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Gear4Rocks Plastic Nuts Review
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By Phil Lauffen
From The Bubble
Jan 31, 2011
RMNP skiing. Photo by Nodin de Saillan

gear4rocks Plastic Nut(Set of 8) Review

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.

Smallest Size
Smallest Size


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
• color coded
Some comparisons to the larger black diamond nuts:

Comparison
Comparison


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.

Full set
Full set


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:

Heads
Heads


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 nut
#2 nut


Nut Placement
Nut Placement



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.

Largest Size
Largest Size


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:

Smallest Nut Placement I fell on
Smallest Nut 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.

The third of the falls I took onto the placement
The third of the falls I took onto the placement


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
• $37.03
• 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.


Disclosure:
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


#8 gear4rocks nut
#8 gear4rocks nut


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By Justin Brunson
From Broomfield CO
Jan 31, 2011

Great review on a product that most of us (myself included) would never have considered using. Thanks!


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By Wannabe
Jan 31, 2011

You mention them as bail pieces for alpine climbing. My understanding is that alpine climbers sometimes set their gear in placements with the picks of their tools. How do you think these would stand up to that over time?

Thanks for being brave enough to fall on these,
Wannabe


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By Phil Lauffen
From The Bubble
Jan 31, 2011
RMNP skiing. Photo by Nodin de Saillan

Wannabe wrote:
You mention them as bail pieces for alpine climbing. My understanding is that alpine climbers sometimes set their gear in placements with the picks of their tools. How do you think these would stand up to that over time?


I'm not sure what you mean. Are you saying that they place the pro with the pick of their tool? Does this lend extra reach?


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By Woodchuck ATC
Jan 31, 2011
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008

I wonder how they will wear over time too. Bashing and maybe cracking the plastic?


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By Tyler Wick
From Campbell, CA
Jan 31, 2011
ECM

I think wannabe means when snow/ice filled cracks become involved sometimes chocks are tapped/hammered into place. Would these stand up to impacts from some sort of metal tool?

I'm impressed with the review and your confidence to take the whip on them! Is there any quantification that makes the weight difference look more impressive? At first glance, it just doesn't seem like it's that much weight savings..

EDIT: after taking a closer look, I see the nut was backed up with a c4. I'm less impressed with your confidence to take the whip now =P


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By Adam Winters
Administrator
From the Shire
Jan 31, 2011
Red-tail Hawk, Buttermilks

They certainly look bomber. I guess my only concern would be the integrity of the plastic over time.


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By JSH
Administrator
Jan 31, 2011
JSH @ home <br /> <br />photo courtesy of Gabe Ostriker

Kudos to you for getting this done.

I have to say that, in response to "Then I saw online that they made plastic nuts! PLASTIC Nuts!" ... "Way cool." was not my first reaction!


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By RockinOut
From NY, NY
Jan 31, 2011
Gear

That chart is nice and all but who did the comparison for the kN?...the Gear4Rocks gear isnt UIAA certified.


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By KC Utah
Jan 31, 2011
Ferguson Canyon... Posing above Unction, wishing the thing was higher

Very interesting product. Great review too. Are you aware of any affects of temperature on their performance? I wonder how they would do in extreme sunlight/heat as well as in colder temps...


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By Ben Walburn
Jan 31, 2011
"This definitely beats lying in a pile of saw dust all day"

Good job with the review Phil!

I was in the canyon when Phil and company were out testing the nuts, I got to put my hands on them. They are very similar to the DMM Walnuts in shape (in my opinion the best set of straight wires on the market). The plastic wires are very light, have a round, contoured brass fitting between the plastic and the wire seemingly to disperse the surface impact against the plastic. Overall they looked bomber! I wasn't around when Phil fell on them and my one question that still remains is...
After a fall do they set so hard that they are more difficult(and or regularly problematic) to clean than metal wires?


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By Graham Johnson
Jan 31, 2011

Plastic pro is not a new phenomenon - I've climbed on plastic hexes and nuts (not my own, and I don't know what company made them) here in NZ and in australia. Once you get over the whole "plastic pro" mind boggle, they aren't that bad, however, as the reviewed pointed out, they're more likely to weld themselves into a placement after a fall.

Those gear4rocks nuts look great - much better than some of their other products - thanks for posting such a comprehensive review (and kudos to you for having the balls to intentionally jump onto them!)


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By Brendan Blanchard
From Strafford, NH
Jan 31, 2011
Obi Wan Ryobi - Darth Vader Crag, Rumney NH

Well they seem to hold well enough, and the extra bite obviously leads to the likelihood of fixing a nut in place. However, at 37$ for a set of 8 nuts?!

BD stoppers are 9 for $90. (#4-13) Those are the ones that are still considered full pro, 1-3 are suggested for aid only I believe. That's double the price per nut.

Especially if considered for bail gear, they are light, set easily, and very cheap. That seems like a perfect combination for me. At the price it seems like a great option as long as they do gain certification soon.

The one thing I would like to see is how do the nuts react to different temperatures? Is it possible that they may shatter under extremely low temperatures that you might find in alpine climbing, and could they possibly morph out of shallower placements, or guarantee that they fix themselves in very high temps?


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By Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Jan 31, 2011
Bocan

Brendan Blanchard wrote:
how do the nuts react to different temperatures?


Heheheh...anyone else want to take this one? (Sorry, not feeling very mature today!)


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By Phil Lauffen
From The Bubble
Jan 31, 2011
RMNP skiing. Photo by Nodin de Saillan

Tyler Wick wrote:
after taking a closer look, I see the nut was backed up with a c4. I'm less impressed with your confidence to take the whip now =P


Hahaha I try never to take a whip without at least two pieces between you and the hospital(Thanks Tony B.), no matter the brand.

From what I see there are three main concerns:

1) Removing the protection after a whip- This will take more testing in a more accessible placement( i.e. one that is easy to inspect/get at with a nut tool). I'll try to get out and do this next time I get out.

2) Extreme Temps- This is a great question. If anyone has some dry ice I should freeze one in a cooler and try to whip on it immediately. As for high temperatures... I may be wrong but I wouldn't be surprised if the gear is subject to high temperature/pressure in a fall that would exceed the 100 deg F. max that any sane climber would subject themselves too on a cragging day.

3) Durability- The robustness of this design will only be told in time. I have been surprised at how resistant they are to deformation in normal use, so right now I would not be concerned about this.


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By Ben Walburn
Jan 31, 2011
"This definitely beats lying in a pile of saw dust all day"

....Oh and here is a pic of Phil climbing tough on Kloof that day.

Eldorado Canyon, Kloof  Phil Lauffen
Eldorado Canyon, Kloof Phil Lauffen


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By Phil Lauffen
From The Bubble
Jan 31, 2011
RMNP skiing. Photo by Nodin de Saillan

RockinOut wrote:
That chart is nice and all but who did the comparison for the kN?...the Gear4Rocks gear isnt UIAA certified.


According to gear4rocks website STANDART testing is conducted on all of their products. STANDART is based on CE/UIAA certification.


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By Phil Lauffen
From The Bubble
Jan 31, 2011
RMNP skiing. Photo by Nodin de Saillan

Ben Walburn wrote:
....Oh and here is a pic of Phil climbing tough on Kloof


That should read: about to fall off kloof!


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By Ben Walburn
Jan 31, 2011
"This definitely beats lying in a pile of saw dust all day"

Ha! I wasn't saying nothing.


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By matt davies
Jan 31, 2011

I'd say its a toss-up regarding ballsyness between ice climbing and product testing plastic nuts from Ukraine.
I'm also very curious about low temperature viability of these babies.
Phil, would you do the climbing community another solid and test the strength of various alpine and rap-tree tat?
Great review, well done!


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By Rob Kepley
From Westminster,CO
Jan 31, 2011
Yosemite Valley..

Another pic of Phil on Kloof.
Another pic of Phil on Kloof.


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By Ben Walburn
Jan 31, 2011
"This definitely beats lying in a pile of saw dust all day"

Phil's well documented ascent of Kloof


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By Rick Blair
From Denver
Jan 31, 2011
This is a novel auto blocking belay device.  I think it works quite well, depending on rope thickness and sheath quality, it belays very smooth.  Great to lower with.  You gotta love over engineering.  $3 at a gear swap!

It would be cool to see a review for aid, seems like these could be great. I have been so curious about these. Thanks Phil.


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By slim
Administrator
Jan 31, 2011
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.

great review phil, thanks for putting this together for everybody. that being said, if i ever see you on the street i am going to avoid eye contact at all costs, as you are obviously one loco mofo :)


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By steitz
From midcoast, maine
Feb 1, 2011

My friends and I have been wondering about these things for years, thanks so much for the thorough investigation.


My only question is, you wouldn't happen to have access to a pull test machine would you? It'd be interesting to see how those wires hold up.

All in all, pretty exciting stuff!


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By Phil Lauffen
From The Bubble
Feb 1, 2011
RMNP skiing. Photo by Nodin de Saillan

Before people get any ideas about my bravery I'd like to add there were definitely some tears before each jump. Dane, my belayer can attest to that.

I could probably use an instron machine, but I'd have to build a grip for it... And I'm feeling lazy.


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