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Black totem craze?


Locals Only · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 1,040
Brad Johnson wrote:

You guys carrying doubles, or use c4 for the doubles? 

I know of a fat guy in Vegas that boasted Trips in Totes!

jg fox · · Long Beach, CA · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 5
Ted Pinson wrote:

Gotta catch ‘em all!

In all seriousness, totems live up to the hype, especially in slick/funky rock, and so most people want a full set.  For some reason, those seems to be the most outstripped in terms of supply vs demand, but the rest of the sizes sell out rather quickly as well, especially if there’s a sale.  They’re a small Spanish company and everything is handmade, so there’s only so many they can make.

Totem themselves don't make the cams, they have a supplier in Spain that makes them.  There was another company selling the exact same cam (albeit licensed), started with a "K".

If you are being entrepreneurial, it is cheaper to come up with the intellectual property and outsource the production to a company that makes custom products for different customers.  Less investment capital is needed to get a product started.  Probably explains their back orders, their supplier is most likely making them in batches.

EDIT: The above with Totem is wrong, that's what I get for trying to remember a four year old thread: https://www.mountainproject.com/forum/topic/107938119/totem-cams

Kalias is the parent company of Totem and they get their version and is branded Kalias.

Pete Spri · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2009 · Points: 170
jg fox wrote:

Totem themselves don't make the cams, they have a supplier in Spain that makes them.  There was another company selling the exact same cam (albeit licensed), started with a "K".

If you are being entrepreneurial, it is cheaper to come up with the intellectual property and outsource the production to a company that makes custom products for different customers.  Less investment capital is needed to get a product started.  Probably explains their back orders, their supplier is most likely making them in batches.

That doesn't sound right.  I think you may have that backwards?

Adam Block · · Colorado Springs, CO · Joined Dec 2012 · Points: 86

Just got mine from Barrabes.uk in under a week!

Had to sell off two just to cover the crazy shipping cost but easy enough to do on MP right now

Just from fondling I can tell this is more confidence inspiring than a small cam or an offset micro cam in those funky small placements where I can’t see wall the lobes too well. Can’t wait to see if that’s the case!

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

Anybody take a fall on one yet?

Repeatedly. Including one onto three lobes. It's bomber. 

Mark Westfall 1 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2015 · Points: 0

I own one. It is a fantastic cam. That being said it is only marginally better than a mastercam or an alien in the same size. Maybe if you were some crazy high end trad climber this cam would be really beneficial. But for 99% percent of climbers it isn’t that game changing. 

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

No experience with the black yet but I have to say that my blue and yellow totem saved my ass last saturday.  Was on this climb with mediocre rock quality on the last placement before a big runout to the anchors.  I doubled up with the blue and yellow where the main crack petered out and the way the crack was oriented it would have been impossible to get C4s even close to the direction of fall with the sling.  Totems with the way they work made the placement bearable.  I still considered myself in a no fall zone but I think I might have bailed on this climb had I not had my totems.....and even then I would have been terrified to bail on C4s in this spot.  Between the fact that they can act like offsets and the way the sling/stem system works when you don't get the lobes in the direction of fall, totems are a Godsend.  If they could somehow make them in micro and bigger than hand sizes I would have no other cams.  Granted once you get up into the BD #4s and up those two advantages listed become somewhat moot.

adeadhead · · Baltimore, Maryland · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 25

They're bomber, small, and we can't get them on the cheap from Marco yet.

Billcoe · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 655
Sam Sala wrote:

Just wondering what is so goddamned special about black totems that there have been people on waiting lists for months to get them, and it seems like the second they pop up anywhere, they are snatched off the market.

I read a brewer's quote once from GABF a few years ago...when asked his opinion on the most overrated beer at the time, he said something along the lines of "the one you have to wait in line longer than 5 minutes to get". Can't help but think the same here. Maybe I'm climbing the wrong routes, but are black totems actually that magical?!

I believe if you watch this video, all will become clear. Black Totems = Candy Mountain Charrllliiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Truth in advertizeing, I own most brand of cams. I have 2-1/2 sets of Totems inc. the magical black one. They are my prefered cam. 

Chris Dunn 510 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 0
Billcoe wrote:

I believe if you watch this video, all will become clear. Black Totems = Candy Mountain Charrllliiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Truth in advertizeing, I own most brand of cams. I have 2-1/2 sets of Totems inc. the magical black one. They are my prefered cam. 

WTF did I just watch

Fran Time · · Unknown Hometown · Joined 2 days ago · Points: 0

Don't confuse Totems with Totem Basics. These are two wildly different cam designs. The cams in question are singular Totems - take up a ton of space on the harness but you just clip and go. Bomber as bomber gets IMO.

edit - Maybe X4s as suitable replacement depending what your focus is.

Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 483
Chris Dunn 510 wrote:

WTF did I just watch

I need a lot of drugs for that to make sense

mike again · · Berkeley, CA · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 40
David Kerkeslager wrote:

I can't speak for everyone, but I carry doubles.

I have doubles of totems for everything small (black up to purple). Doubles of BD ultralights above that. I feel happy with this setup and wouldn't at this point change. I am an unabashed totem evangelist, and could go on and on about why. But I feel the benefits of the totems diminish a bit in bigger sizes and they're heavier. Just another opinion. 

Ashort · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 35

I like totems. I found the black in my local shop for $85, don't think I would pay $100 for one though. 

Fran Time · · Unknown Hometown · Joined 2 days ago · Points: 0
Ashort wrote:

I like totems. I found the black in my local shop for $85, don't think I would pay $100 for one though. 

Lol you would if you fell on one though!

Cole Lawrence · · Missoula, Montana · Joined May 2017 · Points: 15

The Totem Cams do ware out 10X faster than Camalots or C4 cams. You can straighten the cables on totems, clean them, lube them to help the issue of ware - but inevitably they ware out. The cable housing gets abused, the cables do not slide as well through the housing over time, the cam becomes floppier (could actually be a good thing for walking ;).. ) and the springs do not work as well to press the lobes open. When totems are brand new they really do rock, especially in the smaller sizes where placements are often so finicky. In the larger sizes the lack of a double axle is hindering to the range and since these placements are often more straight forward I would rather have a cam with more range that will last 20 years like a C4. 

The black is super nice for placements that just will not set into the right place. This cam slides pods and slots like a C3 except when you whip it doesn't rip... which is quite useful.

Christopher Smith · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0
Cole Lawrence wrote:

In the larger sizes the lack of a double axle is hindering to the range 

This false.  Totems have a bigger range because of the way the transfer forces directly to the lobes.  They are bomber from 5%-80% open as opposed to the 20%-50% open basically every other cam requires (sans the big ones that are still good close to tipped).

Edit: I have yet to find the evidence to back this up, so don't take this as gospel

Ryan Swanson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2018 · Points: 3
Cole Lawrence wrote:

The Totem Cams do ware out 10X faster than Camalots or C4 cams. You can straighten the cables on totems, clean them, lube them to help the issue of ware - but inevitably they ware out. The cable housing gets abused, the cables do not slide as well through the housing over time, the cam becomes floppier (could actually be a good thing for walking ;).. ) and the springs do not work as well to press the lobes open. When totems are brand new they really do rock, especially in the smaller sizes where placements are often so finicky. In the larger sizes the lack of a double axle is hindering to the range and since these placements are often more straight forward I would rather have a cam with more range that will last 20 years like a C4. 

The black is super nice for placements that just will not set into the right place. This cam slides pods and slots like a C3 except when you whip it doesn't rip... which is quite useful.

Wear.  Where ware wears out, might be the cable housing.

Fran Time · · Unknown Hometown · Joined 2 days ago · Points: 0
Christopher Smith wrote:

This false.  Totems have a bigger range because of the way the transfer forces directly to the lobes.  They are bomber from 5%-80% open as opposed to the 20%-50% open basically every other cam requires (sans the big ones that are still good close to tipped).

Source? Don't get me wrong. I'm a totem apologist but that seems like a crazy range.

michalm · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 145

Copious amounts of dubious information on this thread...

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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