Award Winner - Climbing Magazine Editors' Choice Award 2010
The Camalot C3 by Black Diamond will fit in far more places more securely. Compact interlocking and overlapping cams allow for solid placements that will not lever out. Compression drive springs push each cam with significantly greater force and because each cam is driven by a different spring, each cam is truly independent. Their unique stem design offers flexibility and strength-laterally stiff for tight placements but soft as a noodle over edges. This improved flexibility disperses a load more evenly, minimizes deformation and makes the units inherently stronger.
FEATURES of the Black Diamond Camalot C3
Heads are 30% narrower yet C3s are more secure, dependable and fit in more placements than other camming units
Compression-spring driven with interlocking cam heads for bite in uneven cracks
Flexible stem is laterally stiff for tight placements
Color-coded for easy identification and wide range of sizes
Neutrino or Oz Rackpack available for easy racking (see Carabiner section)
I am personally not a huge fan of the c3s and would go for some of the small sizes in master cams before these guys. Also ow that the x4s are out, they are a better option in my opinion. I just don't like the trigger system with two small springs. if you pull on one side harder than the other and your cam is even remotely dirty, it can get jammed. Not a huge deal, but something I don't like. The big piece of plastic rubber material is good for protecting the cam in cracks, but again the x4s have a much more elegant solution to that with the beads on the stem. Just my two cents though. You can still crush hard on the c3s!
This cam feels solid. There are no questions about the manufacturing quality when you hold this thing. The yellow held me on a 20-foot whipper in the Gunks.But, three lobes makes most placements feel a bit wobbly. I love the yellow, and I like the red. They tend to feel stable so long as the cam is more than 50% retracted. The smaller sizes never quite feel secure.The C3 feels more like a specialty piece. For most placements, I like a smaller four lobe unit, such as an Alien or an X4, but if the placement is too narrow for an Alien, the C3 is your best bet.
Compared to the TCUs, these C3s have a smaller profile which really does help them fit in many more places. I personally wouldn't start any onsite attempt without em. I've recently had a friend who's 225lb take a 40 foot whipper on a green C3 and it caught him just fine. Must haves!
I've been a little skeptical of the C3's and been content with TCU's, Mastercams and Aliens for the little stuff. But succumbing to extensive peer-pressure, I have been racking up a few lately and have been very happy with their ease of placement and apparent stability.I have not noted any torque issues or sticky triggers, and in general the C3's seemed a little easier to remove than the TCU's after having been weighted. Speaking of TCU's, I have fairly big mitts and find that the C3's are much easier to grab for dicey spots where quick placement is desired.Overall it's looking like C3's have earned a permanent place on my rack and have perhaps bumped TCU's to a back-up role.