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Chockstone Forum - Gear Lust / Lost & Found

Rave About Your Rack Please do not post retail SPAM.

aliens or c3 cams ?
9:11:39 AM
I looking at buying some small cams to complement my rack.. but cant decide between aliens or C3 cams. how do they compare ?

btw i mostly climb at arapiles and gramps
11:11:54 AM
Personally I would go for Wild Country Zeros. Super flexible and a dream to use, I wish I could a set. Instead I have to resort to using a friend's zeros.

Aliens have had several recalls after at least three have broken at low loads, one of them resulted in injury. See forum for details. I wouldn't get aliens so if it is the choice between the two mentioned then go the C3s.
11:55:53 AM
Go the c3 or wild country zeros, they both have machined cam stops, very flexible stems with the wire loop which makes them easier to hold, The c3's have a narrower head though i think.

12:47:28 PM
Can't compare actual usage as I only have Aliens (green, red, yellow) plus 00 and 0.5 Friends. Happy with the Aliens and I wouldn't hesitate to fall on them. (well, not more than the usual pfaffing about, anyway). Happy with the Friends, too, but see the note below about head width. Here's some other food for thought.

I had the 0.5 Friend and green Alien for yonks until I noticed last year that small cams seemed to be fairly handy fairly often and decided to add to my rack.

Firstly added a 00 Friend (gold colour) instead of a Blue Alien as it had a similar range, 14kn rated instead of about 10, and was slightly cheaper, too. I confess, at the time I bought it to go aid climbing, but it gets used on many many many free routes as pro, and usually where nothing else will go.

Recently added the yellow and red Aliens, but the Red was to replace a size 1 Friend. If I'd known I was going to get more Aliens I might have bought the blue one after all.

The 00 Friend and green Alien both get placed often, more so than (say) the yellow alien. I think this is because I can cover the larger small cams by stoppers and small hexes. If you are buying one at a time, start at the smaller end (of the free-climbing sizes, not the micro aid-only pieces) and work upwards.

I think the key issue is the width of the head. That is, the narrower the better. This type of cam often gets placed in pockets and the head width can make the difference between a bomber placement or a futile wish. Aliens are fairly good in this regard (for 4-cam units anyway).

I didn't go with the WC Zeros as the kn ratings (if you worry about those things) are pretty low in all except the top 2 or 3 sizes (which overlapped with what I already had).

I like the feel of the C3's, nice strong spring inspires confidence.
I have been told (Tim @Cliffhanger) that Aliens aren't being imported any more, and any remaining stocks will have been in the country for about a year. You might factor this into your thinking.

Above all, I'd much rather fall on a medium size wire than a small cam. Back stuff up.

1:25:49 PM
I would add to the above nice summation that head width is not the be all and end all. People dis TCUs in soft rock because of a smaller head width. But if you sum all of the "cam lobe" widths together it is more than fairly comparable to 4CUs. 4CUs tend to have that wasted bit in the middle where the stem joins the head. Also I only tend to place the smaller cams in keyed placements (ie not parallel). Fortunately the rock you plan on climbing on is generally solid. I own Aliens and TCUs. They both serve their own purpose.

2:45:24 PM
Hey Tim,

How was the rest of your time at Araps? Did you get up YoYo?

Like I was telling you at Araps, I just got the C3 sizes 000 and 0 and used them for the first time last week. I placed both of them heaps and was really grateful that I had them on YoYo and Missing Link.

I haven't used zeros but I like my C3's.

I found them easier to place than I expected. I thought that microcams would be fiddly to place because of their limited camming range, but the C3's were no problem. I could avoid uneven camming because they are a very narrow a tri cam unit so I could usually find enough even rock on one side.

You were a bit worried about the strength rating on them being a bigger guy. I believe that BD says that all but the size 000 are rated for free climbing. I always tried to back the size 000 up with a small nut as soon as possible.

I used a fall force calculator ( ) to work out if I would have exceeded the limits if I fell on my C3's at any time in the last week.
The worst possible fall I could think of was from the finger layback at the start of the 2nd pich of YoYo. I placed a C3 size 0 rated to 7kn at about 5m. I climbed another 3m before getting in another peice of gear. This exposed me to a 6m fall with a fall factor of 0.75.
According to the force calculator with its conservative assumptions (no rope slip through belay device, climber as ridgid body) this resulted in a force of 7.86kN force at the cam for my weight of 75kg. I'm satisfied that this would have held due to the factor of safety.
A slightly larger person weighing 100kg would have generated 9.34kN and the placement would probably have failed. 20m up it would have held no worries because of the fall factor.

The strength ratings are pretty similar for both C3's and Zeros so these calculations should be about right for whichever brand you choose.

The main advantage with the C3's is the narrower head size.

I guess price is a factor also. BD is usually pretty expensive. (You get what you pay for)

Hope this helps,

6:58:19 PM
I think that you might find that discussions about small gear's strength ratings are moot in light of the actual comparison between how they are tested (ie under perfect conditions with solid "rock") versus the almost guaranteed lack of perfection in rock quality and placement quality.
One Day Hero
5:39:42 PM
Aliens stick like glue! They don't live as long and they might not be highly strength rated but at least they stay in the rock.

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