Small Cam in Horizontal Placement


Original Post
Jack Servedio · · Raleigh,NC · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 30

I've got a set of Mastercams for the .5-1" range and am super happy with them and am looking to getting a set of doubles - however, after moving to NC, I am hesitant on pulling the trigger due to their one weakness in my eyes - placement in horizontals where they aren't totally buried past the trigger.

I've seen a couple mangled mastercams that were fallen on placed with the area between the bottom plate and trigger loaded over an edge. The few times I've placed them in this position always bothered me and am thinking of getting something that would be more versatile in this position.

The Totem Basics looked best in this regard since there is a huge flexible area between the trigger and bottom place, which is also closer to the lobes. TCUs looked like another option, that also matched the sizing scheme of the MCs and also give me a 3CU, but I've heard a lot of complaints they get mangled worse than the MCs. X4s are super easy to get and an option too, but I've heard lots of problems with them being mangled easily.

What are your thoughts on this subject? I know horizontal placement where the cam isn't totally buried isn't ideal, but I take what I can get get.

john strand · · southern colo · Joined May 2008 · Points: 1,640

It's the cams and a good placement that matter most. it doesn't get any additional holding power when buried to the trigger.

That said, a cam can get really bent and twisted up to the point of being junk.

i have fallen plenty on horizontal Metolius tcu placement and never had one rip..in fact onlt a couple got really bad bends in them

Jack Servedio · · Raleigh,NC · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 30
john strand wrote:It's the cams and a good placement that matter most. it doesn't get any additional holding power when buried to the trigger. That said, a cam can get really bent and twisted up to the point of being junk. i have fallen plenty on horizontal Metolius tcu placement and never had one rip..in fact onlt a couple got really bad bends in them
Thanks. Not worried about the integrity of the placement, more worried about how the cam will hold up. Whipping on a green c4 in a less than ideal horizontal the cam was no worse for wear. Using a blue mc in an anchor with the piece between the trigger and bottom plate loaded over a horizontal cam took a beating.

Just want to figure out a good cam for those type of placements that will hold up better to supplement tthe master cams.
eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 456

in those type of placements, tri-cams are honestly the least likely to get mangled. it's just flexible nylon webbing running over the edge at that point. Might be worth looking into, considering you're in NC

Jack Servedio · · Raleigh,NC · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 30
eli poss wrote:in those type of placements, tri-cams are honestly the least likely to get mangled. it's just flexible nylon webbing running over the edge at that point. Might be worth looking into, considering you're in NC
You are entirely correct, and I've got Tri-Cams as well, but I am not the greatest at placing them one handed and was trying to gather peoples' thoughts on which cam holds up best in those type of horizontal placements. Or, at the very least, would complement the Masterams and be more flexible in that range where the connection between the trigger and bottom plate would get mangled.

I love my Mastercams and trust them completely in those situations to keep me safe, but would like to find something that stands a chance of holding up to it like C4s do in those situations if I actually fell on it.

Totem Basics seem like they would fit the bill and have nearly universal praise, but they are hard to get and almost the same price as the X4s. Plus, it would be adding a third sizing scheme to my rack.
Trevor. · · Boise, ID · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 819

The regular Totems hold up super well to horizontal loading, and as far as I'm concerned, they're the best cams currently available. Unfortunately they're really hard to find on sale!

TuFF GonG · · gunnison Colorado · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 175
Trevor. wrote:The regular Totems hold up super well to horizontal loading, and as far as I'm concerned, they're the best cams currently available. Unfortunately they're really hard to find on sale!
What about Fixe Aliens (the Original, not the LITE)? Are the regular Totems really a huge leap better?
eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 456
TuFF GonG wrote: What about Fixe Aliens (the Original, not the LITE)? Are the regular Totems really a huge leap better?
Two things:
1 the regular totems are a completely different thing than totem's alien style cam.
2 I can't really speak to the improvements that totem made on the alien design but I would not recommend getting any aliens from fixe due to their really shitty customer service and the fact that they've had more QC issues than CCH in the same timespan
Jack Servedio · · Raleigh,NC · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 30
Trevor. wrote:The regular Totems hold up super well to horizontal loading, and as far as I'm concerned, they're the best cams currently available. Unfortunately they're really hard to find on sale!
They do look ideal and I've never heard a bad thing about their performance, but how bulky are they when racked on your harness with doubles? And at $85/ea, are incredibly expensive. Plus, I've never used them, don't know anyone with them and don't know where to play with them in person - but I've actually climbed with the basics and TCUs, and can play with X4s in any REI.
patto · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 25
3nl wrote: They do look ideal and I've never heard a bad thing about their performance, but how bulky are they when racked on your harness with doubles? And at $85/ea, are incredibly expensive. Plus, I've never used them, don't know anyone with them and don't know where to play with them in person - but I've actually climbed with the basics and TCUs, and can play with X4s in any REI.
In practice I've never noticed them being more bulky on my harness. I was climbing a couple weeks ago with a double rack (small to #4) including double Totems. No issues. (I only own one set, but my partner had another.)

Since owning totems they always are my favourite cam in their respective size ranges. If I want extra reassurance in a placement I place a Totem. If I have a good stance I save my Totem for later when I need them.

For what it is worth master cams are my favourite small cams aka 0 and 00.
Noah Yetter · · Lakewood, CO · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 105

Splurge on one Totem (get the blue), and you'll find yourself buying the rest of the set. Since the GBP has tanked you can get them from the UK for less than any US vendor. And if you don't like them, you can put them up for sale here and they'll be gone in 30 seconds.

ebmudder · · Bronx, NY · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 50
3nl wrote: You are entirely correct, and I've got Tri-Cams as well, but I am not the greatest at placing them one handed...
Have you tried the Tricam EVOs yet? tricam evo

Their sewn slings are stiffer than the nylon tricams, allowing you to place them one-handed with ease (with practice). You just need to use a longer runner with them to keep them from rope-induced walking. For a third of the price of a Totem (and less weight/bulk on your rack), I would recommend you tri them first. ;)
john strand · · southern colo · Joined May 2008 · Points: 1,640

There is no comparison to TriCams and any modern active cam..I have never seen a placement that "only a tricam will work" never..not once

patto · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 25
john strand wrote:There is no comparison to TriCams and any modern active cam..I have never seen a placement that "only a tricam will work" never..not once
Narrow, rounded, opening pockets. I've seen such pockets that no SLCD would fit, they are rare but it depends on the type of rock you climb. Intricately stacked nuts might be able to be made work but for such placements I'd prefer a tricam. Even the CAMP website mentions such pockets.

Though I agree that tri-cams are no replacement for totems. In fact totems work well in most pockets too because they are narrow headed.
baldclimber · · Ottawa, Ontario, Canada · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 0
john strand wrote:I have never seen a placement that "only a tricam will work" never..not once
Solution pockets in eastern granite.
David Gibbs · · Ottawa, ON · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 6
baldclimber wrote: Solution pockets in eastern granite.
Yep. White Horse Ledge, New Hampshire has some classic examples of this.

Another place where a tricam is a far better choice than a cam is a dirty, wet, or icy crack.
Jack Servedio · · Raleigh,NC · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 30

So I will probably grab a Totem cam to play with later just because they look so unique, but I had a chance to play with the X4s for the first time today and I am leaning toward those in the .2-.4 range - they are much more flexible than my Mastercams right where I want them to be and I like the action way better than TCUs and even better than Aliens - the action is almost exactly the same as the Mastercam. Plus, since the color scheme matches the C4s, I don't have to learn a 3rd color scheme.

Anything over the .4 felt just too floppy, and rarely place my #0 or smaller Mastercam, I probably won't need the .1 for now which looked super wide for it's size anyway.

I still like my Mastercams better than the X4s, but the X4s complement the Mastercams well and will make me feel better about not being destroyed if I fall on them in a horizontal I didn't feel confident I had enough time to place a tricam in.

What are your thoughts on the X4s?

john strand · · southern colo · Joined May 2008 · Points: 1,640
David Gibbs wrote: Yep. White Horse Ledge, New Hampshire has some classic examples of this. Another place where a tricam is a far better choice than a cam is a dirty, wet, or icy crack.
Bullshit..I have done lots of climbs on Whitehorse and never used a tricam. I can;t think of any WH route that requires Tricams and i have have most of them.

A tricam in a wet,dirty crack as gotto be suck.

Name me a route-------
eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 456
john strand wrote: Bullshit..I have done lots of climbs on Whitehorse and never used a tricam. I can;t think of any WH route that requires Tricams and i have have most of them. A tricam in a wet,dirty crack as gotto be suck. Name me a route-------
You want a route name? Capital Assets as T-wall, last 15ft are protected by a weird little pocket that won't take cams but accepts a pink tri-cam. You refuse to see or acknowledge the usefulness of tri-cams, and that's fine. It doesn't mean you're justified in bashing their use, though. And yeah, a tricam in a dirty crack sucks, but it'll perform better than a SLCD in the same placement due to the point that cuts through the dirt and grime to reach the rock.
Jack Servedio · · Raleigh,NC · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 30
MuddyPaws wrote: Ass-Clown comes to mind... Aside from tricams, C3's are great in horizontals, especially in slotted placements. Red and yellow sizes are worth considering.
Is there a reason to slot in a cam in a horizontal? If it is a slotted type placement, won't a plain ol' nut do the trick? Keyhole nut placements are my favorite.
patto · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 25

Pretty much all cams work great in horizontal cracks. This has been the case pretty much since flexible stem cams have been around.

Nuts are even less likely to work in a horizontal crack than a vertical crack!

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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