CCH Aliens failures

by Tom Markiewicz on January 13, 2006

There’s been much discussion and speculation recently about CCH’s Alien cams. Here’s what “official” info I’ve found on the situation so far:

From Mountain Gear,

Test Results and Notice to customers on CCH aliens January 11, 2006
Please realize that Mountain Gear??s tests results are not ??official,? they were not independent, nor did they represent a random sampling of all Aliens.

We took nine units of various sizes and date stamps dating back to the earliest we had in stock which is 0605 for pull testing. Of the nine Aliens tested, three brazes failed and the cable pulled out at below the CCH-stated max strength for that size. The failures were from different sizes and date stamps, and included both Hybrid and regular Aliens.

Since we reported these findings to Dave at CCH, he has been working diligently to identify the source and scope of the problem. I expect that we will see information from him soon. According to Dave, CCH is also reporting the issue to the CPSC (Consumer Products Safety Commission), and will work in concert with them to remove the potentially affected Aliens from the Market. You will have to rely on this process to get the final results of the investigation of these products.

We have also informed REI of our findings and they reacted quickly to work with CCH and Mountain Gear so that there can be a coordinated effort to get the potentially affected Aliens off the market and off climbers racks.

If you bought potentially affected Aliens from Mountain Gear:
We will contact you with instructions on getting them returned, inspected, repaired and/or replaced. We will also post this information by Friday 12 p.m. PST at this website.

Mountain Gear wants the best results for the climbing community. I wish I could tell you more but this is the best information we have at this time. We will continue to encourage CCH to act quickly to thoroughly complete their investigation, and will post more information on our website as we receive it from CCH or the CPSC.

Paul Fish
Mountain Gear, Inc.

From CCH,

Colorado Custom Hardware, (CCH) has recently completed an investigation and extensive testing to identify and isolate safety issues concerning the brazing on CCH Alien cams. The safety of our customers is our number one priority.
Testing has revealed that there was a brazing issue with specific cams made after November 2004. The units to be identified are marked with a small center punch dimple at the base of the round ball where the axle goes through the cable eye. Although few failures have been reported, CCH recommends immediately discontinuing the use of any Aliens with this mark. CCH is recalling the cams with the identifying punch mark. Please return them to CCH for a new replacement unit. You can mail your cams to:
Colorado Custom Hardware, Inc
ATTN: Brazing Recall
115 E. Lyon St
Laramie, WY 82072
If you are not sure if your cams are included in the recall, please contact us at
We sincerely apologize for this inconvenience and we are doing everything possible to correct it quickly. There will be a photograph on our web site to help to identify the cams that need to be returned. The Web site address:
Colorado Custom Hardware, Inc
115 E. Lyon St
Laramie, WY 82072

and the full discussion on this at is here at the Alien Recall from CCG thread.

Unfortunately, I’ll be checking my Aliens this evening…

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