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/ Difference between old WC Rocks and new Rocks?

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Marmolata - on 28 May 2018

Hello everybody,

I'm currently getting into Trad climbing and therefore am buying my first pieces of protections gear.

I've seen an offer for a set of WC Rocks 1-8, for under 50 Euros (yes I'm continent based) and jumped on it. Now I've noticed that they are of an older variant with colored sleeves (see an example here: https://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/deal_of_the_month/planetfear_deal_of_the_month_wild_country_rocks-3681) while the now used rocks have black sleeves. 

I couldn't find out exactly when this changed or what else changed with it. The specs are the same of the new and old ones. It it just cosmetic?

Thanks, so far.

mrphilipoldham - on 28 May 2018
In reply to Marmolata:

The old ones will have saved thousands of lives through catching falls, the new ones can’t really do much better, don’t worry about it! 

Wayne S - on 28 May 2018
In reply to Marmolata:

Will be fine, though clearly you should have bought DMM Wallnuts...........blue touch paper lit! GO

EarlyBird - on 28 May 2018
In reply to Wayne S:

I find a mixture of Wallnuts and Rocks is complimentary.

1
beardy mike - on 28 May 2018
In reply to Marmolata:

Basically no change at all.

Deadeye - on 28 May 2018
In reply to EarlyBird:

> I find a mixture of Wallnuts and Rocks is complimentary.


"That's a nice set of rocks"

Robert Durran - on 28 May 2018
In reply to beardy mike:

> Basically no change at all.

Except that they keep changing the colour coding, which is presumably a cynical marketing ploy to try to make us replace all our rocks. Even adopting one's own colour coding with insulating tape doesn't get round it because it will never match up with different climbing partners. It really f**** me off. Bastards......

It was interesting that when Wild Country stopped making Friends and just produced their own version of Camalots it was no problem for them to adopt the Camalot colour coding so that replacing a BD Camalot with a WC Camalot wouldn't be an issue!

Post edited at 23:30
3
Robert Durran - on 28 May 2018
In reply to EarlyBird:

> I find a mixture of Wallnuts and Rocks is complimentary.

Despite my loathing of Wild Country (see above post), nothing would make me switch to those dreadful Wallnut things.

Post edited at 23:32
7
Marmolata - on 29 May 2018
In reply to EarlyBird:

That is what I plan. Since I have now sizes 1-8 I might first go for the Offsets 7-11 set, though.

TobyA on 29 May 2018
In reply to Robert Durran:

You can, you know, just look at your nuts to see what size they are! ;-)

If walnuts are that bad, I'd hate to see how upset you get over serious stuff!

d_b on 29 May 2018
In reply to Robert Durran:

 

Wild country keep messing with their colour coding, wallnuts are invented by he devil, buying black diamond enriches weapons manufacturers, curve nuts are impossible to get out and let's not mention camp.

Bits of knotted twine all the way for me!

Robert Durran - on 29 May 2018
In reply to TobyA:

> You can, you know, just look at your nuts to see what size they are! ;-)

Quick and correct gear selection can make a real difference on a climb. Different people have different thought processes when selecting a nut. I think in colours - I might look at a slot and automatically and immediately think "red" (which, for me, happens to be a Rock 4) and straight away reach for the right nut. Not being able to do this and faffing about might result in failure, a fall or even death in some situations.

I have a climbing partner who looks at the nuts and selects one which looks the right size for the crack; colours and numbers mean nothing to him. For me his rack is a complete nightmare so we always use mine which makes no difference to him. At the weekend I was mountain cragging for the first time with a partner who has a completely different colour scheme to me - we either have to carry two racks of nuts for our own leads or else one of us change and learn a new colour scheme. Both options are far from ideal.

> If walnuts are that bad, I'd hate to see how upset you get over serious stuff!

Obviously if a partner insists on using Wallnuts, I just have to carry my own rack for my pitches - there's no at round it. Protection on a climb is serious stuff.

3
EarlyBird - on 29 May 2018
In reply to Deadeye:

Oops! *complementary*

Marmolata - on 29 May 2018
In reply to Robert Durran:

I was under the impression that the color schemes of the DMM wallnuts and the rocks was compatible? Or is that just the cams?

HB1 - on 29 May 2018
In reply to Marmolata:

I've just looked at my range of nuts/half-nuts/walnuts etc - most have a colour code, some older ones don't. I can safely say that at NO TIME in my 40-50 years climbing have I chosen a particular nut by looking at said colour code. I have them separated by size (1-5, 5-8 etc) and choose accordingly. Compatible colour schemes or not - DON'T WORRY!

2
Robert Durran - on 29 May 2018
In reply to Marmolata:

> I was under the impression that the color schemes of the DMM wallnuts and the rocks was compatible? Or is that just the cams?

DMM's Camalot colours are also the same as BD, presumably also to make a transition ok. Wallnuts? Who cares?

Robert Durran - on 29 May 2018
In reply to HB1:

> I can safely say that at NO TIME in my 40-50 years climbing have I chosen a particular nut by looking at said colour code. 

As I said, different people have different ways of selecting a nut.

> Compatible colour schemes or not - DON'T WORRY!

Well you needn't, but obviously it is massively annoying for those of us who work by colour.

 

1
mikester - on 29 May 2018
In reply to Marmolata:

Not sure exactly which model variants you're looking at, but the newest ones introduced a taper to the previously flat sides, which is a good thing. Only one more tweak and they'll be as good as Wallnuts.

 

Post edited at 22:11
Robert Durran - on 29 May 2018
In reply to mikester:

> Not sure exactly which model variants you're looking at, but the newest ones introduced a taper to the previously flat sides, which is a good thing. Only one more tweak and they'll be as good as Wallnuts.

Just like Father Ted's car then.

TobyA on 29 May 2018
In reply to Robert Durran:

Go on then, you've sucked me in: what is so wrong with wallnuts? I've been using them for 26 years or something and they work fine for me.

I know we all have our favourite stuff, I take HB/DMM Offsets with me on almost every route, but I've never found that I can't cope using someone elses rack - sometimes it's fun!

Robert Durran - on 29 May 2018
In reply to TobyA:

> Go on then, you've sucked me in: what is so wrong with wallnuts? I've been using them for 26 years or something and they work fine for me.

The silly knobbly bits mean it's almost always impossible to get them to sit properly and then often a nightmare to get them out again.

>  I've never found that I can't cope using someone elses rack - sometimes it's fun!

Never fun but I could probably cope by dropping a grade or two - a bit like doing without chalk.

 

TobyA on 29 May 2018
In reply to Robert Durran:

> The silly knobbly bits mean it's almost always impossible to get them to sit properly and then often a nightmare to get them out again.

Mine don't have any knobbly bits! I suspect this is something quite particular to you, as plenty of us don't seem to find it impossible to get them to sit properly!

First world problems eh?

Robert Durran - on 29 May 2018
In reply to TobyA:

> Mine don't have any knobbly bits!

Sorry, dimply bits - inverted knobbliness if you like!

Kid Spatula - on 30 May 2018
In reply to Marmolata:

All my WC Rocks are grey. Picking by colour doesn't work so well

Alkis - on 30 May 2018
In reply to Robert Durran:

When did they change the colour? Looking at their website, the colours seem to be the same as my set, and I bought that 9 years ago.

Robert Durran - on 30 May 2018
In reply to Alkis:

> When did they change the colour? Looking at their website, the colours seem to be the same as my set, and I bought that 9 years ago.

I've been using rocks since about 1983, so that's somewhat longer. I've probably got an average of about 5 or 6 of each size and still "think" in more or less the original scheme (and use insulating tape as near as possible to that). I've also bought up second hand sets over the years to stockpile, so I have a real mixture. I'm not sure when the last change was.

beardy mike - on 30 May 2018
In reply to Robert Durran:

I can't really comment on why they were changed - it would just be a guess. I know at some point they were changed so that they matched Wallnuts as DMM and WC were part ofthe same company. But physically, what the OP is talking about, there is no difference, they just changed the labelling system, not the colours. As for Friends being he same system, geez dude, what ever we in the "industry" do, we'll be stuffed in your eyes won't we. Yes, we made the colours the same so that they were standard across the industry. DMM did the same before us so it made sense to follow suit. If we didn't, you'd be complaining that it was a pain in the arse. So make up your mind eh?

Post edited at 12:39
Marmolata - on 30 May 2018
In reply to beardy mike:

Mike, thanks for the reply. It wasn't my intention of starting some huge forum war. 

I guess in every industry there is the question how long to have "legacy" products/features and when to drop them in order to accomodate new technology or standards  (as in this case). 

As a newcomer I find it fantastic that all companies use the same color coding now, since I plan to "Mix & Match" DMM and WC products.

C Witter on 30 May 2018
In reply to Marmolata:

There are all sorts of small differences, e.g. rounded off corners and recessed wire holes at the top, but they don't make a significant difference in use - though presumably without these features they involve less machining and are therefore are cheaper to produce.

There's quite a significant difference between WC rocks and DMM nuts: the latter are significantly "wider" for the same size. Personally, unlike Old Man Durran, I find that makes them seem much more stable in most placements in Lake District volcanic rock and chossy South Lakes limestone. But, like most people, I have a mix of both.

beardy mike - on 30 May 2018
In reply to Marmolata:

To be honest, as far as I can work out Robert has a bee in his bonnet about the following with ref. to gear:

WC nuts - colours should still be how they were in the 1980's.

WC cams should be the same (i.e. single axle) because that way he could use them as filler sizes between BD units.

The industry is a cynical marketing machine with only one thing in mind, to make money out of poor unsuspecting buyers.

The industry should do not change anything once they've done something a particular way because that puts him out.

Well from my perspective, if we as designers didn't ever dare change anything, then we wouldn't have the kit we have these days which is far more reliable, relatively cheaper than it was, more user friendly, as durable despite being lighter, and more aethetically pleasing than it once was. I can tell you having sat through marketing meetings and having tried to put together logical plans of how to bring products to market, these decisions are thought about in great detail, sometimes to my mind too much detail. Most users rarely notice all the features put into a design, but when you are in the detail you think it will make the world of difference to them. It rarely does. And yes, marketing is a necessary evil. If we were altruistic we would do it all because we love the sport. But companies don't make masses of money in the hardware market whichis why they more or less HAVE to sell clothes and other items with great big fat logo's and cool prints etc. because otherwise they would simply cease to be able to innovate at all. Personally I would like to see much MORE innovation but the margins are too tight to take risks - one wrong turn and you are out of business. Anyway I'm in danger of having a rant...

steveriley - on 30 May 2018
In reply to Marmolata:

As it happens I've just marked my gear up again after a long gap and had a proper look. I can safely say my thought process placing wires is along the lines of "that one?", "no, bit bigger", "hmm bigger still, I was way off". Most of my wires have a mix of illegible numbering on the scratched faces, almost readable bigger numbers, a number on the swage and some lucky newcomers have a colour scheme. Maybe I'd climb better if there was a pile of new gear with a consistent colour scheme? There has to be some kind of reason for this persistent intermediate-ness 

Big Lee - on 30 May 2018
In reply to beardy mike:

Give me a WC nut in any colour and I'll certainly know what size it is, without looking at the label or colour and without any additional hesitation. I used to look at the tape colour before nuts became anodised but my brain seems to have adapted to a series of random WC replacements. The DMM nuts admittedly play with my brain a little bit due to them being a bit wider. It's probably just that I haven't used DMM nuts much. I think it's made worse with nuts (verses cams) due to them being racked together.  

I hate using other people's racks when the gear has no continuity in nut or cam model, yet ironically I have a mixture of DDM Dragons and WC single axis cams. My own gear has developed one or two cams at a time in a logical manner and the lack of proper continuity seems no problem at all to me but might drive someone else (like Robert) crazy. I climbed with somebody a few years ago that liked to rack three cams on a single crab. My head admittedly nearly exploded!

AlanLittle - on 30 May 2018
In reply to Robert Durran:

Somehow I would have pictured you as somebody who learned when wires were all alloy-coloured and the sizes that were originally stamped on the face of the nut quickly wore off or blurred to total illegibility. As opposed to a whippersnapper who learned with these newfangled coloured ones.

In the five years or so that I've owned newfangled wires I have learned exactly one of the DMM colour codes. Black = approximately MOAC sized = immortality.

But in general of course you're right, having a rack that you can use quickly in the way you're used to can be important.

AlanLittle - on 30 May 2018
In reply to beardy mike:

> WC nuts - colours should still be how they were in the 1980's.

Colours? 80s? They were all dull silvery grey.

beardy mike - on 30 May 2018
AlanLittle - on 30 May 2018
In reply to beardy mike:

> The sleeves weren't grey smarty pants ;) 

[Goes to cellar, looks] no, you're right, they were black. Your first pic must be at least a generation later than what I have lurking down there.

Don't get me wrong. Colour coded gear strikes me as a self-evidently good idea.

Post edited at 18:12
AlanLittle - on 30 May 2018
In reply to d_b:

> Bits of knotted twine all the way for me!

A bunch of my mates are off to the Elbesandstein this evening for a long weekend. Sadly (?) it's school holidays over here & I have family commitments so I can't go with them.

Big Lee - on 30 May 2018
In reply to beardy mike:

There was definitely a version between these... they were my first set! They were non-anodised and had uniform coloured bands with black writing.

Robert Durran - on 30 May 2018
In reply to beardy mike:

> To be honest, as far as I can work out Robert has a bee in his bonnet about the following with ref. to gear:

> WC nuts - colours should still be how they were in the 1980's.

Yes, I see no reason why the same colour scheme couldn't have been kept. Can you imagine BD changing their Camalot colours - there would be an outcry; in Utah people even talk about Red cracks and Gold cracks (Aaaaah...... dreamy gold cracks )

> WC cams should be the same (i.e. single axle) because that way he could use them as filler sizes between BD units.

My standard rack is a set of Camalots and a set of Helium friends which does work extremely well because the friends do, as you say, neatly interleave the Camalot sizes. I believe WC abandoned "friends" because the market for them couldn't compete with BD and DMM "Camamlots" so they decided to compete directly with their own "Camalots" (I imagine the majority of climbers only carry a single set - when I go light with one set I go for Camalots too). Actually, I've done well out of this because I managed to pick up two cheap sets of Heliums when they were phased out and have stockpiled them - these may well be sufficient to see me through the rest of my climbing life.

The decision (like DMM) of WC to copy BD coloursfor their "Camalots" is clearly commercially good as well as good for climbers since individual BD's can be replaced with WC's without messing upcolour coding - I might well do this at some point myself.

> The industry is a cynical marketing machine with only one thing in mind, to make money out of poor unsuspecting buyers.

I strongly suspect that this is true in the particular case of changing the Rock colour scheme. Obviously it is not by any means always the case.

> The industry should do not change anything once they've done something a particular way because that puts him out.

Absolutely no idea why you think that. The only thing I have complained about is the Rock colour scheme. I'm all for innovation - otherwise I'd still be climbing on chunky stoppers, hexes and solid stem friends.

 

 

Robert Durran - on 30 May 2018
In reply to beardy mike:

> So from when I was a teenager there's been atleast 5 changes I can remember.

I rest my case!

Personally I don't like the anodised colours, and not just because of the change in colours that came with it and the change in position of the coloured bit. The anodised colour wears off!

 

Robert Durran - on 30 May 2018
In reply to AlanLittle:

> Somehow I would have pictured you as somebody who learned when wires were all alloy-coloured and the sizes that were originally stamped on the face of the nut quickly wore off or blurred to total illegibility. As opposed to a whippersnapper who learned with these newfangled coloured ones.

My first rack consisted of odd number stoppers (Camp, I think), about four hexes and a Moac. Rocks came in a couple of years later and Friends a little later.

AlanLittle - on 30 May 2018
In reply to Robert Durran:

Sounds not unlike mine.

I took my first fall on a Baby Moac. Placed sideways. At Swanage. Never been back to Swanage.

beardy mike - on 30 May 2018
In reply to AlanLittle:

I think I got my first set when I was thirteen so must have been early 90's so you're I'm sure right. I did think you were refering to the colour of the metal

beardy mike - on 30 May 2018
In reply to Robert Durran:

As I say, I think the overall scheme, other than Alans original black ones have changed once when they went from the first coloured scheme to the second when they homogenised to match DMM colours. The labels have changed, but I believe the scheme has been consistent across the label changes other than that "amalgamation". But homogenising them is not a cynical marketing ploy, it' making sure that if you have DMM and WC nuts on your rack, the colours are roughly the same size. Do you really have lots of those original ones? I would imagine the wires must be frayed to hell by now?

As for cams, that was one of the reasons. The other reasons were as follows:

Cam lobes don't invert when trying to extract them allowing them to get stuck

They have innate passive strength

They have more range

The Helium did not do well - there were design mistakes made for sure, as sales were poor

The market basically went to dual axle and that is where the "premium" brands are. Single axle became regarded as a bit second rate, whether that is justified or not is moot.

Some of it was internal politics, personal preferences within the company which bought them - end of the day they were paying the bills.

All that said, we did the best job we could at producing the best dual axle cam we could that would fit in. We even considered nesting the sizes, or doing them with more overlap between sizes. But what I can catagorically state is that the range is the most consistent of the three major UK players, and that we optimised everything we could about them.

As for being against innovation, you prefer the original colour scheme, you like single axle, you don't like roll top bags... there's a pattern forming ;)

 

Post edited at 19:49
Robert Durran - on 30 May 2018
In reply to beardy mike:

> As for being against innovation, you prefer the original colour scheme

No, I just don't like changing colour schemes. And colour change is hardly an innovation!

>You like single axle

No, I don't like the loss of sizes intermediate to Camalot - if WC had switched to dual axle but maintained intermediate sizes I would have been very happy. As I said, when I only carry one set of cams, it's the Camalots with the dual axle advantages.

> You don't like roll top bags.

No, I like the idea of a roll top - I don't like sacks which lack a removable lid (I said in that that thread that I would welcome a sack with a roll top AND removable lid.

 

beardy mike - on 30 May 2018
In reply to Robert Durran:

One change to the actual scheme rather than the labels in the nearly twenty years I've been climbing is hardly masses though is it. I mean I can think of lots of other ways they could have been cynically abusing their position to get the end user to buy more product.

If WC had gone different to Camalots and DMM (which they did marginially to provide better consistency through the range) then it would have been a massive financial risk for a company which was struggling. Although you might see it as a benefit, I'm pretty sure there would be many others who would feel differently. It's easy to criticise that decision when you're financial neck isn't on the block.

Robert Durran - on 30 May 2018
In reply to beardy mike:

> If WC had gone different to Camalots and DMM (which they did marginially to provide better consistency through the range) then it would have been a massive financial risk for a company which was struggling. Although you might see it as a benefit, I'm pretty sure there would be many others who would feel differently. It's easy to criticise that decision when you're financial neck isn't on the block.

I fully understand that decision and why anyone only wanting one set of cams would like it. As I said, I've done ok buying up Heliums cheaply

I did buy some of the Heliums from a shop in the US who said they'd no longer be stocking WC cams because they wouldn't now compete with BD there.

 

beardy mike - on 30 May 2018
In reply to Robert Durran:

Double edged sword really. I guess time will tell whether the move was a good one or not and there's a lot more which will influence their survival than the colour of their nuts alas. It's essentially no longer a UK brand so we shall see where the pay masters take it...

Coel Hellier - on 31 May 2018
In reply to beardy mike:

You now machine the lobes of cams since bare metal sticks better than the anodising.   For the same reason it's less sensible to anodise rocks.

The ideal is an un-anodised rock with a uniformly coloured sleeve (not a half-assed attempt at colouring the sleeve by having it grey with coloured writing).    (There was indeed a generation of rocks that achieved this before the everything-must-be-anodised fad!)

The other advantage of colouring the sleeve is that that's the bit you take hold of when placing it. 

 

beardy mike - on 31 May 2018
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I'm sure we've spoken about this before. At any rate, I only consulted for them and don't really any more. But Anodising does serve a purpose other than colouring. Personally I'd say that anything that can be anodised should be anodised as it helps with corrosion protection, even if it's a clear coating. It might not matter on units that sit on yor rack and are well treated but for pieces that become fixed, it will at least make them last longer. Friends, we took that decision because you are relying heavily on friction and the softness of the metal, nuts less so. I don't find that if well seated nuts lift out that often. My ideal would be that both the sleeve AND the nut would be coloured... but everybody will have a different ideal. There are some who like no anodising and no coloured sleeves, but they're just odd.

GrahamD - on 31 May 2018
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> You now machine the lobes of cams since bare metal sticks better than the anodising.   For the same reason it's less sensible to anodise rocks.

Anodising doesn't really make any difference to friction, does it ? it wears off any high load surfaces pdq anyway.  I like the colouring because.....

> The other advantage of colouring the sleeve is that that's the bit you take hold of when placing it. 

All my rocks have my marker tape wrapped on this bit so its not always visible.

Big Lee - on 31 May 2018
In reply to Marmolata:

I love how on UKC an original post that needs the simple answer of 'yes' can escalate into a fifty post thread  

beardy mike - on 31 May 2018
In reply to GrahamD:

Well anodising does put a microscopic thickness of hardness onto the surface. This does interfere in the sense that cams don't work just by pure friction but also by low level deformation of the surface of the cam, denting, and thereby providing a mechanical interference ween the surface of the rock and the lobe. So it does have an effect, albeit small. Hence why we felt skimming the cam surface was appropriate, whilst it wasn't on a rock...

Post edited at 11:00
beardy mike - on 31 May 2018
In reply to Big Lee:

Haha - soz!

arthurwellsley - on 01 Jun 2018

I have Wild Country Rocks from 1979. They are all silver. Never had any colour coding, I have only recently returned to climbing and didn't even know that was a "thing".

 

Oceanrower - on 01 Jun 2018
In reply to Marmolata:

Am I the only one that grabs something vaguely the right size, wiggles it round a bit and then thinks hmm, a bit bigger, smaller or that'll do!

pec on 02 Jun 2018
In reply to Robert Durran

> I believe WC abandoned "friends" because the market for them couldn't compete with BD and DMM "Camamlots" so they decided to compete directly with their own "Camalots"

If by abandon "Friends" you mean Helium Friends (the Camalot looky-likey ones are still called Friends) then it was because they were an awful design and worse than the Technical Friends they replaced and as Beardy Mike says, they sold badly and I'm not surprised.

I replaced a Technical Friend with a Helium, placed it once and thought "this is bl**dy awful" and sold it a.s.a.p.

If they hadn't replaced Tech Friends with Heliums I'd probably still be buying them, as I imagine would a lot of other people. For me cams were synonymous with WC Friends and for consistency when one was nearing the end of its life I replaced it with the same.

The radical shift to Heliums made me stop and reappraise the cam market, The Helium I sold was replaced with a DMM Demon as the sizes matched up. As it happens I liked it so in turn that led me to Dragons of which I now have a full rack. I don't like the cam angle on Camalots or the thumb loop on them and on the new Friends.

Dragons are also lighter, stronger and have narrower heads size for size than the new Friends so basically by changing from Technical friends, WC have lost me as a customer.

Perhaps sales of tech friends were falling anyway but sometimes "improving" gear designs can backfire.

 

Big Lee - on 02 Jun 2018
In reply to pec:

> I replaced a Technical Friend with a Helium, placed it once and thought "this is bl**dy awful" and sold it a.s.a.p.

I'm with you there with everything you say. I sold my yellow number 1 Helium (2014 model) for the same reason, although kept it for a year or maybe two. The larger Helium sizes seemed not too bad but the smaller sizes just became more unstable as a result of the longer shaft. It was this design of cam that made me switch to DMM Dragons and, as good as the latest WC Friends look, they've unfortunately missed the boat with me at any rate. I think WC have been way too slow with reacting to market changes.

pec on 02 Jun 2018
In reply to Big Lee:

> The larger Helium sizes seemed not too bad but the smaller sizes just became more unstable as a result of the longer shaft. It was this design of cam that made me switch to DMM Dragons and, as good as the latest WC Friends look, they've unfortunately missed the boat with me at any rate.

Yes, mine was a small one, size 0. It stuck out too far because of the long shaft, the cams would have been inaccessible in deep placements should it get a bit stuck and the balance just felt wrong. The sling was too short so it was going to need exteding too often and it was sewn tight around the thumb loop so it didn't move feely. Everything about it was worse than the Tech Friends it replaced.

The New Friends don't match up to Dragons (strength, weight etc), their only advantage is they are a bit cheaper and have a thumb loop if you prefer that, though I don't.

 

beardy mike - on 02 Jun 2018
In reply to pec:

A couple of points if I may:

Narrow head width is not always an advantage. If you look at the size through the Friend range yo will find that we have wider head width mainly on the larger sizes as this make the unit more stable. Generally it's best to go for a head width roughly equal to the centre point of the cams expansion range... But this is also balanced against lobe width - a wider lobe means less shear force in the rock and less pulverisation of the rock. Part of the width comes from the lobes being the widest (non specialist like Metolius Fatcams) on the market.

Secondly, the weights are not all heavier than the dragons, infact quite the opposite - size for size it is only the red and gold cams which are heavier.

So taking into consideration that the Friends have a thumbloop and a longer axle, the fact that they are mostly lighter I'd say is good. Compared to BD's steel cabled units they are far lighter. And the pigs nostril on DMM's is frankly horrible, reracking them is just a pain after they've been extended. Considering they have used the shortest cable they could to cut weight meaning they are sometimes hard to get to and not that nice in your hand and that some of the lobes are pretty skinny, I'd say they could do better... now THAT's fighting talk ;)

Post edited at 14:50
pec on 02 Jun 2018
In reply to beardy mike:

The thing about headwidth is that if a cam won't go in a small slot then everything else is irrelevant.

Re weights, you have a fair point. I was writing the above from memory and re-checking the weights are virtually the same especially once you factor in the slight difference in size range.

Personally I don't like thumb loops which is why I liked the old tech friends so that's a downside for me but of course that's just my preference.

I don't find the sling on Dragons any problem either, you just pull the bit with the stitching to extend it and pull the short end to re rack them, pretty much as you would on the Friends.

Dragons are available in several more sizes and of course they are considerably stronger, 14kN v 10kN.

I'm not saying the WC Friends aren't good, it was the Heliums that were awful. My point was that while you went from Tech Friends to the New Friends the deadtime in between when the Heliums were on offer, you lost brand loyalty. I started building up a rack of Dragons in that time and like them so I'll stick with them for now.

Anyway, I hope the new ones do well for you, I wish WC no harm and it's healthy for DMM to have some competition. I rate both WC and DMM hardware as the best on the market, only BD comes close and most of the hardware made in Europe looks like Mickey Mouse stuff by comparison.

Now about harnesses with proper threadback buckles for winter and Alpine use . . . . . .  

beardy mike - on 03 Jun 2018
In reply to pec:

I have no part in wc other than having done the design work for the friends (and as it happens, buckles). So no bother either way, just explaining some of the design thinking behind it all. The intention was always that there should be double axle doubt to purple and then a range of single axle micro cams with narrow headwidth. In my experience it is rare that a cam placement as large as a purple as affected by head width. It's also the cut off between a cam being better stiffish or floppy.

The strength issue is to my mind a non issue. Somewhere along the line the someone decided bigger is better with regards strength. The simple fact is that forces very very rarely exceed 10kN, with it more normally being up to 7kN. 14kn means using significantly heavier cable which is more likely to take a set and kink permanently after a fall. Furthermore the sling extension bringing the weight down is not because the cable breaks at that level but because above that it becomes permanently deformed by the sling coaching down on the cable.

I don't know what happened to the microcams as we worked on it but then it was stopped due to budgetary constraints.

As for fast buckles on harnesses, I agree. I'd rather have a full, normal buckle on harnesses. Fast buckles invariably slip when loaded. New UIAA regs dictate a higher level of slippage, but if you don't want to, you don't need to put the harness through that certification, only CE which is currently a little easier. Personally I'd say old buckles are lighter, more compact, cheaper to produce, easier to put on when it's cold, and completely secure when webbing is saturated as long as they are double backed...

Presley Whippet on 03 Jun 2018
In reply to beardy mike:

Please, please, please rid us of those awful nanny state harness buckles. It is really difficult to buy a harness nowadays without them. 

pec on 03 Jun 2018
In reply to Presley Whippet:

> Please, please, please rid us of those awful nanny state harness buckles. It is really difficult to buy a harness nowadays without them. 


This is one of those examples of pure fashion, somebody decides pull tight buckles are the business and everyone dives in even though old style thread back buckles are more appropriate for winter and alpine harnesses and just preferred by many climbers. Its like trying to find a compact camera with a viewfinder. There's huge pent up demand for it but nobody is meeting that demand.

Anyway, if you're actually looking there are at least two full weight harnesses (plus a couple more superlight alpine/ski touring harnesses that have them.

The DMM Renegade Pro 2

https://dmmclimbing.com/Products/Harnesses/Renegade-Pro-2

and the Metolious Safe Tech

https://www.metoliusclimbing.com/safe-tech_all-around.html

I actually just bought the Renegade to replace my pull tight buckle harness because I hate it with a passion and only bought it because at the time I couldn't find any threadback buckle harnesses.

I suspect so few shops stock these and so few people know of their existence that they probably won't sell well and the manufacturers will conclude there's no demand even though there is. It doesn't help that half the shops advertising the Renegade Pro 2 were actually selling the Renegade 2 which is the same except it has pull tight double buckles which is very poor on their part.

Big Lee - on 03 Jun 2018
In reply to pec:

My current harness is pull tight and my last one thread back and to be honest I'd say the pull tight harness is easier to fasten. I don't have to pull the abs in to get it threaded back tight enough and it's easier slacken off if I realise it a bit tight for comfort. Never had a problem with unfastening it either. No harder than a thread back type, just needs a different technique. 

Siward on 03 Jun 2018
In reply to beardy mike:

> The sleeves weren't grey smarty pants ;) That's what Roberts on about...

> So from when I was a teenager there's been atleast 5 changes I can remember.

Superb set of links, it's easy to see the care that went into selecting them  

Robert Durran - on 03 Jun 2018
In reply to arthurwellsley:

> I have Wild Country Rocks from 1979. They are all silver. Never had any colour coding, I have only recently returned to climbing and didn't even know that was a "thing".

No. My climbing partner this weekend does that. It works for him but means our racks are incompatible and I certainly can't use his without having a nightnare.

Robert Durran - on 03 Jun 2018
In reply to Oceanrower:

> Am I the only one that grabs something vaguely the right size, wiggles it round a bit and then thinks hmm, a bit bigger, smaller or that'll do!

No you are not. My partner this weekend does that and it works for him. It just makes his rack a nightmare for me to use!

Post edited at 16:56
Robert Durran - on 03 Jun 2018
In reply to pec:

> I replaced a Technical Friend with a Helium, placed it once and thought "this is bl**dy awful" and sold it a.s.a.p.

I never knew before that people disliked the Helium's. I assumed their demise was just failure to compete with the dual ones on the market. I've always just replaced friends with the latest model and always found it an improvement (the Helium thumb loop being such for me). I am very happy with my Heliums and the two further sets I have stockpiled

 

 

HB1 - on 04 Jun 2018
In reply to Robert Durran:

> No you are not. My partner this weekend does that and it works for him. It just makes his rack a nightmare for me to use!

I don't understand - do you just look at a likely placement, know (rather than guess) the size, and then deftly select the colour-coded rock (or whatever) and pop it in? It's amazing, quite amazing!

Robert Durran - on 04 Jun 2018
In reply to HB1:

> I don't understand - do you just look at a likely placement, know (rather than guess) the size, and then deftly select the colour-coded rock (or whatever) and pop it in? It's amazing, quite amazing!


I see a slot and my brain goes "red" (which I do in fact instantly know is a 4), but I primarily think in colours, which I think makes sense rather than numbers because colours are most easily selected from a bunch of wires on a krab. Obviously I sometimes, especially when my climbing is rusty, get the wrong size and have to try another.

I'm pretty sure that thinking is colours is more or less the norm in the US with the well established Camalot colours (now copied by DMM and WC on their dual axle cams). At Indian Creek people will talk about "red cracks" and "gold cracks"!

Big Lee - on 04 Jun 2018
In reply to Robert Durran:

I don't think WC appreciated the importance of colour coding previously when it came to nuts and kept changing the design of the labels to help differentiate versions which were essentially very similar (or the same). I suspect retrospectively they would have maintained the same colour coding if they could turn back the clock. They clearly appreciate the importance of colour coding when it comes to cams now, given they have aligned the colours to BD. I'm think I'm right in saying that WC changed the cam colours prior to this as well? I think my old No. 1 yellow Helium was a different colour to my previous Technical Friend in the same size, but it's a long time ago now. 

Robert Durran - on 04 Jun 2018
In reply to Big Lee:

>  I think I'm right in saying that WC changed the cam colours prior to this as well?

I think that is true, but at least the Helium colours are now "set in stone" forever (though not in the same sense as a typical Wallnut jammed on it's silly dimples.........)

Post edited at 10:28
beardy mike - on 04 Jun 2018
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I see a slot and my brain goes "red" (which I do in fact instantly know is a 4),

Well this is awkward - of course red is actually a 6 and gold is a 4 ;)

https://www.wildcountry.com/en-gb/hardware/protection/passive-pro/rocks/rocks?number=

Robert Durran - on 04 Jun 2018
In reply to beardy mike:

> Well this is awkward - of course red is actually a 6 and gold is a 4 ;)


But that's the silly anodised colours. My insulating tape colour coding is derived from an iteration of the colours which used to be on the plastic bit.

beardy mike - on 04 Jun 2018
In reply to Robert Durran:

Haha - you're mad! I know this is like a crazy iea, but can't you just learn the new colours and get rid of your must be over 20 year old ones?

Robert Durran - on 04 Jun 2018
In reply to beardy mike:

> Haha - you're mad! I know this is like a crazy iea, but can't you just learn the new colours and get rid of your must be over 20 year old ones?

Yes, a crazy idea. I own an average of about 6 or 7 of each size from 1 to 10 (I stockpiled second hand ones colour coded on the plastic when the anodised ones came out) and I like a triple or quadruple set in use at any one time according to the climb. I only own about a set and a half of anodised ones, so changing over would involve binning about 5 perfectly serviceable sets and buying three sets at considerable expense. This was my whole original point about why I am so annoyed at Wild Country!

beardy mike - on 04 Jun 2018
In reply to Robert Durran:

Holy shitballs. Why one earth are you stockpiling wires that are 20 years old and have no service history? I'm not surprised that you're annoyed. It means you have to keep buying second hand kit that should have been retired... This might also be a silly suggestion but can't you just let them go through naural attrition or just flog them all on fleabay and up date? Or do you never lose any or break the wires? I mean literally no one needs the sort of stress this seems to be causing you in their lives!

Post edited at 12:01
DubyaJamesDubya - on 04 Jun 2018
In reply to Marmolata:

I carry a set of Rocks and a set of Wallnuts up to size 8 then just a Rock 9 as after that I think nuts start to become too heavy (small hexes are lighter). For longer pitches I carry three nuts in the smaller sizes(1-5).

I find that Rocks and Wallnuts are sightly different sizes and sometimes a placement will only take one or the other (not often but it will feel critical at the time) I've also started using DMM offsets (larger set) and am experimenting with dropping Wallnuts for those in some sizes.

DubyaJamesDubya - on 04 Jun 2018
In reply to Big Lee:

"I climbed with somebody a few years ago that liked to rack three cams on a single crab. My head admittedly nearly exploded!"

Madness!

Post edited at 13:55
DubyaJamesDubya - on 04 Jun 2018
In reply to Big Lee:

> I'm with you there with everything you say. I sold my yellow number 1 Helium (2014 model) for the same reason, although kept it for a year or maybe two. The larger Helium sizes seemed not too bad but the smaller sizes just became more unstable as a result of the longer shaft. It was this design of cam that made me switch to DMM Dragons and, as good as the latest WC Friends look, they've unfortunately missed the boat with me at any rate. I think WC have been way too slow with reacting to market changes.

I went a step further and switched to Totems.

Robert Durran - on 04 Jun 2018
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

> "I climbed with somebody a few years ago that liked to rack three cams on a single crab. My head admittedly nearly exploded!"

> Madness!


This is usually referred to as "illegal racking". Utter madness........

Robert Durran - on 04 Jun 2018
In reply to beardy mike:

> Holy shitballs. Why one earth are you stockpiling wires that are 20 years old and have no service history?

If they've not got mangled or frayed wires, I'm happy.

> This might also be a silly suggestion but can't you just let them go through naural attrition or just flog them all on fleabay and up date? Or do you never lose any or break the wires? I mean literally no one needs the sort of stress this seems to be causing you in their lives!

I shall probably do so from now on and eventually switch to the anodised colours (except that the colour is in the "wrong place" and wears off! I suppose I could just cut the stress and fork out £300 for 3 anodized sets and be done for it.....

 

 

Big Lee - on 04 Jun 2018
In reply to Robert Durran:

> This is usually referred to as "illegal racking". Utter madness........

I should have added that even the medium and large cams were racked in threes. Three micro cams on one crab I could have coped with.

Robert Durran - on 04 Jun 2018
In reply to Big Lee:

> Three micro cams on one crab I could have coped with.

I think a stern warning would still be in order.

 

beardy mike - on 04 Jun 2018
In reply to Robert Durran:

They don't wear off THAT badly - I've had my DMM Wallnuts complete with their "god awful knobbles" for must be 12 years and have absolutely no problem identifying them by colour. And here's 1-10 for 65 notes... you're welcome ;) Maybe if you write to Wild Country and express your anguish they might even give you a good deal! http://www.facewest.co.uk/Wild-Country-Anodised-Rock-On-Wire-Set-1-to-10.html?gclid=Cj0KCQjwxtPYBRD6ARIsAKs1XJ5Q5MvCsTl_-LlZgaeeuWAnhcuBQjS75zBluXND2f3GCyEvz3K9bLYaAm8vEALw_wcB

beardy mike - on 04 Jun 2018
In reply to Robert Durran:

I've climbed with guides who rack three cams to one biner. It's deeply distressing and clearly just wrong. I mean for them it's OK as they have the strength of three Samsons stacked up, luring us mortals into thinking it's the right thing to do. I did it once and threw up on my shoes.

Robert Durran - on 04 Jun 2018
In reply to beardy mike:

> I've climbed with guides who rack three cams to one biner. It's deeply distressing and clearly just wrong........ I did it once and threw up on my shoes.

I'm surprised they got through their guides' tests. I feel nauseous just thinking about the awful faff.

 

wbo - on 04 Jun 2018
In reply to Robert Kandinsky Durran - what's your favourite colour? And do you preferentially select routes that use that colour pro?

Robert Durran - on 04 Jun 2018
In reply to wbo:

> In reply to Robert Kandinsky Durran - what's your favourite colour? And do you preferentially select routes that use that colour pro?

I am genuinely baffled by all the piss taking. It seems to me both natural and logical to identify gear by colour.

beardy mike - on 04 Jun 2018
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I am genuinely baffled by all the piss taking.

Dear god man. Have you ever met another climber? Most sarcastic bunch of humans on the face of the planet. As for you telling us what colour is your favourite, there's no point as no one will remember the old colours!

Robert Durran - on 04 Jun 2018
In reply to beardy mike:

> Dear god man. Have you ever met another climber? Most sarcastic bunch of humans on the face of the planet. As for you telling us what colour is your favourite, there's no point as no one will remember the old colours!

Oh alright then. Red, obviously. That's a 4 to the chromatically challenged.

Just remembered another advantage of colour coding: you can tell at a glance how many of each colour you have left, so, for example, if you have a choice between placing a blue or a red and a quick glance at your rack tells you that you have three reds but only one blue left, you place a red and save the blue for a possible crucial placement later.

DubyaJamesDubya - on 05 Jun 2018
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I am genuinely baffled by all the piss taking. It seems to me both natural and logical to identify gear by colour.

I tend to look at a placement and think of the size (Rock 4 for example) and then look for the colour in order to find it.

DubyaJamesDubya - on 05 Jun 2018
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Oh alright then. Red, obviously. That's a 4 to the chromatically challenged.

> Just remembered another advantage of colour coding: you can tell at a glance how many of each colour you have left, so, for example, if you have a choice between placing a blue or a red and a quick glance at your rack tells you that you have three reds but only one blue left, you place a red and save the blue for a possible crucial placement later.

Don't know about a favourite colour but I have a favourite size: Rock 6

Intriguingly that is also red in the new colours (which I use)

beardy mike - on 05 Jun 2018
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

Gold DMM Offset, Gold Wallnut, Red Wallnut and Red Superlight Offset rock for me. so 4's and 6's! They seem to hit the sweetspot. I mean Blue 5 isn't bad either...

DubyaJamesDubya - on 06 Jun 2018
In reply to beardy mike:

Purple cam!

Wayne S - on 10 Jun 2018
In reply to beardy mike:

Sorry, close but no cigar.  Number 5, Blue is the the go to nut.  red is ok, but it ain’t no Blue!

I kinda agree with Coel re anodising nuts, I certainly think they stick better once they get well worn and loose most of the anodising. 

I think both DMM and WC could learn a lot from Metolius when it comes to nuts however.  Given the lifetime of nuts, then paying to not have a bulky swage makes sense to me at least.  

I do think WC came up with something good with the superlight offsets, though I don’t like rocks particularly and would sooner use DMM Wallnuts and Metolius curve nuts.  

beardy mike - on 10 Jun 2018
In reply to Wayne S: You say that but the Ultralight curve nut uses a silver soldered termination to do so. It’s a difficult process to control well and takes experience and practice, and makes the unit more expensive. Silver soldering is all well and good when you aren’t relying on it to provide structure, but if you are you have to control the heat of the two items of metal very well, making sure both parts are the same temp at the moment you add the filler metal rod. Otherwise you get a bad joint. Added to this you need to have everything as clean as a whistle, first pickling the parts and then adding flux to make the brazing rod flow. In addition you need to use stainless rope and fittings which cost more than galvanised wire. Swages are light, cheap and effective and keeps the cost of the item down for the end user. The weight saving simply isn’t that great for the added complexity and cost.

 

Wayne S - on 11 Jun 2018
In reply to beardy mike:

Agree to disagree, I would take better engineering, tightly controlled process and stainless cable any day.  I expect to pay a bit more not to have cheap.

What happed with cheap and effective swaging, simple process to control, that had me send all of my rocks back to wild county for replacement against a recall?

Clearly a question for WC rather than your good self, but it highlights a point.  

beardy mike - on 12 Jun 2018
In reply to Wayne S:

Not really. What happened with badly controlled silver soldering at CCH Alien or have you forgotten that fisaco? Trust me when I say swaging is a far more reliable joint in mass production than soldering. I know the details of both recalls to some degree and the CCH was far far far worse in just about every respect than the WC one, especially user safety.

beardy mike - on 12 Jun 2018
In reply to beardy mike:

That isn't to say that without a really really vigilent manufacturing process silver soldering isn't the best joint available for the job, just that the level of attention required is enormously higher and is not really that scalable. Metolius have three dudes doing all their brazing, one of them is an ex-astrophysicist. DMM use I believe induction heating which is easier to control but enormously expensive in terms of capital investment, and still requires high attention to detail. So you would have to take a look at the quantities of these products each company sells - I think you'll find that WC sells vastly larger numbers of rocks than Metolius does of their curve nuts, meaning that because it's more of a "cottage" industry for Metolius, it becomes possible. And looking at the prices, £67 for a set of rocks 1-10 vs £120 fo a set of Metolius Curves is a fair old jump...

Post edited at 11:43
Wayne S - on 12 Jun 2018
In reply to beardy mike:

Yet I happily pay the price Metolius ask,  they make a good product at a fair price IMHO.  I’m struggling with your reasoning a bit.  I would want my climbing gear lovingly soldered by an Ex-Astrophysicist.  I want DMM to invest in the right capital equipment, and I genuinely wish them a good return on that brave investment.  

I never owned a CHH alien, but I would be as disappointed with their process and quality control as I was with WC.

I don’t want cheap climbing hardware , just good gear at the right price.

 

 

1
beardy mike - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to Wayne S:

I guess it boils down to the market place. The Market seems to generally want as cheap as possible - that's just not silver soldered anything. The gain in performance is marginal, and a good joint is a good joint either way. Most endusers don't make the distinction between the joint types. So there is only a small niche for the best of the best which Metolius fits down to a T.

By the way, if you like curve nuts, then you would absolutely love astronuts and I believe they are now doing an offset curve nut too.

https://www.metoliusclimbing.com/curve_nut.html

Post edited at 10:10
krikoman - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to Robert Durran:

> As I said, different people have different ways of selecting a nut.

> Well you needn't, but obviously it is massively annoying for those of us who work by colour.


Isn't colour coding a recent thing?

What did you do before, when nuts were all silver /grey?

Coel Hellier - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

> Isn't colour coding a recent thing?

Not really, colour-coded swages on rocks came in by at least the early 1980s.

Wayne S - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to beardy mike:

I have both the Astro and Astro aid set,  I actually think the curve offers less benefit in smaller sizes,  where a simple nut shape gives more contact area.  

The biggest 2 Astro nuts fill in nicely under curve nut#1 which is a bit bigger than a #1 Rock.  

I have to say I am intrigued by the Metolius wired hex with an added sewn sling!  But then I bought some Camp Bolo double ended nuts which in hindsight was an intellectually challenged idea!

 

beardy mike - on 15 Jun 2018
In reply to Wayne S:

Yeah - I only do the larger sizes as the aid set is just so weeny it's hardly worth the effort! Personally I think they are the best microwire out there by far. Re. the hexes, I don't think you could go far wrong with them - the usual attention to detail is all there...

Robert Durran - on 15 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

> Isn't colour coding a recent thing?

No

> What did you do before, when nuts were all silver /grey?

Used insulating tape to continue the earlier colour coding on the plastic bit.

 


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