Recently there have been some negative vibes floating around MP about a Ukrainian company called gear4rocks. Several people stated that they would never order any gear from the company and the usual buzz-phrases were “flimsy”, “look like toys”, “erector set,” etc. Most of these comments were made by people who had never held any gear4rocks products.
Then I saw online that they made plastic nuts! PLASTIC Nuts! Way cool. I wondered how they could possibly hold a fall. I figured that I had nothing to lose and emailed the company, offering to do a gear review and post it on mountainproject.com if they sent me a set. They responded quickly and the nuts were in my living room after about 3 weeks.
From gear4rocks website the main selling points of the nuts are:
• holds its place better than metal stoppers/nuts
• thicker steel cables on the smaller sizes
• doesn't leave scuffs and metal marks like normal nuts
• equally as strong as aluminum
Some comparisons to the larger black diamond nuts:
Holding them in my hand they look professionally constructed, and larger than I had imagined. They have an aggressive taper and curve on all sides of the nut. This in essence allows for three different placements. They are very similar in geometry to my wild country rocks.
Below is a picture of the set with a comparison next to a nut tool.
The plastic is hard and does not blemish easily. The wire is thick in all of the nuts. Here is a closeup of the heads, again with the nut tool for comparison:
Nuts are not like cams. There are no complicated forces acting to hold the nut in a parallel sided crack. Nuts rely on skilled placement behind a constriction and hold a fall by not occupying the same space as the surrounding rock. Therefore they are not evaluated based on their ability to hold in flared or otherwise funky placements, like offset cams are. Instead the most important criteria, in my opinion, are: 1)Ease of placement, 2) Ease of cleaning, and 3) the ability to hold a fall.
1) I walked around eldo for a few hours testing the nuts in various placements, then climbed on them for the rest of the day, and the day after in boulder canyon. I came away with a few thoughts:
a. They work just like any other nut, they hold well in a good placement in a constricting crack.
b. They seem to “bite” into the rock better than any aluminum nuts I have ever used when pulled on. This would give me more ease of mind that the nut would not walk out of the crack when I moved past it.
c. They don’t deform as I thought they would when I aggressively pull-tested them. (bounced on it with a daisy chain)
d. While leading I felt confident that the nut would not wiggle out of placements after feeling that extra “bite.”
2) While cleaning I did not notice any remarkable difference in cleaning a gear4rocks plastic nut than I have experienced cleaning metal nuts. The nut I jumped on removed easily with a little persuasion from my nut tool.
3) I was looking forward to falling on these nuts the most. The little kid inside of me hoped I would destroy the piece catastrophically, blowing it into little plastic confetti. I wanted to test the smallest nut, since that one has the lowest rated strength at 9.6 kN. This is the placement I fell on:
I climbed till the nut was about even with my knees, my belayer gave me some slack and I jumped off.
I had to jump three times in order to get the picture above. In total I fell 6-9 feet each time, with about 20 feet of rope out. I usually ended up around 15 feet off the ground. This was a reasonably high fall factor of somewhere on the order of 0.4. I weigh 150 lbs. I’ll let someone else do the math on the approximate force I put on the piece as no online site seems to get it right, and if I try you math whizzes will quickly point out the flaws in my assumptions. Most importantly the nut did not fail.
However, we were not able to remove the nut. Unfortunately, none of the pictures we took of the nut after I fell on it turned out. From what we could see it looked like it had slid down a few millimeters and had jammed hard into the crack. We weren’t able to reach it with a nut tool due to the geometry of the crack. If someone is able to remove it from Captain Natural I would love to have it back/ post some pictures.
I have encountered fixed nuts in every climbing area I have ventured and I think that putting a high fall factor onto a nut several times in a row will not aid easy removal, no matter the material. This one instance is not damning of gear4rocks’ approach to nuts.
Bottom Line: • Lightweight
• Easy to clean
• Inspire confidence
• Hold falls
• May be difficult to remove after falls
• FREE SHIPPING!!!
This price, with free shipping(!!!) means that a set of 8 nuts is $4.60 per nut! I would recommend this product to any novice climber looking to get a set of medium to large nuts because they bite well into the rock with a sharp tug(less likely to walk out), and they are cheap if they need to be replaced for whatever reason. Novice climbers will not fall regularly onto their gear, if it turns out that it is extremely difficult to remove them after an average fall. They are also immensely useful on alpine climbs because they range from finger to off-hands size in one set and they are the least expensive bailing option available. I am going to supplement my nut rack with the seven I have left as they start off about where my metal set ends in terms of size.
I did not pay for this set of nuts. However, I have no obligation to publish a positive review to gear4rocks.
I welcome any questions/comments. I also will be glad to ship them anywhere within the CONUS if you promise to return them within a month of receiving them, and pay for shipping both