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Once you get over the initial terror of cam hooks, they can be your best friend. They help you move quickly and are sometimes the only hammerless placement for a pin scar. When Leeper stopped production of cam hooks a few years ago, the aid climbing community was terrified. What would replace the most useful clean aid tool since offset aliens? Luckily, Moses Enterprises stepped up to recreate cam hooks. The next question: could Moses recreate them identically? Luckily, the answer is a resounding YES! Read more below and the full story here
If you are climbing a clean big wall that is not on sandstone you should definitely buy one of the Narrow sizes. Better yet, get two. If you are a big wall addict, you may eventually want to branch into other sizes. But the Narrow one usually gets the job done.
NOTE: Cam hooks are not appropriate for sandstone as the camming action blows out the edges of the crack. Instead, on sandstone load up on offset nuts, offset brass nuts and slider nuts.
Our Analysis and Test Results
I got my Moses Cam Hooks from Mountain Gear and went straight to my local crumbly beach cliff to try them out.
The come in three sizes:
Mini - $7.95
Narrow - $8.95
Wide - $9.95
Plus the Fragile Flake - 14.95
Shipping from mountain gear was $4.95 and they took two business day to arrive.
I bought the Narrow and Wide. The Mini Leeper Cam Hook never had been that useful; I remember using it on El Cap only a handful of times. I would say only get Mini Moses if you are doing some cutting edge clean aid and want every possible tool. Otherwise the Narrow size works 90 percent of the time. The other 10 percent of the time I use the Wide. So if you can only buy one, get the Narrow.
After my new Moses Cam Hooks arrived I pulled out my old Leeper Cam Hooks for a size-by-size comparison. But I couldn't find my Wide Leepers…Doh! If anyone is borrowing them from me, please return them.
So for this comparison we will only be looking at the Narrow size… which is cool because that is the most useful size anyway.
As you can see in the photos below they are pretty much identical. The bend is slightly different, the eye on the Moses is a little smaller and the Moses is a little shorter but they are essentially identical.
How Did They Compare?
In full disclosure, I tested in crappy coastal rock. A real test is necessary in granite where these will generally be used. I'll do that shortly on El Cap so for now this is a "first look" report.
In bigger cracks, the Moses cam hooks worked just as well as the Leepers. Sweet!
I then put them both in crappy shallow placements:
Here I discovered that the Leepers held a little better. I was surprised at first, even a little worried. Then I noticed a key difference:
As you can see in the photo, the edges of my Leeper Cam hook are worn down. (I am pretty sure they started out just as square as the Moses edges). That little difference made the Leeper more secure in a few super-tenuous spots.
So is it time to file down my Moses cam hook to make it more like the Leeper? Not yet. This was crappy ocean rock; not an ideal test environment. I'll go to Yosemite and report on how they turn out. Meanwhile, I'm still looking for my missing Wide Leeper!
While there I tested the Moses Cam hooks on El Cap and found they worked just like the old Leeper cams. The only difference is that my Leeper cams worked their way into slightly more tenuous placements because their corners are worn down (see explanation above).
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