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Gear Guy

Can Offset Cams Subsitute for Regular Cams?

I bought a few Metolius Offset TCUs and, upon reading about them, learned that they are designed primarily for use in flares and pin scars. Can they hold lead falls when properly placed in parallel cracks (i.e., splitters)? I don’t see why they wouldn’t.

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I bought a few Metolius Offset TCUs and, upon reading about them, learned that they are designed primarily for use in flares and pin scars. Can they hold lead falls when properly placed in parallel cracks (i.e., splitters)? I don’t see why they wouldn’t.

I, too, refuse to ask for, or read, directions. I leave those details to my wife. I suggest you get one yourself, while there’s still time. A wife will make you read the directions before spending her money, and enrich your life with rewarding apres-climbing activities you’d never think of, such as chores.

You made a big boo-boo, OK? Offset cams are, just as Metolius says in its instructions and on its website, for flared placements such as the pin scars on El Cap’s Salathe. In flares, these little units are miracle makers, holding fast where previously only prayer would offer hope. For regular old free climbing, however, they won’t be as versatile or bomber as Metolius’ other cams such as the Ultralight TCU or their single-stem Master Cam, which have narrows heads similar to Aliens and the new Black Diamond X4s..

In parallel cracks, you’ll never get both sets of the offset unit’s cam lobes to rest on their sweet spots, which is at their mid-expansion points. When the larger cams are at mid-range, for example, the smaller cams might be close to tipped out. And when the smaller cams are at mid-range, the larger cams will be crammed way down, possibly overcammed to the point where removal will be problematic. Together, both situations limit the Offset’s effective camming range. For example, the 00/0 Offset TCU has a range of .34 to .52 inches, but the range in which the large and small cams overlap, which is necessary for parallel placements, is .39 to .47 inches. Compared to a regular #0 Metolius Ultralight TCU, with a range of .39 to .59 inches, the actual range of the Offset in parallel placements is less than half.

In short, you are hosed, dude. Either run laps on the Salathe or get yourself a regular cam rack.