Alien Cams

Review by planetFear
Friday 23rd June 2006

The romantic tales of guys in a shed out west, skilfully and lovingly handcrafting these delights has long intrigued me. The curious fascination was heightened by the inability of shops to order the cams in, as the manufacturers were jetting off somewhere to climb…and why not.

So finally getting my hands on an Alien, was a rewarding day. The first thing one notices is the difference in the machining from other brands, just holding the device gives the would be user that feel of bespoke quality, right down to the cam heads, springs and stitching (boffins should check their website for all the manufacturing techniques). Their shape also has the added and desired advantage of being able to be placed in circular quarry drilling holes (to my knowledge, the only other device capable of this is the tri-cam range). A must if you’re aspiring to Master’s Edge.

Added to this versatility of placements is the fact that: weight is low (although not the lowest on the market) and the placing action is more pleasant and easy than any other device I have tried. The sheath design that protects the central pillar is protective but gives slick and malleable control.

There are, however, a few points to consider: there is little or no passive hold capability on these cams, a climber cannot ‘wedge’ the device in a crack, fully ‘relaxed’ as if it were a nut or chock. Although I have never had to do this – with any cam – it does seem to be standard on most other designs. There has also been talk on the ‘tintaweb grapevine that the larger sizes (red or yellow upwards) are not as effective as the equivalent sizes from other makes.

Having said that, more of these cams will be dangling from my harness soon. I have been very happy and trusting of my Alien. It is by far the easiest device to grab off a harness (they rack neatly) and will consistently offer a secure placement with speed. I have never had one rip. But, as with any protection device, the careful consideration and execution of the placement is of utmost importance. Think about you’re needs for the cam and if Alien fits the bill then, you won’t be sorry.


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