Metolius pulled out all the stops and re-designed their cams to ensure they definitively deserve their full title: Ultralight Master Cams.

Update: Metolius won a 2016 Editors Choice Award from Climbing magazine for these new Ultralight Master Cams.

Metolius wins Climbing Magazine Editors Choice Award

They tout the new cams as 40% lighter than other cams on the market and 20% lighter than the previous version. After a quick analysis, we found that to be true, on average they’re 20.82% lighter than their svelte predecessor.

 

Master Cam Weigh Difference 20 percent comparison
Although the weight decreased, the cam range and strength ratings stayed the same.

 

Interestingly, the smallest cams in the lineup lost the most weight (30.77%!). The big guys didn’t lose as much because Metolius didn’t remove any metal from the cam lobes, so they had proportionately less weight to give up. The cam lobes have maintained their primary design for safety reasons: Metolius has never had a cam lobe failure and they don’t want one.

The 20.82% weight savings from the “old” lineup to the new lineup is enough to bring a #8 Master Cam along for only 2 extra grams.

Master Cam Total Weight Savings

 

How did Metolius cams loose so much weight?

  • Switched to a thinner sling.

New Webbing: 11mm 40% Dyneema 60% Nylon

Old Webbing: 13mm 36% Dyneema 64% Nylon

Metolious Master Cam Sling

 

  • Created an aluminum thumb rest to replace the wired thumb loop. This is by far the most controversial change though Doug Phillips (Metolius’ Founder and President) said the team has been looking forward to this upgrade for awhile.
Metolius Master Cam Thumb Catch
new thumb rest                          old thumb loop

 

  • Utilized a smaller silver braised fitting to replace the heavy copper swage. (yes, these photos are to scale)
Metolius Master Cam Swage
new fitting                                                                              old swage

 

Functional Upgrades to the Master Cams

  • Shark fin cam lobes. Metolius loves the new tooth profile and believes there is a small but functional difference in softer rock–there should be no difference in hard rock.

Details: On soft rock, when the forces of a fall put enough energy into the cam to pull out, the rock actually pulverizes, creating a slick surface for the cam lobes to slide out of its placement. The goal of the shark fin profile is that it will enable the cam lobe to disperse the powdered rock to get down to solid rock.

Metolius Master Cams Shark Fin Cam Lobes
New Shark Fin Lobes                                                              Previous Ridged Lobes

 

  •  Additional sizes: #7 and #8. Expanding the range of cams answers the biggest request from climbers over the years. This also allows the range to overlap with the Metolius Super Cams.

Metolius Master Cam 7 8

 

  • A larger diameter cable on sizes #5-8 to make these four cams stiffer. This will fix any complaint about the previous #5 and #6 UL Master Cams acting floppy.

Metolius Master Cam Cables narrow wide

 

Details that haven’t changed

  • Fall Rating
  • Individual Cam Ranges
  • Main cable running through the cam on size #4 and under
  • Rangefinder (the green/yellow/red placement guide on the lobes)
  • Kevlar cords connecting the lobe to the trigger
  • Price

Bonus Features

  • The dyneema sling rotates through the thumb catch so you can inspect it fully. As before, Metolius will re-sling your cams (for a small fee) when you send them to their headquarters in Bend, Oregon. As a rule of thumb, Metolius recommends replacing slings every 5 years.
  • The entire cam, from machining to assembly to testing, is fabricated in Bend, Oregon. All cam parts and materials are sourced from the US.
  • Metolius does a ton of on-the-rock, real-life testing to ensure they can predict where failures may occur even with excessive loading and/or incorrect placements.

Metolius Master Cams Side by Side

Bottom Line

Metolius Ultralight Master Cams are crazy light. If you’re going for the lightest protection around then you’ve found your match. The loss of the thumb loop will be mourned by many, but such are the sacrifices necessary for a 20.8% weight reduction. The added sizes really round out the lineup with an added bonus of no change to the price, despite the additional R&D required to get them to market.

The updated Ultralight Master Cam’s are out now and the Offset UL Master Cams are shooting for a Summer 2016 release.

Bonus photo: Doug Phillips accepting a Climbing Magazine 2016 Editors Choice Award for the new Ultralights from Shannon Davis of Climbing Magazine.

ClimbingMagazineAwardWinningMastercam

Here are all the places we know to buy the new and old (thumb-looped) Master Cam’s:

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Alison Dennis

Alison Dennis

Alison (she/her) runs WeighMyRack from her 17' travel trailer. She is currently touring the US and would love if you contacted her to meet up to talk about climbing, climbing gear, or if you have any fun and/or ridiculous adventure in mind.

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