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Rack For NC- TCUs or Mastercams?
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By Phil S
From Bethlehem, NH
Apr 20, 2011
Party In My Mind. Endless Wall. <br />
Hey everybody,
First of all, some background is in order. I have been climbing single-pitch and some multi-pitch trad at the Red River Gorge, the New River Gorge and Stone Mountain for a little while. I plan on going to North Carolina a lot more to climb and I wondering what would suit me better- TCUs or Mastercams?

I am already well on my way with Camalots (.3-4, doubles of #1 and #3, triples of #2) and I already have a #1 blue metolius mastercam that I prefer over my #1 BD C3.

I was just wondering if there is a significant amount of difference in the head width TCUs and Mastercams and which would be better for places like Looking Glass. Thanks!

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By TomCaldwell
From Clemson, S.C.
Apr 20, 2011
Me on One Pitch Wonder at Whitesides.  Photo credits to Kyle Jones and his lucky anti-rain jacket.
No, there isn't a specific need for either brand. I often carry the C3's and TCU's when a route takes lots of small to medium sized gear. I got away for a long time here with just the C3's, but the Metolius sizes fit perfectly in between the BD sizes. So its good to have some complementary sizes. The glass also eats up the tri-cams. There are many flared eye-brows which sometimes will only take a tri-cam. I carry the small black all the way up to the large navy blue. There are a few climbs where you need a specific brand cam and size, but you'll have to look up that beta here, ask someone, or just carry a little extra and find out on the climb. Do you have some specific climbs in mind?

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By csproul
From Davis, CA
Apr 20, 2011
Summit of Wolf's Head with Pingora in the background
Masters. I have a set of both and use both frequently, but if I only had one I'd choose the masters. There are a lot of horizontals here and the tcu's can get pretty messed up after falling on them in a horizontal placement. The stem of the master holds up better after falls in horizonatals. For LG, I'm not sure it matters all that much. The eyebrows take either about the same. I've also had good luck with offset cams in the eyebrows, but that tends to be more of a specialty situation.

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By Brian
From North Kingstown, RI
Apr 20, 2011
Eiger summit
The Master Cam (4 lobes) actually has a narrower head than the TCU.

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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Apr 20, 2011
El Chorro
My choice of cam is very dependent on the size. For super small stuff I like C3's (grey, purple, green). I have blue, yellow and orange TCU's and place them on just about every pitch I climb in NC. I also have Aliens from black to orange but the green, yellow and red are the most useful. Anything larger than that and I go w/ Camalots or WC Friends. I do, however, LOVE my red Metolius 4CU (older, u-stem version of the Mastercam).

C3's will fit in more places than Mastercams but like you, I don't like the larger sizes. If I were you I'd buy TCU's in yellow and orange since you already have the Camalots (similar to Mastercams but a bit wider) in those sizes. If you want a Metolius in Red, get the Mastercam as the TCU that large feels a bit awkward. Then when you decide you need super small cams go for either C3 or Mastercams. The grey and purple TCU's are good aid pieces but their springs are only attached to tiny little cam stops on the lobes which break pretty easily. I've broken them on two cams in two falls. Both cams held the falls, but now I can't retract the lobes anymore. The blue TCU has a different design.

Tri-cams are essential for any NC rack and will go where you might be placing those TCU's. They are harder to place though so it's nice to have cams in those sizes as well.

I learned how to climb in NC and purchased in this order:
.5-3 Camalot
ABC Huevos (stoppers) 4-13
Blue, Yellow, Orange TCUs
Pink, Red, Brown, Blue Tri-cams
Red Metolius 4CU



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By Phil S
From Bethlehem, NH
Apr 20, 2011
Party In My Mind. Endless Wall. <br />
Thanks for the responses! I really appreciate the help. My main concern was head width between TCUs and Master cams for eyebrow climbing, so that helps a lot.

As for tri-cams, I already have the pink and red dynex tri-cams, and I will certainly be getting more.

As far as Looking Glass goes, I plan on climbing The Nose, Sundial Crack, Second Coming, Rat's Ass, and Gemini Crack. Hopefully soon I will try some of the free routes on the North Side like the first pitch of Invisible Airwaves as well. Other places I'm looking to go are Linville Gorge, Rumbling Bald, and (maybe someday) Laurel Knob. Basically, I'll climb anywhere.

...now if only I had a partner who lead trad :P

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By TomCaldwell
From Clemson, S.C.
Apr 20, 2011
Me on One Pitch Wonder at Whitesides.  Photo credits to Kyle Jones and his lucky anti-rain jacket.
Those Looking Glass routes will eat up whatever you bring. Make sure you bring some nuts for Rats Ass. Not many other routes at the Glass will take nuts, but that is definitely one along with Invisible Airwaves that you mentioned. Most of the eyebrows at LG are just so wide that they will take any size cam head and often multiple sizes in gear. Its a little hot to be hitting the South Face, but you still may have a good day or two there for the next month. For those routes, especially eyebrow routes, .5-.75 camalot size is great to have doubles, whether it is the camalots or metolius in that size it doesn't matter.

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By Phil S
From Bethlehem, NH
Apr 21, 2011
Party In My Mind. Endless Wall. <br />
Thanks for the beta, Tom. That really helps in my trip planning. I'm hoping to do a week long visit in the near future to hit at least a few of the good multipitch locations.

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By nbrown
From western NC
Apr 21, 2011
Top of Shortoff with the Bonsai
Phil,

One more thing to keep in mind with the Metolus TCU's: The newer design (lighweight) has the ends of the stem sticking out past the axle (on the cam lobe end). This will sometimes interfere with the shallow placements that are so common here in NC. The old style was much better... pick up some of those if you can find 'em.

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By Evan Sanders
From Westminster, CO
Apr 27, 2011
Flaming Pumpkin
Phil S. wrote:
Thanks for the beta, Tom. That really helps in my trip planning. I'm hoping to do a week long visit in the near future to hit at least a few of the good multipitch locations.


Phil, if you need a steady partner for June and July and the beginning of August, I'll be in east TN and will hopefully be getting out to looking glass quite a bit.

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By Adam Paashaus
From Greensboro, North Carolina
Feb 10, 2013
After you get done climbing be sure to head up to the summit for sunset. Its only a 10 minute walk from the main wall. Don't forget your headlamp.
Brian wrote:
The Master Cam (4 lobes) actually has a narrower head than the TCU.

Is this true? Cant find the dimensions anywhere.

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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Feb 10, 2013
El Chorro
Adam Paashaus wrote:
Is this true? Cant find the dimensions anywhere.


Probably not in all the sizes, I bet it is true in the smaller sizes (grey, purple, maybe blue).

But it's a bit misleading. Even though the Blue-Orange TCUs have a wider headwith because of the u-stem design, the ends of the head (where the wire is brazed to the axle) are tiny and still go into a lot of places that would seem too narrow (like eyebrows). If no one else does it before, I'll take some pics later to compare.

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