Our climbing experts have been testing the best climbing nuts and stoppers for over 10 years (15 different sets). In this update, we purchased 6 of the best sets and slid them into cracks of all sizes across the United States. We tested each through a wide range of fissures, scar pins, parallel-sided cracks, around blocks, and the like. We used each while ascending wind-blown alpine summits and free climbing sunny cracks in the Valley. After carefully inspecting and testing each set, we gave each an objective performance score. Our recommendations are here to help you find the best nuts and stoppers while saving time at the computer and keeping more money in your wallet.
The DMM Alloy Offsets are okay in more parallel-sided cracks but aren't as good as traditionally-shaped curved models. Their biggest disadvantage is that they're only offered in limited size sets, meaning you need to couple them with another set with smaller sizes to have a complete collection - we recommend the DMM Peenuts. While we think they are worth every penny, these nuts are one of the spendier aluminum models in our review.
The unique thing about these nuts is their double offset design. Their double-curved faces are great in irregular cracks and are extremely stable when placed since they always have three points of contact regardless of orientation. The downside is that they are more prone to getting fixed and stuck. They consistently take a little more effort to clean, which requires a nut tool and some patience. If you are looking for a few light and versatile pieces to add to your rack, the Metolius Ultralight Curve Nut should be considered.
That said, there is a reason why most other nut shapes have evolved so much; the basic design of the BD Stopper does not perform well in pin scars or irregular cracks. They work in parallel-sided cracks, but as today's climbers end up protecting any given pitch with mostly cams, they will benefit from a nut that works better in places where cams won't. While they are easy to clean, we've also found them to walk and pop out more easily due to rope drag. We feel you can buy better, more complementary nuts for the current cam-first generation.
The hold of climbing nuts works in slightly different ways, depending on the design and the nature of the crack. They are all, however, considered "passive protection." This is because they don't press any force, use springs, or apply any mechanical advantage. They are simply set in a crack that constricts to a point smaller than the nut being placed, and (as long as the crack doesn't break), the nut can't fit through. This is different from spring-loaded camming devices, more commonly called cams, which are considered "active protection" because they actively expand into the crack they're placed in and use mechanical advantage to push out on the rock and stay in place.
In the most standard placement of a nut, the head is too big to fit through the crack below it. That is why all models have some taper and aren't just a square; instead, they're thinner on the bottom and broader on top. Different amounts of taper allow more or less surface area to contact the rock depending on the crack, which is the key to holding power. This is a foundational rule of passive protection - the more surface area in contact with the rock, the more secure the hold.
As a crack becomes more parallel or irregular, a curved nut design helps in two ways. First, the curve creates three points of contact (rather than two), which makes the nut more stable and, to a certain extent, allows the nut to cam into place. The second benefit of a curve is that it can potentially allow more surface contact with irregular and textured rock. All climbing nuts have a slightly different curve and taper, with each offering certain advantages and disadvantages. Of course, the magic is in figuring out what nut shape fits the greatest number of cracks that climbers want to use. The answer is complicated, but we'll go through it below.
It's this new cam-first generation of climbers that benefit the most from offset stoppers than in decades past. As most climbers are more likely to place cams anywhere they can, they are better off carrying nuts to fit where few cams will. This tends to be in flared cracks and pin scars where more traditionally shaped models and cams are mediocre but offset models are more appropriate tools.
Most offset climbing nuts, like the DMM Alloy Offset or the DMM Peenut, don't do as well in more parallel-sided cracks, but that's okay as most people are more likely to place a cam in these places anyway. Offset models are also generally harder to clean because they are asymmetric - they don't want to rotate upwards and instead more frequently have to be backed up.
The straight taper has been nearly phased out, but there are still a handful of models with this design. For example, the Frost Works Sentinel Nuts feature a straight taper that was used on hundreds of first ascents throughout North America in the '60s and '70s and still holds well in a classic bottleneck. It is the most straightforward design for checking placement quality. The straight taper is not nearly as stable or versatile in flaring or parallel-sided cracks, though, and doesn't fit as well with irregular rock with sizeable crystals, as it doesn't have any clearance. While they are less versatile, they are still the easiest to clean.
Pin scars result when pitons are hammered into the rock. These scars are common in climbing areas throughout North America, from Yosemite to Eldorado Canyon to White Horse and Cathedral Ledge. Smaller pin scars are places where traditional cams don't work very well nor do curved nuts. Offsets, however, are specifically designed for these scars and are frequently bomber in these locations where nothing else will even hold body weight. All the offset models we tested work pretty well in these types of cracks: the DMM Alloy Offset, the Black Diamond Offset Stopper, and for smaller spaces, the DMM Peenuts and DMM Brass Offset. They all fit perfectly in pods where other nuts are terrible.
The Metolius Ultralight Curve Nuts is one of our top choices for parallel-sided crack performance. Their double curve design allows three points of contact pretty much no matter what, which makes them far more stable in these types of fissures. Other notable options include the CAMP Pro Nuts, which excel because of their high curvature along the side-to-side axis (the most common placement), helping the nut cam to remain more stable.
Most of the offset models didn't do as well in parallel cracks. The more parallel the cracks were, the worse they performed. They're not totally worthless in more parallel-sided cracks, but they're not as solid as curved models. Of note, the offset models are generally better in parallel-sided cracks than the curved nuts are in pin scars.
Foot examination should be done at least annually for impaired sense of pressure, vibration, pain, or temperature, which is characteristic of peripheral neuropathy. Pressure sense is best tested with a monofilament esthesiometer (see figure Diabetic foot screening Diabetic foot screening ). The entire foot, and especially skin beneath the metatarsal heads, should be examined for skin cracking and signs of ischemia, such as ulcerations, gangrene, fungal nail infections, deceased pulses, and hair loss.
Regular professional podiatric care, including trimming of toenails and calluses, is important for patients with sensory loss or circulatory impairment. Such patients should be advised to inspect their feet daily for cracks, fissures, calluses, corns, and ulcers. Feet should be washed daily in lukewarm water, using mild soap, and dried gently and thoroughly. A lubricant (eg, lanolin) should be applied to dry, scaly skin. Nonmedicated foot powders should be applied to moist feet. Toenails should be cut, preferably by a podiatrist, straight across and not too close to the skin. Adhesive plasters and tape, harsh chemicals, corn cures, water bottles, and electric pads should not be used on skin. Patients should change socks or stockings daily and not wear constricting clothing (eg, garters, socks, or stockings with tight elastic tops).
Inpatient hyperglycemia is associated with increased infection rate and mortality. Critical illness causes insulin resistance and hyperglycemia even in patients without known diabetes mellitus. Such stress-induced hyperglycemia is associated with poor outcomes, including increased mortality. Insulin infusion to maintain plasma glucose between 140 and 180 mg/dL (7.8 and 10.0 mmol/L)
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