Cleaning brass nuts in sandstone

Original Post
George Perkins · · The Dungeon, NM · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 3,109

Did a sandstone C2/C3 wall this last weekend, with many micronut placements in pin scars on one of the pitches.  As a follower, I wasn't able to clean a few of the bounce-tested brass nuts, hammering on a normal BD nut tool with other gear on my rack didn't work (we didn't bring a hammer), just seemed like I was messing up the cables more than anything so I left them fixed.   Any tricks or advice? (other than offering beer and karma for their return)

I don't mind that we left the gear, other than that it takes the challenge and fun away from the next group; and maybe we'd have wanted it on higher pitches. I've done many trad climbs over the years, and a few other sandstone walls, including Desert Shield, and never had an issue with cleaning gear before, and would like to avoid this in the future.  Thanks.

Rob Warden...Space Lizard · · Between Zion, Vegas, LA, an... · Joined Dec 2011 · Points: 115

A thin steel nut tool, or somthing like a straight dental pick 

Luc-514 · · Montreal, Quebec · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 8,903

Carry a hex to bang on your nut tool? or carry a flat rock in your chalk bag.

CThornton · · Boise · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 68

Using the sides of a heavier cam like a BD #3 to hammer on the end of the nut tool can be handy for stuck nuts. I've heard spitting on stuck gear in desert sandstone can make it easier to remove by dissolving the bond between sand grains, but that's kinda gross and probably contributes to the slow widening of often-climbed cracks. Brass nuts are just kind of a PITA to clean sometimes. 

Ryan Hamilton · · Orem · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 20

I made a "clean aid" hammer for just this purpose. It is a small 6" ball peen hammer. drilled a hole through the handle and now it hangs on a carabiner on the harness of the follower. So much easier to clean bounce tested nuts. Lots of practice with brassies in sandstone on Moonline Buttress and The Titan. Also used on El Cap. Heavier than no hammer, but you don't lose those expensive brass stoppers. 

Sam Keller · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 30

Knifeblade piton + hammer or hex is my go to....

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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