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Omega Pacific Link Cams


Original Post
Dow Williams · · St. George, Utah; Canmore, AB · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 240

Bad news. Been using the link since it came onto the market as a supplemental cam to our racks, particulary for small alpine racks or large desert racks. Full time climber in the Canadian Rockies and southern deserts. 48yrs old, only second (non-operator error) cam failure in my life. We have retired all link cams ourselves. I sent in the failed cam to Omega Pacific with detailed correspondence as to the circumstances. They refused to comment or respond. I assume they have confiscated the cam. Obviously, at this point, I am worried it is something they are aware of, but not disclosing. Many other good cams on the market, assuming OP will be exiting same shortly.

Two other interesting points. Posting my review around, I notice I am not alone on the "self destruction" experience. Secondly, REI removed my review as written above. Backcountry.com and others did not. Kudos to them. REI, taking editorial liberties on the membership eh?

Austin Baird · · SLC, Utah · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 95

A little explanation would be helpful. I don't have a clue what happened.

Josh Kornish · · tufaclimbing.com · Joined Sep 2009 · Points: 840

I bought the green piece and will not buy another. As far as durability I have heard about lobes shearing in completely reasonable and bomber placements.

The "oh shit piece" nickname really doesn't mean much to me. I typically save my link cam for building anchors.

I'm with you on the theory that they know they are withholding knowledge from the public about their cams.

Not to divert the thread but, REI is complete bullshit. You should really post your review around some more.

Can you explain what happened with the cam?

mattm · · TX · Joined Jun 2006 · Points: 1,395

OP Link cams have been known to be a specialty piece requiring much more diligence than a regular cam to place. It's also been know for quite some time that if this diligence is not given and EVEN IF IT IS, they still have more failure mechanisms than a "normal" cam.

Without SPECIFIC details as to why YOUR issue is significantly different than other known failures of the Link Cams your just venting and adding nothing to the collective knowledge.

OP has acknowledged that the Links require more care to place and have more weaknesses prone to failure.

Unless this is something NEW (faulty manufacturing etc etc) OP might use be taking their time looking at it or, just saying "Hey, we've been down this road NUMEROUS times, at some point we just stand by what we've said in the past."

So, please provide a more detailed story about what happened.

It's also a good time to post up some old RGold wisdom - "Cams are complicated devices whose security cannot be evaluated in the same way as a nut---consider, for example, the Metolius tests that suggested that one in twenty "well-placed" cams fail. Essentially, cams are faith-based protection, the faith in question being with the engineering principles that are supposed to be in effect. The fact that those same principles can engender arbitrarily large forces seems to be conveniently ignored---for example, no one paid the slightest attention to my post in this thread on that subject until k.l.k. resurrected it.

As for gear-makers responsibility to ensure that the (nearly blind) faith we would like to place in their gear is justified, it is important to remember that climbing gear cannot be engineered to withstand industrial safety margins and still be carried up the hill. The nature of the endeavor forces engineering decisions that could prove catastrophic in the field, and climbers need to understand that. I am not trying to excuse shoddy quality control, but simply say that fond as we may be of the concept of bombproof gear; it isn't, never was, and never will be.

Climbers' faith in cams has certainly been justified over the years by many successful performances, but on the other hand cams do fail on occasion in spite of being judged good. The fact that they don't break more often may simply be a reflection that the rock will usually give way first. It seems plausible that the link cam stayed in and broke while most other cams would have pulled out. If this is true, then what you have in all cases is a cam failure. Psychologically, people are far more likely to accept an extraction as part of the game than breakage, even if the breakage occurs, paradoxically, because of extra holding power.

I don't know whether any of these assertions are true in the case at hand, but they are certainly true in general: the ability of cams to hold and not break is dependent on a host of conditions, only some of which are realistically under a climber's control. Any time a cam is placed suboptimally, the chances of failure go up, and honestly, we really have no idea how much.

I think what is beginning to emerge from all this is a sense that cams are not at all the "no-brainer" protection they may have seemed to be at first, and perhaps a broad change of attitude is called for. People used to say that nuts required all kinds of thought and ingenuity and with cams you just fired in a unit. But cams are mechanically far more complicated and less predictable than nuts, and perhaps it is time to emphasize the respect and consideration their complexity demands.

In both this case and the terribly sad Gunks tragedy, the cam that broke could have been backed up, in the case of the Gunks tragedy with good nuts. When faith-based protection leads us to skip readily available options for redundancy, I think it is time to rethink the entire approach. "

Mocco · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 5

I had both a red and a gold Link cam break on me. One of the red's lobes cracked right off one day while aiding (no bouncing, just bodyweight placements), and the trigger pins holding the wires in fell out on the gold (this was the first generation, the trigger has since been redesigned and much improved). In both cases Mike Lane from Omega Pacific was helpful, but I'm through with their cams, which is too bad. Still have and use some OP biners though, never had a bad experience with their gear other than the Link cams.

Pete Spri · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2009 · Points: 286

Bad news. Been using the link since it came onto the market as a supplemental cam to our racks, particulary for small alpine racks or large desert racks. Full time climber in the Canadian Rockies and southern deserts. 48yrs old, only second (non-operator error) cam failure in my life. We have retired all link cams ourselves. I sent in the failed cam to Omega Pacific with detailed correspondence as to the circumstances. They refused to comment or respond. I assume they have confiscated the cam. Obviously, at this point, I am worried it is something they are aware of, but not disclosing. Many other good cams on the market, assuming OP will be exiting same shortly. Two other interesting points. Posting my review around, I notice I am not alone on the "self destruction" experience. Secondly, REI removed my review as written above. Backcountry.com and others did not. Kudos to them. REI, taking editorial liberties on the membership eh? 

*******

Personally, Kudos to REI for deleting a review if it's anything like your post. It has no information and so cannot be commented on one way or the other. You sound like a well travelled climber, but the HUGE lack of details and only your opinion that they should be retired provides no logic or rationale. Until there are more details, there is no point in speculating. 

ps- Just looked up your "review" and it's exactly what you posted here. No wonder REI removed it.


EDIT: To add that if you are new to reading this thread, the issue as disclosed by OP in a few pages was BROKEN TRIGGER WIRES!.  LOL!

Dow Williams · · St. George, Utah; Canmore, AB · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 240

The reason for posting the review is not the failure of the cam. Immaterial to me. Gear breaks, we do not live in a perfect world. It is OP's lack of response to someone of experience who took the time to write in as well as send in a defective piece. Confirmed delivered by USPS. They don't have time? If that is the case, bad review valid.

REI...interesting, four other major on-line retailers have posted the review. Willing to let opinions, that is all any review is, stand on their own. If I am just an ass, no worries, 20 other reviews should drown me out. But how does the reader of the reviews trust the process if REI removes all negative reviews and just leaves positive ones?

Now in their defense, one of you claims he sees the review. Did you see it on REI? if you did, I have just overlooked it....and they have posted it. My bad if that is the case.

Pete Spri · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2009 · Points: 286

The reason for posting the review is not the failure of the cam. Immaterial to me. Gear breaks, we do not live in a perfect world. It is OP's lack of response to someone of experience who took the time to write in as well as send in a defective piece. Confirmed delivered by USPS. They don't have time? If that is the case, bad review valid. REI...interesting, four other major on-line retailers have posted the review. Willing to let opinions, that is all any review is, stand on their own. If I am just an ass, no worries, 20 other reviews should drown me out. But how does the reader of the reviews trust the process if REI removes all negative reviews and just leaves positive ones? Now in their defense, one of you claims he sees the review. Did you see it on REI? if you did, I have just overlooked it....and they have posted it. My bad if that is the case.

*****

Dude the only thing posted at back country is exactly the same post that you made here. No info at all in it.

Mobes Mobesely · · Granite island · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 865

Can we all agree finally that these things are junk and whoever dropped hundreds of dollars on these things kinda got suckered? The whole idea of a magic "supplemental" piece was just too darn good to be true and no, I would not whip on these things.

Would it be safe to say Mattm has a whole set of these things after reading that post?

bearbreeder · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 3,065

ive fallen on every one of my links ... many times ... im still alive so far ...

Mobes Mobesely · · Granite island · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 865
bearbreeder wrote:ive fallen on every one of my links ... many times ... im still alive so far ...
brave person, I'd say you should inspect them but that could take a week to inspect all of those moving parts.
Dow Williams · · St. George, Utah; Canmore, AB · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 240
The Dread Pirate Killis wrote:You're posting this everywhere (four sites????)but not giving the skinny on what happened? Love ya bro, but I know drama when I step in it behind a cow. You can do better than playing telephone game. OP for sure can do better too, but give them a chance and us some details, your Histrionicness.
To be honest, I don't believe internet personalities/avatars have the best skills nor expertise to be discussing why a particular piece failed. That will up to the manufacturer to examine and share on this forum with us if they have any interest. It will take more than the naked eye to figure out. Thus why I sent it in to the manufacturer, vs return to a retailer or demand a refund. Which is what you should all do if you really want answers regarding a failure in any product.

To reiterate one more time. We did not retire our link cams because of this failure. We retired our link cams once we discovered Omega Pacific had no interest in discussing the failure nor returning the piece in question, which we voluntarily sent them. That is the red flag in this case.

That is why I posted 4 gear reviews and will continue. I believe it is important to be informed when it comes to gear safety. Gear breaks, no worries. Manufacturers not willing to examine why it breaks? That is a problem that the buying public needs to be made aware of.

REI covering for bad gear? Unacceptable as well. I don't do business with REI anyway, never have....but a bit surprised they manipulate legitimate reviews. Would advise not relying on their reviews. Backcountry.com has always had the better review process, but until now I would have at least assumed REI's were an accurate reflection as well. Now I can no longer assume that.

Bearbreeder, I am sure I have fallen on the links as well. In fact I would have been one of the first owners of these cams. Have used them for many years. Despite weighing more, they actually save us weight on big alpine routes in the Canadian Rockies due to versatility. Main reason I owned them. My hesitation now results from my first hand experience of taking the time of writing a detailed letter to OP, returning a defective piece, and getting zero response. That coupled with similar reports of cam failure, have forced me to discontinue use.

Of course to each his/her own. I am simply sharing my personal experience with lack of service and/or interest from this company regarding one of their products.
Jake Jones · · Richmond, VA · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 1,639

I think maybe what they're getting at, if I may, is that in at least some of the cases of breakage, it was attributed to a torquing or twisting of the lobes so that the slivers connecting the lobes could not handle the stress.

I, like others, have these cam(s) and am interested to know the details of the break. Was it a particularly hefty fall? Was the cam straight in a textbook placement when it broke, or was it in a placement that would have generated some twisting?

I agree that the lack of response when you sent your cam in is disconcerting. I also lean toward mattm's response of recurring failures that have been covered before as a possible motivator for their lack of action. However, they should have said something. Anything.

I have the smallest one, the purple. Frankly, after every one of these threads or stories or pictures of broken lobes at pivot points, I won't rack it again. It's now just a conversation piece. To each his own, I was just making a case for why some of us would like to hear details, if known, on what you personally attribute the breakage to. Thanks for posting.

the Oracle · · Delphi · Joined May 2011 · Points: 30

@Dow Williams

Hombre,

You have yet to provide the story of what happened and are just reiterating what you first said.

Methinks you are perhaps a troll? Or more likely some weird asymmetrical marketing ploy against REI or for backcountry?

Until you give us the deets your cred is quickly dropping.

Dr. Ellis D. Funnythoughts · · Evergreen, Co · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 125

what happened to the fucking cam???

bearbreeder · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 3,065
muttonface wrote: I have the smallest one, the purple. Frankly, after every one of these threads or stories or pictures of broken lobes at pivot points, I won't rack it again. It's now just a conversation piece. To each his own, I was just making a case for why some of us would like to hear details, if known, on what you personally attribute the breakage to. Thanks for posting.
the purple link cam is my most fallen on piece ... ive also blown the internal springs on a 0.3 camalot, but i still use my other camalots ... and ive blown a purple TCU, i still use my blue one

try never to depend on a single piece trad climbing ...

as to OP not responding ... that is a valid concern ...
Dow Williams · · St. George, Utah; Canmore, AB · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 240
the Oracle wrote: Methinks you are perhaps a troll? Or more likely some weird asymmetrical marketing ploy against REI or for backcountry?
My name is Dow Williams. I am centered out of St. George UT in the winter and Canmore, Alberta in the summer. I am not Mormon, nor Canadian. I can be found climbing in Zion National Park today. I am not an internet troll. I am a full time climber. What is your name?

Like I said, "I don't believe internet personalities/avatars have the best skills nor expertise to be discussing why a particular piece failed."

But I am quite interested in "The reason for posting the review is not the failure of the cam. Immaterial to me. Gear breaks, we do not live in a perfect world. It is OP's lack of response to someone of experience who took the time to write in as well as send in a defective piece. Confirmed delivered by USPS. They don't have time?"

Sorry if my interest and yours are not aligned. I don't want to speculate on the breakage itself...I am not an engineer, am curious as to gear forensics though and if there is a chronic issue with the link cam. It does worry me. Curious why Omega Pacific has no interest in it and why REI would delete a legitimate review other significant retailers did not find offensive.
sanz · · Raleigh, NC · Joined Nov 2011 · Points: 210

Definitely a negative reflection on both OP and REI. Maybe we are all spoiled by the awesome service other climbing companies offer, but I agree that even if they are taking their time, an email, call or letter confirming receipt of the piece would be good form.

I will never trust a link cam after seeing a fixed red with one outer cam lobe dangling from the trigger wire. I was told it was broken by someone bashing it with a hammer to try to booty the piece, which did reassure me somewhat. But still, when you really see how thin the metal holding the lobes together is.... **shiver**

mattm · · TX · Joined Jun 2006 · Points: 1,395
mobley wrote:Would it be safe to say Mattm has a whole set of these things after reading that post?
Ha, you'd be incorrect sir. I own ZERO link cams. I had two, used them and decided I wasn't willing to do the tinkering needed to place them on lead. I also don't frequent the types of rock these work best on (sandstone splitters and more uniform cracks). I tend to climb the granite stuff where placements can be more funky. I found I wasn't willing to blindly trust them and my faith level was pretty low. The Rgold stuff rings very true with me. I personally wasn't willing to trust them very often for lead falls; just too many variables to mess with the integrity of the Link Placement. Since I was only using them at anchors, where unpredictable loading can be mitigated, it seemed they were not a versatile piece for my needs.

All those things added up to me selling them.

I just can't stand wild reactions to gear "failing". Unless there's a clear defect in the product, which is pretty rare, most gear "failures" are really just the numerous factors contributing to a placement not holding, just as Rich G points out.

People too often freak out when a piece fails since their "FAITH" has been undermined when, in reality, they should have been questioning that blind "FAITH" they had all along.
mattm · · TX · Joined Jun 2006 · Points: 1,395

Without discussing WHAT failed with your particular piece, we're all just shouting into the wind. There are MANY MANY reasons a cam can fail. Was it blown placement with the cam intact? Was it a "destructive" failure where something on it BROKE? If it did break, where? Was it at the "link" joint which is the most likely area on a Link Cam? Else where? Can you see what I'm getting at? If you said it "failed" because the cable ripped out of the head (ala CCH) THAT WOULD BE FAR MORE WORRISOME than if a link broke.

Even with a highly detailed report to OP, if the failure wasn't something OBVIOUS, like the sling tearing apart or the cable separating they may have VERY LITTLE ABILITY to determine failure other than to rule out a materials issue. OP might still be looking at it to determine what's up or they may have done so and concluded nothing was wrong and it use broke. What kind of timeline are we talking about with this "failure to report back"?

There are SO MANY factors that can cause a cam to "break" that beyond eliminating manufacturing and material defects, all that can probably be said is the forces in that fall were such that they exceeded the capabilities of the cam. There are pictures of mangled TCUs, Camalots etc etc out there. None were "defective" but all failed.

Dow Williams wrote: To be honest, I don't believe internet personalities/avatars have the best skills nor expertise to be discussing why a particular piece failed. That will up to the manufacturer to examine and share on this forum with us if they have any interest. It will take more than the naked eye to figure out. Thus why I sent it in to the manufacturer, vs return to a retailer or demand a refund. Which is what you should all do if you really want answers regarding a failure in any product. To reiterate one more time. We did not retire our link cams because of this failure. We retired our link cams once we discovered Omega Pacific had no interest in discussing the failure nor returning the piece in question, which we voluntarily sent them. That is the red flag in this case. That is why I posted 4 gear reviews and will continue. I believe it is important to be informed when it comes to gear safety. Gear breaks, no worries. Manufacturers not willing to examine why it breaks? That is a problem that the buying public needs to be made aware of. REI covering for bad gear? Unacceptable as well. I don't do business with REI anyway, never have....but a bit surprised they manipulate legitimate reviews. Would advise not relying on their reviews. Backcountry.com has always had the better review process, but until now I would have at least assumed REI's were an accurate reflection as well. Now I can no longer assume that. Bearbreeder, I am sure I have fallen on the links as well. In fact I would have been one of the first owners of these cams. Have used them for many years. Despite weighing more, they actually save us weight on big alpine routes in the Canadian Rockies due to versatility. Main reason I owned them. My hesitation now results from my first hand experience of taking the time of writing a detailed letter to OP, returning a defective piece, and getting zero response. That coupled with similar reports of cam failure, have forced me to discontinue use. Of course to each his/her own. I am simply sharing my personal experience with lack of service and/or interest from this company regarding one of their products.


I know there are other images of mangles cams out there...
Dow Williams · · St. George, Utah; Canmore, AB · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 240

A logical post (despite coming from TX) regarding my beliefs surrounding gear failure. It is not a big deal. Going to happen. Many factors could be involved. Again, the issue is not so much gear failure, but the lack of interest and response from the manufacturer into the incident and piece in question as well as the editing of gear reviews by a significant retailer. These are issues that need to be addressed and offer legitimate concern.

Otherwise it is virtually impossible to hold either accountable.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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