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Question on Totem Basics


Original Post
Sean Onasch · · fort collins · Joined May 2016 · Points: 70

Looking to fill my rack with some more small/ micro size cams. I already own .2 and .3 x4s along with small Camalots. I don't really trust the x4s much and would like peoples opinion on durability and whether they would feel solid taking whippers on the basics. The climbs I like tend to have hard to protect features like Small flaring cracks and pockets. I know people like the small mastercams too, so any info between the two would be helpful as well. Basically, I'm looking for bomber small cams, thanks!

Z Winters · · Mazama, Washington · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 207

You'll be stoked on the Totem Basics. I really like having a set of Basics (blue, green, yellow) and Totems (black, blue yellow). They stagger in size really well. My X4s have become backups.

Z Winters · · Mazama, Washington · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 207

Mastercams and X4s are more durable, but the X4s kink easily. Mastercams have a small range. Basics are sticky and confidence inspiring, but the metal is soft like aliens. I don't always whip, but when I do I prefer to whip on Totem Basics ;)

Sean Onasch · · fort collins · Joined May 2016 · Points: 70

Zachary Winters wrote:

Mastercams and X4s are more durable, but the X4s kink easily. Mastercams have a small range. Basics are sticky and confidence inspiring, but the metal is soft like aliens. I don't always whip, but when I do I prefer to whip on Totem Basics ;)


Sean Onasch · · fort collins · Joined May 2016 · Points: 70

Yeah my .2 kinked yesterday when my partner fell cleaning my route :(  The small x4s seem more like an aid piece rather than for lead. Thanks for the info and sizing man.

Max Rausch · · Monterey, CA · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 125

Awesome cams. Would rather whip on my blue basic over my yellow X4 any day. Durability is the main issue. The lobes get very beat up. The diagonal teeth/lobe pattern is essentially non existent now. 

Christopher Smith · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0

Sean Onasch wrote:

Yeah my .2 kinked yesterday when my partner fell cleaning my route :(  The small x4s seem more like an aid piece rather than for lead. Thanks for the info and sizing man.

As long as your fall factors aren't super high then the small X4s will hold falls no problem.  I've had a friend take a .6 or .7 FF fall (it was a fall a few feet off the deck with the .1 as his first piece) on one of my .1s before and it just gave the lobes a nice scuffing.  Basically just don't run things out without alot of rope out on them if you can.  That said, as others have pointed out, the totems and totem basics are softer metal for the lobes and will stick better especially in lower friction rocks but will wear quicker.  As with everything there are tradeoffs.

Christopher Smith · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0

Sean Onasch wrote:

Yeah my .2 kinked yesterday when my partner fell cleaning my route :(  The small x4s seem more like an aid piece rather than for lead. Thanks for the info and sizing man.

How in the hell did somebody kink your cam on a follow fall?

Sean Onasch · · fort collins · Joined May 2016 · Points: 70

Christopher Smith wrote:

How in the hell did somebody kink your cam on a follow fall?

Wondering the same thing. He slipped about 10ft off the ground and his body pulled on the pieces horizontally away from the wall. None of them popped but I assume the horizontal pull kinked the cam. I heard before I purchased them that they kink super easy. I guess its true.

Christopher Smith · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0

Sean Onasch wrote:

Wondering the same thing. He slipped about 10ft off the ground and his body pulled on the pieces horizontally away from the wall. None of them popped but I assume the horizontal pull kinked the cam. I heard before I purchased them that they kink super easy. I guess its true.

So I guess this was an overhanging route?  Also was that your first piece?

Sean Onasch · · fort collins · Joined May 2016 · Points: 70

I like the idea of the softer metal on the basics. How many seasons should one expect before replacing, climbing 1-2 times a week? I understand falling/taking a bunch will reduce longevity, thanks.

Sean Onasch · · fort collins · Joined May 2016 · Points: 70

Christopher Smith wrote:

So I guess this was an overhanging route?  Also was that your first piece?

vertical crack, short route (20ft)  and it was my 3rd piece. 

King Tut · · Citrus Heights · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 430

Sean Onasch wrote:

I like the idea of the softer metal on the basics. How many seasons should one expect before replacing, climbing 1-2 times a week? I understand falling/taking a bunch will reduce longevity, thanks.

U don't need to replace them due to this issue AFAIK more one of their losing some of their range and fitting smaller than previously as they wear.

I agree (FWIW) that the softer metal is in fact ideal. The number one type of climbing pro that pulls out of cracks (per accident statistics) are micro cams. The softer metal gives them a "sticky" edge that I think is significant (with nothing to back it up that I can cite other than slicker stone or more "crystally" stone known to benefit from softer metal).

Sean Onasch · · fort collins · Joined May 2016 · Points: 70

King Tut wrote:

U don't need to replace them due to this issue AFAIK more one of their losing some of their range and fitting smaller than previously as they wear.

I agree (FWIW) that the softer metal is in fact ideal. The number one type of climbing pro that pulls out of cracks (per accident statistics) are micro cams. The softer metal gives them a "sticky" edge that I think is significant (with nothing to back it up that I can cite other than slicker stone or more "crystally" stone known to benefit from softer metal).

Awesome, good to know. Thanks for the info man.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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