How to use Metolius Cam, how cam works, lifespan, care and maintenance with instructional pictures.
Ultralight Master Cam 1
The Master Cam is a flexible, single-stem unit with an optimized cam angle for increased holding power. The new Ultralight Master Cams are twenty percent lighter than the originals. If you carry a double set of cams, the weight savings is the same as a twelve ounce canned beverage of your choice. When compared to other brands, the weight savings can be much more. The new shark fin tooth pattern gives optimized bite in soft rock.
10 sizes: #00 - 8, sizes 7 and 8 are new and very light for their size.
Slings are replaceable, and should be replaced every five years or earlier.
Color-coded 11 mm Monster sling, thumb piece and trigger.
Range Finder system assists you in choosing the correct size cam.
CNC machined for much greater precision than stamped or extruded cams.
100% made in the USA.
Individually proof tested.
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|Weight (g / oz)|
Weight (g / oz)
In grams and ounces, the weight, as stated by the manufacturer/brand.
|52.0 g / 1.80 oz|
|Cam Head||4 lobes, single axle|
|Stem||Flexible single stem|
|Sling||11 cm x11 mm Nylon / Polyamide (single loop)|
|Active Strength|| 8 kN|
|Cam Range (mm / in)|
Cam Range (mm / in)
In millimeters and inches, the maximum dimensions of the cam lobes when shut tight and fully extended. Since the "usable" range is so debatable, all manufacturers now list the full dimensions to avoid selling themselves short.
For offset cams, we'll list the max dimensions possible and then afterwards list each of lobe dimensions.
|12.5 - 18.0 mm (0.49 - 0.71 in) |
Beth Rodden shows you how to inspect and maintain your cams.
If you're headed into the alpine where you'll be doing some easy free climbing where you only need a little protection, a set of Master Cams will do the trick without weighing you down. Most cam companies are adopting a size range similar to Black Diamond, but Metolius is holding fast to their original designs, and their sizes can be bomber when the BDs are too over-cammed. For certain cracks in Indian Creek like the Optimator or Powerline, a handful of red Metolius can inspire way more confidence to plug it and gun it than a slightly tipped out BD purple or a stuck green. If the thumb loop isn't a concern for you, they're a great choice for free climbing.
The Ultralights are the only cams in this review that sport single axles. Having one axle lets the Ultralights achieve smaller sizes than dual-axle models—better for small cracks and weight savings. Of course having one axle gives the Master Cams less range per unit than dual-axle cams, meaning you need more cams to fill your rack for a given range. And so goes the decades-old debate: Is it better to carry more pieces of pro or fewer pieces that fit a wider range?
We ended up climbing several routes in the Marsupials and a couple on the Red Wall the next day. As expected, the Ultralights performed just as well as the older Master Cams had. The action is smooth and the flexibility of the stem allowed me to place with more confidence in the jagged and meandering cracks in the Marps. Grooves are also cut into the face of the cam that are designed to seat well into softer rock, which is all too common here in Oregon. Overall, the cam has no real downsides in terms of ease of use compared to the other top brands producing a similar product.
Over several months of testing—let's just call it climbing—from the sharp cracks in Vermont's crags to the sustained splitters in New York's Adirondacks (ADK) to Boulder, Colorado's smooth granite, these svelte units performed as well as single-axle cams are expected to. They're also very flexible, which helped me wiggle them into placements, and they were generally easy enough to clean.
Metolius Ultralight Master Cams are crazy light. If you’re going for the lightest protection around then you’ve found your match. The loss of the thumb loop will be mourned by many, but such are the sacrifices necessary for a 20.8% weight reduction. The added sizes really round out the lineup with an added bonus of no change to the price, despite the additional R&D required to get them to market.
The Metolius Ultralight Master Cams are sleek, burly, and very slim. While they have a lot to offer, much of your opinion of the updated versions will depend on how strongly you feel about having a thumb loop on your cams. If you are an alpine climber for whom weight and size are primary concerns, or you are looking for a complementary set of cams, the Ultralight Master Cams offer a compelling choice in the weight and size department.
The lifelong climbers at Metolius do things their own way. Always have, always will—and that’s why we love them. Their newest hot item is the Ultralight Master Cam, 20% lighter than the previous iteration. That’s six ounces of savings per complete rack. How’d they do it? They did away with the swage and cable thumb loop design that most camming devices use and instead employ a machined piece of aluminum with built-in 11mm webbing (which Metolius recommends replacing every 5 years). Designers also removed unnecessary material in the trigger and cam lobes. What remains is a flexible, single-stem cam with a new shark fin tooth pattern and color-coded range finder to ensure proper placement. “The action was really smooth, and I had reliable, solid placements with every type of fissure and pod—and a lighter pack to boot,” exclaimed one Eldorado Canyon, Colorado tester. Brownie points: It is all made right here in the U.S.A.
Our testers took a few falls on these new cams, no really big whippers, but the falls held well with the new cam designs on these Ultralight Mastercams. The overall impression is that the new work as well, or better than the old. The standard Mastercams worked great so it’s had to tell if the new actually work better or not. What do know is that even if performance is the same you’re dropping a lot of weight with a new set of Ultra Light Mastercams and lighter weight, especially when multiplied across a rack on your harness, is a big deal. Sizes range from #00 to #8. We tested sizes 5, 6, 7. We’re stoked on these new Ultralight Mastercams and think they definitely deserve a look from you.
The UIAA equipment standard provides a baseline for equipment performance in a test lab under controlled conditions on new equipment. Although these test conditions are relevant to the conditions encountered climbing, conditions encountered at the crags and the condition of the equipment are equally important. This recommendation from the UIAA member federation The British Mountaineering Council (BMC) provides vital equipment information that is NOT explicitly addressed in the standard, particularly failure modes of the equipment and recommendations for the use, inspection, maintenance, and retirement of equipment.
A pictoral representation of the UIAA-125 and EN-12276 standards for frictional anchors (which includes SLCD's [cams] and Ballnuts).