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RuMR

New C3's look

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They have a narrower head profile than aliens or TCU's! They eliminated the springs in the head and located them under the trigger bar. The ones in the photo are the third generation prototypes. I have been using them for over two month now! The only plastic I would be concerned with is the trigger. It is captured and could not be replaced. They are light weight units, but not as light as the new ultralight Metolius cams comming out in the spring of 2006. They are like a cross between an alien and a TCU. They have good individual cam manipulatiion even while being loaded over a horizontal edge. The cables that run through the clear sleeve down to the trigger bar don't bind up when the sleeve is loaded. All the new cams fit their own little niche. I have been using the Omega Linkcams, and Metolius Supercams for two years, the Metolius ultalights I have been testing for a year now, and the Trango Maxcam for about six months. I wasn't too impressed with the Maxcam's first generation prototype. I just recieved the Maxcam production version. The corrections I mentioned to them have been adressed except one point, which couldn't change due to the way it's designed. I'll use it this Friday and Saturday and see how it is improved over the first generation. All the new cams seem a bit weird, but once you get used to them they have their benefits over conventional cams. You won't replace your rack, but having a few different designs on your rack will stoke you at a belay or when you ran out of that certain size a few placements ago!

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I think the TCU vs Alien debate can be greatly influenced by your local climb area and rock. Gunks for example are THE place for a double set of regular aliens. The flexi cables are great for the small horizontal placements found there. TCU (Metolius anyway) aren't as good. The way the rock has weathered in squamish (lots of flakes and flares) Offset aliens are AWESOME (wish I had two sets). Protecting thigns like Apron Strings (not hard) become automatic. Good bye pump factor!. Where things get more interesting are at places like Index or the Valley. Here your cracks are laser cut BUT have pin scars. In old ANGLE scars - nothing beats the aliens or offsets BUT when the crack is thin and the scars are smaller (LAs or knifeblades) I find the aliens cable tends to get in the way. Specifically the small metal bar that attaches the cam wires to the control sleeve. TCUS work perfectly here where aliens do not. SPECIFIC Example: P1 of Japanese Gardens, pulling the small roof into the first crux, you can get gear in right at the lip. You can use a nut but a cam is probably more secure as you thrutch to reach the finger locks above. An alien doesn't really work here BUT a blue TCU fits PERFECTLY. Aid climbing as well - I wouldn't be caught dead without Offsetc or TCUs on a wall.

SO - I have and use all of the above and vary them based on the region I'm at. The C3s look like they'll just add to my weaponry!

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