Mountain Project Logo

What year are my Camalots?


Original Post
Isaac Roter · · Vashon Island, WA · Joined Oct 2017 · Points: 10

I pieced together a rack second-hand, pretty evenly mixed between 3rd and 4th generation Camalots. My understanding is that the 4th gen (thumb loop) was introduced in 2004, and yet all but one of them (of both generations) start with a 4 on the date stamp.

Does this mean the 3rd gens are from 1994? Or somehow from 2004 but without the thumb loop?
Does anyone know what year the 3rd generation came out?
Please help settle my confusion.
Thanks in advance.

mike sheridan · · Golden · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 45

either way I would have them re-slung

nbrown · · western NC --> Broomfield, CO · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 6,496

I have all generations and to the best of my knowledge:

1st gen (Chouinard) had "double stems" and skinny cam lobes.

2nd gen (BD at this point I believe) had single stem but no thumb loop, and beefier cam lobes. There were some half-sizes in here as well.

3rd gen C4 (I believe 2004 is correct) has thumb loops. This was when the half sizes were integrated into the range and sizes above #3 were slightly altered. And of course, there are currently 2 other variations on this: X4 and Ultralight.

the schmuck · · Albuquerque, NM · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 110

3rd generation came out in 93 or 94. I bought mine in the late summer of 94. I bought my 2nd gen ones in the early spring of 94 off of the close out bin. 

Brian · · North Kingstown, RI · Joined Sep 2001 · Points: 680
nbrown wrote: I have all generations and to the best of my knowledge:

1st gen (Chouinard) had "double stems" and skinny cam lobes.

Black Diamond also made them with double stems and skinny cam lobes (and no slings).  I have some.  

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,800

Lots of info on this if you Google. In short:
1st Gen - Chouinard cams with THREE-PIECE nylon cover on the dual stem
2nd Gen - Single piece Nylon piece
3rd Gen - single stem, no thumb loop. There was a sub-Gen change at some point when a stop was added to the stem to prevent pushing the trigger bar too far forward.
4th Gen AKA C4 - thumb loop

Some would say the Ultralights are the 5th Gen.  To my knowledge no one is calling the X4s a separate Gen, but I don't see why one couldn't.  Also note that C3s are not Camalots at all, but 3-cam units. The C3 name didn't help people understand the significance of the C4 designation for the thumb loop Camalots.

Isaac Roter · · Vashon Island, WA · Joined Oct 2017 · Points: 10

So to answer my primary question: the older camalots are probably from '94 and the c4s are from either 2004 or 2014?

I noticed a couple of the c4s have an A at the end of the date stamp. Does this denote a date stamp from this decade?

nbrown · · western NC --> Broomfield, CO · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 6,496
Brian wrote:

Black Diamond also made them with double stems and skinny cam lobes (and no slings).  I have some.  

Couldn't remember when the name changed but I was pretty sure the earliest single stems were BD's design. Didn't know they made double stems for a while too.

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,800

More history. This from Marty Karabin, regular on SuperTopo. Clearly he has his own way of counting generations, and this post of his pre-dates the Ultralights.

It's post #171 in this huge thread if you want some reading material.  http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=1547699&tn=160 

Generation 1: 1987 Chouinard double stem but three separate plastic pieces making the "U" shape.
Generation 2: 1989 Chouinard double stem but single plastic piece making the "U" shape.
Generation 3: 1990 Black Diamond double stem but single plastic piece making up the "U" shape.
Generation 4: 1996 Black Diamond single stem with single one piece tubing. No trigger stop where finger trigger can fall into the lobes.
Generation 5: 1997 Black Diamond single stem with three pieces creating the single tubing. Aluminum ring added for a trigger stop.
Generation 6: 2001 Black Diamond single stem with one piece tubing with trigger stop molded into it.
Then Generation 7 is the newer C4 Camalots which were created in 2005.

the schmuck · · Albuquerque, NM · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 110

Not exactly. I bought my first set of single stem camalots in the summer of 94, in Richmond, at Wild River Outfitters, so they definitely go to 1994. The Jr.s ( .5 & .75) were discontinued around 96, and those were a U stem. 

Brian · · North Kingstown, RI · Joined Sep 2001 · Points: 680

Show us your Camalots.  Oldest wins.  These are circa 1990.  Notice the Chouinard biner.  

the schmuck · · Albuquerque, NM · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 110

Exactly...I have those. Jr. on the left. Sadly, mine aren't as old as yours. I bought my first cams in '92, and those were HBs. 

rob bauer · · Golden, CO · Joined Dec 2004 · Points: 3,279

No idea on the year, but here are the 5 major variations I have, L-R oldest-newest.


Closer view of that irritating original separating 3-piece on the left.  
Oh, just noticed the pro-tip fix on the #1: Tennis string instead of official trigger wire repair.

Brian · · North Kingstown, RI · Joined Sep 2001 · Points: 680
rob bauer wrote: No idea on the year, but here are the 5 major variations I have, L-R oldest-newest.
Closer view of that irritating original separating 3-piece on the left.  
Oh, just noticed the pro-tip fix on the #1: Tennis string instead of official trigger wire repair.

I think you win so far.  That number 2 farthest on the left, does it say Black Diamond on the lobe or Chouinard?  

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275

Kind of a crazy idea, but you could call Black Diamond and ask them. And provide photos, as needed.

rob bauer · · Golden, CO · Joined Dec 2004 · Points: 3,279

Brian:  
Both cams on the left, of the five, say Chouinard with the old C-Diamond logo stamped on the lobes. The one in the middle has plain lobes and Black Diamond stamped into the trigger bar.

As to Frank’s idea, I think the hardware companies should all have a history page online so we could easily look up stuff like that.
Maybe with a decoder ring for their date codes?

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Climbing Gear Discussion
Post a Reply to "What year are my Camalots?"

Log In to Reply