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.
Link Cam 1
Building on a revolutionary concept from legendary gear designer, Greg Lowe, Link Cams operate on a simple concept of trisecting a cam lobe so that, as the device is retracted, the cam unfolds and permits an amazing range for a unit of its size.
Utilizing a reliable, single-axle design and with a camming ratio of over 2.5:1, Link Cams provide more range per size than any other spring-loaded camming device available!
Extended range means you can leave the ground with fewer pieces on your rack; no more doubling up on pieces you think you "might" need if you're unsure where, exactly, you'll need doubles of one particular piece. Likewise, for backcountry climbers, it means packing in less gear. And as a "crux piece" you need RIGHT NOW, Link Cam's large range increases your odds of picking the right size the first time you go to your rack.
Mechanically-speaking, Link Cams are as innovative as the concept behind their design. Built with a hybrid blend of materials and advanced MIM process, Link Cams are the most sophisticated and modern camming devices in the world. The two, inner links on each lobe unit are built by a modern process known as Metal-Injection-Molding which permits us to create detailed, precision pieces%u2014like casting%u2014with increased strength and are made from 17-4 aircraft stainless steel. The outer link is machined from 7000-series aluminum alloy
Although Link Cams aren't necessarily more difficult to place than other cams, they do require careful consideration to avoid damaging them or compromising the placement. Link Cams should be placed carefully and deliberately, with a critical eye and the ability to assess a proper, solid placement. If climbers aren't experienced at assessing nuances of placements, instruction should be sought before using Link Cams.
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|Weight (g / oz)|
Weight (g / oz)
In grams and ounces, the weight, as stated by the manufacturer/brand.
|176.0 g / 6.20 oz|
|Cam Head||4 lobes, single axle|
|Stem||Rigid single stem|
|Camming Angle||14° |
|Active Strength|| 14 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 confusion.
If a manufacturer lists the usable range, we'll include it here as well (this is now very rare).
| Total dimensions|
21.1 mm x 23.3 mm / 0.83 in x 2.10 in
|Materials|| Main Material: 7000-series aluminum alloy|
The most obvious advantage of the link cams is the incredible range that each unit can fit. The innovative tri-sected lobe design makes the range of each of these cams significantly larger than any of the other cams we tested. This increased range makes Link Cams an ideal crux piece: reach for these when you're gripped and need a piece fast that is sure to fit. The tri-sected cam lobes also provide an advantage when trying to stick a cam into an awkward placement. These things work miracles in flaring cracks and awkward placements. Backcountry adventurers will appreciate the increased range in that it might eliminate the number of "im not sure if I'll need this" pieces that you have to lug around: one link cam could cover 2 of your "maybe" pieces.
As an alpinist, I’m often dealing with poor rock, long run-outs, weather issues and long ascents in isolated areas. To move fast and light while climbing in the Alps, I tend to carry less gear, but a variety of cams and nuts which will overcome the unique placements often found on the classic granite and limestone peaks. Adding a set of Link-Cams into my arsenal will offer more security on the lead and speed with anchor set-ups. As for single pitch rock routes, the Link Cam covers crux moves like nothing I have used in the past. I’m hooked on Link Cams!
Finally, I can see the case being made that Link Cams would be a good replacement for Camalots on long alpine routes where you want a minimal amount of gear that is as versatile as possible. You might not be desperately slamming pieces into a thin corner up there, but when in the mountains, being able to throw a bomber belay together quickly is important. They are heavy, however, which is why you won’t see me taking them into the back country. I’d at least listen to your argument though, if you wanted them on the rack.
Despite the extra weight, Link Cams are a great way to begin building a traditional climbing rack, and a solid supplement to any traditional climbers cache of gear – the same way in which quality climbing shoes can improve performance, the ability to place gear more efficiently and quickly enhances climbing ability. However, because Link Cams cover a larger range of size, there are fewer pieces to choose from. Currently Omega Pacific Link Cams are offered in four sizes (and colors – purple, green, red, yellow) that cover .53” to 2.51”.
They have a smooth-like-buttah trigger, with a comfy grooved thumb-rest and a four-inch Spectra sling, making for easy placements. Link Cams are must-have gear, but this doesn't mean you'll want an entire rack of 'em for two reasons. First, they're heavier than most other models: 6.4 ounces for the #1. Second, they're 'spensive. What you will want is one of each size to save for the last, desperate placement that you can't see yet. Alpinists, this means you too: do you really want to be halfway up Denali's West Rib and find that the last of your three cams doesn't quite fit that splitter?
In a strict contest of camming range, the Linkcam is the decisive winner—each of the two sizes expands at least 2.5 times its minimum size, giving the units an astounding range. The #2, for instance, equals the range of the .75, 1 and 2 Camalot. The Linkcam achieves the range by using articulating cams that shape shift: each cam lobe consists of three hinged cams that swing down to get small, or link together to expand.
So far the Link Cams have held up to a regular dusting in sandstone and granite cracks. Only time will tell just how long all the moving parts (twelve in all) will survive. But one thing is certain: when Omega Pacific manufactures a Link Cam that ranges from the size of my fist to, say, the size of my head, they can put me down for about six.
Pros: Fantastic range; disturbingly versatile
Cons: Slightly heavier and more expensive than traditional cams; some care required to place the cams in bottoming cracks at the tighter end of their range
A pictoral representation of the UIAA-125 and EN-12276 standards for frictional anchors (which includes SLCD's [cams] and Ballnuts).