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By Roswell
From Newnan. Ga
Mar 7, 2012
Baby Rosalyn ready to send <br />

Love my C4's but the helium cams are really nice pieces. They are longer and seem a bit lighter. They do not have as much surface contact for lobes than the C4's though. Anybody have more expierience with them or have more info for me.


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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Mar 7, 2012
El Chorro

Been discussed here - link to my review and other opinions.


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By Rafael Rovirosa
From Las Cruces, NM
Mar 7, 2012

The cams are good but I really dislike the way WC has sewn the slings. The sling is really tight around the thumb loop. As a result, the sling does not slide smoothly along the loop. It seems like this could cause more walking. What do others think about this?


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By Bowens
From Carlsbad, CA
Mar 7, 2012
New Yosemite

Ross Mac wrote:
Love my C4's but the helium cams are really nice pieces. They are longer and seem a bit lighter. They do not have as much surface contact for lobes than the C4's though. Anybody have more expierience with them or have more info for me.


The lobes actually do have as much surface contact. If you look more closely, the lobes taper down to a narrower width at both ends, where you shouldn't be placing them anyway, and are just about as wide as the C4's (possibly wider) in the middle. This taper may cause you to see them as narrower, but in fact they are just as wide where the lobes should actually contact the rock.

Also, I have Heliums and I love them. They are lighter than anything else in the larger sizes, their range is pretty decent, they place nicely and seem to stay put well.


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By Roswell
From Newnan. Ga
Mar 7, 2012
Baby Rosalyn ready to send <br />

Thanks for the input guys, really helpful in helping me make my decision to purchase more. Just hard to move from a cam i trust. Read through the other forum also, thanks for that Ryan, should have looked harder than i did when checked to see if there was already a discussion on them.

Rafael, didnt notice about the sewn slings but will definately look at that now. Maybe just have new slincs placed on them that adjustable but i am good about leaving enough slack in the runner to keep em from walking.

Makes sense on the lobes also bowens, didnt think about it in that aspect.

Thanks again guys


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By Bowens
From Carlsbad, CA
Mar 8, 2012
New Yosemite

Rafael Rovirosa wrote:
The cams are good but I really dislike the way WC has sewn the slings. The sling is really tight around the thumb loop. As a result, the sling does not slide smoothly along the loop. It seems like this could cause more walking. What do others think about this?


My slings started out stiff around the thumb loop, but have been loosening up with use. Also, like I mentioned, I haven't had any issues with a Helium Friend walking. I usually use a quickdraw, often extended, but I sometimes clip directly in, and the sling hasn't seemed to be an issue.

I do like how skinny the slings are, however. They are still beefy enough to handle well and inspire confidence, yet skinny enough to reduce clutter and also to seat better on carabiners.


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By Roswell
From Newnan. Ga
Mar 13, 2012
Baby Rosalyn ready to send <br />

Bowens wrote:
My slings started out stiff around the thumb loop, but have been loosening up with use. Also, like I mentioned, I haven't had any issues with a Helium Friend walking. I usually use a quickdraw, often extended, but I sometimes clip directly in, and the sling hasn't seemed to be an issue. I do like how skinny the slings are, however. They are still beefy enough to handle well and inspire confidence, yet skinny enough to reduce clutter and also to seat better on carabiners.


Used a size 3 for the first time on sunday and didnt have a problem with. Like how they are a bit longer as well, makes for placing it deeper allot easier and removal was easy and smooth. Thanks again


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By Bowens
From Carlsbad, CA
Apr 19, 2012
New Yosemite

None of the following is extraordinary in any way, but in case you were curious about their performance, I fell on a Helium cam about a week ago.

I took a very short fall onto my Helium 2.5. The cam was in solid rock and a good placement, and of course held all 200+ lbs of my racked up weight and did not budge; there was no damage or deformation afterwards. Interestingly, someone snapped a photo mid fall, and you can see the thumb loop deforming (stretching) as it absorbs the weight of my fall. I never would have known had I not looked at the photo, because there is no evidence of it on the cam (it sprung right back to its proper shape).


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By NC Rock Climber
From The Oven, AKA Phoenix
Apr 19, 2012
tanuki

Bowens wrote:
The lobes actually do have as much surface contact. If you look more closely, the lobes taper down to a narrower width at both ends, where you shouldn't be placing them anyway, and are just about as wide as the C4's (possibly wider) in the middle. ...


Hey Bowens. I have only actually held these cams once, so my observation might have been incorrect. However, it appeared to me that the lobes on the Heliums were rounded and had less surface area on the rock than the C4s. I very well might be wrong on this, and would welcome the opportunity to look at some photos showing a comparison between the two cams.

Although DMM and WC make great stuff, I still think that the BD C4 is just a better product. Lobe contact and sling material are a big part of why I think that. I also know that this is just my opinion. I would probably be cool climbing and falling on the new Heliums if the opportunity presented itself.


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By Bowens
From Carlsbad, CA
Apr 19, 2012
New Yosemite

NC Rock Climber wrote:
Hey Bowens. I have only actually held these cams once, so my observation might have been incorrect. However, it appeared to me that the lobes on the Heliums were rounded and had less surface area on the rock than the C4s. I very well might be wrong on this, and would welcome the opportunity to look at some photos showing a comparison between the two cams. Although DMM and WC make great stuff, I still think that the BD C4 is just a better product. Lobe contact and sling material are a big part of why I think that. I also know that this is just my opinion. I would probably be cool climbing and falling on the new Heliums if the opportunity presented itself.


I don't have any cracks in my "backyard" that I can run to for some quick photos (unfortunately), but I did have a table, two cams, and a camera!

Below are a few photos of the Helium 1.5 and Camalot 0.75 cams, side-by-side, for comparison:

Lobes Closeup
Lobes Closeup


Lobes
Lobes


Lobes Profile
Lobes Profile


It appears to me that the Helium lobes are roughly the same size as the Camalot's lobes in the relevant section of the lobes (where they would actually be contacting the rock when placed).

As for the slings, what don't you like about them? They are identical to the Black Diamond C4 slings except that they are dyneema and a few millimeters more narrow. They are less bulky than nylon, just as strong, and suffer no real drawbacks to my knowledge.

Anyway, hope these photos are what you were looking for!


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By NC Rock Climber
From The Oven, AKA Phoenix
Apr 20, 2012
tanuki

Thanks Bowens. Those are great photos that illustrate your point perfectly. I appear to have been mistaken regarding the contact area of the Heliums vs C4s.

Regarding the sings, I am just not a fan of dyneema. I do not think that it is as durable as nylon. I know that there is nothing wrong with it and that it is perfectly functional. It is just a personal preference.

Other than that, the heliums look like great cams.


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By Greg Gagne
Jun 1, 2012

Interesting to read the replies. I've been using the new Helium Friends since summer 2011 and love them. They are (1) light, (2) almost the range of typical C4 camalot (ie a few mm difference in most sizes), and (3) the longer stem makes for deeper placements. In terms of "concerns" - these are Friends folks - the original cam. Been in use about 30 years and the 13.75 camming angle has been well-proven. C4's are great, but the new Helium Friends are better. Check out my review from neclimbs.com:

www.neclimbs.com/index.php?PageName=review&ReviewID=20110911


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By Adam Floyd
From Las Vegas
Dec 24, 2012
Vegas the Dog

I got a full set of these and climbed with them a good deal, but still preferred my C4's. It seemed that every time I placed one I felt like I wish I had used a C4.

I guess that mostly this was because we were climbing trad lines that were steep and close to my limit or at my limit, which isn't the best time to learn the sizing for new gear. Quality gear, just once I got them I didn't find they were that different from my C4s, which I had wired for the sizes.


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By P. A.
Dec 25, 2012

How much would lobe width really matter? I would imagine that with most cams on the market, differences in lobe widths would come down to fractions of millimeters.

Since the force applied to the cam doesn't change, the difference would come in the area over which that force is applied. A smaller lobe width would have a smaller contact area, so the applied pressure to the rock would be slightly higher to balance it out, leaving the holding power unaffected.

Maybe it's only a problem in softer rocks? I haven't done any calculations, but I can't imagine a 0.5 mm difference in lobe width would make a non-negligible difference in the pressure applied to the rock.

Edit: rudimentary calculation
Assume 5 kn generated in a fall
Assume square contact area (not realisticc) of 0.5 mm by 0.5mm
P = F/A = 5 kn / 0.25 mm^2 = 20 kn/mm^2
if we increase the contact area to 1 mm width
P = 5 kn / 0.5 mm^2 = 10 kn/mm^2

which decreases the pressure the rock sees by half. I suppose this could be the difference between the piece holding or the rock failing in weak sandstones, although I don't have any rock strength specs immediately on hand.


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By Zappatista
Dec 25, 2012
Book me, officer.

Cam angle's different. Sizing's different. Lobe width is different. Spring design is different.

Fractions of millimeters aside, I'd say that there are enought differences to make discussion worthwhile.

Not all cams are alike, knowing the details can help you make a smart choice.


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By P. A.
Dec 25, 2012

Smarty Ports/Shants wrote:
Cam angle's different. Sizing's different. Lobe width is different. Spring design is different. Fractions of millimeters aside, I'd say that there are enought differences to make discussion worthwhile. Not all cams are alike, knowing the details can help you make a smart choice.


Definitey agree with you, plenty of variables with cams. It seemed like the issue was specifically with lobe widths though


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By Zappatista
Dec 26, 2012
Book me, officer.

If you look at the lobe design on the C3s, they went to great lengths to get more metal on the rock, surface area rules, especially in small, techy placements. If the lobes are silly thin, the cams better fit into some narrow spots, otherwise it's just poor design. Make a cam lobe out of a kitchen knife and see how well it will hold if you're still having trouble visualizing why fat lobes are good.


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By Rob Warden, Space Lizard
From Springdale Ut
Dec 28, 2012
blah

as a owner and user of both C4's and Helium friends. I can throw my two cents in. As it has been stated, Helium friends at the very tips of the lobes are slightly more narrow than C4's. However, the lobes at around 50% Closure are up to a third wider than C4's in the wider sizes. They are wider than C4's at 50% cam closure until you get to sliver 1.5 which is roughly the same for lobe width as the .75 C4. The one has noticeably thinner lobes than a point five and is the smallest Helium I care to own. Even then the one rarely gets racked. I have better finger sized cams. For fingers I prefer Aliens, Fat Cams and TCU's. However, when it comes to lobe width in practice in soft sandstone. more is definitively better. when you climb in Zion you can see cam tracks in most single pitch and multipitch cracks. where units just slid right out of the placement. Nothing is more likely to catch you than a fat cam or an alien. aliens have very wide lobes for most of the sizes they come in and fat cams are impressively tenacious for holding falls of all types in soft stone. They are a trick piece that's pretty much only useful in sandstone, but that's what I climb and I like my gear holding when I get extra bold and fall farther than 8 feet.


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By nathan mowery
Jan 6, 2013
Me and Pierce

I have been using my heliums for some time now and really like them. I've taken falls on most all of them. Haven't noticed any deformation of cables or lobes. The 1 is the smallest I own. Really don't care for the action of anything smaller. I go with the power cams for anything under that.Tends to work out good because the powercams tend to be a bit wobbly over the number 3. Use em and love em.


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By Superclimber
Jan 21, 2013

I got the mid to larger size Heliums to replace my doubles of similar size C4s because I wanted a lighter set of doubles. I'm really happy with these. I agree that the pros include them being lighter, a bit longer, and having a nice overlap between sizes which may sometimes eliminate the need to carry doubles. It's also kind of cool that the sizes are a bit different from the C4s. The cons I've heard and read mentioned by others are in regard to the range and the slings. However, I did not find these things to be a big deal. Although the range is a bit less than the C4s on paper, in actual use I didn't really notice it. Even tho I agree that the slings are sewn on too tightly, the springs are kinda stiff. So I really didn't have any problem with walking and most of my placements this weekend were not extended.


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By rogerbenton
Mar 21, 2013
Whoever this guy is, he's just plain irresponsible.

The heliums are great, I love having both brands in my rack.

To the point made above regarding increased length over the c4's:

pull the trigger on both cams and look at them. The distance from the lobes to your fingers is the same. Your fingers are what determine how far into a crack you can jam the cam. The longer stem in the heliums just results in more stem sticking out of the crack than on a c4, but the cams are likely contacting the rock at the same depth.

Thats my experience anyway, Ymmv.


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