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why mastercams?
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By Elena Sera Jose
From colorado
Apr 23, 2012
bacon

Convince me why they are better than BDs and/or why you would need them to supplement your BD rack


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By Weston L
From Summerlin, NV
Apr 23, 2012
Me at the good rest on Doggie Do

In the smaller (think C3) sizes, in my experience they feel more bomber in a larger variety of placements than the BD C3's do on average. The C3s to me either feel completely bomb proof or super sketchy. Could just be me and small gear, I've aided on them and never had one blow, for whatever that's worth...


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By jack s.
From Kamloops, BC
Apr 23, 2012
Mean Green P2

Smaller features are harder to protect because the crystals in the rock are much larger relative to the crack size than they are for larger cracks and because the smaller cams have small ranges. This makes it good to have a variety of cams with slightly different designs that work in slightly different placements, theoretically.

I will say that I prefer the C3s slightly more than the Mastercams though, because every time I take a Mastercam mixed climbing it becomes so incredibly frozen that it is completely worthless. C3s are stiff enough that I can get them working again if they freeze without difficulty. I do like the orange Mastercam size to bridge the cam between the yellow C3 and Purple C4 (I dislike the grey and blue C4 in that size range).

Perhaps I did more to convince you that they aren't better??


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By Brian Abram
From Columbia, SC
Apr 23, 2012
Brian Abram, leading pitch 2 of Dinkus Dog on the South Side of Looking Glass.  Kyle Sox is belaying.

jack s. wrote:
I do like the orange Mastercam size to bridge the cam between the yellow C3 and Purple C4 (I dislike the grey and blue C4 in that size range). Perhaps I did more to convince you that they aren't better??


I agree with this 100%. I don't always carry a piece between the yellow C3 and the .5 C4, but when I do, I prefer the orange Mastercam.


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By mattm
From TX
Apr 23, 2012
Grande Grotto

Anything below about a .75 C4 size is very much a personal preference and that is vey much influenced by the areas you tend to frequent. Some areas produce C3 lovers because they can go where other cams can't. In others, C3s might sit in the gear box gathering dust.

At and above the .75 size I think the larger cracks are more "forgiving" and thus you really don't need as much variation in your cam selection. I typically carry only BDs at #1 and above and MUCH more diverse smaller cam selection depending on where I'll be climbing.

For small cams, I find the C3s are a somewhat "specialty" piece. In some regions they're a MUST HAVE cam on your rack and in others, not needed at all.

The smaller BDs (.5, .4, .3) are very nice pieces BUT their large head width compared to other brands means they're more at home on desert splitters and Red Rock Sandstone (deeper, more uniform cracks) than flared granite etc.

For the smaller cam sizes I MUCH prefer Totem Cams and their Basic Cams (aliens). I find the Green, Yellow, Red "alien" size and design to be ideal on the widest range of climbing placements. You can double up this range with the Totems (blue, yellow, Purple) or Metolius Master Cams in Blue, Yellow, Orange. Below the GREEN ALIEN size, I switch over to Master cams (Blue, Purple, Grey) because of their smaller head width and harder cam material. In the really small Alien sizes, I feel the cams on more prone to "shearing" failure than the harder metal in the Master Cams.

So really, you need to be more specific about WHAT SIZE range you're talking about. Above .75 or #1 Camalot, I don't think there's anything better than a C4. At .75 and below, there are lots of options and mixture of brands will serve you best.


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By JCM
From Seattle, WA
Apr 23, 2012

As Matt said, C3s are pretty specialized. They work best in little pods where nothing else will fit and where their ability to walk is restricted. In straightforward placements, the C3s can feel unstable due to the combination of a narrow head and a very stiff/bulky stem.

Small C4s are great too, but have the opposite strengths as the C3s. The C4s have a very wide head for their size, and won't fit into funky pods. For straightforward, parrallel-sided placements, though, they are super stable, bomber, and confidence inspiring.

To me, the aliens and mastercams fit into the middle of this spectrum. A narrower head than the C4s helps them work in funky placements, while a wider head than the C3s (and 4 cams) allows for decent stability in straightforward placements. Greater stem flexibility, especially in the Aliens, is an advantage is odd placements, and makes them feel less likely to walk. Overall, these cams are a better compromise of all of these factors than either of the BD cams, and as such aliens and mastercams are my preferred cams for general-purpose free climbing at most areas.

Comparing aliens and mastercams, I would say that aliens may be the better choice, although mastercams are good too. I got to like mastercams during that dark period when you couldn't buy aliens. Now that aliens are available, my next small cam purchases will probably be aliens. Mastercams would still be worth buying if you find them on sale cheaply (don't expect to see aliens on much of a sale anytime soon).


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By paintrain
Apr 23, 2012
Chuck Norris can Divide by Zero

I generally prefer the Metolious. They have been a rack staple for as long as I have been trad climbing. The silver (00) through the orange (3 I think) are a great range. The blue, yellow and orange (1,2,and 3) I place more than just about any other pieces.

Technically why: there are about half as many parts (read less plumbing) with the Metolious and the triggers are much less stiff than the BD C3s because of the mechanics of how they work. I don't like the BD trigger set up because it requires more spring tension to push the lobes apart to compensate for its internal friction (but it makes for a very low profile cam head). I do use the purple and green C3s because the triggers are less stiff than the sizes above it and they fit into pin scars nicely, but I also don't place these as often. I have also caught a handful of big man wips on that green C3.

2 cents.

PT


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By DannyUncanny
From Vancouver
Apr 23, 2012

They are often on sale for low prices. Last year I think they were going for $20something each at some online store.


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By martinharris
From Glenwood Springs CO
Apr 23, 2012

It's always good to diversify your rack. And if u are climbing a lot of thin granite I would sudgest a set of offset mastercams and I love my new aliens but they are spendy.


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By Crag Dweller
From New York, NY
Apr 23, 2012
My navigator keeps me from getting lost

The stats of two cams from each line (according to manufacturers):

BD C4
.75 & 1
Combined Range: .94 - 2.05"
Combined Weight: 250g

MC
5 & 6
Combined Range: 1.09 - 1.89"
Combined Weight: 208g

Obviously, the MC's are lighter. One might argue that you get a wider range of placements for the weight of the BDs.

But, take a closer look and you'll see there's very little useable difference in the range. Keep in mind that the manufacturers have said, the true range of a cam for solid placements is somewhere around 60% of it's total range.

Even when considering the total range, there is .15" (barely over 1/8") difference on the bottom and top ends of the range for the combined cams. On the bottom end of the range, that might make a difference occasionally.

On the top end of the range, however, I'd argue that the benefit isn't real. Personally, I don't consider a placement at the top-end of a cam's range to be a good placement. Tight is right.

So, I'm most likely not going to use that .15" of extra range at the top-end unless I absolutely have to. Instead, I'll carry my #7 Metolius Power Cam, which gives you a 24% weight savings over the #2 BD and save that #6 MC for another placement higher up.

In other words, the extended range of the BDs looks good on paper but I don't think it makes much difference in actual use. The MCs are lighter and, besides, they're still made in America.


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By Sir Wanksalot
From County Jail
Apr 23, 2012

Crag Dweller: I have the black and green metolius power cams and really love them. I looked at the MC's and they are so floppy, I was a little freaked out. Do you find any issues with the floppyness of the bigger MC's?

I bring my blue, yellow, and orange MC's everywhere! I got doubles last year on the site Danny mentioned and was shocked when they actually showed up for over 50% off!


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By cms829
Apr 23, 2012
high e

My entire rack is master cams this year and I wouldnt have it any other way. The larger sizes are not floppy at all. In fact they are stiffer than an alien's stem. (original ones anyway, havent touched the new ones yet). The flex is a good thing, not a bad thing. I have a really good picture of what I mean, I just have to find it...


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By Crag Dweller
From New York, NY
Apr 23, 2012
My navigator keeps me from getting lost

Randy W. wrote:
Crag Dweller: I have the black and green metolius power cams and really love them. I looked at the MC's and they are so floppy, I was a little freaked out. Do you find any issues with the floppyness of the bigger MC's? I bring my blue, yellow, and orange MC's everywhere! I got doubles last year on the site Danny mentioned and was shocked when they actually showed up for over 50% off!


Yeah, the green is kind of floppy, but it's never bothered me. It seems that almost every time I've placed the green it's been deep enough into the crack and oriented to the potential fall well enough so that the stem would experience far more pull along its axis than in any other direction.

I suppose I might feel differently if I found myself placing it a lot in shallow horizontal cracks. But, it's a fairly large cam and I don't find myself coming across shallow placements that large very often.

In any case, isn't it better for a stem to flex than to be stiff?


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By ian watson
From Albuquerque, NM
Apr 23, 2012

To me MC's feel more solid, and seem to walk less (although that just might be due to the smaller size) I use them for 0-6 , 00 tcu , 1 and up c4's. I like the red #4 size master so much i bought a #4 tcu as a light weight backup. that size always goes in around here.

Also being made in the USA is a bonus.


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By bearbreeder
Apr 23, 2012

search for the thread on the grey and purple tcu/mastercams ... then decide ;)


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By Crag Dweller
From New York, NY
Apr 23, 2012
My navigator keeps me from getting lost

shuminW wrote:
...You have 3 cams covering the range of 0.75 & 1 camalot...


This is true. You have one more cam for another placement at the cost of 48g of additional weight. If you brought along another .75, it'd cost you 116g. If you brought another 1, it'd cost you 134g.

It's nice to have 2 cams that will cover the range of 3. But, if you need another cam to protect the route, it doesn't matter whether that cam 20' below you could've also worked for the placement above or not.


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By mugsy
Apr 23, 2012

Why does everyone whine about the c3 triggers being hard to pull? Is that an inside joke or do you ladies really have a hard time retracting the double trigger?


I wouldn't compare Mastercams with 3 lobe units... I like to have 1 set of 4cu, and a set of 3cu.

IMO, master cams are cool because they have 4 lobes and narrow head width.
The #5 & #6 sucked IME. Got rid of them. #4 is an alright piece. The small ones are where the magic happens...
They don't seem to work quite as well as Aliens when bent over a rock feature or in weird finangly bendy placements, but they are a much better value at about 1/2 the shipped price of a Fixe Alien (MCs are on sale all the time with Free shipping).
Like most, I find the blue .3 c4 to be too wide for its own good unless you're on sandstone splitters.

The newer 0 purple Metolius cams no longer have grooves in the lobes, so that hopefully will not be a problem anymore.


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By paintrain
Apr 23, 2012
Chuck Norris can Divide by Zero

mugsy wrote:
Why does everyone whine about the c3 triggers being hard to pull? Is that an inside joke or do you ladies really have a hard time retracting the double trigger?


Ladies
Ladies


No whining - they just are. You must have big muscles.

PT


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By Jeff J
From Bozeman
Apr 23, 2012

Elena Sera Jose wrote:
Convince me why they are better than BDs and/or why you would need them to supplement your BD rack



For me... I climb mostly granite and gniess. I like the BD cams down to the #1 size. and the master cams make up the small sizes.
In my experience with flared cracks the smaller bd cams have walked on where as the smaller master and TCUs have tended to stayed.

and the master cams are still USA made.


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By Josh Kornish
Apr 23, 2012
The Roach

+1 for the Mastercams.

I've climbed a lot with both and they compliment each other greatly as doubles. Each have some unique placement options.

I agree that C3 are either bomber or not great. My only gripe with the master cams is that they can get pretty sticky as already mentioned.

For your first set of small cams I would go with Mastercams/Aliens and then for a second set compliment it with C3s.


Bold Text Or you can wait for the new BD Microcams supposedly coming out this summer!


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By Andrew Mayer
Apr 23, 2012
top of mt. lady washington - rmnp

Josh Kornish wrote:
Bold Text Or you can wait for the new BD Microcams supposedly coming out this summer!


ANNOUNCED at the Outdoor Retailer show this summer (supposedly) therefore not coming out til the fall or next spring I'm guessing.


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By Josh Kornish
Apr 23, 2012
The Roach

I heard this summer but it would make much more sense to unveil them next spring. Especially with the recent release of the new Aliens and Basics


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By Elena Sera Jose
From colorado
Apr 23, 2012
bacon

Thanx everybody! Im leaning towards picking up a couple of small mastercams and 2 .25 2 .5 and 2 .75 BDs still going with larger sizes BDs maybe add a couple pieces I already have at least 2 of #1 through #3 and one of #4 and #5


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By Andrew Mayer
Apr 23, 2012
top of mt. lady washington - rmnp

Elena Sera Jose wrote:
Thanx everybody! Im leaning towards picking up a couple of small mastercams and 2 .25 BDs...


0.25 BD C4s??


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By Ray Pinpillage
From West Egg
Apr 23, 2012
Cleo's Needle

bearbreeder wrote:
search for the thread on the grey and purple tcu/mastercams ... then decide ;)


You mean the thread where you broke a TCU misusing it and then tried to play it off as Metolius's fault?


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By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Apr 23, 2012
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.

Looking at the way they used to manufacture the stops on the smaller cams; with small chunk of stop meeting the groove on the lobe, I can see how that would be weaker than the way they are now.

How do you break the stop though? Using it as a chock/passive? Were the recorded breaks from pieces that blew? Might seem like a dumb question, but it's genuine. Btw, I did check earlier threads for a detailed answer to my question; perhaps I missed it somewhere. Sorry for thread drift. Just curious.


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