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Marylandclimber


Apr 15, 2012, 12:59 PM
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Alien Cams? Are they right for me?
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I always seam to see alien cams and people talking about them. The only cams I have so far are four Black Diamond C4 Cams size .5, .75, 2, and 3. I live in Maryland and mostly climb around Rocks State Park. I'm not sure if there worth it for this area or just worth it at all. If they are, what size/color is best for me?


acorneau


Apr 15, 2012, 1:11 PM
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Re: [Marylandclimber] Alien Cams? Are they right for me? [In reply to]
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Marylandclimber wrote:
I always seam to see alien cams and people talking about them. The only cams I have so far are four Black Diamond C4 Cams size .5, .75, 2, and 3. I live in Maryland and mostly climb around Rocks State Park. I'm not sure if there worth it for this area or just worth it at all. If they are, what size/color is best for me?

I don't know if Alien (or Totem's Basic) cams are right for you, you'll just have to get your hands on some and try them out to see if you like them.

That being said, you might want to look into getting yourself a #1 C4 before anything else.


mheyman


Apr 15, 2012, 1:36 PM
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Re: [Marylandclimber] Alien Cams? Are they right for me? [In reply to]
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Agreed - Get a #1 Camalot first. If you continue to climb, you will want small cams,

Aliens have been the preffered small cam for years, but there are other good units out there. I'm happy with C3s, and many climbers have used small Metolius cams for years.

If you do buy Aliens, buy the new Fixe version, not old CCH units.


shockabuku


Apr 15, 2012, 3:41 PM
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Re: [Marylandclimber] Alien Cams? Are they right for me? [In reply to]
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Seriously, why the f*&% don't you have a #1 BD?

I'd buy Aliens predominantly in the sizes smaller than the .5 BD. If you want cams that size, get the Aliens. If you don't want smaller ones and have no complaints with the BD cams, don't worry about it.


patto


Apr 15, 2012, 4:10 PM
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Re: [Marylandclimber] Alien Cams? Are they right for me? [In reply to]
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Aliens are best for high friction coarse rock. They also tolerate flares in such rock better than other cams. For this reason they have been particularly popular in Yosemite granite.

They are poor in smooth, lower friction rock. Cams with a lower camming angle like DMM, WC or Metolius are superior in such circumstances.


Marylandclimber


Apr 15, 2012, 5:28 PM
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Re: [acorneau] Alien Cams? Are they right for me? [In reply to]
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Okay thank you that's what I thought i might hear but what size on the alien is your favorite?


vinnie83


Apr 15, 2012, 6:32 PM
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Re: [patto] Alien Cams? Are they right for me? [In reply to]
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patto wrote:
Aliens are best for high friction coarse rock. They also tolerate flares in such rock better than other cams. For this reason they have been particularly popular in Yosemite granite.

The popularity of aliens in yosemite probably has much more to do with the fact that the overall width of the cam head is quite narrow and fits nicely in old pin scars, which yosemite has a lot of, instead of the coarseness of the rock. Compare the width of an alien to the corresponding C4 and you will notice a huge difference. Not much of an advantage if you climb splitter cracks in the desert, but if you climb rock that has much more irregular features then something like aliens or TCUs are more versatile.

Patto,

What are these "low friction" friction traditional climbing areas you speak of? I typically don't hear of Yosemite granite being described as coarse.


patto


Apr 15, 2012, 6:47 PM
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Re: [vinnie83] Alien Cams? Are they right for me? [In reply to]
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vinnie83 wrote:
I typically don't hear of Yosemite granite being described as coarse.

Granite by its very nature and definition is course.

Extrusive igneous rocks and many sedimentary rocks and metamorphic are much finer grained. Sandstone, siltstone and mudstone and quartzite are less course.


Gmburns2000


Apr 15, 2012, 7:03 PM
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Re: [patto] Alien Cams? Are they right for me? [In reply to]
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patto wrote:
vinnie83 wrote:
I typically don't hear of Yosemite granite being described as coarse.

Granite by its very nature and definition is course.

Extrusive igneous rocks and many sedimentary rocks and metamorphic are much finer grained. Sandstone, siltstone and mudstone and quartzite are less course.

I can't argue with any of this except that not all granite is coarse. hard, yes (that I know of anyway), but sometimes it can be very smooth.


patto


Apr 15, 2012, 7:14 PM
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Re: [Gmburns2000] Alien Cams? Are they right for me? [In reply to]
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Gmburns2000 wrote:
I can't argue with any of this except that not all granite is coarse. hard, yes (that I know of anyway), but sometimes it can be very smooth.

Yes sometimes granite can be smooth. In fact all rock can be polished or conversely roughened by weathering. Or man polished like granite benches.

But by definition granite is still a course grained rock.


(This post was edited by patto on Apr 15, 2012, 7:16 PM)


vinnie83


Apr 15, 2012, 9:29 PM
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Re: [patto] Alien Cams? Are they right for me? [In reply to]
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Thanks for the geology explanation, it's an area I have no knowledge in. When you mentioned 'low friction' rock the first thing that came to mind was limestone which I have never placed gear in. I'm still not completely sure that rock grain size and friction are always directly related.

Regardless, I don't think cam angle and rock grain size should be high on the list of factors when buying more cams. I've actually had or seen more cams of multiple brands pull in granite than any of the other rocks you mentioned and the determining factors have always been the placement itself and rock quality. If you're climbing in any sedimentary rock you should be more concerned with the surface area of the cams instead of cam angle.

When climbing on sandstone (as well as siltrock and mudstone, which I have apparently always been referring to as sandstone) the rock will typically fail long before the cam will pull out due to low friction.


patto


Apr 15, 2012, 11:22 PM
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Re: [vinnie83] Alien Cams? Are they right for me? [In reply to]
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vinnie83 wrote:
Regardless, I don't think cam angle and rock grain size should be high on the list of factors when buying more cams.
The holding power of a cam is always important to me.

vinnie83 wrote:
If you're climbing in any sedimentary rock you should be more concerned with the surface area of the cams instead of cam angle.

When climbing on sandstone (as well as siltrock and mudstone, which I have apparently always been referring to as sandstone) the rock will typically fail long before the cam will pull out due to low friction.
Not all sedimentary rock including sandstone is soft. I climb predominantly on sedimentary rock which is among the strongest rock out there.

Personally I want a cam that will grip hard and not skate out.


(This post was edited by patto on Apr 15, 2012, 11:23 PM)


USnavy


Apr 16, 2012, 4:27 AM
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Re: [patto] Alien Cams? Are they right for me? [In reply to]
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patto wrote:
vinnie83 wrote:
Regardless, I don't think cam angle and rock grain size should be high on the list of factors when buying more cams.
The holding power of a cam is always important to me.
Except that the true holding ability of a cam is determined by far more than just the caming angle. Any cam should hold in a good placement, regardless of the specifications of the cam. I wouldent worry too much about the caming angle, there are other considerations that are more important when choosing cams. In the case of small cams, expansion range is important. For example, did you know a 00 Master Cam that is 50% camed has less remaining expansion range than a #4 Camalot that is 4% camed? That should put it into perspective as to why it is important to consider expansion range when choosing small cams. My partner took a harrowing 40 foot factor 1.75 fall in Yosemite because the 0 Master Cam he placed umbrelled open in its placement and the cam stops ripped clean off. Granted there were other reasons why he ripped it back to the belay, that was one of the reasions.


(This post was edited by USnavy on Apr 16, 2012, 4:42 AM)


patto


Apr 16, 2012, 4:43 AM
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Re: [USnavy] Alien Cams? Are they right for me? [In reply to]
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USnavy wrote:
Except that the true holding ability of a cam is determined by far more than just the caming angle. Any cam should hold in a good placement, regardless of the specifications of the cam.

Simply not true. Otherwise why wouldn't you just have a high camming angle and bigger range?

Its a trade off. And on low friction rock you want a lower camming angle.


USnavy


Apr 16, 2012, 5:02 AM
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Re: [patto] Alien Cams? Are they right for me? [In reply to]
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patto wrote:
USnavy wrote:
Except that the true holding ability of a cam is determined by far more than just the caming angle. Any cam should hold in a good placement, regardless of the specifications of the cam.

Simply not true. Otherwise why wouldn't you just have a high camming angle and bigger range?

Its a trade off. And on low friction rock you want a lower caming angle.
So you are saying that the only factor that determines if a cam can arrest a lead fall is the caming angle? There are countless variables that determine if a cam holds in a placement, the caming angle is just one of many. How flexible the stem is plays a role. Ridged stem and u-stem cams are prone to walking which can lead to placement failure. Spring tension plays an important role, having excessively loose springs can cause the lobes to simply slide out of the rock without ever properly engaging, leading to placement failure. Expansion range plays a huge role in the holding power of small cams. It is really easy to umbrella out a small cam leading to cam failure or placement failure. In some uncommon scenarios, cam strength can play a determining role in whether a cam holds or not. Although it is rare, people have broken small cams from excessive loading. Lobe material softness plays an important role in holding power. Lobes machined from harder materials, such as the steel lobes on the Link Cams, are more prone to causing placement failure as the lobes fail to grip the rock. Low caming angles can actually increase the chance of rock or placement failure in soft rock as they put more outwards force on the rock.

I could go on all day about all of the countless factors that truly determine if a placement will hold a fall or not. So to answer your question, the reason why some manufacturers choose caming angle over range is because, yes, caming angle does play a role in the ultimate holding power of a cam. However, it is far from the only factor that truly determines if a cam will hold a fall or not. And for every manufacturer that chooses a low caming angle, there is probably another that chooses a high caming angle. Aliens are thought to be the single best cam on the market for aid climbing, yet they have notoriously high caming angles. Black Diamond C4s are one of the most trusted model of cams on the market for larger placements, yet again, they have a higher caming angle.

I am not arguing that having a lower caming angle on low friction rock is beneficial, I am simply saying that there are many other factors that ultimately determine if a cam holds a fall or not.


(This post was edited by USnavy on Apr 16, 2012, 5:06 AM)


patto


Apr 16, 2012, 5:17 AM
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Re: [USnavy] Alien Cams? Are they right for me? [In reply to]
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I have never argued that the camming angle was the only thing that matters. I don't know what gave you that impression.

Furthermore in my very first post I noted the advantages of larger camming angles in flares (ie in marginal placement aid climbing).

Higher camming angle cams are more likely to hold in flared cracks than low camming angles. The mathematics and real world usage shows this.


USnavy


Apr 16, 2012, 5:29 AM
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Re: [patto] Alien Cams? Are they right for me? [In reply to]
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patto wrote:
I have never argued that the camming angle was the only thing that matters. I don't know what gave you that impression.
Well I said "Except that the true holding ability of a cam is determined by far more than just the caming angle." and you quoted that text blurb saying "that is simply not true."

I am interested in your looking at your real world usage statics source. Who/ what says real world usage proves higher caming angle cams hold better in flairs?


(This post was edited by USnavy on Apr 16, 2012, 5:39 AM)


johnwesely


Apr 16, 2012, 5:36 AM
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Re: [Marylandclimber] Alien Cams? Are they right for me? [In reply to]
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Maryland climber, I hope you are happy. It took very little effort for you to create this very stupid troll thread.


Marylandclimber


Apr 16, 2012, 12:02 PM
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Re: [johnwesely] Alien Cams? Are they right for me? [In reply to]
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.... I'm sorry I asked a question on RockClimbing.com


redonkulus


Apr 16, 2012, 1:54 PM
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Re: [Marylandclimber] Alien Cams? Are they right for me? [In reply to]
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Marylandclimber wrote:
.... I'm sorry I asked a question on RockClimbing.com

Success! Alright, pack it up guys. This guy's learned his lesson.


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