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A #6 Camalot C4 placed in a crack. Camalot number 6.JPG
A #6 Camalot C4 placed in a crack.

Camalot is a brand of spring-loaded camming devices manufactured by Black Diamond Equipment used to secure ropes while rock climbing. Camalots use a dual-axle system, resulting in a slightly higher expansion range than similarly sized single axle units, however that results in significant weight penalty. [1] Dual-axle was patented and for decades was only used by Black Diamond, however the patent has expired in 2005 and several other manufacturers began producing dual-axel cams, often also replicating Camalots sizes and coloring. Most notable Camalot look-alikes include DMM Dragons [2] and Wild Country's New Friends. [3] [4]


Like other cams, Camalot lobes are in the shape of a logarithmic spiral, resulting in a constant angle between the cam and the rock at each contact point; this constant angle is designed to always provide the necessary friction to hold a cam in equilibrium. [5]


Black Diamond has produced several different models of Camalots:

imagename, sizes and
year of introduction
Black Diamond Camalot - 06.jpg Camalot (Chouinard)
#1 to #4
The original Chouinard Camalots using U-stem design and 7075-T6 aluminum cams and three part plastic sleeve. Those cams used ball shaped swages attaching the axle housing to the cable stem, and those when weighted could cause cracking in the axle housing compromising the strength of the piece. The ball design was changed in later units. [6]

US patent number 4643377.

Camalot (Black Diamond)
#1 to #4
First Black Diamond Camalots with single plastic molded sleeve and slight changes to axle housing to prevent cracking affecting the original cams. [7]
Black Diamond Camalot - 02.jpg Camalot junior
#0.5 to #0.75
Last U-stem design Camalot was using injection molded Zyntel thumb loop. The original 1991 version didn't have sewn slings, which were introduced in 1994. [7]
Climbing gear - Camalot cams - 04.jpg Camalot
#1 to #5
First T-stem design Camalots switched to 6061-T6 aluminum alloy and introduced sewn nylon slings. Sizes #1 to #4 were first released in 1994, #5 in 1995 and #3.5 & #4.5 in 1999. Initially 1994 cam used continuous plastic sleeve which had no trigger keep, preventing the trigger from sliding up into the cam lobes. This was corrected in 1995 by adding an aluminum ring to the sleeve, and further refine this in 2000 by adding a small injection molded ring in place of the aluminum ring. [7]
Micro Camalot
#0.1 to #0.75
Micros replaced 1991 juniors and switched to a single T-stem design. Smallest micros used single-axle while larger ones use the iconic double axle design.
Materiel d'escalade - studio WMCH - coinceurs mecaniques.jpg Camalot C4
#0.4 to #6
4th version of the single stem Camalot which intruduced thumb-loops and changed sizes of cams larger than #3.

Camalots #3.5, #4, #4.5 and #5 were replaced with resized #4, #5 and #6. US patent number 7959118/7959119

Camalot C3
#0000 to #2
2006 (or 2007) - 2018
Designed for placements in very small cracks, with a single axle and a narrow, three-lobed head. US patent number 7275726/7278618
Camalot X4
#0.1 to #0.75

Spring 2013 [8] - 2020 [9]

With smaller heads and flexible cable stems, X4 were designed for placement in very small cracks. The X4 were discontinued with the released of the Z4. US patent number 9079065/9302154
Black Diamond Camalot - 01.jpg Camalot X4 Offsets
#0.1/#0.2 to #0.5/#0.75
2014 - 2020
A version of the X4 with heads of two different sizes for flaring cracks or other asymmetric placements. Available in sizes #0.1/#0.2, #0.2/#0.3, #0.3/#0.4, #0.4/#0.5, #0.5/#0.75. Now discontinued with the released of the Z4. [10]
Camalot Ultralight
#0.4 to #4
a lighter-weight version of the C4 with a core made of dyneema instead of steel. The 25-30% weight reduction come at the cost of higher prices and shorter lifespan. [11]

US patent number 2015/0290499

Black Diamond, OutDoor 2018, Friedrichshafen (1X7A0398).jpg Camalot C4
#0.3 to #8
Version of the 2005 model, updated in early 2019 to modernize and lower the weight. In April 2020, Black Diamond introduced the #7 and #8 C4s, the largest and most expensive Camalots ever built. [12] The cams were initially teased with an April Fool's Day video of Alex Honnold supposedly placing a "#21" C4. [13]
Camalot Z4
#0.0 to #0.75
A replacement for the X4 and C3 as Black Diamond's small-sized cams. Available in sizes #.0, #.1, #.2, #.3, #.4, #.5, #.75. [14]
Camalot Z4 Offsets
#0.1/#0.2 to #0.5/#0.75
Feb 2020
Similar to the older discontinued X4 Offset this newer version a combination of the two different sized head from the X4 Offset and the compact lobes of the Z4. Available in sizes #0.1/#0.2, #0.2/#0.3, #0.3/#0.4, #0.4/#0.5, #0.5/#0.75. [15]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Spring-loaded camming device</span> Piece of rock climbing or mountaineering protection equipment

A spring-loaded camming device is a piece of rock climbing or mountaineering protection equipment. It consists of two, three, or four cams mounted on a common axle or two adjacent axles, so that pulling on the axle forces the cams to spread farther apart. This is then attached to a sling and carabiner at the end of the stem. The SLCD is used by pulling on the "trigger" so the cams retract together, then inserting it into a crack or pocket in the rock and releasing the trigger to allow the cams to expand. A pull on the rope, such as that generated by a climber falling, will cause a properly placed SLCD to convert the pulling force along the stem of the unit into outwards pressure on the rock, generating massive amounts of friction and preventing the removal of the unit from the rock. Because of the large forces which are exerted on the rock when an SLCD is fallen on, it is very important that SLCDs are only placed in solid, strong rock.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Aid climbing</span> Type of rock climbing

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Top rope climbing</span> Type of rock climbing

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Ray Jardine is an American rock climber and rock-climbing equipment innovator, who specialized in traditional climbing and big wall climbing. In 1997, Jardine made the first free ascent of The Phoenix, which was the first-ever consensus route at the grade of 5.13a (7c+) in climbing history. In 1979, with Bill Price, he became the first to free climb the West Face of El Capitan in Yosemite Valley.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rock climbing</span> Type of sport

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A hex is an item of rock-climbing equipment used to protect climbers from falls. They are intended to be wedged into a crack or other opening in the rock, and do not require a hammer to place. They were developed as an alternative to pitons, which are hammered into cracks, damaging the rock. Most commonly, a carabiner will be used to join the hex to the climbing rope by means of a loop of webbing, cord or a cable which is part of the hex.

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