow axles please? I do like the look and feel of them and having been a WC Friend user since the seventies and having had every manifestation up till now (and one Camalot) it'd be nice to maintain my brand loyalty but . . . .
Any advice (reassurance?) gratefully received. Thanks. Martin
I designed them, that's why... the hollow axle is slightly wider diameter than the DMM and BD which gives you the same stiffness as the solid version but with less weight. It has to do with bending moments - the material at the centre does not do that much and its the material at the edges which takes nearly all the compressive and tensile forces so a tube is a more efficient shape in terms of material distribution. It's more or less two axles for the weight of one.
Wow. Horses mouth and all that. Thanks a lot for your instant and positive response. I'll get some. They seem to have all the benefits discussed in this thread - double axles, lightness, thumb loop, extending slings, though regarding this last, after using Torque Nuts I tend to concur with those who find them a faff and will probably just rack 'em 2 to a crab and use a quickdraw with 'em as I do now.
Looked at your details - being a Dolomite fan I keep meaning to suggest your place to the lads for our annual icefall climbing week. Next year maybe, if we're still capable, and you'll have us?
I think the torque nuts are more of a faff because they don't pull out that freely and reracking is also a faff. On a loose sling, it's just super easy to do, certainly no more faff than an extender. The other thing to mention is that the DMM stems are super short because of the lack of thumb loop and pigs nose arrangement. It means you lose about 1.5 inches which is about a craabiner length which means you are more likely to need an extender.
As for ice climbing - great do it. It's a great venue. This year it will be restricted as there was a flood which washed out the road There's lots in the surroundiong area though and more going up all the time. If you like PM me and we can have a chat?
If you like PM me and we can have a chat?
Splendid notion. I will when I've got some other stuff out of the way.
And thanks for the further advice re cams. All taken on board - we never stop learning eh? Even after 53 years climbing! Mind you I have met some who know it all after 18 months.
Here is the serrai - mostly about skiing down it but shows the ice falls too. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLusArZ4iLU&fbclid=IwAR3Mxmfb9ytfrjSXGTqYbx54GQUTtpjrg7uUyCDl53D-K0feVn72B3zCCHs
Mike, is it still the case that WC can't re-sling their cams? And do you know what maximum lifetime the slings are given in the documentation?
I don't I am afraid - I wasn't involved with that and wasconsulting as a third party.
I would assume the slings lifetime is the same as with almost every other dyneema sling... so like 5 years wiht no fraying etc.
Naturally this is mostly the case of manufacturer covering their arse for ligation... so they state one time (bar wear) after which they can claim not their problem... I seem to recall, that more often than not, slings will still be almost as durable as new (normal use) provided they have no physical damage present even double or more the time frame...
Some US smaller brands are doing re-slung service BTW, I seem to recall FISH doing it. (yup http://www.fishproducts.com/catalog/repairs.html )
Just checked - it is the standard five years from first use. And as far as I know WC still cannot re-sling at all.
This means I'll always go BD or DMM; for me, at least, not being able to have it re-slung by the original manufacturer is a significant problem.
the other thing I was wondering about , are the sizes and colours across the ranges , would a size 2 cam in my 4cu be the same size and colour as the rest of the dmm range ? im guessing they should .. and what about Bd or wild country ? are the sizes the same across the brands .. It would be sensible if they were , but Im guessing they are different ...
I have just checked my 4cu's with the dragon 2's ....
a 2 size cam in 4cu is Red , a 2 size torque net is red , a size 2 dragon2 is green
I haven't looked at other makes I guess it don't make too much difference , but would have made sense to keep the colours the same ..
Bit late to the discussion but I use DMM Dragons and Totem Basics.
I have some of the first Dragons made and they are still going strong 8 years down the line and after a lot of use in that time. I carry Big blue to green most of the time and occasionally the purple but consider the red basic to be the same size so often don’t carry the purple. Is useful if you know you’ll encounter a lot of that size as it’s awkward to climb!
I carry blue to red basics and think they are ace! I wrote a review for UKC a few years ago and still stand by what I said; https://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/climbing/protection/totem_basic_cams-6701
I also carry a black fixe alien as totem don’t make a black basic. Mainly carry that when it looks bold or on hard leads. I’ve climbed up to E6 all over the U.K. with them plus a double (sometimes triple) set of Wires.
Don’t imagine there is much between the big brands these days though with DMM you are minimising the carbon footprint of your kit as it is manufactured in Wales... maybe worth considering.
My current set up is:
DMM 4CU 0, 0.5, 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5 and 4.
DMM Demon size 3
Metolius Master Cams 0 and 00
BD Camelot C4 6
Apart from the obvious deficiencies of the U stem, I actually like the 4CUs.
I don't like the Master Cams, they just don't feel great.
I've used all versions of the Friends, Dragons and Camelots. I don't like the Dragon short stem and terminator. I like the Camelots. I like the latest revision of the Friends a fair bit, apart from the extensible sling being *way* too short to be of much use at actually extending anything.
BD C4 - workhorse
BD C3 - handy
Totems - for routes that need 2 sets of cams - Sunday best, made of string, wont last forever IMO
Yeah im with you on this , Im not over keen on the dragon short stems , I have been using the 4cu and 3cu , for the most I like them , will carry on using them , and once I have made my mind up on what to go with , I will keep them to fill the gaps ..
I havnt been able to find a shop stocking totems to see first hand, so im still on the fence , but have had great reviews
The Bd camelot seem like a good alternative to the dragons , I looked at a Bd C4 and a friend and both my daughter and I liked the feel of the C4 ..
Can't be doing with extendable slings myself. I'd not buy a cam with one. Thumb loop tho, defo. If it's not got a thumb loop it's likely gonna end up in the sea.
Out of curiosity, why?
> Totems - for routes that need 2 sets of cams - Sunday best, made of string, wont last forever IMO
Mine (I have both Totems and Totem Basics) are still in superb condition after five years of regular use, including big wall climbing.
BD C4 are the best work horse in my view. I have one new Friend which I found and think is excellent.
I don’t like extrendable slings and wish Wild Country would offer them with both the option of extendable or fixed and let the customer decide for themselves. Same with DMM Torque Nuts which I think are superb but can’t stand the extendable slings.
Yellow totem, year old, pretty furry, mainly Lakes so not very abrasive - awesome sticking power though
FWIW -Wearing at same rate as my dyneena slings, I'm chucking mine after 5 years
BD C4 - 'workhorse' totally agree, cracking kit
Just checked Totem webpage --they resling camming units and sort wires out at a very reasonable rate
I’m never sure if it is worth reslinging cams.
A C4 camalot is rated to 14kn. The sling on it when brand new will be rated to 22kn. I’d be interested to know how furry a nylon sling has to get before it is weaker than 14kn. I’d have thought by that time that cam would knackered too.
Anyone got an informed view?
Mammut has done some testing with regards Dyneema slings especially in a high usage environment and their skinny slings, so wider tape may be different but I seem to remember they drop around 1/3 of their strength over a 5 year period. I cannot remember whether this is a linear or exponential relationship and whether the decrease continues and at what rate. Having discussed ratings for cams with a variety of people well versed in real world fall impacts their gut feeling was that 10kN is the most a cam would see unless it was a particularly heavy fall and the cam was in a particularly strong placement - remember you've got to get the cam placement to hold 14kN in the first place! The sling is pretty much the single most robust part in terms of strength when new (unless you are talking cutting) so again this is a gut feeling, I'd have thought the sling would be fine even beyond 5 years use if all things are equal and there are no cuts on the tape or it has been unusually badly worn. The other thing to bear in mind is that loose slings on a cam are able and will naturally rotate, allowing the sling to wear evenly. Slings which are sewn in place like the c4 and the old wc helium will see wear concentrated in two spots which could in the long term affect their strength more than if the sling had been able to rotate. The sewing on the BD was designed to prevent kinking of the stem cable at the thumbloop under high load, when we did tests this seemed to occur over 10kN hence why the WC cams are rated at 10kN for an extended sling and 12kN for a retracted sling which spread the load over a wider area. So as you can see, it's not a simple equation, added to which sling wear is a very random thing too - that is why all manufacturers err on the side of caution when it comes to sling longevity!
Isn't the point, at least for those who instruct for a living, that we cannot afford to have kit that is outside the manufacturer's specified lifetime on our racks?
If I somehow had an accident that was traced back to a cam failure, and was sued by a client, then (regardless of whether it was actually anything to do with the sling) the fact that the sling was out of date would have insurance implications. It's not dissimilar to modifying your car and not telling your insurance company: if you're in an accident and it's found that you've not declared it, your insurance is void, whether the mod had anything to do with it or not. I don't know if the MTA insurance would be quite that draconian.
A little update ..
I still haven't been able to get my hands on any totem cams , But I did manage to get hold of a dragon2 , a new friend , C4 all in the same size ... I spent a while playing with all three , my thoughts ..
The dragon cam with the lack of thumb loop didn't seem as much of an issue as I thought, would get used to them quickly tho may be a bit of a faff when pumped .. The C4 mechanism seemed really smooth, nicest of all three ... The New friend was noticeably the lightest and most modern feeling .. the dragon cam overall length with the sling extended was the same length as the Friend with extended sling , the C4 wasn't that much shorter tbh .. And the thumb loop tho not essential deff is a nice addition over the dragon cams ....
At the moment in leaning towards the new friends , they seemed the lightest of the bunch , extendable sling , modern feel ... ..
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