You heard it here first - Sgùrr is retailing stoppers starting at £36 for a set of 6. 'Come again?' you might ask, 'in this economic climate?' Now we've got you hooked, allow us to dive into the depths of where these nuts have come from, the specs and why they're such good value for money.
Firstly allow us to introduce ourselves. Sgùrr is a UK-based online shop run by trad climbers Rob and Lucy, and retailing all things climbing - gear, ropes, climbing shoes, clothing and more. And it might just be the place you score your next trad gear deal. We believe in fair pricing, and with the soaring costs of, well, just about everything these days, we hope to reduce some of that financial burden to your rack as well. This is where Kouba comes in.
Kouba is our supplier of trad climbing equipment, making everything from cams to hexes, offsets to Abalaks. We also wrote an article covering Kouba's cam range towards the end of last year - give it a read here if you're interested. So without too much more waffle, let's dive into Kouba's awesome collection of stoppers.
First up are the Vector offset nuts which are consistently Kouba's most popular stopper design, and very similar in form and function to other offsets on the market. Offset nuts allow secure placements in non-parallel/flared cracks, increasing the range of cracks that can be used for protection while climbing. Their edges are also slightly rounded making them less prone to catching when being removed. The best part is that this set of 5 stoppers will only set you back £39.50 (£7.90/unit).
Horns come in sets of 7 and can slot into crack sizes of up to 35mm, and their tapered design permits bomber placements in both sideways and face-on positions with a rating of up to 14kN. A set of Horns from Sgùrr is £48 (£6.90/unit).
Kouba Hex nuts come in sets of 6, ranging from 13 mm all the way to 44.5 mm in terms of possible crack sizes in which to wedge them. Hex nuts can be placed in three different orientations when turned on their axis, thanks to their tapered, asymmetric side faces, allowing a versatile use in a multitude of cracks. You also get more bang for your buck as many comparable hex sets on the market contain only 4 units for a similar price. Kouba Hexes come in at £47 for a silver set (£7.80/unit) and £57 for an anodised set (£9.50/unit).
This is where it's up to you to decide if price or weight is more important as both Hex and Horn stoppers weigh a few grams more than comparable nut sizes in other brands. However, if price is your priority, you're unlikely to find a better deal.
Kouba Duo nuts are the go-to option for those seeking a lightweight range of micro alloys to add to their rack, and come in at £36 for a set of 6 (£6/unit)! The curved geometry and large contact area is specially designed to securely lock into small or thin cracks for secure protection. Duos also use the same diameter of wire for each nut, so even the smallest sizes are rated to 6kN.
The Mosaz presents a more affordable take on popular brass nuts from other comparable brands, coming in at £55 for a set of 8 (£6.90/unit). Brass being a softer metal, these stoppers have the ability to 'bite' into the rock, which is especially useful on the smaller sizes where friction matters on those more marginal placements. The edges of the Mosaz are also more rounded than other brass nuts on the market, making them less likely to become permanently fused to the rock and easier for your second to remove.
Abalaks are a unique design of passive protection, designed to 'cam' into breaks and pockets with no moving parts, similar to a tri-cam. The Abalak has proved a favorite among Scottish winter climbers, thanks to its wire stem being easier to place while wearing gloves and its ability to bite into ice due to its 3-point camming design. Abalaks are also a great choice for placements where the traditional cam doesn't fit - incoming beta alert, read at your own risk! (For example a number 3 Abalak fits into quarried shotholes, such as near the top of Pull My Daisy and helps with the runout!).
If you're interested about the inner workings of Abalaks and how these compare to tri-cams, check out our other UKC article here.
Next up are a couple of stopper sets following a more conventional, but humble, design.
First up are Alu nuts which come in sets of 9 for £65-£75 (silver vs anodised, £7.20-8.30/unit). The large selection of sizes and curved geometry offers solid protection in near-parallel cracks and bites onto irregularities. At an average cost of £7.80 per nut, this really adds up across the set making them a more affordable option if you're looking at building up a trad rack from scratch. By comparison you can expect to be paying an average of £9-10 per nut in other highstreet or online stores.
Rox nuts are also a good first choice of stopper to augment your rack as they cover a wide range of sizes from 6-24.5mm. Rox have also proved a Kouba favorite, possibly due to them being slightly cheaper than Alus, coming in at £42 for a set of 7 (£6/unit), but giving a good range of sizes that will cover most cracks and breaks you may encounter when on the sharp end.
Last but not least, these little keychain stoppers could spark some joy in the eyes of your beloved belayer or make a fun addition to your keys, cementing the fact that trad climbing is your one and only sport by permanently having some gear on hand! Please don't actually use these for trad climbing though, we don't want a court case on our hands.
Thank you for reading and we hope to see you on Sgùrr! Please feel free to email us with any questions you may have at hello@.
Rob and Lucy - Co-Founders