Following on from my topic the other day, Tricams vs Hexes, I was struck by the number of people who say they use hex type nuts not as true camming placements, but as giant rocks with more different placements. So I wanted to gauge how normal this is, are you slamming your nuts in the standard way or do you place them I a twisty mode?
I'll answer assuming you haven't made the whole post up so you could post the thread title.
I have used hex's a lot in Pembrokeshire and I would think 90 % of placement and just wedged into constricting cracks. With no camming action at all.
Lots of opening and closing cracks and not many nearly parrell sided ones. Maybe I haven't got a good eye for the camming type of placement?
I rember thinking that some I placed on the traverse of heart of darkness would have a camming action.
Guess more need to call in their camming abilities on gritstone?
> ..... I would think 90 % of placement and just wedged into constricting cracks. With no camming action at all.
It almost takes a deliberate effort to prevent the camming action: Even if you place a hex above a constriction, any off axis load will tend to rotate the piece and generate camming action that will contribute to holding the piece in position.
To avoid this you would have to make sure that the cord or wire goes out on axis and directly in the direction of load (which means placing the hex like a big and asymmetric nut.
Ok, I guess I could have been clearer.
I didn't mean to say the hex would not cam at all, just that the camming didn't enter into my thinking when placing a hex in a constricting crack and the placement only relied on wedging a lump of metal into a constriction in an orientation that couldn't pull through (without the rock breaking) even without any camming action.
I generally tend to use hexes as just big nuts - it's rare I consider their camming potential, as I'd usually reach for an SLCD for those sort of placements.
The main difference would be where I am setting up top rope anchors for a group, where I prefer to use passive gear. In that case, I'd only really use an SLCD as a backup, not the main anchor(s).
I think I answered this on the previous thread. I did use hexes in camming mode in parallel sided cracks prior to the introduction of Friends. (I got my first Friends in 1982). They would have been either regular Clog hexagons or Chouinard hexentrics at that time I think. Since then I've really only used Friends or other cams in parallel sided cracks - so much quicker and easier to place. I still carry hexes and find them really useful where the crack constricts enough to provide a passive placement. In this situation I favour a hex over a cam, not least because it saves the cam for use further up the pitch where the hex may not fit. No doubt there is a camming action if I fall on the hex, but that's not crucial for the placement.
I would think nearly half my hex placements today are "sideways on" where they act as offsets. (Despite recognising the value of offset nuts I only carry smaller sizes - I find Rocks or hexes sideways offer just as good offset placements from about Rock 5 upwards).
Also of interest, perhaps, is that I quite often use my hexes with the hex slid down the tape or cord as extra quickdraws/extenders high on the pitch when I've used all my regular draws. (Absolutely no camming action in evidence at all then of course!).
Years ago, before I could afford friends, I climbed Hargreaves at Stanage using only hexes in 'camming' mode. I had 5 hexes and so that was it in terms of pro. They took a little more fiddling to place but I was surprised how secure I felt one I had them in.
Mainly as big nuts. I worked out pretty early on the hexes ar a lot lighter than the equivalent nut or cam. Having a few hexes on saves weight on large nut sizes and they will into some awkward, non-parallel placements/pockets that cams don't like.
Haha - a dislike on the OP - is there some sort of Russian Bot that just randomly hands out dislikes? Or is there someone who really is taking the thread title a little too seriously?
Placing them 'sideways', which I do about half the time because they often feel less likely to lift out this way (I have Rockcentrics), entirely eliminates the camming effect.
Which is not to say that I carry hexes often, but I was in Orco recently where lots of the routes say to bring triples of a size of cam, which I don't have. I was surprised how many solid hex placements I could find, even somewhere known for its parallel cracks.
If you don't want to carry cheap, effective protection out of some form of snobbery that they are seen as devices used by low grade climbers that's up to you, but I don't think we should be detering anyone from using any form of effective safety equipment.
OOooooo! It was a joke hence the smiley. Hexes are cheap and effective but make a noise that personally get on my nips. People can make their own minds up, fill their boots and climb with whatever they want. I really rate superlight rocks personally and someone else saying they don't like isn't going to stop me using them.
I wasn't trying to be elitist (I'm nowhere near good enough - I suspect I'd be being elitist to myself)
incidentally Rachel, the friend in question understood that and bore no ill will about it.
It could be somebody with fat thumbs reading the forum on a smallish phone. It's best not to second-guess what dislikes are about, and don't talk about them. If you're unlucky and catch the attention of one or two of those with a strong opinion on the subject your thread will just be about dislikes from that point on.
Anyway.. back on hexes..
Regarding the camming action, I don't use them where I really want a camming action because that's what cams are for. But I do think about which way round the hex is and where possible have it so that the camming action that is more or less unavoidable anyway will act to make the placement more secure if possible. (Even if it's already pretty bomber, because it costs nothing so why not?)
> Hexes are cheap and effective but make a noise that personally get on my nips.
Hmm.. I wonder if someone should invent a hex damper - maybe a nice light foamy wedge thing that you can squodge inside to stop it ringing like a cowbell. Would that work? Dunno.
My old-school hexes on cord (on the rare occasion I still carry a couple), I pull the excess cord through the hex and stuff it back into the middle so they're not swinging around my knees anyway, which also quietens down the cowbell clank a bit.
Fair dos maybe I misinterpreted the tone of your message. Nothing wrong with taking the Mick out of your friends if they are sensible enough to laugh it off/ignore it.
But I do think some people could be influenced to not carry hex's by that type of banter.
Have a like for asking a sensible valid question.
I tend to use a combination of hexes and cams, advantages to both, but surprisingly often to the extent that a hex can be bomber when a cam is compromised.
I hate rockcentrics on tape or wire to the extent of cutting and redrilling new ones when my original set left home and loose / untaped / ones were not sold anymore.
Dynema cord of varying length allows a full set to carried on one krab without any clanking whatsoever. The knot can sit inside the nut on the larger sizes.
Probably 60% of placements are on the wider offset , the other two 20% being the two smaller options.
> Dynema cord of varying length allows a full set to carried on one krab without any clanking whatsoever.
this, or clip the larger one back to the krab so its out of the way, or even the manufacturers (dmm you listening) could have different length tapes - radical
mostly as big nuts unless it's an obvious caming opportunity. I tend to use the large rocks on wire these days (BTW can you tweak the design so they can be used in 3 directions to use the long axis - a slot maybe in the bottom + corner)
> Years ago, before I could afford friends, I climbed Hargreaves at Stanage using only hexes in 'camming' mode. I had 5 hexes and so that was it in terms of pro. They took a little more fiddling to place but I was surprised how secure I felt one I had them in.
Yep, I did just that in 1977. Martin
> Dynema cord of varying length allows a full set to carried on one krab without any clanking whatsoever. The knot can sit inside the nut on the larger sizes.
Yep, me too, except for putting the knot inside. I find that with dyneema cord you get a little extra wear at the two sharp bends. I can lengthen the life of the dyneems cord by moving the knot around every so often.
I only use hex type nuts as larger nuts, where there are potential problems with using cams. I can think of two examples: firstly because the rock is low friction so a cam can potentially skate out, such as friable Swanage limestone or iced-up cracks. Secondly, very irregular cracks or pockets where a cam would be acting as a less predictable nut or just not fit at all.
In theory hex type nuts could also be useful if you're trying to keep the weight down on a big route but I've not done this.
I am aware it is possible to cam hex type nuts but, as I am almost always also carrying cams which do a better job at this, I can't remember doing it in practice.
> incidentally Rachel, the friend in question understood that and bore no ill will about it.
It did cross my mind why she couldn't have just stuck them in her pack while walking back to the car?
On a slightly more serious note, clipping both ends of the sling to the krab on a hex greatly reduces the cowbell effect, and also stops them banging against your legs. Much more importantly is when winter climbing, doing that stops the metal bit catching the heel points of your crampon when back and footing up some hoar and powder filled squeeze chimney on a mixed route. Once you've had that happen, and the panic that ensues, you'll not want to do it again! Although I'll often just have them on a bandoleer when winter climbing these days.
She could have but we were in full runoff mode. We were late off the crag and the pub was calling so a brisk trot back wearing everything. The hexes in question were the BD jobbies on wire. No clipping of both ends with 'em unfortunately
> Regarding the camming action, I don't use them where I really want a camming action because that's what cams are for.
I looked up the review I wrote of the Torque nuts when they first came out https://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/climbing/protection/dmm_torque_nuts-2112 and see there is quite a lot of discussion about the camming action in there - DMM were obviously proud of their design that increased the camming range over Rockcentrics or original hexes. I suspect when we are using them 'just as nuts' in narrowing cracks the camming action actually makes them more secure than is obvious. I have used them in horizontal placements but not often. These days I am likely to
Looking that up also made me realise that the slings on mine are 13 years old. :-/
I am nigh on certain that the Torque nut was a development of that genius, Hugh Banner as I remember a Hex style nut they did which had an elongated shape like the torque but with flat sides like old hexes... a long forgotten piece of kit. Can't find any pictures though
My last lead fall was onto a bomber cammed hex in a horizontal break. Excellent piece of kit. I had loads of cams, but the shallow break was definitely hex territory
My big winter set cams have a drilled hole to use for carrying. Easy to up clip the krab. Silent. No trip hazard.
I use a variety of nuts, mostly wallnuts but have used WC nuts before too. A variety of ways really. Sometimes sideways, sometimes other sideways, occasionally upside down with the wire pulled out through the other end, occasionally stacked sideways, even less occasionally stacked other sideways, even less occasionally stacked in opposite direction with only one clipped, sometimes threaded through a hole in the rock if it's a smaller one, mostly in vertical or diagonal cracks but sometimes in horizontal ones, very occasionally opposing but in different placements, occasionally hooked over a bolt stub or carrot, occasionally just wedged in but not clipped to try and hold a sling on a bollard... really, there are so many ways to playce nuts and variety is the spice of live
I don't want to talk about how hard I slam them in though because that caused a big argument on ukc last time
Don't get the question...? wouldn't people normally use them in "twisty mode" always as first choice - and then second choice use them "wider sideways" if the crack was too big for twisty (depending on what gear you have available)
Well it would seem that most people place them in positions where that fact that the sling twists it is almost superfluous and that placing them as a truly cammed placement is actually quite rare.
OK, I wasn't replying to intend it did/didn't actually work as a cam, but presumably people bung them in that way round first choice and "sideways" 2nd choice a lot of the time. Also what do you mean by the "sling" ? Bit of rope/cord/tatt surely? What kind of new-fangled sling technology are you talking about?
I still have my Camp ones which at the time were only sold unroped/uncorded (except I no longer have my smallest 2 which were so tiny and I gave to someone who wanted them for a bracelet or something)
> DMM were obviously proud of their design that increased the camming range over Rockcentrics or original hexes.
Rightly so I think - I was v tempted by a set of Torque Nuts, but couldn't really justify them as I already had a full set of old-school hexes. I bought one Rockcentric and thought it was awful - plenty secure enough, the problem was quite the reverse, it always seemed to be getting jammed.
> I suspect when we are using them 'just as nuts' in narrowing cracks the camming action actually makes them more secure than is obvious.
I think you're right, and those who say they don't use the camming action at all probably do a bit more than they realise. I too lead Hargreaves Original on hexes only before I had any cams, and was pleasantly surprised to find it actually felt pretty well protected. (Contrary to what the guidebook said.) Since I've had plenty of cams, I think I've become a lot less skilled at placing them than I once was though. Once or twice I've tried to place a really good hex to prove a point to a partner who absolutely hates them - but that rarely failed to fail spectacularly, when my 'look at how good this bomber hex is' hex just randomly fell out!
I have a full set of Rockcentrics. I have found them particularly useful for Fairhead where the climbs often have uniform parallel sided cracks. After running out of the required size of cam a rockcentric goes in well, and yes their camming action helps them to seat and secure a fall when needed, cheaper and lighter than cams too. I’ve also sometimes found rockcentrics to be more secure than cams in limestone cracks, particularly when polished.
I usually carry only a couple of camming devices simply for their ability to fit in most cracks above the usual range for my wires. When l first bought a set of Torque nuts I found I used them to the exclusion of the cams over a weekend in Snowdonia including in horizontal cracks. Low grade climber. Good as slings and extenders if necessary too.
Many years ago I used a set of nuts called Clog Cogs (still have the full set) these seemed to be designed more for camming than wedging. I used them on most routes but they were especially good at camming in horizontal cracks. They also had quite a thick section so didn’t ring on harness.
> Should add that I've occasionally used a hex as a weight to stop a marginal wire from lifting out with the rope flicking.
Just remembered - the other common scenario for this is to stop a sling being lifted off a spike
> Rockcentrics, torque nuts, basically every hex style nut these days is sold with a complete sling or wire loop. Tied Hexes disappeared a very long time ago...
I remember being in a gear shop in Cortina years ago where they had plastic bins of Hexcentrics, like pic-n-mix for climbers! Choose what you wanted and go to the next counter to select the cord/rope for them
I've got a full set of 1-9 and they were all bought loose - #1 has only ever been used as a keyring on a short bit of 4mm cord, the bigger ones are tied on tape with a water knot inside it.
Years ago, there was the remains of a #9 hex in the climbing club stores at Nottingham Uni. Someone had drilled it out to an extreme degree to make it lighter - someone else had then hit it with an ice axe (or something) to test it and it just shattered into about 4 bits.
I sometimes visit a shop in Canazei and they have similar, to jar of ancient relics which haven't been bought (usually for good reason) and they have all sorts in there. Last time I was in they had brand new Wild Country Super Rocks which were terrible - they got incredibly stuck and last time they were produced must be at least 20 years ago!
They were a bit like the original Marvin the Paranoid Android's head, with a dent in the back that was supposed to be able to accomodate a sticky-out crystal. Sized in between normal Rock sizes, the theory being that you could use them as a sort of half size.
I was a bit surprised I couldn't find a photo online - here are some of mine that I've had for donkey's years. You might notice that despite being pretty ancient they've hardly ever been used!
Edit to add: "Life, don't talk to me about life."
I've never been fond of wire loops on hexes. My gut feeling is that the wire gets in the way of 'optimising' the placement compared to a floppy tape. Especially in the smaller sizes, but I don't use those.
Do I like them, yes, I have torque nuts now, I use them as big nuts effectively tho' as others have stated , they often end up camming by accident. Nice , light, cheap option