Review by: ramylson, 2004-04-27
I initially purchased Metolius FCU's, and was looking for an additional set of cams for smaller placements. Obviously, I eventually purchased a set of Aliens. Since then, I haven't looked back. These things are absolutely amazing. Especially in the smaller sizes, which is one of the reasons I've doubled on sizes blue through red. Honestly, since my purchase of Aliens, I very rarely take my Metolius cams, unless I know the climb is going to be taking a lot of larger sizes. The larger Aliens aren't terrible either, they're just not as good as the small sizes. They typically will turn a bit, making placements a tad bit harder. Still worth the purchase though. The entire size range (excluding black, as it's more of a aid piece) inspires confidence.
To give you an idea, my "local" crag consists of quartzite (the hardest stone, also one that has very minimal friction). Because of this, a lot of your cam placements are more like stoppers placements, where you have to make sure the cam lobes have contact with some fracture or imperfection on the stone. On several occations, I've had the Metolius cams pull right out, under a minor load (just pulling on the piece to "set" it). On the opposite end, I've had the Aliens set in a lot of "mental placements" (ie, shallow or flaring placement, that typically shouldn't hold a fall), and they've held no issues.
The Alien cams both place and hold better then the other options I've tried. I wouldn't have another rack without them..