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Friends and nuts...
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ancelin jean-claude
(goetz) - F

Locale: The French Alps
Friends and nuts... on 11/24/2008 11:44:28 MST Print View


I'm searching for some tips about lightweight friends.

I'm looking for the new BD camalots C4 with seems to be 20% lighter than the older ones. And represents one of the best model.

For the nuts, I'm still looking and searching. Both mixed between BD an Metolius UL.

Anyone have some background about these ?

Thanks for the answers.


Christopher Plesko
(Pivvay) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Friends and nuts... on 11/24/2008 12:15:20 MST Print View

C4's are definitely not the lightest although I still like them. Nuts are generally light and leaving cams at home for tricams, hexes and nuts is even lighter.

Are you building a rack or trying to lighten up for a specific climb? BPL is probably not the best place for specific climbing gear questions either.

ancelin jean-claude
(goetz) - F

Locale: The French Alps
Rack on 11/24/2008 13:51:11 MST Print View

Hi Christopher,

I'm just looking for new tips and other point of vieuw here. I'm building a rack for climbing in the french alps. Don't want to borrow that gear already.

So, I was triying to have some different opinions to make my own. I know that BPL is not the best place for that kind of question but... not the worst too. ;))

The BD Camalot have good reviews most of the time. Durability, ease of use, strengh and security. They are mostly common in europe, and I wishes different opinions.

Christopher Plesko
(Pivvay) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Rack on 11/24/2008 14:13:13 MST Print View

I'm biased because I started out on all passive pro and only now am starting to get my own cams. I'm buying C4's myself but I've used the new ultralight metolis cams and they're nice. You get an extra cam and 1/4lbs less weight with them compared to the C4s. For small cams I'm still torn between C3's and Aliens but they're not in the budget yet anyway.

For nuts I'm using the BD standard 4-13 (old pre anno set) and some WC Rockcentric Hex's (slung on dyneema). I'm wanting to add a set of DMM Alloy offsets, some micros like the BD stuff or copper offsets coming out in the spring and maybe some superlight rocks. I place a lot of nuts.

Tricams are good out here, esp for alpine stuff. I haven't played with the two new tiny sizes except in the store but the classic 4 smallest sizes are great. I'm not bothering with the new dyneema ones there, doesn't seem to be worth it and I've place both.

For biners and slings I like any of the new dyneema stuff. I have the 10mm BD slings but I used the 8mm Mammut stuff too and it's really nice. I like mostly Superfly lockers with a couple bigger ones for the anchor. For regular biners the Heliums are so nice. They're heavier than the CAMP 23's but so much easier to clip and the recessed nose for the gate style is awesome. Too bad they're $11/each.

The OP Link cams are interesting. I've placed them too and they seemed fine, haven't whipped on one. You do get a lot of range for 1 or 2 cams which is nice if you're only going to bring a few cams. I haven't played with the smallest two new sizes.

I think the easiest way to a light rack is just not carry much and really limit the cams. Hope that helps.

cameron eibl
(cjeibl) - F

Locale: San Diego
Nuts on 11/24/2008 16:21:27 MST Print View

I have not used the metolius nuts but they have gotten good reviews. I prefer the wc/dmm nuts over the BD because I feel like they place better and because I can carry the WC Superlight rocks in the smaller sizes without having to learn a new color coding system. Thats my 2cents. You are likely to get a huge number of opinions regarding cam choice and passive versus active pro. I think cam choice comes down to personal preference more than weight. I have limited experience with them but the Trango Max Cams have a good range and are slightly lighter than the C4s.

Douglas Ray

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Rack on 11/24/2008 16:25:53 MST Print View

I agree with the above comments about using passive gear to lighten a rack, it really depends on the climb.

The Metolious UL cams are very good imho. If you are planning to do a lot of simul-climbing I like to have a number of cams and you can carry a half-dozen of these for around the weight of four Camalots. They stay in place well and are good for horizontals especilly. I find that on ridge simul-climbs that multi-directional cam placements are much more useful than nut placements.

For the little handful of gear you take "in case you need to belay a little stretch" a handful of nuts and one link cam could work out. This is the only real use I think I would have for one of those heavy, complicated things in the alpine.

Wild Country rockcentrics on Dyneema are excellent and pretty light. If the climbing is not to hard these make good doubles for all of your cam sizes.

Nuts are core, learn to get full use of them. Pay attention to how strong they are in different sizes, this is the downside to the Metolious nuts. I have used mostly BD nuts and I find the little sizes are really quite useful. I have lead quite a few pitches that were all protected with nuts. Two sets of nuts weighs about as much as 8 cams, but is often much more versatile.

I would consider Wild Country Technical Friends as an alternative to Camalots, they are quite a bit lighter and have quite a lot more range than the Metolious cams (actually, the WC 3.5 and the Metolious #8 are about the same weight, with the Wild Country having much more range). I'm in the process of buying some of them for doubles.

I am using Camp Nano 23's to rack individual cams, that's about all I like to use them for. Most of the rest of my rack is Trango Superfly's, which are my favorite. I also use some Omega Pacific Dovals to rack a bunch of rockcentrics together. I mostly use BD Dynex runners, as I think they are some of the more durable skinny runners on the market.

And than there's pins for the smaller cracks and in winter, and than there's screws for in winter, and I still need to buy screemers. This rack business is never-ending.

Good luck and good weather.

Michael Febbo
(febbom) - F
Weight comparisons on 11/26/2008 13:25:22 MST Print View

Good replies...

Because I have the cams and a digital scale here are some weight comparisons for cams of the same range:

Red #1 Black Diamond C4: 136g
Red #1 Black Diamond Camalot: 158g

Green #1 Metolius Powercam, old version: 114g
Green #1 Metolius Ultralight Powercam: 98g

Purple CCH Alien: 124g

Red Link Cam: 180g

Blue tricam with tape (for stiffness): 60g
Brown tricam with tape: 54g

This is how I would rank BD C4s and Metolius Ultralights after using both:

Weight: Metolius
Durability: Metolius (harder aluminum in cam lobes)
Range: BD
Ease of placement: BD
Ease of retrieval: BD- Metolius have a real tendency to overcam when you place them in a hurry, a serious flaw in my view.
Holding Power: Metolius claims a slighter angle and higher holding power, but it all depends on the rock and placement quality in my opinion.

For me, when climbing near my limit, the weight of the gear is almost a non-issue. Ease of use is much more important.

Black Diamond C4s, for most people I know, are simply easier to place and retrieve than any other cam due to ergonomics and this makes them popular. Both companies have very good quality.

I personally do not like the 8mm spectra slings from Mammut or the 10mm from BD. They last maybe two seasons before they are so fuzzed they have to be retired… but I do keep a few for ice climbs and alpine, just not for regular use. I have gotten very good durability out of Bluewater’s 13mm Titan runners
8mm Mammut Spectra: 18g
13mm Bluewater Titan: 34g

BD Neutrino: 38g
BD Hotwire: 44g
Trango Superfly Wiregate: 30g
Camp Nano: 30g
DMM Spectre:34g
DMM Shield: 36g (my favorite- feels as secure as a locker)
Wild Country Helium: 36g (another favorite)

Ease of clipping matters to me, so I do not like the Nuetrinos or the Camp Nano (terrible to use). The Superfly clips better than both, though is still a little small for my big hands. I often have a Neutrino or Superfly on the gear end of my trad draws with a Hotwire on the rope end.

Everyone is correct- passive is the way to go to lighten up.

Nuts- anything offset and DMM are awesome, which seems to also be the consensus.

Lastly, I always recommend that people borrow other racks for a time before buying. You have to find what you like, as most major companies make quality gear. Perhaps for you there will be so little difference between BD and Metolius in use that the weight will be a factor, but you won’t know until you place both a few dozen times.

Edited by febbom on 11/26/2008 15:06:25 MST.

Thomas Bennett
(DavidMakalaster) - F
pro on 12/08/2008 10:07:46 MST Print View

I won't address weight here because the other posters have already covered it. I will talk about my personal preferences. First, here's a little information about me and the climbing I do. I started climbing when I was 10. I've been leading trad since I was 13 and I've been really into aid for about 5 years now. I've used a good portion of the pro on the market. I've spent a fair amount of time in Yosemite, the Rockies, Utah, Joshua Tree, Squamish, and a number of other places around North America. My main playground is North Carolina and it's long granite cracks and faces. I've climbing both weathered and desert sandstone, limestone, and granite.

That said: BY FAR my favorite piece of passive pro has been the Metolius Curve Nuts. I prefer the old ones over the current ones with the fixed cable. If you can find those they weigh a bit more but give you a few more options. Being aid inclined these days, options are the ticket for me. The Curve Nuts place and clean VERY well. They are easy to assess. Most importantly they are bombproof. I like straight taper nuts a lot due to the extra security of the placements. The Frost Nuts are nice but they are somewhat limited in their usefulness by their straight sides. The Curve Nuts are simply awesome everywhere I bring them.

It's important to note that no one nut set will get you thru every situation. I generally carry a mix of Curve Nuts, BD Stoppers, and Offsets on long routes. These three complement each other EXTREMELY well. The Offsets are critical gear for me on Yosemite granite or anywhere with a lot of pin scarred or flaring placements. The Curve Nuts, however, often work in some of the same placements. SO if I carry just two sets it's usually the Curve Nuts and Stoppers. You can't go wrong with these three sets on any rock anywhere.

As far as cams go NOTHING replaces the Camalot. It's simply the most versatile cam out there. This is one case where trying too hard to save weight can hurt your efficiency. I've found that efficiency of systems in climbing is the most important thing on long routes. Dropping weight is one way to improve efficiency but there's a point where dropping more weight can hurt efficiency. There's nothing like being WAY out on lead with your only placement for the last 40 feet and discovering that the extra cable on your lightweight DMMs or Metolius FCUs makes an otherwise bomber placement kinda sketchy. The double cables can be kind of nice in horizontal placements but it's not like Camalots are sketchy here. The extra range is also extremely comforting on those grab and go placements where you jam one in from a sketchy stance. I've also found the camalots to walk less and work better in flares then any comparable cam. For all these reasons Camalots will always be my cam of choice.

Two other cams I have to mention are the Metolius TCU and CCH Aliens. Both of these are pieces of gear that I LOVE. The Alien always has a way of being the most secure, comforting placement in some of the worst situations possible. It really comes down to the width of the head and lobes as well as the angle of the cams. The angle does sacrifice a little of range but that's how cam angles work. More camming force-------------More range. That's part of why the double axle of the Camalot is such a big deal. It manages to get both of those characteristics. Anyway, Aliens rock. The TCUs complement the Aliens extremely well. The are two places the TCU really excels. They are terrific in shallow vertical cracks and they work really well in horizontals. However, if I were to choose between the Alien and TCU for a micro cam it would be Alien every time.

The new C3 and Mastercam are both nice. The problem with the C3 is it's just too finicky. They get gunked up too easy. They are a nice concept but I feel the execution is just a little off. The Mastercam is great. Some people might prefer it over the Alien for good reason. I've just used the Alien so long that it's become my sidekick. The Mastercam is very comparable to the Alien though.

Edited by DavidMakalaster on 12/08/2008 10:10:25 MST.

Michael Febbo
(febbom) - F
cch aliens on 12/10/2008 02:35:38 MST Print View

Great post by Thomas about efficeincy in climbing... and I agree that aliens in the small/mid sizes are some of the most versatile pieces avialable (up to red or orange). The heads fit in pin scars, the flexible stem is great in horizntals, and they have a wide range (though less holding power).

However, if you are thinking about Aliens, you should be aware of some quality issues they had due to outsourcing a few years ago. Go over to and search for it... whether you believe the issue is serious or not, any customer should be aware of it prior to purchase.