Was asked to post this here


Original Post
WillSsss · · Boston, MA · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 0

Trying not to post a click-baity title since the situation is different from the other recent Alien failure but I was asked to post this to MP.

My (new) 1/3 Black Alien snapped after a small fall. It was my second piece placed close to 90 degrees in a shallow, vertical crack.

I am not sure how willing I am to simply throw Fixe under the bus as the placement was not ideal. That said, it was sort of shocking to me that the head snapped off. If anything, this is a reminder to place gear in the direction of the fall. In my case it seemed like the best option, clearly not.

Fixe Alien

Fixe Alien

Fixe Alien

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

Wow, thats a scary looking failure!! Little to no lobe deformation to show excessive forces were placed on the cam that should/could create a failure like that. Scary. Glad I don't own any. The strength rating is 5KN, is that right? I would change the title to something not click-baity, but more honest to what this is. "New Fixe Alien LITE Failure" isn't off base because that's what it actually is to me.

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

Can you post a better pic of the lobes? How much rope was in the system? I assume you contacted them?

webdog · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 0

Small gear fails. 90 deg in a vertical crack would not be ideal orientation.

JulianG · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 5

I guess that is why every manufacturer tells us to anticipate the direction of the fall and place the cam stem in that direction. I don't think it is the manufacturers fault. I same thing happens to old rigid stem friends in a horizontal crack.

You could't place a nut? or better pink tricam that makes certain people happy

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 15

http://www.mountainproject.com/v/alien-failure-/112260538#a_112260802

http://www.mountainproject.com/v/alien-failure-/112127914#a_112128525

http://www.mountainproject.com/v/malfunction---fixe-alien/109605895__3

http://www.mountainproject.com/v/fixe-aliens-/111952791#a_111953620

mattm · · TX · Joined Jun 2006 · Points: 550
Brassmonkey wrote:Wow, thats a scary looking failure!! Little to no lobe deformation to show excessive forces were placed on the cam that should/could create a failure like that. Scary. Glad I don't own any. The strength rating is 5KN, is that right? I would change the title to something not click-baity, but more honest to what this is. "New Fixe Alien LITE Failure" isn't off base because that's what it actually is to me.
Title would be more accurate if it said "I broke my cam because of a poor placement".

1) Tiny cams are not that strong and have very small margins of error.
2) Sticking straight out is a sure way to break the cam, regardless off rated strength.

Bad Placement - 90deg

another brand.

Think of a #2 pencil. If you try to pull it apart axially it will be damn near impossible. Bend that #2 over an edge though and it breaks easily. All cam strength ratings are under ideal, in-line loading test scenarios. All bets are off when you start loading them in ways that introduce torque at the head.

3) Small cams are simply more fragile pro and should be treated as such. All these "X small cam failure" threads are nearly all pilot error. [not sure on the latest yellow Alien but...]
Muscrat · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 3,040

Asked by whom?

David Coley · · UK · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 0

I'm rather impressed it didn't rip out first, given the angle it was placed at.

I think this indicates the difference between placing at 90deg in vertical cracks and 90deg in horizontal. In the latter, assuming the crack is deep enough, the load will be inline with the stem, and the flexible bit will be over the edge and forming the right angle.

BigCountry · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2012 · Points: 20

It's not ideal as a placement but damn I do that shit with other cams and they don't break. Something ain't right. Fixe needs to get they're shit together or just call their shit shit. I've warped the hell out of a BD cam placed in a pocket with that orientation. Was not a small fall and the cam didn't break. Had small falls on WC zeros in what sounds like similar orientation and they never broke either. So I don't think the dudes placement is the blame.

baldclimber · · Ottawa, Ontario, Canada · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 0
mattm wrote: Title would be more accurate if it said "I broke my cam because of a poor placement".
This.
Brassmonkey · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 0

Gear expectations keep getting lower in one area and higher in others, smh. No the placement was not ideal, but are you telling me no Mastercams, zeros, basics, etc have ever been placed in a bad placement and fallen on? Where are the pics of the other broken cams? Yes small gear fails more frequently, but to just assume it was due to placement and nothing else is just chosen ignorance.

grega Albrechtsen · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 15

Curious. Did this cam actually hold your fall or did it pull? If it held your fall, then it succeed in its job. I also notice the trigger wires are still intact. That last picture is the best as it most likely really shows the angle of application.

baldclimber · · Ottawa, Ontario, Canada · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 0

^^^^^^^^

Yup.

baldclimber · · Ottawa, Ontario, Canada · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 0
Thomas Beck · · Las Vegas, Nevada · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 660

Popcorn anyone?

I've whipped on an original blue alien placed straight out. First piece in at about 12 to 15 ft.; crack climb at Indian Cove, Joshua Tree. Probably weighed about 220 lbs. at the time. If memory serves, the placement was at my waist when I came off. It held, bent but straightened out and I still use it

Original blue alien

Original blue alien

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

I'll say it again, show me pics of other cams that have failed this way, not x4's. Start whipping all over small gear and you'll come to learn what they should be able to hold, even in marginal placements.

Thomas Beck · · Las Vegas, Nevada · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 660

Hey Locker, If you're a cool old guy like we are then of course..you can evaluate based on years of climbing experience.

I placed a black Metolius in a shallow limestone crack on Sunday...straight out. Did not like it at all. Do not recommend placements like that. Tricam would not have worked. Was an easy slab and the clip 10 ft below was a bolt.

To clarify...my gear is so cave the colors may have changed. It was a #5 Metolius

Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 438
JulianG wrote: You could't place a nut? or better pink tricam that makes certain people happy
Pink tricam is rattley fingers. Black alien is a micro cam. He needed a nut.
WillSsss · · Boston, MA · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 0

Responding to a few comments.

JulianG wrote:You could't place a nut? or better pink tricam that makes certain people happy
No, it was a strenuous stem with poor visibility into the crack. A nut would have taken too long.

mattm wrote: Title would be more accurate if it said "I broke my cam because of a poor placement".
Sure

Muscrat wrote:Asked by whom?
A few people on Reddit, I figured it might generate a good discussion on placement of cams, especially small ones.

MuddyPaws wrote: How much rope did you have out and how far above the last piece were you? Also, doesn't sound like you decked, so despite breaking the head of the stem, the cam held you.
It was maybe a little below my waist when I fell. I didnt exactly deck, but landed on my feet. My belayer did an awesome job.

grega wrote:Curious. Did this cam actually hold your fall or did it pull?
It pulled, which is more or less what I expected to happen if I fell, which I wasnt intending to do. Something about mental duct-tap. The thing that was more surprising to me was the fact that it snapped. Consensus seems to be that I should have expected that.
Scot Hastings · · Las Vegas · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 5
Brassmonkey wrote:I'll say it again, show me pics of other cams that have failed this way, not x4's. Start whipping all over small gear and you'll come to learn what they should be able to hold, even in marginal placements. And bearbreeder has a weird thing against all "microcams" so I take little stock his thoughts on this subject.
I'm with Brassmonkey on this one. I think we can all agree it was a bad placement. That said, though, does anyone have any actual evidence of non-Alien small cams failing in similar placements?
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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