Another Omega Pacific Link Cam failure - worthy of posting?

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reddirt

climber
PNW
Topic Author's Original Post - May 22, 2011 - 06:39pm PT
Sheared lobe. Never shock loaded. Independent event from these events:

http://crabdev.blogspot.com/2009/09/omega-pacific-link-cam-failure-in-field.html
http://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/897524/OP_Link_cam_failure_purple_5
http://www.rockclimbing.com/cgi-bin/forum/gforum.cgi?post=1733591;page=unread
http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1136478/Broken-OP-link-cam-4-3-2010

Friend who doesn't do any climbing forums sent info to me...

Should I post or not?

If yes, if I upload large detailed pix directly to the taco, does it resize so it's not annoyingly huge & forces reader to scroll? can't recall as don't post large pix. Just don't want to deal w/ resizing...
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
May 22, 2011 - 06:48pm PT
Red, this sounds important. People can zoom their browsers if need be.
More important though is the size of the file---you should be able to convey the image suitably well under 750k. So the folks with slow connections are not hung up. ST. limits photo uploads to 8mb which is way too hefty for most purposes
Vegasclimber

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
May 22, 2011 - 07:29pm PT
Red, I would be really interested to see them as well.

I have a couple of the Links on my rack, bought them recently after a lot of internal debate about whether or not they would be worth it.

In the end, I did get them, and the weight difference isn't what people claim - only a couple grams from a comparable C4.

However, I have already noticed that placing these takes a greater amount of concentration and care then a standard cam. I bought them as "ohshit" pieces and anchor builders - and I wouldn't be comfortable placing one in an OS situation, as they need to be placed carefully. As Omega Pacific notes, any torsional loading, whether side or vertical, can cause an axle failure. But I keep seeing lobe failure, and the axles seem to stay intact, so I am interested in anything that we can look at.

I guess I'm having trouble relating an axle torsional load failure to what I keep seeing in the pictures posted....how does the axle side torque cause the lobe to fail? Edit to clarify - I know that there was a failure issue that had to do with cracks at the pin, and some failures look like a bad placement. What bothers me is the ones with the broken lobes that don't appear to be related to the pins or axles.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
May 22, 2011 - 08:05pm PT
Always interesting to see failures when the full info about the incident is available. Bottom line with these, though, is if the stem isn't lined up with the fall force vector it's likely to end up breaking them.
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
May 22, 2011 - 08:10pm PT
This is not a piece of gear I would ever choose to own or use. But I knew that the first time I held one in my hand. It was like WTF??
reddirt

climber
PNW
Topic Author's Reply - May 22, 2011 - 08:18pm PT
don't get excited. report just says forces beyond bodywt can't be ruled out.

Although User appears sure & sincere that the cam failed from a body-weight loading, we
Incident User describes & it was during that incident that the minor amount of additional
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
May 22, 2011 - 08:19pm PT
Red, just do a image capture (MAC: command + Shift + 4 and crop your area...voila, you have an image with no tags no info. WDWS: I imagine you people have something similar to grab stuff off your screen).

Mangy Peasant

Social climber
Riverside, CA
May 22, 2011 - 08:31pm PT
Triple ditto.

Saw a guy who broke one at JTree. Didn't even fall on it directly - broke because of the horizontal pull when he weighted a higher piece and the rope went taught.

R.B.

Trad climber
Land of the Lahar
May 22, 2011 - 11:02pm PT
Two words, one solution: Wired Bliss ... the original.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
May 22, 2011 - 11:17pm PT
Link Cams are what they are - good in placements which capitalizes on their advantages and bad in placements that play to their weaknesses. Don't use them if you can't figure out the difference

couchmaster

climber
pdx
May 23, 2011 - 12:51am PT
Yup, just go with Healyje's advice ...including his first post. ie, give us a through run down with all the facts you can bring.
Mangy Peasant

Social climber
Riverside, CA
May 23, 2011 - 08:11am PT
Link Cams are what they are - good in placements which capitalizes on their advantages and bad in placements that play to their weaknesses.

Understood. I just can't imagine a situation where I would choose to carry them on my rack. When I don't know the size of the placements I would need (so I need their bigger range), but I do know that I will always have ideal placements?

Of course any gear can break when used in an imperfect placement. But these things actually do break. Fairly often it seems.

Clever idea, but the real-world applications are obscure at best.
tooth

Trad climber
The Best Place On Earth
May 23, 2011 - 10:03am PT
We will always see this cam break at a middle link. Whenever you get a torque with two points of contact on one of the lobes(incl. links) you can pull down on the stem, and it will push up on the link.

That joint isn't strong enough to hold a lateral body weight, this is how it breaks every time.

Which is fine if you weight it perfectly between two 2x4's. But rock is uneven and this crap about pulling out with a nut tool is ridiculous. What, now you should just leave fixed ($105) gear? I thought these were supposed to be an improvement? Not just a heavier cam with greater range.
reddirt

climber
PNW
Topic Author's Reply - May 23, 2011 - 10:22am PT


"Info. on the piece: I bought it in Spring 2009. It was subject to
normal use (like getting cleaned with a nut tool) but had never been
fallen on.

The failure happened on the route "Springboard" at the New River
Gorge. It is an easy-to protect crack. I had taken after maybe 12
feet; I wanted to get it clean so I down-aided, using the Link Cam to
support body weight. I don't think I placed the Link strangely though
I don't recall the exact details; I just placed it in the crack and
then held it with one hand as I reached above me to remove my highest
piece. I didn't notice anything wrong with it until I was standing on
the ground. As shown in the attached photos, a lobe had fractured in
half.

I sent the cam back to Omega Pacific, along with the other link cam I
owned. To summarize their analysis, they don't know why the failure
happened, but surmise that somehow, somewhere the sides of the cam
were loaded, causing the metal of the lobe to fracture. Their full
analysis report is attached.

Omega Pacific handled the incident by mailing me two new Link Cams
(though I had made clear that I did not intend to climb on Link Cams
in the future and wanted a refund for the two I owned). To their
credit, after I wrote them that I wanted to mail them back the new
cams and obtain a refund, they did mail me a check, and told me to
keep the cams. If anyone has a good idea for the use of the new cams,
let me know.

I have not been able to find any reports of the lobes of Black Diamond
C4s fracturing, and there are many more C4s being climbed on.

My conclusions: Link Cams are delicate. They are not good "panic
pieces", as the advertising material on them sometimes claims, because
you need to worry about the lobes breaking if they are loaded
incorrectly. I am no longer going to have Link Cams my rack since I now
believe that the benefit of their extended range is outweighed by the
drawback of their fragility.

Hope that you're all getting good pitches in this spring -"
tooth

Trad climber
The Best Place On Earth
May 23, 2011 - 07:54pm PT
/force down on cable Xrock contact Opivot/link Xanother(inadvertant)contact

---/---------------------X------------O---------------X--------endofcamlobe


Where will the up and down forces be in relation to the two rock contacts?




-------------------------X------------/\---------------X----/




So there is an opposite and almost equal force (depending on the leverage/spacing of inadvertant contact) sideways on the pivot. How do people not see this and still use the things?

edit: sorry, what I'm typing and what is showing up in the post aren't the same, I don't know how to fix it.
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
May 23, 2011 - 08:29pm PT
In more than 35 years of climbing I have never actually broken a piece of climbing gear. I’ve worn out a ton of stuff, and replaced everything more times than I can remember, but breaking a cam or other piece of gear in a fall? Never.

Anyone who does a lot of traditional climbing places gear in all sorts of inventive and unusual ways. Sometimes I’ll place a cam and look at it and think “that’s bomber but it is going to get really f*cked up and bent out of shape if I fall on it.” And yeah if I do fall on it maybe it does get all torqued out of shape, I have to move it to the aid drawer or the “retired gear that saved my bacon” bin. But it held and did not break.

A piece of gear which must be placed in an exact alignment with the direction of pull or it will likely break is inconcieveable to me. I completely reject the philosophy of this design.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
May 23, 2011 - 08:34pm PT
I have not been able to find any reports of the lobes of Black Diamond
C4s fracturing, and there are many more C4s being climbed on.

Link Cams are of a radically different design than C4s - you really can't compare them that way.

My conclusions: Link Cams are delicate.

That really should be the conclusion the moment one sets eyes on those links between the cam lobes sections. That's why you have to be careful with your placements. They are what they are and there's no 'free lunch' or 'having it both ways' when it comes to extended range - there's going to be trade-offs.
Vegasclimber

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
May 23, 2011 - 08:40pm PT
Thanks for the extended report. It's good to know that OP at least was donig their best to make things right for you, and I'm glad the failure didn't cause an injury.

I agree that these are in no way a good "panic piece" but they do seem to be useful when the placement is right. I think that they are overhyped for what they are supposed to be, and not nearly as useful as I had anticipated. I think I will spend some more time with mine before I stop carrying them, and will be a lot more careful about the placements.

That being said, you could always toss them in a flat rate box and send them my way, I will find some use for them I'm sure :D


August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
May 23, 2011 - 09:00pm PT
I don't carry link cams on my free rack. I still like them for aid. They are great crack jugging and I've gotten them to hold body weight in some really weird pockets and flares. Hearing them break under body weight is disappointing, but if I break one aid climbing when it is engaged on the sides and the stem is sticking out funny to the side, I won't say I'll be surprised. It's pretty clear looking at it that it is going to fragile if it is twisted or pulled to the side.
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
May 23, 2011 - 09:01pm PT
I don't get out to the Creek as much as I would like, but I would think they would be a good panic piece in that environment.
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