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Climbing nuts, climbing hexes, and nut tools to complete your trad rack

Staples in any trad climber’s kit, climbing nuts and climbing hexes are designed to be wedged into the cracks of a rock wall to offer fall protection without leaving any major scarring behind. As a kind of passive protection (compared to the active protection of a spring-loaded camming device), nuts and hexes are a lightweight, affordable and sturdy option if you need to place protection as you go.

Climbing nuts (also called “chocks”) are small, tapered metal wedges threaded through with wire, which climbers insert into cracks and secure to their rope using a quickdraw. They generally come in sizes 1 through 13 to accommodate a range of crack widths. Hexes, which are a type of nut, have an offset hexagonal shape that makes them a versatile choice for many different types of crack orientation. You can place hexes in a similar way that you place nuts, but their offset shape also means you can use them actively in a cam-like rotation that eventually locks them in place.

That’s the lowdown on nuts and hexes. So, what are you waiting for? If you’re new to trad, check with local climbing organizations for opportunities to learn about gear placement and develop your skills so you can stay safe. Otherwise, grab your trad rack and your climbing shoes, chalk up and get on out to the crag.