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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Omega Pacific Link Cams: Transformers to the Rescue!
Posted on: August 27, 2007
MSRP: $95.55 to $99.95
Weight: 176 to 207 grams
Strength: 14 kN
More than any piece of rock gear I've seen advertised over the past few years, I wanted to hate these Omega Pacific Link Cams. All those moving parts and the inevitable dumbing-down of racking-up brought out the Luddite in me. And the cost—about $100 a pop—seemed prohibitive, and the weight...
Reality proved me wrong, wrong and wrong again. The first time I placed the Link Cam was on the third pitch of an unclimbed tower near Moab. That bulging, thin-hands crack (not too bad) ninety feet above turned out to be bulging baggy fingers (panic!).
I looked at my rack: no 1 1\2s, no greens, oh man! The #1 Link Cam, which for me ranges from thin hands to fingers, fit like a champ and lent me the courage to pull through.
Lately I've been ditching work to climb at The City of Rocks. While I've found these Link Cam units require a bit of extra care when placed in bottoming cracks at the tighter end of their range, the only time I don't bring one or two is on sport climbs, free solos and offwidths.
Although their weight is slightly heavier than traditional cams (due to clever machining and perhaps some space-age unattainium alloy), the expanded range more than makes up for the inconsequential difference.
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
[Photo] Courtesty of Steve "Roadie" Seats