Skip to Content

Rock Climbing : Articles : Contests and Gear Giveaways : Needless Destruction Theater -- The Trango Cam Cup Results

Needless Destruction Theater -- The Trango Cam Cup Results

Submitted by adatesman on 2009-03-17 | Last Modified on 2009-06-04

Rating: 12345   Go Login to rate this article.   Votes: 5 | Comments: 11 | Views: 22244

by adatesman

Rockclimbing Article Image2_largest

If you’re like me, last month’s edition of Needless Destruction Theater left you a bit wanting due to its clear lack of any destruction. Sorry about that. In an attempt to even things out, this month’s episode will be entirely destruction. So much of it that we should probably dive right in...

As you’ve probably noticed, the 2009 Trango Homemade Cam World Cup has come to an end. Competition in the Beauty Pageant portion of the competition was fierce, but in the end the Webcam pulled ahead to win with 31% of the votes and the set of Ballnutz will be going to Rschap. Congratulations! If you’d like to see the full results kindly follow this link to the Beauty Pageant thread

As amusing as the Beauty Pageant was there is a lot more to gear than just good looks, so the main event involved testing the gear for strength, quality of construction and ease of use. The full breakdown of the scoring process is available here: Link

I’m sure you’re going to scroll to the end to see who the winner is before reading any further, I’ll save you the trouble and give the results right here:

Entry Score
Flexy Lady (size green) 103.73
Top Secret Cam Prototype Version 2.1 97.48
Green 2cam 93.43
Kenn's Kam 88.65
The Zibenator 88.26
Webcam 82.98
Mank 64.20
Aluminum Lilbro 50.85
Steel Lilbro 45.11
Nutter 36.40

Congratulations to Batguano and his Flexy Lady! I hope you like offwidths, because there’s most of a set of Trango Big Bro’s headed your way!

Since 10 of the entries went into the main event I’ll just give a quick summary for each entry. For full details and discussion look here: Link

And as always feel free to click on any of the photos to see a supersize version.

Name: Mank – Wishiwasamonkey
Total Score: 64.20
Range: 29.7 – 46.5mm
Weight: 232.5 grams
Strength: 0 kN
Failure Mode: Slipped out of the fixture
Video: N/A
Comments: There were a couple problems with Mank, the biggest of which being there was nothing I could do to get it to hold in the crack fixture. I spent half an hour playing with it and not once got it to hold even a gentle tug. The other issues centered around the tenancy of the lobes to over-rotate and jam when the trigger is pulled, which made placement and removal a bit interesting. With a bit of tweaking and swapping out the lobes for aluminum ones I think it would do well.

Name: Top Secret Cam Prototype Version 2.1 – Jeremy11
Total Score: 97.48
Range: 44.2 – 78.8mm
Weight: 379.9 grams
Strength: 8.77 kN
Failure Mode: Sling broke
Video: Link
Comments:The weak spot was clearly the webbing runner, seeing as the rest of the cam is still in perfect condition after the runner broke. Poking around a bit it looks like there is a sharp edge in the hole the runner was run through, so that would probably explain why it broke at such a low force. Placement and removal was fairly easy, but the runner tended to get in the way of the trigger. The extreme length of the cam may be problematic for some placements though, since it needs to be set in quite far for the larger, lower lobes to come in to play (e.g.- not good for a large, shallow placement).In fact it fit into the test fixture with only ¼” to spare... Oh, and if you look closely at the picture you’ll see that the stem got tweaked when the cam went flying out of the fixture after the sling broke.

Name: Green 2cam - Edavidso
Total Score: 93.43
Range: 19.3 – 24.2mm
Weight: 48.2 grams
Strength: 6.01 kN
Failure Mode: Axle supports on the cam lobes buckled
Video: Link
Comments: Very nicely made but had some issues with the stem buckling when the trigger was pulled, which made getting the cam fully retracted difficult. An overly narrow trigger bar didn't help things either. Anyway, it turns out that the interlocking cam lobe supports were a major weak point and caused the unit to fail at a surprisingly low force. Perhaps there's enough room in there to widen them, otherwise switching over to a stronger alloy might be necessary.

Name: Aluminum Lilbro – Bhickey & Friends
Total Score: 50.85
Range: 97.4 – 134.3mm
Weight: 215.5 grams
Strength: 9.22 kN
Failure Mode: Yielding of the aluminum tube where it contacted the fixture
Video: Link
Comments: Frankly I’m rather surprised by how low a force the Aluminum Lilbro failed at. From talking with Mal at Trango, regular Big Bros generally fail by way of the sling pulling through the aluminum of the tube rather than yielding of the end of the tube. I suspect the difference is in the materials used, with the Lilbro using a much weaker alloy than Trango does with its Big Bros. On another note you pretty much needed 3 hands and a prehensile tail to place the Aluminum Lilbro since the threaded portion was free to rotate, which means that you needed to hold it in position when tightening the collar to keep the bevel pointed the right way. Getting it to stay in the fixture was a bit of a problem as well since any bit of sling-induced rotation liked to pop it out. If it did stick removal generally required the use of a hammer. Oh, and the pause when pulling it (and corresponding dip in the force curve) came when I saw how much it was yielding and decided to pull it to failure at 75% expansion rather than try and get it to work in its deformed state at 50% expansion.

Name: Kenn’s Kam – Kennoyce
Total Score: 87.37
Range: 47.4 – 78.9mm
Weight: 189.9 grams
Strength: 9.22 kN
Failure Mode: Deformation of the axle
Video: Link
Comments: Kenn’s Kam was once of the more exciting entries to break, as the epoxy didn’t take well to being abused like that and sent pieces flying on several occasions. Unfortunately the nice, smooth action only lasted through the first proof test (5kN at 75% expansion) as the vinyl tube pulled out of the head and wouldn’t stay in no matter how firmly it was seated. So every time you pulled the trigger the stem would go 90 degrees to the head and the lobes would only retract a little. To do the other tests I simply collapsed the lobes by hand and pushed it into place.

Name: Webcam – Rschap
Total Score: 82.98
Range: 211.5 – 303.6mm
Weight: 1060.3 grams
Strength: 7.42 kN
Failure Mode: Axle sheared between two of the lobes
Video: Link
Comments: The webcam suffered from a few problems, the most notable being that the spring tension was insufficient to expand the lobes outward. One of the lobes also had its axle hole drilled a bit cockeyed, so it had a tenancy to miss the cam stop on the opposing lobe and invert. The big issue though was that the axle turned out to be rather weak and sheared surprisingly early. It was quite the sudden failure, with the cam being there one moment and on the floor the next. The slow motion of the video is quite amusing, so be sure to take a look.

Name: Steel Lilbro – Bhickey & Friends
Total Score: 45.11
Range: 93.7 – 128.6mm
Weight: 354.4 grams
Strength: 10.80 kN
Failure Mode: Sling broke
Video: Link
Comments: The Steel Lilbro suffered from many of the same issues as the Aluminum one, where you needed 3 hands to place it, a hammer to remove it and it liked to slip from the fixture at the slightest provocation. Actually, it was even more inclined to slip than the aluminum one and slid several inches down the test fixture before the sling broke.

Name: Flexy Lady (size green) – Batguano
Total Score: 103.73
Range: 61.7 – 100.2mm
Weight: 343.0 grams
Strength: 15.66 kN
Failure Mode: Stem pulled out of head
Video: Link
Comments: Of all of the entries, Flexy Lady probably suffered the least amount of damage from testing; the lobes are straight and the action is smooth. Had the swage not pulled off the stem it probably would have held considerably more force. It looks like there may be room to slip a runner through the head like on Kenn’s Kam, which would probably be much stronger.

Name: The Zibenator – Grover
Total Score: 88.26
Range: 72.0 – 101.5mm
Weight: 442.3 grams
Strength: 13.57 kN
Failure Mode: Deformation of the axle lead to the lobes buckling
Video: Link
Comments: It may be ugly and obscenely heavy, but you can’t help but love it. While it was crudely built with just a hacksaw and drill, it ended up being stronger than all but one of the other entries. Failure actually came slowly, with the lobes slipping and regrabbing as they became completely mangled.

Name: Nutter – Cosmicharlie
Total Score: 36.40
Range: 34.4 – 41.0mm
Weight: 124.7 grams
Strength: 3.78 kN
Failure Mode: Stem pulled out of head
Video: Link
Comments: The Nutter looked promising, but sadly suffered the same fate as the Flexy Lady; the swage fitting was simply not strong enough to hold the cable to the head. Had it held, I think it may have become a permanent part of my test fixture... It took several blows from a hammer on the small end of the head to get it to release.

That's about it for the summary! Be sure to check the link above for the detailed version. And lastly, a big, big thank you to Trango for sponsoring this shindig and putting up some truly extraordinary climbing gear for prizes. Thanks guys!

Twitter  Facebook  StumbleUpon  Delicious  Digg  Reddit  Technorati

11 Comments CommentAdd a Comment

 More ArticlesArticle RatingsArticle CommentsProfile
5 out of 5 stars Thanks adatesman! Really well done; the videos were a nice touch.
 More ArticlesArticle RatingsArticle CommentsProfile
awesome competition. awesome write up. you the man, adatesman.
 More ArticlesArticle RatingsArticle CommentsProfile
 More ArticlesArticle RatingsArticle CommentsProfile
Great stuff mate, well done.
 More ArticlesArticle RatingsArticle CommentsProfile
Very cool and entertaining to read - wish I could have been there in person to watch the testing.
 More ArticlesArticle RatingsArticle CommentsProfile
5 out of 5 stars Excellent analysis. Congrats to all the entrants as well.
 More ArticlesArticle RatingsArticle CommentsProfile
5 out of 5 stars Excellent analysis. Congrats to all the entrants as well.
 More ArticlesArticle RatingsArticle CommentsProfile
how much will you pay me to climb on that complete rack up the apron, Squamish?! haha
 More ArticlesArticle RatingsArticle CommentsProfile
wow good stuff!!
 More ArticlesArticle RatingsArticle CommentsProfile
Congrats Batguano!

Thanks for all the hard work Aric.

 More ArticlesArticle RatingsArticle CommentsProfile
very nice, congrats!

Add a Comment