My rack of passive pro is a bit frankenstein-ish: cobbled together from orphaned chocks at the base of cliffs, bootied on routes, virtually every brand accounted for. I don’t normally shell out cold hard cash for what seems readily available, but going forward I might make an exception for Metolius’ Ultralight Curve Nuts. Aiding my way up the Finger of Fate on the Titan, in the Fisher Towers, Utah, I couldn’t finagle most of my adopted, straight-sided misfit nuts into the crumbly cracks for the life of me. But the UL Curve Nuts, with their asymmetric taper and two curved sides, wedged wonderfully into the rock—er, mud. The cracks were often mean-looking flares, but I was still able to seat the these Metolius nuts well.
Collectively weighing just 11.2 ounces—the #1 tips the scale at .8 ounces, while the #10 is a hardly-cumbersome 1.9—they are a great way to save weight without limiting your protection toolkit. Metolius achieved the featherweight of their chocks by forgoing the traditional swage model employed in the manufacture of most nuts, in which the metal head is free floating on looped metal cable. Instead, the Curve Nuts are fixed at the end of their wires. The cables themselves are also stiff, allowing swifter placement than nuts on more wobbly wires.
The UL Curve Nuts’ distinguishing feature—the elimination of the swage—was also the source of my only gripe. On a 5.10 R pitch in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison that had supposedly been made less serious by the addition of a new bolt, I found said bolt without a hanger. I thought, “Not to worry, I’ll just cinch up a nut on the protruding bolt”—forgetting that with the UL Curve Nuts couldn’t do that. I was forced to run it out like Ed Webster back in the day. An infrequent scenario for sure, but important to know before setting off on an adventure climb with no other nuts save for these.
Some other nice features include a color scheme that correlates to Metolius brand cams, and color-coded “collars” that make identifying and choosing the right nut quicker. The price point is pretty high—more than similar offerings—but you get your money’s worth, and I’d say the price is justified.These nuts, what with their light weight and versatility in different shaped cracks, would be a good choice for long alpine routes, but are great for any trad or aid outing. And if you happen to get one stuck, just give me a call—I’m thinking I’ll try to booty mostly these from now on.
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