Help! Nuts!

10:24 p.m. on May 21, 2008 (EDT)
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Situation: Hammock camper. One or no trees available to hang from. But rock wall or boulder with cracks available. Solution: Nuts vs. being grounded and having to lug around a sleeping pad.

At the Hennessy Hammock site a user showed how he used couple nuts and a carabiner to hang one end of his hammock.

Questions: 1. What size nut relative to the crack do you select. 2. What is the proper way of inserting the nut. 3. How do you remove the nut? 4. Are two nuts at each end of the hammock necessary? The hammock will pull out and downwards between 20-45 degrees. 5. Links to any primers on the use of climbing hardware?

Couple different nuts I came across are the WildCountry Superlights Rock. Curved and tapered allowing slotting 4 different ways. The other nuts are the DMM Alloy Offsets. The double transverse taper relieved sides supposedly make them more secure and versatile. Real world practical or just a gimmick?

11:46 p.m. on May 21, 2008 (EDT)
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There's a little book called "ROCK - Tools And Techniques" By Michael Benge and Duane Raleigh.

The book gives some great beginner tips for setting pro(tection) with the help of drawings and diagrams.

As far as practice goes, I like one suggestion in the book:
...Spend an afternoon at the base of a crag, set some pieces, attach some slings, and jump on 'em to see what holds.

Keep in mind that the forces that these nuts are designed to take during a climbing fall are FAR greater than they will experience hanging static with the weight of you on your tree boat or hammock. Properly placed, 2 nuts will hold you just fine.

I think the biggest problem you will have will be in deciding what sizes of pro to buy and carry. Climbers rack a great variety of sizes so as to be prepared for just about any size crack. As a camper, I suspect you would want to keep your load lighter than that.

11:04 a.m. on May 22, 2008 (EDT)
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To add to what f_klock said - while chocks (and cams, which you did not mention) work well for suspending hammocks (and portaledges), they are technical equipment for protection for climbing. This means they are very much specialized gear. They are intended to take impact loads that result from climber falls, which means that the force of the fall will cause them to wedge firmly. When not properly placed, they can move around and fall out of the crack. They are specialized in the sense that they are shaped to fit a variety of cracks - no particular shape will fit all shapes of cracks, and they are sized to fit a small range of crack sizes - no single chock will fit more than a small range of sizes of the shapes it is designed for. This all means, as f_klock said, that as a camper you will want to keep your load lighter than the variety of chocks needed to meet the full variety of conditions.

Cams get around that somewhat, but they are horrendously expensive (some up over the $100 each mark).

Two books which cover anchoring (the part of climbing that is most closely related to hanging a hammock) are John Long's Climbing Anchors (the most recent edition combines the 2 volumes) and Craig Leubben's book with a similar name.

But, frankly, using chocks (or even more so, cams) for hanging your hammock is way overkill. Try going really "old school" - find some rocks of the right size (trial and error, plus maybe a little creative chipping by knocking the rocks together), jam them into the cracks, and thread a sling or accessory cord behind the more natural chockstones. Cheaper, less environmental impact, materials are almost ready to hand on the spot. That's one of the first "natural anchors" I was introduced to when I started climbing. The artificial metal chocks and nuts came much later, in the mid-60s, during my first summer climbing in Europe. The "nuts" then were actual machine nuts, with the threads filed down to avoid cutting into the cord. Hey, you could try that, too - go to your neighborhood Ace Hardware and buy a variety of large nuts and a round file to clean the threads.

11:29 a.m. on May 22, 2008 (EDT)
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Just don't get a bolt kit ....

11:44 a.m. on May 22, 2008 (EDT)
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Thanks Bill,

I forgot all about the old chock stone/webbing trick. I didn't mention cams simply because of the high cost.

I've made some nut sets too, using hardware store nuts and prussik cord or steel cable. They work OK, but the hexentrics are more adaptable.

And Fred, you are so right - NO BOLTS!

7:29 a.m. on May 23, 2008 (EDT)
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Actually for a hammock you could probably get by with making a couple knots in the rope and wedging them into a crack or behind some natural obstruction - it is going to be a more or less satic load after all -

Heh - I mention the bolts 'cause I once bolted a "route" on my parents chimney ...

7:15 p.m. on May 26, 2008 (EDT)
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If you use the knot only method, you can protect the rope a bit by slipping it through a sleeve made from a short piece of tubular webbing.

9:05 p.m. on May 26, 2008 (EDT)
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Over the years, I have occasionally used the wedged knot in the crack. While it is fairly low risk for hanging a hammock near the ground, it is extremely risky used during a climb. Particularly with synthetic cord or sling, knots have been known to compress and slip right through the crack.

7:38 a.m. on May 27, 2008 (EDT)
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Oh, I agree 100%. We were speaking of hanging a hammock or tree boat ONLY a few feet off the ground. Right arborrider05?

Another trick I've tried is to tie a hitch around something like a tent stake (steel) or small piece of steel rod. The rod jams behind the crack and you can hang pretty securely on it. You can even do something like this in a low tree crotch using a 2" dia.(or so) piece of tree branch.

12:10 p.m. on May 27, 2008 (EDT)
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I didn't mean to imply using a knot for climbing protection - although I recall reading about doing so in an old British climbing book from the 1960's (which also discussed nailed boots and waxed cotton clothing). There is more than enough danger involved in taking a winger while using good pro - using a knot - even as a last resort - would provide more psychological than physical protection ...

8:33 p.m. on May 28, 2008 (EDT)
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Yes, hanging a hammock real close to the ground. Worse case situation assuming no rocks or roots below me is a rude awaking from an 12-24 inch drop. The machine nut concept sounds good to me. Inexpensive & probably lighter. Looking at the costs and weights of #7,8,9 nuts, the machine nuts are probably no heavier. More stuff to string onto the bear DIY bare bells. Outside of that can't think of any other need for the nuts. Reviewing some old posts at hammockforumdotnet there is a set of pictures of couple Scotsman hanging above the tree line using nuts & rocks on the boulder they set up camp by. The load vector off the rock was apparently no problem for properly installed nuts.

August 28, 2014
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