8 September 2009

Omega Pacific Link Cam failure in the field

A size 0.5 Omega Pacific Link Cam is reported to have failed in a fall in the US. Bradly on Rockclimbing.com forums explains:

"...when I fell the cam was at or less than a foot below my feet. The placement was in a pocket where the crack above and below the placement tapered out. It was cammed to the middle lobe ... The stem was angled down about 45 to 60 degrees"

Image from Bradly's Picasa Album

Michael Lane from Omega Pacific responded: "Link Cams are specialty pieces ... [and are] vulnerable to damage and failure if subjected to torsional loading that requires the relationship of the head/axle and the rock to change much during a fall, especially if the placement is bottoming or loads the lower-end linkages to be stressed over any kind of edge or intrusion ... the fact that their lobes consist of hinged components when other cams are made of a single piece of material made this [torsional/bending loading issue is] an obvious characteristic from the start."

Furthermore he reports that Omega Pacific are taking action in response:

"1) We're looking at new link designs that strengthen the hinges to make them stronger. 
2) We'll be rewriting our literature to emphasize proper placement of Link Cams with a clear warning about the potential consequences of placing them in ways they could be subject to damage."

More info in the Rockclimbing.com forum thread.

2 comments:

A. Hope said...

I've taken two significant falls on my green omega pacific link cam with no problem. However, I make sure to place the cam so that it is angled directly down (as the OP rep said it should be). I can see why placing at at an angle could place a lot of torsion on the linkages (and this is why I've avoided it!) But if you place it correctly, this thing is bomber!

Virgil said...

It's not just the link cams that can break if placed at an angle:

http://www.thebmc.co.uk/modules/technicalreports/View.aspx?id=48

That's a report from the BMC on a Wild Country Tech Friend which failed in a fall due to suspected torsion loading.