Which nuts to buy

10 February 2011

Which nuts to buy

Category: Rack & hardware

Note: Many of these articles are very old, and although the technical information is still relevant the equipment mentioned may not be (for example a Stormy cooker was state of that art in 1995, but not in 2021).

Hi Andy

Sorry to pester you, but I’m about to buy my first rack of nuts and wondered if I should by Rocks or Wallnuts?



Hi Adam

You can look at nuts in two ways, one is that they are just oblong bits off alloy and they are all much of a muchness, or that they are incredibly sophisticated bits of kit and that each design stands apart from each other.  The truth is somewhere between the two.

90% of the time any rack of wires, be they wallnuts, Rocks or Stoppers, will work perfectly well; you find a sweet spot for a nut, slot it in, yank it to seat, and you’re away.  In some places you may find the nut won’t go were you’d like it to, but even than if you’re prepared to work at it you will probably find it fits.

Were the differences in shape come into play is in that 10% of the time were there is only one placement and only one nut will fit.  This could be a flared pod,  a knobbly crack, or a peg scar, anywhere that requires the perfect shaped nut to fit.  Rocks and Stoppers are pretty boxy and so are perfect for that 90% of placements, and this simple shape has the benefit of allowing them to be cleaned more easily in many situations. Wallnuts will also go in the same placements as the Rocks or Stoppers, but due to their flared and scooped faces they will give you a better chance in when faced with that dastardly 10% of placemnets.  Lastly you probably also have about 5% of placements where the flare is too acute to allow a normal nut to work, and hear having DMM offsets is a help, as you can get a solid placement without having to just go without, or live with something you don’t trust.

So the bottom line is ideally you want a wide selection of nuts and these would like like this:

Beginers rack

1 set of Rocks; easy to place and simple

Intermediate rack

1 set of Rocks
1 set of Wallnuts
1 set of micro alloy wires (dmm or Wild country or BD)

Standard rack

1 set of Rocks
1 set of Wallnuts
3 Dmm alloy Offsets
1 set of micro alloy wires (dmm or Wild country or BD)
1 set of brass micro wires

Some climbers also add extra sizes that are commonly used (say an extra wallnut 7), and some rock types and pitch lengths may lend themselves to carrying a third set of nuts.



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Andy Kirkpatrick
Andy Kirkpatrick

Andrew Kirkpatrick is a British mountaineer, author, motivational speaker and monologist. He is best known as a big wall climber, having scaled Yosemite's El Capitan 30+ times, including five solo ascents, and two one day ascents, as well as climbing in Patagonia, Africa, Alaska, Antarctica and the Alps.

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Me, Myself & I Nutcraft - The Climbing Nut Bible
Aid Basics 1000+ Tips for Climbers
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