Safe and secure climbing and mountaineering with nuts
Nuts are an essential piece of climbing equipment for sports climbers and mountaineers who wish not only to move from bolt to bolt. The practical nut is a good way to secure a route using cracks. Whether you want to create an additional anchor point on a sport climbing route between to widely spaced bolts or you want completely secure your own route, you should always carry a set of nuts on your harness.
Nuts - what are they and where does the name come from?
Nuts, sometimes called stoppers, have long been used by climbers. In the past actual nuts (as in nuts and bolts) or wooden wedges were attached to a piece of cord and placed in cracks. Along with classic pitons they were often the only devices available for securing climbing routes.
Fortunately modern nuts mean that climbers no longer have to resort to these makeshift solutions. Nuts consist of a wedge-shaped metal head and a wire loop for the carabiner. The head is usually made of aluminum and holds in the rock under load.
Unlike pitons nuts leave no traces in the rock, which is why climbing with nuts and cams is often referred to as "clean climbing".
The advantage of nuts
As well as their practicality, nuts have a number of other advantages. Nuts are light, relatively cheap, tough and low-maintenance. Plus they hardly take up any room on your belt meaning you can always have them handy when climbing. Nuts are color-coded making it easy to find the right size on the harness.
Supplement your nut set with a selection of cams, hexes and other portable securing devices. With enough practice nuts can be used to climb all sorts of routes, even off of the well-climbed bolted routes.