The Alpinist Mountain Standards reviews apply Alpinist's tradition of excellence and authenticity to gear reviews by providing unbiased, candid feedback and anecdotal commentary to equipment tested (hard) in the field. Our panel is comprised of climbers who use the gear every day as part of their work and play. Only the gear they would actually buy themselves, at retail price, qualifies for the Alpinist Mountain Standards award. The five-star rating system is as follows:
One Star = Piece of junk.
Two Stars = Has one or more significant flaws, with some redeeming qualities.
Three Stars = Average. This solid piece of gear is middle-of-the-road on the current market.
Four Stars = Better than most comparable gear on the market. It has one or two drawbacks, but still 90% positive.
Five Stars = Is there such thing as perfection? An Alpinist Mountain Standards award-winner.
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Metolius Ultralight Power Cams: A Perfect Rack-Up Buddy
Posted on: December 20, 2007
Weight: 45-150 grams (1.6-5.3 ounces)
I just returned from a rock-climbing trip to northern Patagonia's Bariloche, where we visited the new areas of La Buitrera and Roca Parada, a thousand-foot tower in the middle of the Patagonian pampa near Esquel. The new ultra-light Metolius Power Cams were our weapons of choice for all small cracks. Aside from being extremely light, the cams performed just as well on Patagonian granite as they did on andesite and sandstone. They are easy to place, have great range and holding power (5-10 kN, varying with size), and tested well in real life on numerous pitches, including a slippery 5.10c high off the deck.
Additionally, with these cams, I found myself having many more gear options, as the range offered by the Power Cams outdid that of similarly sized Camalots. I even ended up finishing pitches with gear to spare. With this in mind, the cams work great on both aid and free climbs.
But what really called my attention to just how dependable these pieces are is how well the cams gripped to the wall when loaded or when bearing an outward force. They were literally welded to the rock, and, as an added bonus, were easier to remove than most other small cams I have used before. The Power Cams are a super dependable piece of hardware, and from now on they'll be a must-have on my rack.
Pros: Excellent for all types of rock; lightweight; great range; cheaper than comparable units.
Cons: I really did not see any problems with the Power Cam. They performed so well that after testing a couple, I felt like updating my entire rack!