When we first saw the novel design of the Trango Max Cam, we knew this stand-out of the 2005 Cam Revolution might rival our Mountain Standards choice, the Camalot C4. The new system mounts two outer lobes on two inner lobes, increasing its camming range beyond the C4. Add smooth operation and a doubled sling for versatility, and the Max Cam has all the hallmarks of a standard in the making.
And indeed, the Max Cam performs admirably. Taking a number 3 on a recent ascent of the Grand Teton by the famed Complete Exum route, I found its light weight–25-percent lighter than a comparable Camalot–welcome on my paired-down alpine rack. With ergonomic handling, smooth trigger action and a wide range, the Max Cam is a pleasure to place. Trango was also kind enough to follow Black Diamond’s Camalot color sequence, so grabbing the blue sling gave me the number 3 I was looking for.
Yet this first-generation Max Cam has minor burrs that need polishing before it receives a Mountain Standards award. Likely a result of the compound action of the stacked axles, the Max Cam’s range—at least in this large size—is partially impaired by its eagerness to walk. This disadvantage is pronounced in cracks at the wider end of the Max Cam’s span. Also disconcerting is the main axle’s design, which allows the central camming lobes to over-rotate. A cam-stop here would provide the cam with an added measure of robustness.
On balance, however, the Max Cam is an excellent advancement of cam technology. Combining light weight, a wide camming range and ease of use, the Max Cam could soon be a staple in your ideal trad rack.