Ok, I must admit that I am a bit of a gear junky. I enjoy checking out new gear (who doesn’t), reading technical specs (starting to leave the pack here), checking out design details and analysis (ok, starting to geek out) and at times material or metallurgical details (I know, I know…). But hey, I’m an Engineer (guiding doesn’t cover all the bills) and so am allowed to geek out once in a while. Anyway, back to being a gear junky: I was climbing in Red Rocks a few years ago and a friend of mine, a local, was going on about these new nuts that he had. Sure-sure I thought, another gimmick. How much room is there for improving something that has been around for over 50 years, really? Man was I wrong!
Shortly after that conversation I randomly (not by design of course) found myself in at Desert Rock Sports in Vegas looking at a nice shiny set of DMM offset nuts while trying to justify why the complete rack of nuts already on my rack were insufficient to the task at hand. My imagination quickly came to the rescue allowing me to purchase a rack of these new nuts (well actually there are only 5 of them, not really a whole rack, right? So that’s ok).
Anyway, as I mentioned they come in a set of 5 (smaller offset nuts are available in brass much like the original RP’s), each is rated to 12 kN, they range in size from 12 to 23mm (size 7 to 11), colour coded, are not inexpensive (about $16 ea.) and have a bit of a gap between sizes (I infill this gap with a half dozen of my regular nuts) though they can be rotated to make intermediate sizes) but WOW do these things work! Any kind of flaring or pod like crack as well as many shallow cracks (like the alligator cracking in the Red Rocks varnish that tend to be both shallow and pod like) in the sandstone and these things just slotted in! They quickly became my go-to for the rest of the trip. When I got home to Canmore I found that the limestone and quartzite there liked to eat these nuts just as much. Any placement where the crack edges are a little funky and a regular nut wouldn’t quite seat properly and one of these DMM Offset nuts would just slot in, Bomber: clip and forget.
I’ve been playing with these nuts for a couple of years now and they have become a permanent part of my go-to rack for most climbing destinations though I’ve found that the rock type really dictates how well they work:
- Large grain Bugaboo granite, no real advantage in placing and they tend to be harder to remove (the large quartz grains slot into the little recesses on the sides of the nuts and don’t like to let go)
- Smaller grained Squamish style granite: the smaller sizes work well but I leave the larger 3 at home
- Quartzite and limestone: they are a great supplement to a regular set of nuts fitting into the cracks that provide otherwise insecure placements
- Vegas style sandstone: A MUST HAVE!!! It’s like these offset nuts were specifically designed for this type of rock and they open up a new world of protection.
If you decide to give the DMM Offset nuts a try I hope that they work well for you!