Do TCUs still have their place?

Original Post
Eric MC · · Oakland, CA · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 3

What do you think?

With so many different small cam options on the market, are there still times you are glad (or wished) you had your trusty TCUs instead of aliens, mastercams, x4s, totem basics etc etc...

Max Supertramp · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 15


Brassmonkey · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 0


Healyje · · PDX · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 100

Haven't used mine since MCs came out.

climber pat · · Las Cruces, NM · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 185

I no longer use my TCUs.

N Nelsen · · Thornton, NH · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 10

I have a collection of old or bootied TCUs but rarely do they find their way on my rack along with my Aliens. Perhaps if I climbed more in the Gunks or other areas riddled with consistent horizontal cracks I think they would be used much more often.

SethG · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 207

They are perfectly good cams. They are very light, have a small profile on the rack, and they are cheaper than most cams.

That said, I don't carry them. I prefer Aliens. I find they fit in more places. And when I place TCU's in a vertical orientation I find they often rotate and then the placement sometimes becomes suspect.

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 45

There are some placements that TCUs fit better in due to the narrower profile, and certain areas where they tend to work better than 4-lobed cams. Many people prefer TCU/C3s for the smallest cam sizes.

Alexander K · · The road · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 45

For alpine stuff they are still great being one of the lightest and most fool proof options. The sheath on the stems on aliens can freeze and make the cams unusable. With TCUs you can knock any snow or ice out of the frame with a few taps.

I also find that for the smallest sizes I often like TCUs/C3s more. They tend to have some of the narrower heads available in those sizes (head width is constant through all the sizes for TCUs) while master cams and aliens get wider the smaller you go (after a certain point).

Matt Himmelstein · · Orange, California · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 95

I don't own any, but on my last multipitch we ended up using my partner's rack, and he had a couple. Frankly, I ended up using them quite a bit. Now, I place a bit more gear than he does, and he went light, so I was using most of the gear on my leads, but I reached for the TCUs as a first option in a number of locations, not as a last option, and we did have similar size quad cams and passive pro.

I plan on picking up a few, but them I also have full blown gear-acquisition-syndrome.

David Gibbs · · Ottawa, ON · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 6

They're still active and used on my rack. I've got blue, yellow, orange, and red. For smaller than the blue, I've added 0 and 00 C3s. I don't like using them, though, if I can avoid it. I consider cams (or, heck, any placement) that small to be tending towards untrustworthy. The difference between good/bad is so small it can be very hard to tell which a placement actually is.

Nodin deSaillan · · Boulder · Joined Mar 2013 · Points: 0

It's hard to beat them for pin scars. Especially in places like Eldo.

Matt Carroll · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 5

Awesome for alpine. light and cheep, no issues with snow. Still lighter then UL cams that came out recently. I'm into them.

Scott McMahon · · Boulder, CO · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 105

I LOVE my TCU's. They fit in so many places that the BD style 4 lobes don't especially pockets and scars. Plus they are a super light way to double your rack. Great for the flatirons, eldo and alpine.

The only complaint I have is they walk more like most of the U-shaped metolius. If you are aware of that when you place the cam, and use a sling they are fine.

Rob Warden...Space Lizard · · Between Zion, Vegas, LA, an... · Joined Dec 2011 · Points: 0

Pods and seams the C3 or TCU is the best option for pro

C devries · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 0

The dmm tri-cam units are great.

GDavis · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2008 · Points: 10

People have climbed 5.14 on them so sure

Barrett Pauer · · Brevard, NC · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 225

Great for horizontals and super light. Hard to beat if you're climbing in an area like NC

JK- · · SLC · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 13

If we're talking TCUs as called that by the manufacturer I sold mine long ago and haven't missed them a bit...

If we're talking TCUs as a general term for any three cam unit, I have some and love them.

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 45

I took the later interpretation. C3 <8

Sam Stephens · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2010 · Points: 740

I keep a red tcu on my rack because it's almost the same size as a .75, but way narrower

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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