Professional Mountain Guide and trad climbing legend Tim Neill tests out the new Wild Country Superlight Offset Rocks and he likes what he finds...
"Wild Country have made some good improvements on what's been available up until now. If you're a committed trad climber, keen to keep yourself as safe as you can, don't bury your head in the sand...get some of these on your rack."
I had a similar experience, they certainly take a while to get used to and commit to placing the damn things. Only thing I find odd is why they are not a size larger to complement the single strand superlights.
"All this shows that in a significant fall (fall-factor 0.5 or above), where the belayer is making a serious effort to hold the fall, the force on the top runner is likely to be between 6 and 7kN. For a climber to feel confident that their runners will hold without breaking, they should have a minimum strength of 7kN. And even this does not guarantee security, since higher forces can be generated in some high friction situations. "
IMO climbing protection really needs to not only be strong enough to hold low factor falls but also occasionally really high factor falls (or perhaps high friction). Sure when the gear is so small that its not really feasible to make it stronger I'll happily sacrifice the strength, but for me in general this minimal weight saving in the of general uk trad climbing, doesn't add up in the case of the super lights.
> IMO climbing protection really needs to not only be strong enough to hold low factor falls but also occasionally really high factor falls. Sure when the gear is so small that its not really feasible to make it stronger I'll happily sacrifice the strength, but for me in general this minimal weight saving in the of general uk trad climbing, doesn't add up in the case of the super lights.
This is how I feel too. A quick back of the envelope guess suggests that replacing A.N.Other brand with WC superlight offsets will save you about the weight of one quickdraw...
Yes - I remembered the Knights Move incident because its now the one that gets trotted out to make this point. I remember it also because I pretty much stopped using my 0 and 00 Wallnuts after reading the report. But clicking on the BMC link and rereading it I had forgotten it was over 10 years ago. I think I can remember only hearing about one wire snapping since then and if I remember right that wasn't due to its basic strength. Anyway, a 0 Wallnut is rated to 2 kns and the BMC article says gear should be rated to 7 kns for us to trust it. These superlight rocks are rated to 7 aren't they?
I have every DMM micro nut (brass offsets, IMPs, 0.5 and 0.75 micro wallnuts, and the surprisingly useful peenuts) EXCEPT the two smallest micro wallnuts precisely because they are quite a bit weaker than the equivalent brass nuts though.
Edit: every DMM micro nut is at least 4kN rated (and probably actually a bit more) except the two smallest micro wallnuts (2kN) and the brass offset 0 (2kN - but then the damn thing is microscopic).
A few interesting comments here about the reduced strength of these new superlight offsets as compared to standard rocks. It seems to me that WC have tried to do two things at once - produce an offset in a potentially more useful design than the DMM competition and at the same time reduce the weight. I wish they hadn't. If they had just produced the new design but kept the wire strength the same as standard rocks (12 kN) then I think I would have some on my rack by now, but as it is I've not been convinced. When I place a #6, say, upwards I expect to rely on it in all circumstances (given a good placement and sound rock of course). I don't want to be treating it with kid gloves like I would a #1 with a 7kN wire.
Please WC, let's have these offsets with full-strength wires.
With the obsession expressed by most posters about gear rating and the dismissal of the weight benefits everyone is missing the point. In a single wire you have a standard rock placement AND an offset placement leading to a versatile yet uncluttered rack with a weight bonus to boot. I flipping love them and I never thought I'd find anything that went securely in more slots than my DMM alloy offsets. But I have now. And 6kn is reassuring enough for me.
> With the obsession expressed by most posters about gear rating and the dismissal of the weight benefits everyone is missing the point.
I don't agree we are missing the point. I think the design is great and adds versatility to the rack, just as you do. The difference is that you're happy to replace 12kN standard rocks with 6 or 7 kN offset rocks for the larger pieces on the rack - the ones I like to rely on for belay anchors and crucial runners. I'm reluctant to do this. I'd see that as a difference in our attitude to safety margins, rather than a case of one of us missing the point.
In an ideal world perhaps WC could produce them with 12kN wires for the over-cautious like me and 7kN wires for those who place greater value on the weight reduction.
I've looked at them, and I didn't see any practical reason why 12kN wires couldn't have been used in the larger sizes at least. Perhaps a WC rep could explain their rationale.
In reply to TobyA: The article does say 7kn does not guarentee security, if their is more friction in the rope system or the belay device is one of these modern auto lock graby ones 7kn could easily be exceeded.
I don't want a nut that is only 9 grams lighter but now may fail before the placement does in very achievable fall scenarios. Personally I don't buy 7kn gate open wiregates for the same reason, mine are 9kn.
Also bare in mind that to make a full set of these you need to combine with the super lights and these are 4 and 6 kn
Personally if these nuts were all rated to 9kn I'd be a lot more comfortable buying them, 7kn just doesn't have enough leeway for me.
Thanks Lithos. Now read the other thread and see that Wild Country answered all the strength/weight questions very thoroughly. Not sure I'm convinced, but good to see the company taking the time to answer the questions.
In reply to Martin Hore: Well I read it too, wasn't there argument along the lines of we deliberately sacrificed some strength to make the lightest nuts out there. Not that they definitely won't break in some scenarios other nuts will not.
The argument about gate open wiregates being 7kn is not factually correct, go and look at the DMM site, the only non locking biner that has a gate open strength under 9kn is their oval racking biner. I remember reading some text from them in the past regarding how they had deliberately designed their kit to be stronger than 7kn gate open, as gate open loading is not something we as climber can fully control and is quite common and DMM didn't consider this strong enough.
I guess if I need a minimal set of something light to get me out of trouble (for example euroice) or perhaps I'm shaving every gram for some mountain route or another these could be just the ticket. But for me, for my work horse UK trad gear I'll be sticking with the full strength slightly heavier kit.
> With the obsession expressed by most posters about gear rating and the dismissal of the weight benefits everyone is missing the point. In a single wire you have a standard rock placement AND an offset placement leading to a versatile yet uncluttered rack with a weight bonus to boot.
I'm not sure that's as much of an advantage as you suggest - all normal nuts can also be placed normally or sideways to give two options. The WC offsets simply replace one of these options with another type of placement. Sure, the offset placement may sometimes be more versatile, but on all but the shortest routes you're probably going to want to carry these in addition to normal nuts rather than instead of them.
I think it's a shame these things aren't stronger though - I know one scenario I go through a lot is trying to place a Wallnut - finding it doesn't really work and then trying the equivalent size offset which fits great; being able to try both settings with a single nut could be very useful. It's a shame they tried to do two things with these nuts (versatility and weight) instead of sticking to one. If they were 10kN I'd get a set, but I don't need to be worrying about the strength of my wires when running it out.
But I habitually take two sets of nuts on all but short routes and the offset and standard superlights are brilliant complements to brass/alloy offsets on rhyolite and standard rocks on grit. Here the weight advantage and reduced clutter from the single wires also pay dividends, while I can place a stronger nut wherever it's an option. What's not to like (apart from carrying 2 sets if it's not your style)?
> What's not to like (apart from carrying 2 sets if it's not your style)?
The strength rating. If I can choose between taking a set of Wallnuts plus either a set of these or a set of DMM offsets (plus maybe the largest brass offset) then, for an extra 50 grams I can have a full strength set of nuts by going with the DMM option. I suspect that for, probably, less than that 50 grams WC could have made these 10kN, which I think would have been a better choice.
In reply to andrewmcleod: Your argument is flawed for at least two reasons:
- By definition most people are unlikely to fall off on to small gear as firstly up until the superlights only a number 1 nut and below was rated under 12 kn by DMM / WC. By definition climbers are unlikely to fall far on to small weaker gear as they will tend to operate more within their capabilities and back off etc.
- Taking a small subsample of climbers fall history does not negate the argument that the weight saving may not be worth it when weighed up against the potentially catastrophic consequences of gear failure in otherwise good placements. I doubt any of my falls bar 1 in my early climbing career have loaded the gear over 4kn, that doesn't mean its a good idea to shave grams off my rack until it's all rated to 4kn.
IMO if every climber only climbed on kit that was rated to 7kn there would be issues occurring with failure, I guess it depends if you consider that minimal extra risk worth it for a small weight saving.