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Preferred hex brands, and wired vs slung?


Original Post
Daniel James · · Chicago · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 95

Let's just for the sake of this thread operate under the assumption that for whatever reason (cost, low friction environments, weight saving, love of incessant clanking...) hexes do have a place on some people's trad racks.

With that out of the way, if you do climb with them, what are your preferred hexes?  I've climbed with Black Diamond's hexentrics (or more properly old Chouinard hexes on cordalette) and DMM torque nuts, but never Wild Country Rockcentrics or the Metolius Curve Hexes. 

With Black Diamond I definitely appreciate the range of sizes available, and that's been my biggest plus.  The DMM ones seem to have a larger range for active placement which is nice, as is the extendable sling (though that's obnoxious for the second to re-rack I've found).  I also have limited experience with wired hexes, instead having mostly used slung/cordalette, and was wondering what pros/cons people felt each had.  


Tim Neumann · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 40

I really like the DMM ones. They place super well and the extendable sling is right on considering I mostly take the hexes alpine climbing to save weight. Looking at the aspect of sling vs wire I feel the sling works in favor of keeping the hex in place and not walk out of the crack because it's not as stiff as a cable. Seems important to me since hexes don't keep themselves in place like SLCDs do.

Patrik · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 30
DanielJames wrote:

Let's just for the sake of this thread operate under the assumption that for whatever reason (cost, low friction environments, weight saving, love of incessant clanking...) hexes do have a place on some people's trad racks.

With that out of the way, if you do climb with them, what are your preferred hexes?  I've climbed with Black Diamond's hexentrics (or more properly old Chouinard hexes on cordalette) and DMM torque nuts, but never Wild Country Rockcentrics or the Metolius Curve Hexes. 

With Black Diamond I definitely appreciate the range of sizes available, and that's been my biggest plus.  The DMM ones seem to have a larger range for active placement which is nice, as is the extendable sling (though that's obnoxious for the second to re-rack I've found).  I also have limited experience with wired hexes, instead having mostly used slung/cordalette, and was wondering what pros/cons people felt each had.  


I have played with BD, Wild Country, and Metolius. I strongly prefer the Metolius curved hex. I don't like the wires though, so I cut them off. 

If you have played with the old-fashioned straight-sided nuts and found them harder to place than the curved nuts that are the standard today, the advantage of the Metoilus curved hex over the straight-sided BD-style hex is somewhat similar. Both curved nuts and hexes sort of "find themselves" the best spot in the rock. Straight-sided gear take a little more tinkering with. Even though the Wild Country hexes have some curvature, I have not found these to "adjust themselves". Hard to describe. I have not played with any of the smaller sizes of hexes (smaller than let's say a #13 BD nut), so I don't know if the same holds true for those. 

diepj · · PDX · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 0

I really like the WC hexes. I prefer slung for isolation although I haven't much used wired hexes. The WC ones match BD cam colors which is pretty nice. 

Pete Spri · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2009 · Points: 170

+1 metolius.  I have a couple larger ones that I still use.  Definitely sit better than WC ones or BD ones.

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,745

My own hexes are BD's and I like them.  I've looked at DMM; they seem good too.  My partner carries a few WC hexes, and I would advise NOT getting them.  If you are well-versed in hex use, you know that they can be "cammed" two ways.  In the larger of these two modes, the WC hexes do not "expand" sufficiently to get good purchase on the rock.  It's really not a good design IME. Not familiar at all with Metolius hexes.

highaltitudeflatulentexpulsion · · Colorado · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 35

This is like arguing whether you should drink Mickey's or peach schnapps before prom. They'll both get the job done and neither is a great choice. Just like bad alcohol in high school, as time passes and memory fades, you'll end up looking back fondly on the experience. This is why hexes are still made, also Mickey's (RIP Zima).

I like the stiffest wires I can find. I'm not opposed to a layer of heat shrink or tape to give them more rigidity too. I damaged my ears at one too many Spice Girls concerts back in the day, hexes have a very similar sound. You can protect your ears with a very small amount of Great Stuff. Just mask the outside of the hex, give it a squirt, wait a few hours, cut off what is sticking out, and remove the masking tape. Like magic, your hexes will have nice dull sound. Before someone says it, no, you cannot see part of the wire to inspect it after this. The good news is that these are hexes, you're not going to use them enough to fray the wires.

For brands, I like BD. It almost doesn't matter. Find them on sale, used, dropped, or pounded into an icy crack. 

Matt Himmelstein · · Orange, California · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 125

I have both slung and wired BD Hexes.  The wires are good for the smaller hexes, as they can extend your reach.  For the larger units, it becomes a question of if you stust swaged wired or tied cord more.  They are a piece of gear I almost always take with me.  A well placed hex is a thing of beauty.

Dave Kos · · Temecula, CA · Joined Jan 2011 · Points: 55

I don't always use hexes.

But when I do, I prefer Wild Country Rockcentrics.

Michael A Parker · · Tulsa, OK · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 2,696

I'm a huge fan of the DMM Torque Nuts.  They are color coded to approximately match the comparable size of a cam, have an extendable sling, and have a fairly wide range of placements due to the various ways you can slot them.  

Benj84 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 425

DMM>>WC>metolius>BD.

Christopher Gibson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 90

The small solid BD hexes are racked with my nuts split on two carabiners for variety and my actual set of hexes are DMM Torque Nuts.  

anotherclimber · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 70

It's interesting to note the wide range of preferences and experiences with different brands. Here's my take on it:

I've used the current generation of Black Diamond wired Hexcentrics, the prior generation of Metolius Curved Hex before they soldered the wire in and added a sling to call it ultralight, DMM's Torque Nuts, Camp Dyneema and wired Carvex (discontinued but some old new stock left), and Wild Country Rockcentrics. My order of best to worst would be:

WC>DMM> Camp>BD>Metolius.

The Wild Country Rockcentrics I find are easier to place and easy to set hard. They are the only ones I carry on my rack at this point. If I was going to pair it down some more I'd remove the two smallest ones that get used the least, but they weigh so little it's probably not worth it. The curved shape in the two camming modes allows one to place it easier than DMM and Black Diamond hexes that are not curved. Especially in more textured and shaped rock. It also allows more more expansion possibilities for the cammed mode. The sling is average, but does the job. I've never had one of these rattle loose. Truly bomber and confidence inspiring to climb above. They could though really use one or two sizes larger.

DMM's Torque Nuts are not a bad second place, but their more squared off shape in my opinion does not work as well and makes them less useful and a bit more limiting in placements. They don't set quite as hard as Rockcentrics. And only four sizes is not necessarily enough for some people. Although their idea that hexes should start at or above the largest nut is not a bad idea and their extending sling is brilliant. None of my second's or myself have found the sling obnoxious to deal with. 

Camp's Dyneema and wired Carvex is oddly enough only slightly better than Black Diamond's offerings. Despite them having a really similar profile and shape as the Rockcentrics, they don't seem to set as easily and firmly in place. And the end wise placement is a straight taper, instead of the more typical transverse which Camp advertises as a feature. 

Black Diamond Hexcentrics don't set hard, especially in rock that is more shaped and textured. Not being rounded they are more challenging to place and the wire despite being slung still causes the hex to often rattle loose on a climb even when set as hard as I can, which was confirmed by my second's time after time. 

Metolius Curved Hex is at the bottom of my list. I found that these consistently cannot be set hard no matter how I tried. Every time I placed and set them as hard as I could, my second would say they rattled loose and lifted right out of the placement despite being slung. They are less stable in a horizontal placement than other hexes, likely due to being narrower. Meaning sideways pulls will rattle them loose. Whereas Wild Country and DMM hexes just become set harder. The curved sides do not work well either unless you place them in rock that matches those curves which I find is rare in a constriction. 

In my opinion slung hexes are better, DMM's extending sling the best. They keep rope movement from effecting the placement and rattling them loose and often times negates the need for an alpine quick draw on them. The extra reach of a wired hex in placements over your head, particularly when you can't manipulate the head for the best placement is not worth it. A nut or cam is more useful in those circumstances. Better yet, climb higher and make the placement at eye level. If I could have the best of both worlds it would be the Rockcentrics with DMM's extending sling on it.

Small wired hexes I don't find that useful. Firstly you have to work against the resistance of the wire to place it in one of it's two cammed positions which depending on how thick of a wire is used can be challenging. The Camp Carvex wired small hexes were the worst in that regard. They used thick 10kN wire which is almost impossible to work against. Black Diamond and Metolius smartly used thinner 6kN wire for the smaller sizes which is easier to work against in the cammed mode placement. What I've found is when you get down to these smaller sizes it's often difficult to manipulate the hex with your fingers in a crack that maybe smaller than your fingers. This is where wired nuts are often an easier and quicker placement. Yes you can pre-bend the wire in one direction or the other, but it leaves you only with that one cammed placement. That being said, I would someday like to try small hexes that are slung with small diameter techcord that is hopefully easily pliable to see if they would be easier to place in the cammed modes. 

My overall suspicion is that your hex sizes should start the next size above your largest nut you are carrying. 


hikingdrew · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 25

+1 for dmm hexes. Something about them sets better than the straight chouinards or the overly curvy metolius units. I haven't used wild country or others. They also cover a big range with 4 hexes, vs like 6 for the other ones.. They will make you deaf from the high pitched clanging due to the high strength alloy, so I rack them by clipping both top and bottom..

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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