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offset cams


Original Post
Jake wander · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 175

going to start purchasing offset cams for aid climbing, as my budget permits. lets assume im getting offset x4s. what sizes best fit pin scars or which sizes are the most useful? im assuming this isnt super route specific as pin scars should be of similar size, but for reference i am starting with Moonlight Buttress.

Alexander K · · The road · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 130

Pin scars can very greatly in size, especially on desert sandstone where they get blown out much more quickly. You'll see everything from 0.75 (actually a fairly common size that doesn't take nuts well) all the way down to 0.1. Unless you are going to buy a whole set start with finger size pieces and work your way out from there. Tricams and offset nuts could probably eliminate any need for offset cams as you are starting out.

Trevor. · · Boise, ID · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 849

Not sure about moonlight buttress but I used the largest 3 offset X4s a ton in Yosemite.

Chad F · · Costa Mesa, CA · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 75

I've got some offset aliens if your interested

kevin deweese · · Oakland, Ca · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 350

For at least Yosemite pin scars, Totem Cam blue, purple, (and prob black but I haven't tried that size yet) work better than offsets. Hands down.

And depending upon the size of the scar, green works well too, but at that size it's easier to fiddle other things in if cost is an issue

walmongr · · Gilbert AZ · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 85

Agree with Kevin.. The 3 smallest sizes of the totems are way better then offsets they fit in weird flairs and pin scars you can load 2 lobs if aid climbing, wouldn't want to carry 2-3 set they are bulky but they are awesome cams!! If you really just want offsets I like the Metolius offsets.

· · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 1970 · Points: 0

Having used most but not all offset brands sizes and styles, I have two stand out favorites. Aliens are the best all around offset I have used. I much prefer them to x4's. And the metolius tcu offsets fit in the really shallow stuff when a four love unit won't fit. I HAVE NOT used totem cams so maybe they are even better in shallow placements. just my opinion and my two cents. I'm probably also biased because I've used tcu offsets for a decade and have never really liked the x4's.

Neil Wachowski · · Fort Collins, CO · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 80

I've only used offset mastercams, but blue/yellow (1/2) and yellow/orange (2/3) seem to be the money pieces for trade routes in Zion. If you're looking to get X4s, then I suppose that would be .2/.3 and .3/.4. I agree with the above comment that offset nuts and tri-cams are even more useful for moderate aid (in the desert anyway), so I'd get those first if you haven't already.

Jake wander · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 175

thanks guys. i have 2 sets of dmm offset alloys and a single set of the offset brassies down through the body weight only, so im good there. i love the idea of totems and being able to climb on only two lobes, but at $30/cam cost increase, i just cant take it when i also need a ledge and a few other items. i will probably just get the sizes neil recommended in x4 to start out.

if i really enjoy big wall after this trip, i will probably start adding totems to my set as i prepare for yosemite.

thanks again.

Ryan Hamilton · · Orem · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 20

I have found in general to like Totems better than Offsets, I've had both on my rack on tricky clean aid and it seems like I ended up using Totems more often in those blown out pin scars. That said, sometimes the Offset cams are just the ticket. It seems like I used the smaller size Offsets most on The Nose, the bigger ones, .5+ stayed on the rack.

Tricams work great on desert aid routes where the pin scars degrade even further, often leaving very shallow pin scars that leave the outside lobes with nothing to grab.

kevin deweese · · Oakland, Ca · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 350

If the Totems are too expensive, normally can find the Totem Basic Offsets for a bit cheaper, (IF you can find them that is) and their version of the Alien offset is far superior to the original Fixe Alien Cam Restart.

(I HAVE NOT used the newer Fixe Alien Evos so they might have fixed (harhar) some of the issues (ie: superwide head width on the smaller sizes) that the Totem Basic did not suffer from.

FYI: Totem Basic was totem's version of the old Alien brand cam.

But seriously, get yourself at least the Original Totem Blue, when you see what you can do with a shallow placement and two lobes, it's game over for other cams in the Aid world.

Totems and Beaks: if you use them, you're cheating.

Jake wander · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 175
kevin deweese wrote:If the Totems are too expensive, normally can find the Totem Basic Offsets for a bit cheaper, (IF you can find them that is) and their version of the Alien offset is far superior to the original Fixe Alien Cam Restart. (I HAVE NOT used the newer Fixe Alien Evos so they might have fixed (harhar) some of the issues (ie: superwide head width on the smaller sizes) that the Totem Basic did not suffer from. FYI: Totem Basic was totem's version of the old Alien brand cam. But seriously, get yourself at least the Original Totem Blue, when you see what you can do with a shallow placement and two lobes, it's game over for other cams in the Aid world. Totems and Beaks: if you use them, you're cheating.
just to clarify, the blue you are recommending is not the basic but this:

backcountry.com/totem-cams-…
Ryan Hamilton · · Orem · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 20
Jake wander wrote: just to clarify, the blue you are recommending is not the basic but this: backcountry.com/totem-cams-…
That's the one. Sadly, this just reminded me that I recently contributed my own blue Totem to the huge collection of fixed gear on The Nose. It's near the end of pitch 6...
kevin deweese · · Oakland, Ca · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 350

Yup.
Original Totem



Totem Basic

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 190

Hmm...haven't used the regular totems, and didn't realize they made them that small. How do they compare to the basics?

20 kN · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,348

You dont need any offsets for Moonlight, but you will need a ton of .5 Camalots. I think we brought five and that was for a free climbing rack. Also, Moonlight is mostly a free climb now. While anyone is free to climb anything they want on aid or free, you would be doing everyone a solid if you do it on a slower day otherwise a bunch of free climbers are probably going to try to pass you.

Jake wander · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 175
20 kN wrote:You dont need any offsets for Moonlight, but you will need a ton of .5 Camalots. I think we brought five and that was for a free climbing rack. Also, Moonlight is mostly a free climb now. While anyone is free to climb anything they want on aid or free, you would be doing everyone a solid if you do it on a slower day otherwise a bunch of free climbers are probably going to try to pass you.
Thanks for the advice. I've seen some trip reports saying offsets make a huge difference when aiding.

In terms of getting out of free climbers way, regardless of if I agree with that mentality, we are going there in January so I'm not super concerned about it.
20 kN · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,348
Jake wander wrote: Thanks for the advice. I've seen some trip reports saying offsets make a huge difference when aiding.
They do--just not on that route as there are few if any pin scars. It's an Indian-Creek-style splitter crack most of the way and you'll be leapfrogging .5 Camalots for 500'. For routes in Yosemite, offsets are huge and they will be your main go-to on anything C2 and up.
Danger-Russ Gordon · · Orem UT · Joined Nov 2011 · Points: 590
20 kN wrote:You dont need any offsets for Moonlight
I agree, speaking from first hand experience, you wont need any offsets for moonlight, and I've easily gotten away with aiding several big walls in Zion with no offset cams at all (and I'm nobody special, so if I can, anybody can).
Ryan Hamilton · · Orem · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 20

Double set of offset nuts for the nutting pitch on Moonlight. Very aptly named, especially if you're aiding it. I didn't have any Totems on Moonlight so I did end up using offset cams on some of the pin scars. I recall there being more than a few pin scars on pitchs 6-8 And yes, it takes sooo many .5 purple cams. Seems like we used a lot of Silver .3 as well. Get really comfortable with back cleaning on pitches 4,5,and 6.

Kevin Mokracek · · Burbank · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 200

I recall the yellow Totem working great in the traversing pitch below the Rocker Blocker. It's been a while but it seemed like a semi blind placement into a flared crack. Other than that I really didn't feel off sets were essential.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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