Black Diamond C3 ReviewMay 6, 2012
- Wide cam heads makes more contact with the rock than other TCUs
- Thick, semi-rigid polyester sleeve protects flexible double stem
- Narrow cam profile fits cam into bottleneck cracks.
- High tension springs decrease chance of cam walking.
- Thinnest sizes are some of the smallest available.
- Bulky design.
- Thick webbing racks widely on harness, gets in the way when free climbing
- Not as flexible as Fixe Aliens
C3s work equally well in thin cracks for both free and aid climbing and hold up to heavy abuse. They have wider cam heads than Metolius TCUs and Master cams making them useful in shallow placements. They’re not as flexible as Aliens, which have four cams. They’re competitively priced.
These three camming units (also known as TCUs) have a narrow profile, tight springs, are flexible, and come in five sizes from .3-.89 inches. They work in thin seams up to finger-sized cracks.
C3s are easy to handle—to place one is like pulling a syringe. This is because they have compression driven springs. Once in the rock, the tight springs help keep the cams, which are up to 30% wider than other TCUs, firmly in place. The narrow axle allows the cams to be set in pockets, constrictions and irregular placements. The trigger, similar to a Master Cam, is easy to grab when on the fly.
C3s work in shallow placements, in horizontals, and in places where thin pitons, especially Lost Arrows fit. C3’S are not as flexible as Aliens, but they are more flexible than Master Cams. By design, Zero Cams fit in shallower horizontal placements, but the wires on Zeros can get kinked during use while C3’s springs are protected.
C3’S are as durable as Metolius Master Cams. After heavy use, the stems have stayed rigid instead of getting all wobbly, like Aliens (which makes them easier to place, since they don’t flop around like wet noodles). Over time they’ve maintained their shape, with only minimal elongation of the thumb loop.
A set of five C3s takes up more room on my rack than other cams of comparable size. Because of their shape, even the smallest units have a medium stem, so there is a lot more material sticking out of the crack than what’s inside. This makes it harder to step around C3s than Aliens, which have a narrower stem and a thinner sling.
Grey 000 (For aid only — not reviewed)
Purple 00 58.2 grams
Green 0 60.1 grams
Red 1 63.5 grams
Yellow 2 66.2 grams