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Tech Friends vs. Camalots

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Tech Friends vs. Camalots

Postby stevepack » Wed Oct 24, 2007 5:38 am

I'm planning to replace my old (1981) set of forged Friends and have narrowed my choices to BD Camalots and Wild Country Tech Friends. I'm looking for comparisons based on the following criteria:

Durability - Can I get 10+ years out of the cam?

Ease of placement - Is it quick and easy to place?

Size ranges - Least number cams for largest size range?

Would you buy whichever you have again?

I typically carry hexes and stoppers for the bulk of my pro. I usually only carry the 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5 and 3.0 sizes. I'm not a big cam guy...I started climbing in 1979 couldn't afford cams for a couple of years, so I got good with passive pro. My favorite climbing grade range is 5.5 to 5.9 trad.

Let the games begin... :twisted:
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Postby gurlyclimber » Wed Oct 24, 2007 7:00 am

10+ years of use may be asking too much if you climb a lot. My Friends are going on 4 years now and I haven't had to replace anything on them but they need a lube job. I use them often. I like to supplement my partner's BD rack with friends and visa versa. The largest friend that I have is a 3.5. I'm not sure if they make anything larger. I've used up to a # 6 bd and often supplement my tech friends with BD # 4 & 5. Tech friends place easily. They've come along way from the forged friends of that past.

In my opinion though, my ideal rack is BD with some aliens thrown in but I've been using technical friends for years and I have no complaints except they do not make them large enough. They are a little less expensive than the BDs as well.
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Postby Steve Knapp » Wed Oct 24, 2007 7:30 am

I prefer camalots but haven't used Friends much unless my partner has them. They are well built and last a long time, depending on the amount of use. I use the .75 to 3 sizes the most. They place very easily. Camalots aren't cheap so look for any sales you can find (REI recently had a 20% off sale so I bought two new ones).

Gurly, I had to laugh at your reply! Maybe my mind is in the gutter, but I like how you use your friends often and that they need a lube job. Also, if you can't find a friend larger than 3.5 then maybe you need to find more friends. :D

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Postby gurlyclimber » Wed Oct 24, 2007 7:31 am

HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHHA! Okay Steve! That was freakin funny. Thanks for the chuckle. :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Postby PKelley » Wed Oct 24, 2007 8:35 am

I think that the best cam rack is made from a combination of brands, with Aliens for the smallest sizes and Friends for the mid-range sizes, and Camalots for the mostly larger sizes (some in mid range). Camalots weigh more, but have a larger range. I think that you could get away with up to a #3 Camalot and climb most routes. Also look for a new Alien design that is coming out soon.
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Re: Tech Friends vs. Camalots

Postby cushman » Wed Oct 24, 2007 9:48 am

stevepack wrote:Durability - Can I get 10+ years out of the cam?

I have 10 year old Camalots that are still going strong - just maintain them correctly.

stevepack wrote:Ease of placement - Is it quick and easy to place?

This depends on what you are used to. I use Camalots, so Friends are hard for me to place first go. I can eyeball a crack and plug the correct Camalot almost every time, but YMMV if you use Friends a lot.

stevepack wrote:Size ranges - Least number cams for largest size range?

Camalots have the greatest size range of any cam, hands down. This is due to the dual-axle design (which they've patented).

stevepack wrote:Would you buy whichever you have again?

I just doubled up on a lot of my common sizes of Camalots! You can usually buy cosmetic 2nds at Wilderness Exchange in Denver for about 20-30% off.
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Postby cushman » Wed Oct 24, 2007 9:51 am

PKelley wrote:I think that the best cam rack is made from a combination of brands, with Aliens for the smallest sizes and Friends for the mid-range sizes, and Camalots for the mostly larger sizes (some in mid range).

I use Camalots for the large to mid range and Metolius TCUs for the small stuff. I'm warming up to Aliens, but they are pricey. TCUs are cheap compared to either Black Diamond C3s or Aliens.
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Postby PKelley » Wed Oct 24, 2007 10:03 am

Cushman -

I have a rack of tcu's and they are indespensable in certain placememnts. The Alien heads are nearly as/maybe more compact as a tcu but offer the stability of four cams (less walking). Aliens are significantly more flexible too.
The Dalai Lama when asked what surprised him most about humanity:
“Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

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Postby mainpeak » Wed Oct 24, 2007 10:30 am

I learned to climb in the Gunks, where climbers supplement their Camalots with more Camalots, and aliens or TCU's for the smaller sizes. I chose Aliens and quickly fell in love with them. however, CCH outsourcing their Alien manufacturing and the subsequent failures and recalls have shaken my confidence in them, and I hate climbing on pro that I don't trust. I've been thinking about selling them but they are just so fantastic - they work where other cams simply don't. I've got some of the smaller BD C4's and they are just not as good as Aliens for fitting into those old pin scars and flaring cracks.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=Alien+recall

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Postby cushman » Wed Oct 24, 2007 10:54 am

PKelley wrote: I have a rack of tcu's and they are indespensable in certain placememnts. The Alien heads are nearly as/maybe more compact as a tcu but offer the stability of four cams (less walking). Aliens are significantly more flexible too.

True, I would rather use a 4 cam unit than a 3. I have the 4 smallest TCUs, when I need to supplement I will probably buy Aliens.

mainpeak wrote:I chose Aliens and quickly fell in love with them. however, CCH outsourcing their Alien manufacturing and the subsequent failures and recalls have shaken my confidence in them, and I hate climbing on pro that I don't trust. I've been thinking about selling them but they are just so fantastic - they work where other cams simply don't.

Don't you think that any Aliens manufactured after this recall will be scrutinized BETTER than any other cam out there? A climbing company can only afford one mistake like this (if only one). If CCH didn't have a product as good as the Alien they would be sunk. Imagine if this was Hugh Banner or another non-mainstream cam company - nobody would ever buy their stuff again. It is just because Aliens are so unique that I would buy their product - if they had a competitor I would probably buy from them following this recall. I think CCH will put in very strict manufacturing and testing guidelines at this point.
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Postby firsttracks » Wed Oct 24, 2007 11:46 am

I prefer Camalots.

Another great option to consider is Tricams. They are easy to place, weigh a lot less than cams, and are just about as active. And, they are about $20-30 each. I use Tricams to supplement my Camalots.

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Postby PKelley » Wed Oct 24, 2007 12:08 pm

I have some first-hand knowledge about the Alien recall. The recall was very specific, and the cause of the failures is known. The newer cams that are being made are good - trust me.
The Dalai Lama when asked what surprised him most about humanity:
“Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

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