A nut is a nut is a nut, be it Wild Country Rock, DMM Wallnut or BD Stopper - just a block of alloy threaded onto a wire, sized from A to B. Of course, there are variations on the theme, more specialised flavours: steel and brass micros, alloy offsets, plus old school designs with a new twist like Frost Sentinel nuts. But basically nuts are nuts and no one is going to change the world with anything new, after all, where is the room to be radical, how could anyone reinvent the wheel?
It’s rare than when something comes along and challenges this paradigm, a new bit of kit that more than just a new colour, a bit lighter, not just flush - but with the Wild Country Superlight Offset Rock I think that’s just happened, a new nut that really is a game-changer.
When I first got a set of these nuts I looked then and just thought ‘great - another offset nut’ and imagined them maybe replacing some off my DMM offsets, of which I carry a couple (7, 8 and 11), as they looked a bit lighter, but then they also didn’t look quite as radical either, so wondered if they’d just be like a normal nut, but also neither normal nor radical either. The one thing I did notice was how light they were, with cutaway alloy heads, with the same sizing of normal Rocks, only sliced and diced to make them narrower. Heading off to climb in the Sierras for two months I chucked them in the bag, along with a set of Rocks and a set of Wallnuts, plus my trusty Wild country Superlights, some DMM Peanuts and assorted DMM brass offsets and I.M.Ps, not expecting to use them really.
Well, how wrong I was. Right from the first route we did, the classic Crescent Arch (10b) on Daff Dome, we all found that these nuts just worked like regular nuts and really were not radical at all, well only in the fact they were lighter and less bulky - for the same size - as a full-sized rock when placed in its primary ordination. And this is the key, for most placements - 9 out of 10 - we tend to put in wires so they are locked in on their primary curved faces, not sideways. Sideway placements tend to be saved for when we’re running out of nuts and don’t have the correct size anymore (Wild Country Rocks are sized so the size below is about the width of the size above when paced sideways), or in the case of the DMM Wallnut when you have a flared placement (I always find a sideways Wallnut 7 does the trick on a lot of odd placements for some reason?).
Very quickly I found that these nuts just worked like any other, went in well and cleaned easily, and they quickly became the go-to nut on the rack for everyone. Another bonus was because they were narrower they often sat a little easier in some shallow placements, or placements that were irregular (such as on limestone). In flared placements, they also worked well, and when used in combination with DMM Wallnuts, and a set of Wild Country Superlights (which provide a full range of ‘superlight’ nuts) you can handle most things, both nuts working as conventional nuts, with the added bonus of having the ability to deal with flares with the Wallnuts or Superlights placed sideways.
The weight decrease from dropping a full set of Rocks to just Superlights felt significant (about 100 grams), and on routes where you only needed one set of nuts we’d just take the Superlights, making a very light set of nuts that were also more compact on your rack (on granite, you’re better off carrying two or more sets of cams and one set of nuts).
The people who will really get the most out of these nuts are alpine and wilderness climbers and mountaineers, as one or two sets of these, especially when you add in alloy screws like the Petzl Laser Speed Light profoundly lowers the weight of your rack.
If I could change anything with these nuts I’d say that Wild Country should have gone further (maybe they will, or maybe DMM will run with this ball), and feature a single wire like on the Superlights, which would further lighten the nuts (the head should be light enough that a single wire would support it), and make them more flexible so as to reduce dislodgement, the only real way to go in this area, as cams, sling and everything else gets lighter.