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Totem Cam Recall Notification

Submitted by admin on 2011-01-20

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It has been brought to our attention regarding the Totem Cams sold prior to 31 December 2010 that the color anodizing of the cams gives them a surface hardness that may affect their holding power in certain areas of polished limestone and when the cams still retain their layer of anodizing on the area in contact with the rock.

This anodized layer gradually rubs off with use and may even be removed by hand with sandpaper. However, when used exclusively on low-adherence rocks this anodized layer is not easily removed, which means that the Totem Cam may have a diminished holding power, even when it has been used for some time. The Totem Cam’s grip is suitable for all areas once the anodized layer on the cams on the surface in contact with the rock has been completely rubbed off.

The new model of Totem Cam has microblasted cams instead of anodized ones, which ensures they have a suitable holding power right from the start, on all kinds of rocks and in all placements.

We deeply regret the inconvenience this circumstance may cause you.

We are extremely grateful to the climber who alerted us on this matter. The feedback we receive is essential for helping us to continuously improve our products.

Totem MT will replace all the cams corresponding to the Totem Cam units sold before 31 December 2010, for anyone who so requests and at no cost to them. The Totem Cam units we receive under the cover of this guarantee will be returned with microblasted cams instead of anodized ones.

Totem MT will cover the costs of both the recall and return deliveries.

The Totem Cam will start being returned once the cams have been modified as of 1 February 2011.

In order to proceed with the recall, please contact Totem MT at or by phone at +34 943 555 465.


Which Totem Cam units are affected by this recall?
All those units with colour cam lobes.

Does the new Totem Cam model lose any features regarding the old one?
The colouring of the cams helps climbers to quickly identify the size of the device. Nonetheless, we understand that the Totem Cam still has enough coloured components for properly identifying its size according to colour. Anodizing also provides the aluminium with an anti-corrosive coating. Nevertheless, even when the aluminium has not been anodized, when it comes into contact with the air it forms its own coating of a somewhat darker and less attractive appearance that also protects it and does not diminish its performance.

Other manufacturers do in fact anodize the cams…so why has Totem MT chosen not to do so?
The effect of reduced holding power on brand new cams has also come to our attention on other models with anodized cams, although normally, just by simple use, the anodized layer rubs off much more easily, either because the thickness of the anodized layer is different or thinner or because the material used for the cams is softer. We do not want any further problems so we have discarded it, although cams can still be anodized and maintain a suitable level of holding power.

Does the Totem Cam have a suitable holding power or one that is comparable to all the other cam devices available on the market?

The holding power depends on two factors: the pressure the device exerts against the walls of the crack (the greater the pressure, the greater the grip) and the material used for the cams (the softer it is, the greater the grip). The pressure exerted by the Totem Cam against the walls of the crack is greater than on the other models of cams available on the market (in some cases slightly greater and significantly greater in others). On the other hand, the material used for the cams is hard (aluminium Al 7075-T6). Amongst the other models of cams, some use the same material, others are softer and few ones are even harder (stainless steel). The models that use harder material on the cams tend to be designed to exert greater pressure against the walls (or what is tantamount to the same thing, they have a smaller camming angle) and vice versa. We have chosen a combination of hard cams and the exertion of high pressure against the walls of the crack which, after assessing the combinations already used on other cam models with successful results, provides a holding power that is more than satisfactory.

Have you detected any loss of grip on the Totem Cam due to the anodizing of the cams on types of rock other than limestone?

It is totally imperceptible on granite and sandstone. Even on limestone it is barely noticeable.

For more information, visit

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Adatesman was a couple days ahead of you guys on this one.

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