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Hands-on Gear Review
Metolius Ultralight Powercam Review
Cons: Tends to walk, Not a great range
Ultralight Powercams are Metolius' response to climbers' constant and ubiquitous call for lighter climbing gear. Metolius has created a very lightweight camming unit that will serve you well on lightweight backcountry adventures and big walls alike. The cams feature a u-stum design that allows for ease of handling while simultaneously providing a high clip-in point for clean aid climbing. We also found that the u-stem cams are much easier to clean with a nut tool if they get wedged in there. We really liked the fact that the cams are so light and compact compared to other cams that we tested. We found Powercams to be admirable performers as far as durability goes, and the u-stem is flexible enough for horizontal placements. Where we found some flaw in the design on these cams is that the middle cam lobes are too close together creating somewhat of an unstable placement prone to walking with the movement of the rope. These are the best cams for you if you are obsessed with weight, but overall, we prefer the flexibility of a single stem cam like the Black Diamond Camalot C4, despite the increased weight. For a similar design, but far greater range check out Metolius Super Cam.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
Metolius Ultralight Powercams are the lightest cams on the market. The light and compact design makes them ideal for back country adventures, or any application where traveling light is key. The cam lobes are nice and wide making them a decent option for softer rock types. The u-stems are flexible enough for horizontal placements, while also providing a high clip-in point for aid climbing and the cam head is compact enough to fit into some awkward and tight placements.
Metolius has incorporated a cool feature into their larger camming units: the range-finder. While we didn't find ourselves actively using the range-finder on the Powercams, so much of gear placing relies on color coding and being able to quickly identify pieces by their color. We like the fact that Metolius has taken into account our color-coded mind frame when trad climbing and given us a tool to quickly check whether a placement is bomber or not. As mentioned before, we weren't actively cognizant of using the rangefinder, but we think that it does register in our brains when placing the piece.
The biggest qualm we have with the Powercams is that the lobes on these cams are pretty close together. This doesn't allow for a grat degree of individual lobe movement to account for slight variances in the rock, and contributes to the cams walking. We found that the Powercams tended to walk a bit more than many other cams that we tested. An issue that can be circumvented by slinging your placements long, but an issue nonetheless.
Another area where we found the Powercams lacking was in that they had one of the lowest ranges of all the cams that we tested. This means that each unit will have less possibility of fitting, increasing the chance that you'll be turning back to your gear sling or harness for a different piece.
Free Climbing, Aid climbing, Light and Fast Adventures
Not the least or most expensive cam on the market. If you must have something light these are going to be your best value option.
Other Versions and Accessories
Metolius Master Cams
Metolius Ultralight TCU
Metolius Cam Lube
— Robert Beno
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Most recent review: February 16, 2015
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