Welcome to ThinkVail – we hope you find this article about the best hexes for climbing helpful.
The Vail Valley is home to world-famous ice-climbing, mixed climbing and trad rock climbing. These routes usually boast wet, icy or muddy conditions that lend themselves to passive protection that won’t slip like cams and other active protection can do in these demanding conditions.
Nuts, stoppers and hexes (hexcentrics) are all examples of passive protection, meaning they do not have any moving parts. Generally, these terms are interchangeable however, each has its own unique size, shape and purpose but there can be a lot of overlap.
The best thing about passive pro is, it works where cams just don’t. Passive pro is wedged (not hammered) into a crack or other any opening in the rock. They are attached to the rope through the use of a carabiner and then to a loop of webbing, sling, cord or a cable which is attached to the pro.
Hexes (hextronics) are a type of nut that is hollow with a hexagonal shape and tapered ends, it is threaded with a sling or wired. Sides may be straight or curved although curved models are usually easier to remove from the rock.
Nuts are a basic passive pro with some variety of a tapered metal wedge attached to a wire cable that has a loop on the end.
Stoppers – are a type of nut (or chock) that is ideal for constricting cracks. They are like a bolt, but will not permanently damage the rock.
Here are 9 suggestions for “must-have” passive pro that deserves a place on your trad rack.
Rock climbing is considered a dangerous activity, if you are new to the sport, seek out experts for more advice and experience using these types of protection.
Since 1981, DMM’s driving mission has been to make the best possible recreational climbing and mountaineering equipment at the best price. They show this beautifully with these incredibly popular offset alloy climbing nuts. These are the gold standard of passive protection.
Heads are made of aluminum alloy with steel cables
Labels are positioned upside down to easily read the size when hanging on your harness
Bright anodized color coding makes it easy to tell them apart
Asymmetrical taper offers stable protection in offset cracks, pin scars and small flaring pots.
Unique shape offers two placement orientations; one that is offset and one that’s less tapered and more traditionally shaped.
Grooved face for additional grip
Hollowed out sides and holes in larger sized nuts reduces weight
Great protection for wet and icy conditions
Recessed wires reduce wear
Pair with Wallnuts for complete all season crack protection.
5 nuts (size 7-11) covers a ton of size placements
Since 1957, Black Diamond has been creating innovative gear designs and making the best gear possible for climbers and skiers. Their products are durable, dependable and of the highest-quality.
Heads are made of aluminum with swaged galvanized steel cables
Hexes come racked on an oval wire carabiner
Classic, simple, lightweight, functional and strong passive pro
Subtle asymmetrical cross-section, flat sides and slight end-wise taper
Offering three different widths when turned on their axes and another when placed end-wise for tons of options.
Easy to rack and place in bottlenecks
Claimed weight (#4) 51 g (1.8 oz) / (#5) 53 g (1.9 oz) / (#6) 64 g (2.3 oz) / (#7) 86 g (3 oz) / (#8) 94 g (3.3 oz) / (#9) 124 g (4.4 oz) / 164 g (5.8 oz)
Strength: size 1-3: 6 kN / size 4-11: 10 kN
Wild Country Rockcentric Set
Wild Country has a long and distinguished history of producing the world’s finest climbing gear, and this Rockcentric hex set is no exception. This hextronic set will help you take your climbing to the next level.
Heads are made of anodized aluminum with Dyneema slings
Lightweight and easy to use
Color coded hexes match with color coordinated 14kn Dyneema sling
Shape offers 4 placement options per hex
Set includes sizes #5-9
Claimed weight: ((#5)1.89 oz / (#6) 2.42 oz / (#7) 3.19 oz / (#8) 4.13 oz / (#9) 5.46 oz
Strength 14 kN
Metolius Ultralight Curve Hex w/Sling
Named after the headwaters of the Metolius River, this iconic climbing company has been innovating for more than 35 years to make the strongest, safest, most bomb-proof gear in the world. They always seem to get it right.
Heads are made of anodized aluminum
Cable is directly attached to the hex for lightweight
13 mm Monster slings for better extension and less rope drag
Color-coded collars makes for easy size identification
Sold individually sizes available: #5-#10
Claimed weight: (#5) 1.7 oz / (#6) 1.9 oz / (#7) 2.5 oz / (#8) 3.3 oz / (#9) 4.7 oz / (#10) 5.5 oz
Camp Pro Nuts Set #1-7
Founded in 1889, C.A.M.P. sets the bar for technical mountaineering and safety equipment for workers at height. They make the lightest piece of gear in nearly every climbing category that they sell. When you want to shed weight, look no farther!
Set includes sizes #1 – #7
Curved design provides secure placements and easy removal
Grooves help with setting and extraction in hard stone
Color-coded heads for faster identification and easy selection
Wire steel cable
Cover a similar range with seven sizes as nine sizes take in other brands
Less nuts means reduced rack weight
Claimed weight (#1) 0.4 oz / (#2) 0.7 oz / (#3) 1.1 oz / (#4) 1.3 oz / (#5) 1.4 oz / (#6) 1.7 oz / (#7)1.9 oz
Black Diamond Micro Stopper
Black Diamond is a leader in the climbing industry and these innovative nuts are no exception. Descendants of the original chocks that started the clean climbing revolution, these stoppers are essential for every trad rack.
Heads are made from a Copper/Iron mix to provide maximum bite in thin placements
Galvanized swaged cable is durable, stronger, more flexible and less prone to fraying
Versatile, traditional passive trapezoidal shaped pro for thin cracks and hairline seams.
Subtle curve on their longest face for maintaining utility in near-parallel cracks while still catching on crystals and irregularities.
Sizes #1 and #2 are for direct aid only
Less prone to shearing, but provide the bite found in brass nuts
Metolius Astro Nuts are silicon-bronze micro climbing nuts that are lighter and less bulky than many other micro-nuts. Metolious boasts gear made by climbers for climbers and this passive pro is an excellent example of that motto.
Heads are made of silicon-bronze alloy
Color coded anodized collars for easy identification and selection
Sold individually or as sets, Aid Set (#1 – 5) or Free Set (#6 – 10)
Similar concept as Curve Nuts but in micro-sizing.
Ideal for flares and pin scars.
Claimed weight: (#1) 5.7g/0.20 oz / (#2) 6.0g/0.21 oz / (#3) 6.2g/0.22 oz / (#4) 6.5g/0.23 oz / (#5) 7.0g/0.25 oz / (#6) 11.0g/0.39 oz / (#7) 13.9g/0.49 oz / (#8) 16.2g/0.56 oz / (#9) 21.8g/0.77 oz / (#10) 26.9g/0.95 oz
The DMM Torque Nuts are perfect protection for parallel sided cracks and other difficult rock crevices. Their unique shape allows for multiple orientations, giving you a wide range of placement with only four sizes. This is a true game changer.
Heads are made from lightweight aluminum alloy
Torque nut set includes 4 sizes: #1- #4
Double Dyneema slings but are available in a wired version too.
Extendable sling reduces rope drag without extra quickdraws, and can be replaced with DMM’s in-house re-slinging service.
Softer edges and a double reverse taper resists rotating and rocking
Anodized color-coded for easy identification and size selection
Offers multiple orientations, allowing each piece to fit several sizes and shapes of crack
Ideal protection for parallel sided cracks
Suitable for use in all conditions including wet and icy conditions and where friction is reduced. .
We hope you found this article about the best hexes for climbing helpful. What is your favorite type of passive pro? When do you find yourself reaching for a nut, hex or stopper? Do you prefer slings or wired cables and why? What are your favorite routes for passive pro? We would love to hear your thoughts, comments and stories about using hexes or any other types of pro. Thanks for reading.