UKC

WINNER - Wild Country Rocks: A revolution and the core of any trad rack Competition

© Nadir Khan

WINNER: carla-e

The Rock with its curved sides is a Wild Country original and revolutionised how we protect routes. Company founder Mark Vallance refined his designs for the Rocks through climbing in the gritstone quarries of Wild Country's home, the Peak District. The Rocks' ground-breaking curved geometry was a huge step forward, allowing a massive increase in the variety and shape of potential gear placements. The Rock has been copied many times but none match the performance of the original.

Naomi Buys: Earl Buttress E2 5c  © Nadir Khan
Naomi Buys: Earl Buttress E2 5c
© Nadir Khan

In his book, "Wild Country: the man who made friends", Mark explains the elegance in the curved design:

"Most placements are not perfect. The contact area may be small, or the taper angle too acute, or not acute enough. An experienced climber will be able to make a considered judgement about the safety of the placement but with conventional nuts they just had to accept placements were poor. With my new design, the climber didn't need to try and fill the crack. All they needed was three points of contact, two on one side of the crack, and one on the other. Whatever the taper of the crack the nut would be stable, like a tripod. Until that moment good nut placements were dependent upon the similarity between the shape of the nut and the shape of the placement. With this new geometry, good placements could be found wherever three points of contact could be found".

photo
Original Drawing of a Rock
© Mark Vallance

The curved design remains the same to this day, with the newest incarnation boasting a lighter construction with thinner sidewalls of aircraft grade aluminium, a lateral side taper for a second placement option, anodised heads and an extended 14-size range to form the backbone of any trad climber's rack, from total beginners to those working their way through the Hard Grit ticklist!

Here at Wild Country we're excited to be giving away a full set of Rocks, worth £120. For your chance to win, just answer the following question:

The Rocks in their modern form  © Wild Country
The Rocks in their modern form
© Wild Country

This competition has now closed.

More information Wild Country

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21 Aug, 2017
Latest-generation cams from WC and DMM have machined lobes since bare metal gives a better grip than an anodised surface. Wouldn't the same apply to rocks? Wouldn't it be better to go back to un-anodised rocks with colour coding on the swage?
21 Aug, 2017
Rocks don't primarily rely on friction though. Also glittery things sell better, I'm sure!
21 Aug, 2017
No - as MG says, nut's don't rely on friction to work. It's also a factor of surface hardness - minor deformation provides mechanical interlocking with the rock crystals, which will be reduced by a hard anodised surface.
21 Aug, 2017
. . . and thus un-anodised Rocks would "bite" a bit better when you give them a tug, and be less likely to lift out?
21 Aug, 2017
Yeah maybe. It's all moot seeing as the anodising wears off in no time at all :)
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