Review by: vegastradguy, 2006-07-30
I wandered into Desert Rock sports about a week before my Yosemite trip intent on coughing up the dough for a set of C4's, but they were out! So, instead, I talked myself into a full set of the Maxcams to serve as my secondary set of cams.
After using them for a week in the Valley and once or twice in Red Rock and reading reviews of them regarding my concerns, I'm shelving them for the time being. These cams are a great idea- the extended range is fabulous. One of the perks is their ability to fit in the tiny gap between camalot sizes, not to mention their expansion range. They have some serious drawbacks, though. First, these are NOT a beginners cam. Let a new trad leader use these, and you'll lose them quickly. These cams HAVE to be placed, not slid in as the editorial review and sixleggedinsect noted. The biggest problem when they get pushed in is their tendency to pop open on the small lobe size, rendering them completely useless and somewhat locked into their placement (i almost lost the green one twice in Yosemite- only perserverance and luck saved it from the granite cracks!). They also require careful slinging and manuevering around, because the slightest touch and they can pop open. The best placements are bottlenecks for sure. Overall, while I like the cams and feel comfortable using them, most of my partners hate them and are uncomfortable using them given the reasons above (these include both novices and experienced leaders). This means, of course, that I really cannot use them because if my partners dont feel comfortable with 'em, there's no point in bringing them along. So, as a result, i ended up wasting the dough for these because I just bought the set of C4's I wanted in the first place (at least I got them on sale!).....
One note, though. As a fast and light cam, these may shine brighter than most. The set of these plus half a set of stoppers on a speed ascent affords more options than you'd get with a similar brand of cam, and for competent climbers this could mean more confidence when simul-climbing and/or moving quickly over easy terrain. I'll bring them out this fall again to test this theory and get back to you on it.