Ball Nuts


Page Type Gear Review
Object Title Ball Nuts
Manufacturer Camp
Page By JScoles
Page Type Sep 9, 2003 / Sep 9, 2003
Object ID 9483
Hits 1275
Camp Ball Nuts are small, very strong and easy to use.

A hybrid form of passive-active protection, Ball Nuts are designed to be placed in super thin cracks, 3-18mm, where virtually nothing else can be placed.

Ball Nuts consist of a protruding half-sphere, the “ball”, that rests in a track of a nut. Like a camming device, you pull the trigger to place it, bringing the ball down a widening track into which it recedes, and putting the device into its narrowest configuration. When the trigger is released, the ball moves upward, wanting to expand back out, thereby camming against the rock.

Downward force, as in the case of a fall, exaggerates the camming action as the ball tends to expand even further. Its just the protection you need when climbing thin cracks.


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JScoles - Sep 10, 2003 1:04 pm - Voted 4/5

Untitled Review
Originally a very novel piece of hardware produced by Greg Lowe (Lowe Alpine fame) in the early 1980s to get around the problem of placing aid in pin scars and shallow cracks. They saw only sporadic production and were hard to find and much coveted by aid climbers. I sold my set a year after I bought them to an aid climber who was desperate for a set. Now that all of Lowe’s climbing gear production has taken over by Camp of Italy they are quite easy to pick up and the price has actually gone down to half of what I bought it for 20 years ago.

I still keep the smallest one on my rack and over the years it has done what it says it can do. That is fit in small cracks where no other cam will go. They will fit is any orientation of crack from horizontal to vertical and any point in-between and even place well in outward and inward flaring cracks. They are well built and stand up to a lot more abuse than regular camming units and are easer to place and come out easy if they have not been loaded.

They will hold almost any fall you might want to take but there is one flaw. When heavily or shock loaded they conform to the rock. This is of course a good thing if you are an aid climber strung out on a dicey A5 and this is just what they were designed for.

However with the ubiquitous use of cams by every Joe Smuck climber out there means most of us will be tempted to use them as regular cams with the result that if we fall on them we might not be able to get them out. Your second will be doing a lot of digging in any event.

All in all a good piece of kit and any good thin aid rack would be well done by them. The design could be improved by using a harder metal to try to stop this conformation problem so they will be more useful in non aid situations and appeal to a more general audience.

4 out of 5 stars since there are better devices out there now.

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