Monday, June 17, 2013

On the Rack: Black Diamond X4 Cams

Many of you may have seen the picture of my shiny new rack. I am pleased to say that all of the gear is now sufficiently scuffed and well loved after a solid  two weeks of western climbing. For my new rack I decided to invest in Black Diamond cams. I was especially excited to learn that I would be able to pre-order the nex X4 cams before I had to pack for my trips. So I ordered a set and have used them for any cam placements less than a number one. Now, after getting a few miles under my belt, I feel obligated and qualified to let people know what I think of them. So here goes...

The new BD X4 cams span the gap between Camalots and Aliens. The tried and true design of flexible stem Aliens have already been emulated by the Metolius Master Cam and lately renewed by Fixe. Black Diamond has put their own spin on that concept by creating a flexible stem cam that utilized BDs dual axle design for increased expansion range. They have an armored stem protector and they also are designed to lighter than the Camalots of equivalent size. 

So what do I think of them?  The sizing has been great and the consistent color scheme has made a very easily accessible rack, especially when paired with matching colors of the ultralight Camp Nanos. 
The flexible stem is very pliant which has given me a great sense of security especially with smaller pieces on sketchy traverses or in places with a lot of possible walking or movement. They are incredibly ergonomic as they are comfortable to hold an very easy to manipulate. The trigger action for the most part is smooth and effective. The weight is noticeably lighter than other BD Camalots of the same range. And they just look cool. 

I have not taken any whippers on them yet but here's to hoping they would hold. My only possible complaint is that they seem to be incredibly susceptible to reduced trigger action from dirt and dust etc. My regular Camalot C4s still have buttery smooth action while I already feel that I need to get in there and lube up the lobes on my X4s because the trigger motion has slightly deteriorated.  Only time will tell about their durability, especially that of the kevlar trigger cords. But at this point, I am very satisfied with my purchase and look forward to using them on many climbs to come.

Let me know if you have any questions or would like to see them in action. I can bring them along sometime.

Climb Smart MN is a grassroots approach to climbing education based on community and charitable giving. For information on donation based climbing lessons visit ClimbSmartMN and follow us on Facebook. With over ten years of climbing instruction, coaching, and guiding experience,  Chris Hesselbein strives to better the climbing community through personalized technique and safety education.

No comments:

Post a Comment