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Reports Of Possible "New Alien" Failures

Submitted By: John McNamee on May 1, 2007


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Over on Supertaco there are new reports about possible Alien failures with post-recalled units.

So far the information isn't very complete but definitely something to follow as the picture becomes clearer.

A statement from CCH:

"It has been recently reported to CCH that the main cable broke on an Alien. We were e-mailed photos of the cam, however it isn't possible to make any conclusions from a photograph. We have asked the individual to forward the cam to a certified metallurgist for analysis, as of today April 27th, 2007 it has not yet been received by the lab. We will post the results as soon as we receive them from the metallurgist.

Since January 2006 every main cable is tensile tested using an Omega electronic strain gauge to measure the load. The .33 through 1" main cables are tested to 1750 lbs and the 1.25 through 2.5 are tested to 2400 lbs. After testing they are stamped on the cable eye to indicate the test was made. Ultimate strength of a 3/4 Alien is over 2700 lbs."


Check Supertopo forum for the latest updates.


Comments on Reports Of Possible "New Alien" Failures Add Comment
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jul 14, 2007
By j fassett
From: tucson
May 2, 2007

Put a high enough load on any cam and the cable will break. What good does this post do without a conclusive analysis of the cam in question?
I have done a number of pull tests on older cams such as Black Diamond Camalots with cables breaking around 2600 lbs. So what! Cams will break if you put a large enough load on them.

That's about all I got on that.

JF

By Jordan Ramey
From: Calgary, Alberta
May 2, 2007

I sent an email asking for a phone interview. I write the occasional article for www.spadout.com and would love to get some more feedback from CCH on this possible failure and the new QC procedures put into place after the initial recall for the "dimpled" Aliens. I have also heard they are thinking of selling to Kong. I'd like to have them straighten out what all is going and how what their new QC procedures entail.

Hopefully I'll still be taking falls on my Aliens for years to come!

By Avery N
From: Boulder, CO
May 3, 2007

j fassett wrote:
"Put a high enough load on any cam and the cable will break. What good does this post do without a conclusive analysis of the cam in question?
I have done a number of pull tests on older cams such as Black Diamond Camalots with cables breaking around 2600 lbs. So what! Cams will break if you put a large enough load on them.

That's about all I got on that.

JF"

JF -- Yes, everything has a limit -- but, that's why they call it engineering -- which should take things like 'Factor of Safety' into consideration. Quality control should complement engineering design to prevent any such failure unless the device is misused -- especially for any such device where failure can mean death or disablement. Any failures due to poor quality control or crappy engineering are pure negligence.

By j fassett
From: tucson
May 3, 2007

Words such as "negligence and crappy engineering" are pretty powerfully. Again, what good does this post do until the cam in question has been fully analyzed? If this were a wired stopper that broke would we be so quick to pass judgment? I think it may be a bit premature to slam the door on CCH just yet.

JF

By Andy Laakmann
Site Landlord
From: Bend, OR
May 4, 2007

Pictures of one failure have been released.

I don't know what to believe, but scary!

Quoted from RC.com

"Pictures are worth a thousand words. Some extra words that you should all know...CCH has had these photos for a couple weeks now. Allegedly, they say that it isn't a failed braze, that the cam must have been over an edge, etc. Judge for yourself. I have been using Aliens for years now and have had no problems (and have aided and fallen on all of them), but the fact that they had these shots and said nothing, really bothers me. Yes that is the actual placement still in the rock. The date stamp is 3/07 (post recall). I will be out climbing for the next few days and will not respond to any posts; so don't wonder where I am. Oh and I am doing this for pinsandbones because he is trying to get better and it is easier for me just to do it. He asked me to do it because apparently CCH is not going to and he doesn't want it to happen to anyone else. Enjoy! "







By John McNamee
Administrator
From: Littleton, CO
May 4, 2007

Andy,

Thanks for posting the pictures, I just logged on to do it...

I've always been very impressed with aliens with their ability to work where other cams don't. But, these pictures and the information that CCH has had them for a couple of weeks, is really disturbing. Yes, there have been other cam recalls but this thing has been going on too long.

In the meantime, until this is resolved the aliens are staying home.

John

By Jason Nelson
From: SLC, UT
May 5, 2007

On April 29th, someone had a new looking Alien that did the same thing out at Indian Creek. I don't know if it was one included in the recall. I'm sure pictures will show up soon.

By j fassett
From: tucson
May 5, 2007

here you go:
www.getbeta.com/fall_factor.asp

I think there should be an equal amount of concern or investigation into the fall as well as the equipment failure. For example: a fall factor of 1.0 could potentially generate as much force as 7kn (1600 lbs, add an autolocking or static belay device with an older rope and...who knows. Also, with shorter runners, there is potential for the piece to walk to a horizontal position, thus putting even more force on the piece/cable in question when loaded. By the looks of the wear marks on the outer lobes it appears this may have happened. I could be grasping at straws. I do like the Aliens; however, these pics do make one think.

JF

By Ron Olsen
From: Boulder, CO
May 5, 2007

It was a short fall onto the yellow Alien that failed. From the rockclimbing.com forum :

"I was seventy feet up or so when I fell from just a few feet above the piece."

Thus it appears that the Alien broke under the force of a short fall with plenty of rope out.

Here are CCH's comments on their website. We'll see what CCH has to say when they get the report from the metallurgist.

Personally, I have confidence in my Aliens that were manufactured prior to the recall (10/2004 and earlier). I would be very leery of any Aliens manufactured after that date, however. It appears that CCH, even with their new tensile-testing procedures, still does not have adequate quality control of their manufacturing process.

By Kevin Sainio
From: Durango, CO
May 5, 2007

I'm sure most of you have seen these pictures, but for those of you who haven't, here are pictures of the cam that initiated the recall. As you can see, this is what it looks like when the braze fails. As for the pictures Andy posted, I'm no expert, but it looks to me like the cable failed, not the braze since a portion of the cable is still inside the head of the cam (or braze, or something). As opposed to mine in which the cable pulled completely out. I would say that this is not a brazing issue, but something else.

I wish a speedy recovery to Pinsandbones and thanks Andy for posting the pics.

Kevin


By j fassett
From: tucson
May 5, 2007

This whole thing stinks! Something is just not right here. If the new yellow Alien was pull tested to over 1700 lbs. and the fall was with "70 ft. of rope out with the climber just a few feet above the piece", this resulting in a fall factor of around 0.30 or approximately 1125 lbs of force... well, I say there is more to this then what we are reading about on the forums.
I want answers dammit! I own about 4 sets of these things!

JF

By Buff Johnson
May 5, 2007

Jeff, I dunno.

I was about 45 feet or so off the deck, fell about 20', & hit a red alien pretty hard. The alien did hold. It was in a vertical running crack; & was a pre-recall period cam.

I had a blue & green hold normal falls & also hold a seconding small falls numerous times off the vector.

My thought here is that the cam cable was subjected to something else & weakened it before this fall. Cables don't just break apart without showing excessive signs of fatigue (I'm also thinking of rust here as well) or exceeding the ultimate strength. OSHA regs have measured cable runs to allow for small amounts of fatigue within a run when hoisting. Only when exceeding the rating during a hoist does a core get shot (& it's usually a gross exceed, usually from dyanmic properties, as cables are also built with a safety factor), or wearing a cable past acceptable fatigue.

In this case, the cable looks to be in good condition. It had to be subjected to something else prior to the fall, or the force exceeded the cable, but if so, why didn't the lobes fail first given a vertical placement?

And, why aren't there signs of the cable remaining in the socket? The cable does not look like a finished end, which would explain the situation of the cable not being fully inserted into the socket.

I don't get this either.

By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
May 5, 2007

I have not given it enough thought yet, but it also seem possible that something in the manufacturing process weakened that cable. Heat, pressure, etc... Again, I'd have to see the process to generate a good FM hypothesis, but there are several possibilities. It may be "something happened" but it may not have been the climber. I am NOT saying that CCH did anythng wrong, but there is some past history of process control issues.
Perhaps they should be offering free pull-testing for all units of any age as a QA. It might save their butts a lawsuit.

By Bruce Hildenbrand
May 5, 2007

One question that only CCH, and not a certified metallurgist, can answer is whether the cable was fully inserted into the socket prior to brazing. I sent an E-mail to CCH asking that they measure the cable, post-failure, to see how that compares to the specification for cable length prior to brazing.

Bruce

By Ron Olsen
From: Boulder, CO
May 5, 2007

j fassett wrote:
This whole thing stinks! Something is just not right here. If the new yellow alien was pull tested to over 2700 lbs. and the fall was with "70 ft. of rope out with the climber just a few feet above the piece", this resulting in a fall factor of around 0.30 or approximately 1125 lbs of force.

According to CCH, yellow (3/4") Aliens are tensile tested to 1750 lbs. From the CCH website:

"Since January 2006 every main cable is tensile tested using an Omega electronic strain gauge to measure the load. The .33 through 1" main cables are tested to 1750 lbs and the 1.25 through 2.5 are tested to 2400 lbs. After testing they are stamped (Tested) on the cable eye to indicate the test was made. Ultimate strength of a 3/4 [yellow] Alien is over 2700 lbs."

Bruce Hildenbrand wrote:
One question that only CCH, and not a certified metallurgist, can answer is whether the cable was fully inserted into the socket prior to brazing. I sent an E-mail to CCH asking that they measure the cable, post-failure, to see how that compares to the specification for cable length prior to brazing.

Thanks, Bruce. We all will be interested to hear if you get a response. Several knowledgeable climbers on rockclimbing.com and supertopo.com have hypothesized that the cable was only minimally inserted into the head prior to brazing, and that this was the reason for the failure.

I would be interested to find out if this failed unit was stamped "tensile tested" as shown on the Mountain Tools website:



Since the unit failed on a short fall with 70' of rope out, I find it hard to believe that it was really tensile tested to 1750 lbs.

By kBobby
From: Spokane, WA
May 6, 2007

Mark Nelson wrote:
"And, why aren't there signs of the cable remaining in the socket?"

Mark, what do you mean here? It certainly looks like the remains of the cable in the socket.

Bobby

By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
May 6, 2007

I'll continue to place Aliens and continue to do my best to adhere to my own old adage "Two pieces between me and an ambulance ride."

By Avery N
From: Boulder, CO
May 6, 2007

Tony Bubb wrote:
Perhaps they should be offering free pull-testing for all units of any age as a QA. It might save their butts a lawsuit.


Tony, unless I'm misunderstanding your question, CCH began offering this during their first recall. I sent in all my Aliens dating before the recall to be pull tested as well.

Ron Olsen wrote:
Personally, I have confidence in my Aliens that were manufactured prior to the recall (10/2004 and earlier). I would be very leery of any Aliens manufactured after that date, however. It appears that CCH, even with their new tensile-testing procedures, still does not have adequate quality control of their manufacturing process.


Ron, take no offense -- but if you think CCH once had better QC than they have today, I think your thinking is flawed. I suspect this just demonstrates how lucky CCH has been in the handling of their business. If I had to bet my life on it, I would suspect that they have more QC in place today. That being said does not necessary reflect that the quality of manufacture has gone up down during the same timeframe.


I'm an owner of 10 Aliens, and this whole situation rather angers me. It's lousy that CCH has had numerous 'rememberable' QC issues, but more than that, I am willing to leave CCH as a customer and follower if they can not go through a little 'continuous improvement' around their communication with their customers with an open approach.

This may sound silly, but I figure if a company doesn't even have a system (I just mean a manual old-school procedure) in place to track Aliens returned for pull testing, then one figures... how the heck could they possibly succeed at the rather complicated game of quality control and mistake-proofing their process??? A little mind boggling.

My experience just sending in my Aliens in included
a) talking with Dave Waggoner (sp?), owner -- who indicated they would be returned just a few days after sending them in
b) not answering their phone during normal business hours
c) not having my phone calls returned when messages were left BOTH on a machine and with a person
d) getting a voicemail that had a full mailbox
e) CCH not being able to locate my already-received Aliens for a week (each one of which had a duct-tape 'tail' with my name and phone # sharpie'd on it)

Hell, they can't even spell TENSILE test correctly on their website when referring to a 3rd party test (there is no such thing as TINSLE testing, as if it's a frickin christmas tree). That's just downright embarrassing.

SO, the point of my rant is that I have never seen CCH exhibit an ounce of professionalism with me, save possibly the discussions I've had with the owner. If there is no professionalism, they continue to keep their customers in the dark about
a) failures and root causes
b) the history of and current QC processes
c) future VERY SPECIFIC steps that will be made to ensure quality control
d) an appropriate means by which to QC, test, review all previously mfg'd aliens if the problem can not be identified to be local to a specific batch

Then they will lose their following.

Communication, professionalism, and QC need to change and be communicated ASAP to prevent losing customers that have already hung on beyond challenging circumstances. If you look at other companies, BD, Trango, FISH, etc, you see a completely different level of professionalism, openness, and direct personal communication than has ever existed with CCH, IMO.

Malcolm -- I bet you could work wonders if you owned the IP for CCH's Aliens.

By Ron Olsen
From: Boulder, CO
May 6, 2007

Avery Nelson wrote:
Ron, take no offense -- but if you think CCH once had better QC than they have today, I think your thinking is flawed. I suspect this just demonstrates how lucky CCH has been in the handling of their business. If I had to bet my life on it, I would suspect that they have more QC in place today. That being said does not necessary reflect that the quality of manufacture has gone or up during the same timeframe.

Avery,
I don't think CCH ever had good quality control of their manufacturing process. However, I think the quality of their manufacturing has gone way down in recent years, due to too much demand and limited production capacity. Subcontracting out the brazing (which led to the first recall) is an indication that they didn't have enough in-house capacity to meet production demand.

I haven't seen any failure reports on older (October 2005 and before) Aliens; that's why I have confidence in them. Not that CCH had any better QC processes at that time. They probably had fewer people making Aliens back then, and those few knew what they were doing. Unlike the situation today.

By Buff Johnson
May 6, 2007

Bobby, I don't know, it's hard to see from the pic, it looks to me like there isn't, I guess the only way to know is to have the piece.

But it sounds like you & I think the cable broke which shouldn't have happened given the amount of force provided in the fall.

I can't figure this one. Either there was more force exerted on the cable at that inflexible point in the system than was offered (from a vertical placement??), the cable was weakened/fatigued before this fall but after successful testing, or the tensile testing was inadequate to begin with (which would indicate a process problem).

Cables in good condition just don't break well below their rating.

By Braxtron
From: ...
May 6, 2007

IMO, they're sloppy, which is frickin' S C A R Y. Sloppy website (see the caption below their testing machine: "click on thumb for larger wiew" & "tinsel tested" , sloppy PR, sloppy customer service, sloppy outsourcing (brazing), and maybe sloppy quality control. Again.

Clearly, the way "they" act is reflected in the quality of their product, which I will never purchase or use. I'd rather haul an additional rack of slung tortilla chips up a climb than use my buddy's Aliens.

I'd love to see 3rd party testing data on Alien failure data, like if they'll hold anything near what they're rated for. Jeff F, your Aliens don't count, since they're so worn they don't resemble cams any longer :)

By j fassett
From: tucson
May 6, 2007

Braxton, you must have seen my good units. I just bought a new set, that's why I'm so ticked off! Dammit Jim, I want answers!
I'm bidding on a dynamometer on e-bay right now, we'll have some answers soon!

JF

By Buff Johnson
May 7, 2007

Brax & Jeff: A point that was brought to my attention, even if you go for 3rd party testing &/or get equipment, the test itself could be flawed due to the rate at which the piece is tested for a load; i.e. the tensile test machine may not be rapid enough to reflect the true impact of a falling climber even though you may be getting an acceptable reading.

By Braxtron
From: ...
May 7, 2007

True, but anything would be a step in the right direction. I really really doubt that 95% of their cams would fail at/above their rated load.

The fastest pull I've heard of for a tensile tester (may be way slooooower than others commonly used) is 6m/min, which translates to .1m/s, way less than 9.8m you could fall in your first second. Anybody know what pull-rate BD or others use?

By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
May 7, 2007

you don't fall 9.8m in your first second. That is your rate of acceleration (in m/s^2), so at the end of a second that is not your distance, it is your speed. Your speed at the beginning is 0. To get distance out of acceleration you have to integrate over time... twice.

The point here is that maybe there are too many experts. Don't take it personally, but it's hard to take people's assertions seriously when this is the sort of discussion going on.
I have a degree in Mechanical Engineering, I used to teach physics at Purdue, and I do Failure Analysis for a living, but I'm still not going to address this in detail because it is not my specialty either.

By Buff Johnson
May 7, 2007

I hear ya Tony. But I have to admit, maybe for the fourth time, this is a hard one to figure out if all the givens are what they indicate.

The distance though, about 5 meters after 1 second OK with you? Not that it's relevant here.

By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
May 7, 2007

Yeah, but it's only that simple because of the low velocity and the #1 in the seconds column that makes the math so simple, right!?!? 'Cause you can't just cut the number in half after that first second.
But you are right- it doesn't matter here. I was just saying I was seeng some crazy math, that's all. So I was playing the Devil's Advocate.

By Don Bushey
May 8, 2007

No offense intended, but I think there are too many engineers in the room, and not enough scientists...
Before we send CCH to the gallows,2 important issues must be addressed about this unfortunate accident:
1) The unit must be sent to a qualified metallurgist for inspection and testing. I would implore pinsandbones to do this. Hopefully it can be determined whether the unit was subjected to a load greater than the 1750 lbs (or 7kn) that the unit is rated for. No amount of speculation or examining of photos on the internet can lead to any conclusions about the reason for the failure.
2) The actual circumstances of the accident. The million dollar question-how did this climber deck from 70 feet up because 1 piece failed? Has the incident been investigated or recreated? Did this climber have 1 micro-cam between him and eternity? or did he have adequate protection below and still deck ? (this would suggest a belay failure and a possible extreme fall factor that could have created a load on the unit beyond its rated strength.) Again, it is just impossible to know any of this from the scant information posted about the accident.
I do not in any way intend to defend CCH with this post, and there is every possibility that the unit did indeed fail under a small load, which would be appalling, but we need to have the facts before we can make a wholesale conclusion about this incident and the safety of Aliens.
Be safe out there!

By James Beissel
From: Boulder, CO
May 8, 2007

In regards to #2 - the accident occured on an R rated route with few opportunities for protection and numerous loose flakes.

By Michal Turczyk
From: Las Vegas, NV
May 8, 2007

I have about 3 years experience in stress analysis and testing. This is by no means a monumental amount that would make me an expert in the field, but I have to add my 2 cents.

The tensile tests CCH appear to be static in nature, meaning that the cam is loaded up 1750 lb. A dynamic loading would be more representative of a fall, meaning that the unit would instantly experience 1750 lb. There is an astronomical difference between the two. How the cam reacts to a static load is not the same how it will react to a dynamic load. I have seen 1/2 inch carbon steel shafts fail (shear to 2 pieces on the cross-section of the shaft) under dynamic loads as little as 100 lb over approximately 260 cycles. I have also seen the same shafts not fail the same test at well over 2 million cycles.

Judging by the pictures, it appears that the way the wire connects to the rest of the cam causes a stress concentration around the intersection. Stress concentrations occur anywhere there is a change in diameter of cylindrical object, and especially at joints of two parts. This significantly reduces the strength of the unit.

Given all that engineering jiba-jaba, CCH's tensile test means jack shite and so does their rating (assuming they load the cams with a static load, which they most likely do because it's fast and cheap).

Those massive shafts that I have seen fail were because of either bad design (stress concentrations) or material/manufacturing defects. Seeing as how many people swear by aliens, the blame is probably not bad design, but rather material/manufacturing defects. No one can catch them all. But damn, at least CCH should perform a representative test (granted dynamic testing usually ruins the unit, but if they did an in-house test of say 100 units and had massive failures on several, that means it's the design at fault and CCH should go back to the drawing boards).

Sorry for the rant, had to get it out of my system.

By Larry
From: SoAZ
May 8, 2007

I wonder what the failure rate is for Aliens that are in the field, when they are returned to CCH for testing?

By Malcolm Daly
From: Boulder, CO
May 9, 2007

Hi gang,
Here are the photos of the braze failure that Micah Dash witnessed. This happened at the Reservoir Wall (IC) on 4/29. The climber wasn't hurt because he had another cam in about 2 feet down. There was about 50' of rope out when he fell. We may not hear from the owner of the cam. He was, according to Micah, "some 'euro dude".
Be safe out there...
Mal


By Ron Olsen
From: Boulder, CO
May 9, 2007

Thanks for posting the photos, Mal. Here is Micah's May 1st post on SuperTopo:

"I saw another Alien brazeing failure, with my own eyes, yesterday in Indian Creek. It was a new purple Alien maybe six months old. Nobody was hurt. We took pictures and will post them soon.

Micah"

Sounds like a post-recall Alien. Is the date of manufacturing known? Did the cam have "Tensile Tested" stamped on the swage?

Seems as if the cam was not tensile tested, in my opinion.

By Merlin
From: Grand Junction
May 9, 2007

I'm done with them. I love the way they place but life is too short to mess with cams that break in ways they shouldn't. I have a set of ten for sale on this site if anyone is interested.

By Taino
From: South Salem, NY
May 10, 2007

Apparently, the Alien at Souder's Crack was stamped "Tensile Tested". No picture yet, but at this point it really doesn't matter.

Regardless, I, too, am done with CCH. I trust the Aliens I have - they've caught and held - but I won't buy new ones unless a new company (with proven QA/QC) takes them over.

T

By John McNamee
Administrator
From: Littleton, CO
May 10, 2007

C3s on sale this week at Bentgate!

By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
May 10, 2007

This is scary shit for those of us who own Aliens, I have aided on them but never taken a significant lead fall on one of mine. All mine are at least 5 years old, maybe that is good?

By Taino
From: South Salem, NY
May 10, 2007

John, I can get C3s at below cost, and TCUs discounted - and I still have no interest in spending money on either. Neither of them fits or feels like an Alien.

Fortunately, both of them seem to actually stay in one piece - which is, ultimately, what counts.

I can only hope that another company steps up and buys the patent, and makes them properly.

T

By Kevin Sainio
From: Durango, CO
May 10, 2007

There sure are a lot of pictures of blown up Aliens on this thread. I think I'm starting to see a pattern, just maybe.

By Merlin
From: Grand Junction
May 10, 2007

I supported this company initially but now it is ridiculous. If you go to their website there is a tiny response on the news page to the incident described here. They then put a big old thank you letter from someone whose Alien actually worked.

They seem to be showing a trend of minimizing/ignoring the importance of their units failing. This underwhelming response by a company whose product is designed to keep people from dying is unacceptable. They need to go out of business at this point.

I'm ashamed I supported them during the first recall.

By Merlin
From: Grand Junction
May 10, 2007

Well, mine were tested and stamped and at an out of pocket around 625, (and a wife that flat out refuses to allow me to use them) I'm going to try my luck on ebay and replace them with C3s and maybe a couple Friends.

Personally I don't like the idea of you (or any individual) testing them for the community. For yourself, sure, that is smart. My reasoning is this - It simply isn't your responsibility. It only serves to do a job, at our expense, that CCH should be doing and should be doing a lot more thoroughly. I don't see any reason for anyone other than the company to try to address the root problems. They should bail themselves out. I recall issues with Metolius cams and that company tested a large number to destruction, had instant press releases, and very thorough handling of their recall. That is how you keep people trusting you.

CCH needs to issue some serious recall, test to destruction a ton of cams, issue some serious press releases to all aspects of the climbing community, and start fresh. If they can't do this for lack of interest or funding they should go out of business or sell the design to someone without a bad track record.

Please don't take this personally, I think your intentions are good.

I'm sure all my cams are fine but I won't even support CCH secondarily by having people see their product in use.

By Avery N
From: Boulder, CO
May 10, 2007

So... how much force can you generate with 'aerobic' bounce testing? The good thing about it is the dynamic nature, but probably lower force than a real fall.

I'm thinking on the order of 500-1000 lbf, or at least that is what I've heard. I guess I could get a really big scale and jump up and down.

Similarly, how much force can be generated with a substantial funk? Thinking I've heard 1000-2000 lbf.

Anyone really know?

PS: Mark -- we'll just call you insane

By Steven Lucarelli
From: Moab, UT
May 10, 2007

I'll buy anyone's Aliens that are in good condition for the right price. CCH may have some issues as a company but they still have the best design out there.

By Geir
From: Tucson, AZ
May 12, 2007

This text is posted on CCH's website:

"Its been over a month since the Souders Crack incident. No report has been issued from a metallurgist that we are aware of. Only analysis of the piece by a lab can begin to answer all the questions and speculation that exist, we hope a report will be issued soon."

Has the broken cam been sent to a metallurgist or not?? If not, why??

Also, a friend and I did some impromptu testing on a bunch of new aliens. We yanked the hell out of them with a car while they were in actual rock placements. All of them - even the smallest ones - were absolutely bomber. Of course, this is far from conclusive, but it sure gave me confidence in them! We'll have a dynamometer shortly, and can provide actual numbers soon.

By John McNamee
Administrator
From: Littleton, CO
May 15, 2007

Updated results from tests provided by Fish...

Link to forum discussionALIEN FAILURE, 5/15/07

More discussion on Supertopo

Scary as hell!

By j fassett
From: tucson
May 17, 2007

Stop the witch hunt!

A friend and I just finished some impromptu testing of CCH Aliens in actual rock placements. The cams ranged in size and age (both pre and post recall). We yanked on them using a car - and while we don't have a dynamometer (yet) I can tell you that the force was much greater than what you'd get in a typical climbing fall: the car was often yanked backward, the knots in the climbing rope were completely impossible to untie, and the 31-kN carabiner we were using was deformed.

Bottom line: the cams were bomber. There were no cable or brazing failures. In all cases where we pulled to failure, the ROCK failed before the cams did. (These were solid placements in good quality granite.) The cables were all twisted up, the lobes badly deformed (and inverted as the rock blew apart), and the loops pulled into wild shapes - but NO brazing failures, NO cable failure. Just lots of rock dust.

We'll post photos and links to videos as we have time, but you can look at some of the initial photos at at www.geir.com/aliens/

See the first video at



See the second video at


See the third video at

JF

By Josh Audrey
From: LAS VEGAS
May 18, 2007

JF-

BAD ASS DUDE! thanks for the video. I will always place Aliens.
Anyone still want to sell me yours, hit me up.
josh

By Kevin Craig
May 25, 2007

There have been several updates on the CCH site at:

www.aliencamsbycch.com/alien_news.html

including a new testing page, a testing video and updates on verification efforts (strain gauge testing, independent lab testing). Thay also make a short claim to pursuing ISO certification thru TUV.

A bit late and not as comprehensive as many of us would like, but I guess they're making some effort.

By Buff Johnson
May 26, 2007

Thanks, Kev.

I guess I missed something about active placements. Why is this incorrect?:



Don't cams rotate to the direction of force? I thought they were multi-directional.

I guess this placement called incorrect because the rotation looks to bring 2 lobes out of the rock. Anyone else??

By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
May 27, 2007

"I guess I missed something about active placements. Why is this incorrect?:"

Because it will reseat, and possibly in a bad way. The outer cams won't tend to come out, but the lower ones will tend to slide inward, and perhaps not as you would wish- unevenly instead.

By Kevin Craig
Jul 14, 2007

The position that Mark questions is often recommended as the first piece off the ground/belay to avoid the zipper effect. Trick is that if the belayer is positioned such that a zipper could occur, the force on the bottom piece is outward and the placement in the diagram would acutally be correct.

For a downward force however, the stem should be oriented down (as we all know).