Hands-on Gear Review

CCH Hybrid Alien Review

CCH Hybrid Alien
By: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief  ⋅  Mar 1, 2010
Price:  $68 List
Pros:  Grip, effectiveness in shallow placements
Cons:  Reliability, durability
Manufacturer:   Fixe Hardware
78
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Flared cracks - 15% 10
  • Horizontal Cracks - 10% 7
  • Tight placements - 15% 8
  • Walking - 15% 9
  • Durability - 15% 5
  • Aid Climbing - 5% 9
  • Free Climbing - 10% 6
  • compactness_lightweight - 15% 8
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Our Verdict

The CCH Hybrid Alien used to be the best cam for pin scars, especially in Yosemite and Zion. Now the Black Diamond Camalot X4 gives it some stiff competition. This used to be my go-to cam for big walls and climbs featuring shallow and tight placements. Why? They used to be the only secure cam for shallow pin scars. Now we mix this up with a set or two of the Offset X4'd. The chief disadvantages of the Aliens are their reliability and durability.

NOTE: Fixe now has a new Alien that we have not yet reviewed. More info is found at SuperTopo under Fixe Faders Alien Cams.


Our Analysis and Test Results

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Likes


Aliens and the Hybrid Aliens enjoyed a good run as top dogs of smaller camming units for big walls. They didn't have any competition in the past. Over the past decade, though, competing models emerged on the scene. Yet the Aliens still have a large following among big wall climbers.

This is why Aliens are great for pin scars:
  • one of the most narrow head widths of all camming units
  • the stems are flexible enough to hold in awkward placements
  • the utilization of soft metal provides superior purchase on rock

Dislikes


The soft metal we love so much also results in less durability. The lobes won't last as long as on other cams, wearing down fast and eventually turning "mushy." The Aliens are sticky in dicey placements but aren't built to last forever.

Of more concern are reports of Aliens failing even after the 2006 recall. I don't know how much faith to put in these reports. According to CCH's web site, there has not been a recall since 2006 and everything is good. According to some independent testers, there is reason to believe CCH quality control is suspect Read more here

Chris McNamara

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Most recent review: March 10, 2010
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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 (4.0)

100% of 2 reviewers recommend it
 
Rating Distribution
3 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 100%  (3)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Climber

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   Mar 10, 2010 - 01:51am
le_bruce · Climber · Oakland, CA

Work so well it almost feels like cheating. Only wish their endurance was greater.



Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.


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   Jan 24, 2010 - 02:29pm
Captain...or Skully · Climber · Where are you bound?
I used to have a bunch of these.
They excel in pin scars. Still have a couple & reach for them readily.
That said, When they're worn down, they can get a bit sketchy.

Like 'em a lot, though.



Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.


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