Omega Pacific, the climbing company that has manufactured climbing gear since 1982, is shuttering its doors.
An email from CEO Rob Nadeau sent to past customers on January 20 reads, “As Omega Pacific starts the new year, I’m writing you today as CEO to share some important information about Omega Pacific’s future. After 37 years as a U.S. manufacturer of high-quality climbing and rescue hardware, Omega Pacific has made the decision to close its doors. The decision is based upon economic factors, and the founder’s decision to retire. Therefore, Omega Pacific will begin winding down business operations immediately.”
Based in Spokane County, Washington, Omega Pacific made all manner of technical gear from carabiners to ice axes, from rap rings to nuts. But by far the company’s biggest claim to fame in the climbing world was Link Cams.
Link Cams, designed by Greg Lowe and patented in 2003, have multi-part lobes, giving each unit a camming range considerably larger than any other cams on the market. A big advantage of Link Cams is that a climber requires fewer units when blasting off into uncharted territory (depending on the type of climbing, of course). The specialized pieces have their drawbacks though, too: Link Cams are quite a bit heavier than other cams, pricey, and can be difficult to place and clean.
In Rock and Ice’s original review of Link Cams, our reviewer wrote, “In a strict contest of camming range, the Link Cam is the decisive winner—each of the two sizes expands at least 2.5 times its minimum size, giving the units an astounding range. The #2, for instance, equals the range of the .75, 1 and 2 Camalot.”
And our reviewer was a fan, too: “The engineering is way out of the box, but do Link Cams work? Although they do have a lot of moving parts—a cause for concern—the Link Cams performed well. Their crazy range practically eliminated cam-sizing error—if you could get a finger or hand in the placement, a Link Cam would fit—and they felt solid and stable. Due to their unique ability to have the back cams compressed more than twice as small as the outer cams, Link Cams held well in extreme flares and eliminated the need for specialized offset cams.”
Questions started popping up about Omega Pacific’s future when the company let the patent on the Link Cam lapse last year.
Always sad to see a loved and trusted climbing company call it a day, but it just means there’s room for one more now. So to the rest of the climbing companies out there: Who’s going to fill the void left by Omega Pacific and come up with the latest, greatest iteration of a Link Cam-esque SLCD?!
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