Thoughts on hexes?


Original Post
Matt Banneck · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 5

Been thinking about picking up some BD wired hexentrics in the medium and large sizes instead of buying more cams. The way hexes work makes sense to me and seem bomber when placed right but they seem to be slowly going out of date (?)

Im just wondering about everyones thoughts on hexes. Easily to place? Practitcal? Good for joshua tree? Wire vs sling? Thanks in advance

that guy named seb · · Britland · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 205
Matt Banneck wrote:Been thinking about picking up some BD wired hexentrics in the medium and large sizes instead of buying more cams. The way hexes work makes sense to me and seem bomber when placed right but they seem to be slowly going out of date (?) Im just wondering about everyones thoughts on hexes. Easily to place? Practitcal? Good for joshua tree? Wire vs sling? Thanks in advance
DMM, slings are the obvious choice. Like tricams though they are only really useful is certain area's and cams can often be used, if new to climbing i reccomend climbing almost exclusively on passive pro for the first year or so of climbing.
Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 190

...why Seb (slings vs wires)?

Anyways, to the topic. I would say: it depends. I love Hexes for setting anchors and have placed them on lead, but you'll find you carry them less and less the harder you climb. They can be quite finnecky and take longer to place than cams. It also depends on where you climb; on metamorphic rock (quartzite, granite), Hexes can be bomber, but they're not going to do you much good on a desert splitter.

that guy named seb · · Britland · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 205
Ted Pinson wrote:...why Seb (slings vs wires)?
Wires are much more likely to pull the piece out if not adequately extended, i also like the extendable sling on the DMM units and i find slings are also better for weird placements like really really deep irregular cracks.
eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 456

Lots of people are going to tell you to save your money for some cams because you will eventually get cams and never use the hexes. I have cams and also have hexes. I use the cams more, but I often still use hexes when I feel like I need doubles of large cams. This is because the local trad area has a steep uphill approach, and I'm lazy so I opt for the hexes as light-weight doubles.

Also, if you want the gear now and your budget won't allow you to buy the cams you want, hexes provide an economical option that still allows you to protect the climbs you want. Plus, since a lot of people hate them, you can typically find them for pretty cheap used. When I was first building my rack, I got a set of nuts, a set of hexes, and a bunch of spare biners for $60 off the for sale forum here.

Are the easy to place? Yes, but cams are even easier. Practical? Depends on who you ask. I'd say they are the most practical for easy alpine with long approaches, and less so for cragging 5min from the parking lot. No clue about J-tree but my gut feeling is that there's a bunch of old crusties out there in J-tree who use 'em a lot.

The wire/sling depends. In smaller sizes, stiff wire will make it easier to place without it flopping all around. On big hexes (8 or 9 and up), the wire is going to flop just as much as a sling. If you want something more stiff, Titan cord minimizes flopping on a 9 and somewhat on a 10. On the other hand, a flexible sling will be less likely to lever it out of it's placement should you do an inadequate job of extending your pieces.

Kyle Edmondson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 20

I'm one of those people who will tell you to save your money for cams. I don't know anyone who has used hexes after a few months, but many climbers who have a set buried in their garage. You won't be placing them on lead once you start pushing difficulty.

that guy named seb · · Britland · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 205
Dave Schultz wrote: Terrible advice. Why waste a year of climbing with old fashioned pro? Do you also recommend buying a old car without airbags, headlights, turn signals, or a radio and driving that for the first year so you know what is used to be like? OP: If you cannot afford cams, sure, buy hexes. You ultimately will waste that money, though, since you eventually will prefer climbing with cams instead of hexes. Just pony up and buy cams, add them when you can. Or just buy hexes, it just blows my mind that people would actually spend money on some hexes in this day in age when cams are so cheap (new, on sale; or used, online here on mp).
Really simple quite frankly, they are cheap, bomber and can be used where cams can't like anywhere that has little friction, wet/icy cracks, polished limestone, slate, the list goes on.
Benjamin Chapman · · Small Town, USA · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 13,267

Dave...did Seb's rational go completely over your head?? You totally missed the boat with your used car analogy. And the rational for taking time to learn to use passive gear before getting cams had nothing to do with having or no having disposable income to afford cams. Placing passive protection takes some time and experience to learn the art. Then, use that experience to greater affect when placing cams. Try laying off the caffeine, it'll help with your interpersonal skills.

Devin Horgan · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 10

Hey Matt, if you are going up the learning curve in trad climbing, I highly recommend you buying hexes.

When I started trad climbing, I couldn't afford the cams, so I led exclusively on nuts, hexes, and tricams for probably 40 of my first 50 pitches on gear. I am very thankful for that experience because it taught me to place efficiently and reach for the right size piece the first time.

So my vote is to pull the trigger on the hexes!
Good luck out there

Kyle Edmondson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 20

And, there are literally no areas where cams don't work. This is an absurd myth. Placements, sure. But all rock types take cams. Moreover, if a placement is large enough for a hex, I can more or less guarantee a cam would fit as well.

Devin Horgan · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 10

I should also add that it was in good ole North Carolina where tricams are the bomb-diggity and hexes are also pretty dope

that guy named seb · · Britland · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 205
Kyle Edmondson wrote:And, there are literally no areas where cams don't work. This is an absurd myth. Placements, sure. But all rock types take cams. Moreover, if a placement is large enough for a hex, I can more or less guarantee a cam would fit as well.
It's not about just taking a cam it's about it working well sometimes hexes are better, there is no denying that cams work well most of the time but there are rock types that can take hexes better than cams.
Kyle Edmondson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 20
that guy named seb wrote: It's not about just taking a cam it's about it working well sometimes hexes are better, there is no denying that cams work well most of the time but there are rock types that can take hexes better than cams.
I wholeheartedly disagree. I have never seen a hex placement that a bomber cam could not replace. Ever. It's one of those myths that crusty old trad climbers like to perpetuate, and it just isn't valid. I know quite a few old school trad climbers, learned to climb in Joshua Tree in the 80s. If you intend to climb above 5.9, it is all about cams. Yes, wired nuts are essential, but again, I know zero experienced climbers who carry hexes. I'm not trying to be a jerk, but the OP is being led to believe he should buy outdated equipment, and these forums should steer him in the correct direction. Hexes are what my dad used in the 70s, and that is where they belong.
eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 456
Kyle Edmondson wrote: I wholeheartedly disagree. I have never seen a hex placement that a bomber cam could not replace. Ever. It's one of those myths that crusty old trad climbers like to perpetuate, and it just isn't valid. I know quite a few old school trad climbers, learned to climb in Joshua Tree in the 80s. If you intend to climb above 5.9, it is all about cams. Yes, wired nuts are essential, but again, I know zero experienced climbers who carry hexes. I'm not trying to be a jerk, but the OP is being led to believe he should buy outdated equipment, and these forums should steer him in the correct direction. Hexes are what my dad used in the 70s, and that is where they belong.
Have you ever climb a crack that had ice in it? Cause shit like that certainly does exist, especially on real mountains. would you trust a cam to hold when you've got two lobes on rock and two lobes on ice? Have you ever climbed a crack that was dirty, or muddy?

Also, if hexes were simply outdated and had no use in the modern world then you wouldn't see 5+ different companies still manufacturing them.
Patrick Michel · · Groveland, CA · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 25

Hexes are nice for inward flaring crack placements that cams will walk out of

jason.cre · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 10

Torque nuts for sure if you are going the hex route.

that guy named seb · · Britland · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 205
Kyle Edmondson wrote: I wholeheartedly disagree. I have never seen a hex placement that a bomber cam could not replace. Ever. It's one of those myths that crusty old trad climbers like to perpetuate, and it just isn't valid. I know quite a few old school trad climbers, learned to climb in Joshua Tree in the 80s. If you intend to climb above 5.9, it is all about cams. Yes, wired nuts are essential, but again, I know zero experienced climbers who carry hexes. I'm not trying to be a jerk, but the OP is being led to believe he should buy outdated equipment, and these forums should steer him in the correct direction. Hexes are what my dad used in the 70s, and that is where they belong.
Never have i seen someone with an intense opposition to hex's, have you ever climbed across a fragile place by any chance? Cams have sheared many a flake off routes that have been protected for the past 50 years with hex's and nuts, you must at least admit that hex's have a situational usefulness in modern day.
CornCob · · Sandy, UT · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 20

If you want to see if hexes will work for you just buy a single hex that correlates to the cam size you place most frequently. Take it on some climbs and try it out where you would normally use the cam. If you don't like it then don't buy more, at worst you are risking like $10ish?

jason.cre · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 10
Kyle Edmondson wrote: I wholeheartedly disagree. I have never seen a hex placement that a bomber cam could not replace. Ever. It's one of those myths that crusty old trad climbers like to perpetuate, and it just isn't valid. I know quite a few old school trad climbers, learned to climb in Joshua Tree in the 80s. If you intend to climb above 5.9, it is all about cams. Yes, wired nuts are essential, but again, I know zero experienced climbers who carry hexes. I'm not trying to be a jerk, but the OP is being led to believe he should buy outdated equipment, and these forums should steer him in the correct direction. Hexes are what my dad used in the 70s, and that is where they belong.
You can't always get a bomber cam where you can get a bomber hex (wet or icy cracks come to mind, but also reverse flaring cracks as mentioned earlier).

I think generally the reason why hexes still exist is you can get 60% of the utility of a cam at 20% of the price and 80% of the weight. They clearly still have their place on many climbers racks.
Kyle Edmondson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 20

Yes, Sedona counts. Lived in Flag for 6 years and climbed extensively there. Softest rock I've climbed. Seriously though, look around. Experienced trad climbers do not carry hexes. Ever. If you like them, go ahead and use them, there are safe placements to be had with them. But directing a new climber to them is a mistake. And as for the alpine comment, while cams are heavier they fit a greater range, so you can get away with fewer. I admittedly avoid wet routes, and I doubt OP is running into a lot of ice in J Tree. That being said, when the cracks are taking hexes, I can find enough options that a cam will work.

Ronald B · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 0

I have a #6 and a #7 BD wired hex to extend the range of my set of nuts on the big end. That #6 is by far my most-used piece of passive pro.

But when I'm working at or near my limit, I'd much rather use cams since I can get a good placement faster.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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