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Gear4Rocks Links Cam Review
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By Phil Lauffen
From The Bubble
Mar 30, 2011
RMNP skiing. Photo by Nodin de Saillan

Gear4 Rocks Links Cams

1,4,5
1,4,5


Most of you read my Gear4Rocks Plastic Nuts review published a few months ago. Gear4Rocks graciously sent me an entire set of their CE certified camming units called links cams to review.

First, the stuff from the website:

The CE certified gear4rocks links cams are flexible, quick, and hold their positions. The minimalist design cuts down on weight and provides for easy inspection. The multicable construction builds in redundancy. Color coated bands over swages allow for quick recognition of size.
• CE certified
• very light
• minimalist and redundant design
• easy to inspect and service
• very flexible
• holds location well
• color coded
• 30 day money back guarantee


The raw stats:

links cam table
links cam table


I’ve put about 20 pitches in on them so far at Eldorado canyon and Indian creek, and have come away with a few impressions.

First of all, and foremost, as cams they are great. They plug in just fine, hold their position without walking and look trucker. When I had an even mix of both BD and gear4rocks on my rack Sunday at eldo I found myself reaching for both alternately. My favorite gear4rocks cams were the smallest, the number 1 size, and the second biggest, the number 4.

#5 links cam
#5 links cam



The number 1 seemed to be a good answer for the oddities encountered around the .3, and .4 BD sizes where neither seems to fit well. The number 4 was perfect for the many hand cracks at Indian Creek this past week.

The flexible stem allows the pull direction to always be along the long axis of the cable, making them great for horizontal placements.

Horizontal
Horizontal


This flexible stem can even allow an upside placement, as shown below. I would feel more comfortable falling on the gear4rocks cam in this orientation, than I would a similar sized BD, given the differences in the stiffness of the stems.

Upside-down
Upside-down


Just some more flexi-goodness.

FLEXIBLE
FLEXIBLE


However there are some drawbacks to the simple design of the links cams. The clip in point is too small, and doesn’t easily allow multiple biners. I like to rack with one biner, then extend with another biner on a tripled sling. You can see this crowding in the preceding pictures.

While this is only a big deal because of my racking method, sometimes those extra seconds can really count on a hard lead.

Also the top of the loop isn’t as ergonomic as the thumb loop on a camalot or mastercam. Hey, you get what you pay for. The clip in point is structural, not for keeping my fat-ass thumb down while placing.
The last potential issue with this cam design is illustrated below:

Green
Green


The trigger wires on the green gear4rocks cam are too long. The trigger bar hits the swage before the cam is completely closed. You have to conduct some twisting trickery to get the cam to fully compress. I contacted gear4rocks about this problem and they suggested they have fixed this design flaw and it is an isolated case. None of the other cams experience this issue.

Green closed
Green closed


Above is a fully closed green cam, accomplished by twisting the trigger bar. I myself fixed the problem by crimping the trigger wires.

Lastly, it may just be me, but I have a propensity for trying to overcam the %&*# out of these cams. I think I am still trying to get the sizes down. I think the color coding does me in, because I see purple and think .5 camalot, which is exactly why my gear4rocks purple cam is stuck on Anasazi in Indian Creek. My friends who also climbed with these cams didn’t have that issue.

Bottom Line

Cheap ($33 a cam!)
Solid
Flexible
Simple
Well, it’s a cheap, simple cam!

All in all, these cams deliver what they promise. They stay in place, are strong, flexible and easy to service(you could take one apart, replace a piece, and put it back together). The engineer within me loves this last part because I am so sick of trying to fix that friggin’ trigger wire on the purple C3! They aren’t as fancy as brand-name cams in that they feel a little awkward and don’t accommodate my obsessive quirks. I would recommend them to someone trying to build a basic rack inexpensively, or as doubles(triples,quadruples) for the creek.

Finale
Finale


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By Brendan Blanchard
From Strafford, NH
Mar 30, 2011
Obi Wan Ryobi - Darth Vader Crag, Rumney NH

Thanks for another good, honest review posted from a real name with plenty of supporting evidence, photos and not just personal opinion.

I've enjoyed both of your reviews and look forward to the possibility of more!

Brendan


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By Phil Lauffen
From The Bubble
Mar 30, 2011
RMNP skiing. Photo by Nodin de Saillan

Thanks Brendan. I have a great time doing these reviews.


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By Jeff House
From rapid city sd
Mar 30, 2011
Wind river range 2013

Thank you for the advice.. can i ask where you got the cams from (ebay)?


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By Jeff House
From rapid city sd
Mar 30, 2011
Wind river range 2013

Thank you for the advice.. can i ask where you got the cams from (ebay)?


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By Jeff House
From rapid city sd
Mar 30, 2011
Wind river range 2013

Thank you for the advice.. can i ask where you got the cams from (ebay)?


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By Keenan Waeschle
From Bozeman, MT
Mar 30, 2011
on top of the RNWF <br />June 2012

same as what brendan said, your reviews rock!


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By Phil Lauffen
From The Bubble
Mar 30, 2011
RMNP skiing. Photo by Nodin de Saillan

Jeff House wrote:
Thank you for the advice.. can i ask where you got the cams from (ebay)?


Absolutely. I stated at the beginning of the review that gear4rocks sent me the cams after my plastic nuts review.


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By alpinejason
From Eau Claire
Mar 30, 2011

I was just browsing their site the other day. Neat stuff. Good review.

Check the numbers in your table though; My BD #.5 doesn't weigh .97kg! Yowsers! Or maybe they do and that's why I can't climb very hard...


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By Phil Lauffen
From The Bubble
Mar 30, 2011
RMNP skiing. Photo by Nodin de Saillan

alpinejason wrote:
I was just browsing their site the other day. Neat stuff. Good review. Check the numbers in your table though; My BD #.5 doesn't weigh .97kg! Yowsers! Or maybe they do and that's why I can't climb very hard...


HAHA! Good catch! that should read .097 kg.


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By BASE99999
Mar 30, 2011

Good Review?!?! BS!!!

"First of all, and foremost, as cams they are great."

NO WAY!!!

“Hey, you get what you pay for.”

Could mean your life!!!


“Feel a little awkward” To put it mildly.




1) UKRAINE !!!!

2) ALLOY ???? Could be made for cheap stuff. There are bad cams out there that had bad alloy (Alien) or some cast Bull S... (Clog).

2a) 17 KN with no damage - Assuming the alloy is some Aluminum - BS !!

3) NO SLING !!!! (bare cable - no to having it slung)

4) Can’t retract the cams all the way !!!!
4a) “Isolated case” Quality control ???
4b) Green looks like a short stem issue

4c) Thumb Loop 90 degrees to Trigger - Dumb and AWKWARD !!!!


5) PRICE !!!! (Not that big of a break. You can find sales on the good stuff)

6) Limited size range !!!!

7) 4 Main cable swages !!!!

8) Weight!!!! (Heavier) (BD are the heavier cams out there and have two axles)

9) Full strength cam stops - NOPE

10) Cam Angle ????

11) 17 KN - Hard to believe - With no damage ??? No Way???

"The "strength" rated in the table is the maximum load a piece of equipment can take without sustaining damage. In the case of overload and damage it is important to retire that gear. Do not try to repair gear4rocks equipment."


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By Phil Lauffen
From The Bubble
Mar 30, 2011
RMNP skiing. Photo by Nodin de Saillan

BASE1361 wrote:
Good Review?!?! BS!!! "First of all, and foremost, as cams they are great." NO WAY!!! “Hey, you get what you pay for.” Could mean your life. “Feel a little awkward” UKRAINE!! ALLOY!! NO SLING!! (bare cable) Can’t retract the cams all the way !! “Isolated case” Quality control !!! Green looks like a short stem issue PRICE!!!! (Not that big of a break.) Limited size range!!!! 4 Main cable swages !!!! Weight!!!! (Heavier)


Thanks for the comments. There are a lot of single words and exclamation points in your post, which makes it difficult to understand, but I'll try to address your concerns as well as I can.

1) You haven't presented any data to suggest they are unsafe. These cams are CE certified, and are loaded to half their maximum strength rating before leaving the factory.

2) Sure, the green cam is difficult to retract all the way. I don't see any safety issues there.

3) The size range isn't as good as BD, agreed.

4) Actually, the weights are comparable to BD. The red gear4rocks is actually lighter than a #3 BD, which is a similar size.

Lastly, I find it a bit silly and offensive when you correlate Ukraine and poor craftsmanship.


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By Phil Lauffen
From The Bubble
Mar 30, 2011
RMNP skiing. Photo by Nodin de Saillan

Kevin Kent wrote:
Did you take any falls on them?


Nope, not yet. I haven't been able to climb much recently, and have been traveling a bit so I'm trying to send as many routes as possible. I should be able to within a week or two and I'll post up the results when I do. I'm not worried about failures.


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By Rick Blair
From Denver
Mar 31, 2011
This is a novel auto blocking belay device.  I think it works quite well, depending on rope thickness and sheath quality, it belays very smooth.  Great to lower with.  You gotta love over engineering.  $3 at a gear swap!

Can anyone explain why these cams have so many swages on them? Why not run a single cable around the axle, into a loop and then back again requiring only one swage? Seems that would be simpler, safer and weigh less. Wouldn't it also be cheaper to manufacture?

Thanks for your reviews Phil. The plastic nut review was especially awesome.


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By Phil Lauffen
From The Bubble
Mar 31, 2011
RMNP skiing. Photo by Nodin de Saillan

Rick Blair wrote:
Can anyone explain why these cams have so many swages on them? Why not run a single cable around the axle, into a loop and then back again requiring only one swage? Seems that would be simpler, safer and weigh less. Wouldn't it also be cheaper to manufacture? Thanks for your reviews Phil. The plastic nut review was especially awesome.



Maybe thats part of my fault with incorrectly identifying "swages". The band at the bottom of the stem appears to just be there to form the thumb loop. The only real swage is up by the head.


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By Justin Brunson
From Broomfield CO
Mar 31, 2011

They look incredibly flexible, kind of like totems. Do they have the same floppy head problem as some of the larger mastercams?


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By Phil Lauffen
From The Bubble
Mar 31, 2011
RMNP skiing. Photo by Nodin de Saillan

Justin Brunson wrote:
They look incredibly flexible, kind of like totems. Do they have the same floppy head problem as some of the larger mastercams?


You know I thought they would, but I find that they are not nearly as bad as the mastercams. I think the double cable provides more stability.


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By Phil Lauffen
From The Bubble
Mar 31, 2011
RMNP skiing. Photo by Nodin de Saillan

On closer inspection I feel like an idiot.

There are two swages, both located on the clip-in point. They union the same cable ends, and are therefore redundant. Could someone please give me the correct term for the band that keeps the cable loop in the correct shape?(Stem, thump loop)


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By BASE99999
Mar 31, 2011

I bet that it is just and uncrimped 'sleeve' on the 'stem'.

Phil Lauffen wrote:
On closer inspection I feel like an idiot. There are two swages, both located on the clip-in point. They union the same cable ends, and are therefore redundant. Could someone please give me the correct term for the band that keeps the cable loop in the correct shape?(Stem, thump loop)


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By Phil Lauffen
From The Bubble
Mar 31, 2011
RMNP skiing. Photo by Nodin de Saillan

BASE1361 wrote:
I bet that it is just and uncrimped Sleeve.


Thanks.


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By Sam Feuerborn
From Durango, CO
Mar 31, 2011
Castle Wood Canyon, May '09

man Base, a little prejudice?


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By BASE99999
Mar 31, 2011

Buy 'Made in the USA' people !!!!


Black Diamond has been Chinese for a couple years now.


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By Goran Lynch
From Seattle, WA
Mar 31, 2011

BASE1361 wrote:
Buy 'Made in the USA' people !!!! Black Diamond has been Chinese for a couple years now.


I totally agree. It's really abominable that any red-blooded American could possibly support the shoddy quality of BD's non-US production or those cagey brits from DMM/WC instead of the top-notch, quality controlled, made-in-the-USA CCH Aliens.


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By Goran Lynch
From Seattle, WA
Mar 31, 2011

Also, Phil, nice review! I think someone else asked and perhaps I missed the answer, but to what extent did you fall on/load the cams?


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By erik kapec
From prescott, az
Mar 31, 2011
enjoying the static, grappel and a smoke on Dana...

Since you got them for free to do a review on, is there any possibility to cut the rubber off? It would be sweet to see the swaging or sleeves or whatever joins the cables together. Pull tests would be pretty sweet too.


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By Conor Byrne
Mar 31, 2011

Phil Lauffen wrote:
Thanks for the comments. There are a lot of single words and exclamation points in your post, which makes it difficult to understand, but I'll try to address your concerns as well as I can. 1) You haven't presented any data to suggest they are unsafe. These cams are CE certified, and are loaded to half their maximum strength rating before leaving the factory. 2) Sure, the green cam is difficult to retract all the way. I don't see any safety issues there. 3) The size range isn't as good as BD, agreed. 4) Actually, the weights are comparable to BD. The red gear4rocks is actually lighter than a #3 BD, which is a similar size. Lastly, I find it a bit silly and offensive when you correlate Ukraine and poor craftsmanship.


thanks for the well written review. very interesting, and as time goes on it would be really cool to see a discussion about the construction/material choice of these cams.

Just a note that CE is by no means UIAA. CE is just a mark from a european governing body that certifies whether or not the equipment is suitable for export/import and complies with european environmental and health standards. on the CE information site they even have a page dedicated to calling it a Passport. everything from McDonald's kids meal toys to cryogenic freezers are most likely CE rated. while it is a challenge to get a CE rating, in the climbing world i personally believe this rating is not a complete green light.

UIAA on the other hand is the governing body for climbing, alpine, and mountaineering specific gear. this mark signifies the testing and application within the climbing/mountaineering field, and certifies the gear to work within that field.


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