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Oct 13, 2011
It is so funny to see people compare cams by just a glance at the heads. Especially when trying to compare Black Diamond C4s to others. BD C4 have a double axle.

The Purple BD and the Red Totem Basic have almost the same range.

Black Diamond C4 - .5 (Purple) = 19mm to 33mm

Totem Basic .95 (RED) = 19mm to 31mm

So really, they are the same size cam. Cause who uses a cam in the up 25% of the range.
BASE99999
Joined Mar 10, 2011
0 points
Oct 13, 2011
I've found visually comparing them helps a bunch. From the picture I can see that the Totem Red will fit in a more shallow slot than the purple C4.

And yes, the Totem Red is slightly smaller than the C4 -- 2mm, that is. And yes, even if you only use both cams no more than 75% extended, the purple C4 will hold slightly better in a crack at the higher end of its range compared to the Totem Red because it is slightly bigger.

A visual comparison is a good indicator of where you might have overlaps or holes in your rack.

Another person might have filled out this same gap b/w the purple C4 and the yellow C3 with the 0.4 and 0.3 C4. I chose the Totem Basic cams because I think they'll give me more placement options (like piton scars).
TheIceManCometh
From Albany, NY
Joined Aug 15, 2011
483 points
Oct 20, 2011
Does anyone know if Totem has plans to make smaller basics? I never used aliens, but from what I've read, the smallest sizes are where they really excel. Simon Hatfield
From Oakland, CA
Joined Apr 22, 2010
165 points
Oct 21, 2011
Simon Hatfield wrote:
Does anyone know if Totem has plans to make smaller basics? I never used aliens, but from what I've read, the smallest sizes are where they really excel.


Yes and No. Once you got below the Green Alien the design changed. The cams were too small to use the internal spring design so they went back to the normal external spring setup. This made the head width of the cam WIDER than other options in that size range. In areas where the cracks were DEEP (Moab, IC) the wider head width didn't make a difference in placements so the Blue and Black Aliens still were good. In other areas where the cracks bottomed out or where pin scared the wider head width was a liability for more placements.

I think once you get below a Green Alien, BD C3s or Master Cams are a better choice.

That said, I too have heard from Totem that they'll eventually get to making other sizes.
mattm
From TX
Joined Jun 2, 2006
550 points
Oct 21, 2011
Are they still that super-soft aluminum that CCH made them out of? I prefer the "normal" aluminum of WC or BD, metolius is unnecessarily hard, IMO, and the old Aliens were so soft that the cams deformed if you fell on them hard. Pete Spri
Joined Jun 1, 2009
115 points
Oct 23, 2011
Functionality-wise, how would you expect these Totem Basics to perform better/worse than Metolious Mastercams of the same size?

I find the Mastercams size 1 and smaller are fantastic in pin scars in granite. Would the Totems work better? Why?

I have no experience with offsets.
Chris D
From the couch
Joined Apr 14, 2009
2,055 points
Nov 3, 2011
Spri wrote:
Are they still that super-soft aluminum that CCH made them out of? I prefer the "normal" aluminum of WC or BD, metolius is unnecessarily hard, IMO, and the old Aliens were so soft that the cams deformed if you fell on them hard.


Boy, that shows that you don't know what you are talking about.
Mark S
Joined Oct 16, 2011
0 points
Nov 3, 2011
Killis Howard wrote:
Now that I'm dirty broke again, I'm gonna see which ones start having brazing issues and blown heads first, and then buy a couple of the other company's.


Always a solid plan with new gear. Even new old gear.

Does anybody else get absolutely nothing out of the bitchy technical wanking? It must be engineers' nature or something ;).
Colonel Mustard
From Sacramento, CA
Joined Sep 13, 2005
1,055 points
Nov 26, 2011
After placing an order on the Totem website, how long has it been taking folks to receive the order? Kevin Landolt
From Fort Collins, Wyoming
Joined Jun 1, 2009
580 points
Nov 26, 2011
Took 8 days from order to receipt from Oregon to New York. TheIceManCometh
From Albany, NY
Joined Aug 15, 2011
483 points
Nov 27, 2011
4 days from order to receipt. Evan Sanders
From Westminster, CO
Joined Dec 10, 2010
10 points
Dec 5, 2011
Heads up, a box of 30 of these Totem Basics were stolen in Portland Oregon. If anyone sees any suspicions sales (brand new Totem basics from a non-climber Meth head type for instance) please report it on cascadeclimbers.com attention Plaidman. cascadeclimbers.com/forum/ubbt...

...and if you were thinking of giving Totems for Christmas, please do so as to support them in their time of need, and be generous if the previously fast shipments are not duplicated.




Regards to all.
Billcoe
Joined Mar 16, 2006
570 points
Apr 25, 2012
Anyone had a chance to get out and use the Totem Basics over the past few months since this thread went up? Just wondering how the most recent comparisons of Totem, Fixe, and the originals are looking. Matt Westlake
Joined Jul 14, 2009
528 points
Apr 25, 2012
Mark S wrote:
Boy, that shows that you don't know what you are talking about.

Doesn't sound like you've ever seen a well used one.
Pete Spri
Joined Jun 1, 2009
115 points
Jan 8, 2017
Has anyone else had trouble with the trigger cables severing themselves on Totem Basics?

The first time this happened, I blamed the placement, since the cam's stem was forced to bend sharply over an edge when I fell on it, and there was a coarse grain/pepple there. This was the blue Totem Basic in the photos below. It failed. I'm not sure if I'd ever fallen on it before or not.

The second time is with the green one, again shown below. This time, there wasn't any way the trigger cable could've contacted the rock while being loaded. In this case, the other two lobes of the cam held. I'm not sure if I'd ever fallen on this one before either, but I don't think I had. So, 2 out of 2 of my Totem Basics have ripped their trigger cables apart when falling on them, and one was clearly not placed in a manner that should've put the cables at risk.

If you look closely, it appears the cables on both cams were severed where the little bead is. Perhaps this is a weak point. Perhaps the cables are a bit too short when the cam lobes deform a bit under load?

Be it noted that I've taken dozens of falls on Wild Country Zeros of similar size, and never had one fail. While I realize my experiences are merely anecdotal, I suspect there is a weakness with the trigger cables on the Totem Basics.

Rock Climbing Photo: Totem Basic with severed trigger-cable
Totem Basic with severed trigger-cable


Rock Climbing Photo: Another severed trigger cable.
Another severed trigger cable.



Rock Climbing Photo: Same as previous pic, opposite side of cam
Same as previous pic, opposite side of cam
mhagny
Joined May 15, 2011
278 points
Jan 8, 2017
If I had to guess, I'd say the lobes umbrella'ed and then the trigger wire broke. csproul
From Davis, CA
Joined Dec 3, 2009
25 points
Jan 8, 2017
csproul wrote:
If I had to guess, I'd say the lobes umbrella'ed and then the trigger wire broke.

I would agree... Those lobes look trashed right on the tips.
JK-
From SLC
Joined Nov 3, 2012
0 points
Jan 8, 2017
Yeah. Fallen on the green basic...no issues so far. Ted Pinson
From Chicago, IL
Joined Jul 11, 2014
40 points
Jan 8, 2017
mhagny wrote:
So, 2 out of 2 of my Totem Basics have ripped their trigger cables apart when falling on them, ... Be it noted that I've taken dozens of falls on Wild Country Zeros of similar size, and never had one fail.


Are you saying that you've only fallen on Totems two times, and both times they failed--a 100% failure rate?
Dylan B.
Joined Mar 31, 2006
613 points
Jan 8, 2017
The green one clearly umbrella'd due to an undercammed placement. I doubt a different cam would have any fared better. Trevor.
From Boise, ID
Joined Apr 16, 2012
666 points
Jan 8, 2017
Dylan B. wrote:
Are you saying that you've only fallen on Totems two times, and both times they failed--a 100% failure rate?

Yes, I think that is true. I might've fallen on one of them previously. If so, then a 66% failure rate.
mhagny
Joined May 15, 2011
278 points
Jan 8, 2017
I have fallen on the blue through yellow sizes more times than I have cared to count and had no problems. I've caught a partner on a blue that pulled once, although the cam was intact. YMMV. Mike Mellenthin
From San Francisco, CA
Joined Nov 5, 2014
0 points
Jan 8, 2017
Trevor. wrote:
The green one clearly umbrella'd due to an undercammed placement. I doubt a different cam would have any fared better.


Could one of you guys please explain what "umbrella-ing" is? I want to make sure I understand.

Yes, the green one was probably under-cammed on two of the lobes when the trigger cable broke. Note that the pair of lobes that are deformed the most is the side that held, not the side that ripped.

Little or no lobe deformity on the blue one.

Thanks, everyone!
mhagny
Joined May 15, 2011
278 points
Jan 8, 2017
I googled umbrellaing of cams, now that I know about this. Came across some good info that is worth repeating:
rgold wrote:
Here's the deal: there is no such thing as a bombproof small cam. Yes, they can hold big falls, but they can also blow unexpectedly, and even experienced leaders can be fooled. Small cams have to be placed with as much cam compression as possible (without making it impossible to extract the cam), because there is very little play from ok to umbrella'd, and very small cam motions combined with rock irregularities can convert a good placement to a worthless one. For this reason, I don't think of small cams as really having a "range." They are more like a nut; there is a certain size crack that they fit (the almost maximal cam compression size), and any available play goes to keeping the cam solid if it moves. If you are used to using cams in granite or sandstone, where the cracks are typically very uniform, then you'll find you have to pay more attention to placements in the Gunks, because the cracks are often irregular and even if not can have surface features (e.g. the embedded pebbles) that make for lots of internal size variation. If you can, you should get your eyeballs up against the crack and try to see what happens to all four (or three) cams, while wiggling the unit back and forth a little to see what rope motions could do. Sometimes a placement can be improved by using the other cam orientation, and sometimes you have to try both orientations to see which seems best. This is especially true with BD C3's, which have one very wide cam which needs to be optimally situated. Another problem with small cams (and not so small cams too) in irregular cracks is that sometimes one is forced to place the cam in a "pocket" in a vertical crack which makes it impossible to align the stem with the direction of the fall (the stem ends up being perpendicular to the rock face). With a flexible stem, the physics involved in the cam's holding power basically goes to hell in this situation, and it is hard to predict how much holding power you'll get. It may not be intuitive, but having a rigid stem actually increases the likelihood that the cam will function appropriately, and this is a reason why C3's are preferable to Aliens in such placements. Of course, such pockets are sometimes, but not always, an excellent place to drop in a good nut.
mhagny
Joined May 15, 2011
278 points
Jan 8, 2017
Mike Mellenthin wrote:
I have fallen on the blue through yellow sizes more times than I have cared to count and had no problems. I've caught a partner on a blue that pulled once, although the cam was intact. YMMV.


And you're talking about the Totem *Basics*, correct? The small, Alien-like ones.
mhagny
Joined May 15, 2011
278 points


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