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Real Name: Jacques Breitenbach


Post by jgb » Thu Mar 01, 2012 4:11 pm

I don't get to climb a hell of alot these days so when I do its usually on easy routes (F2 or 14/15), trad that is. I admit when I did climb alot I only climbed 18/19, trad that is.
I still have my trusty rack of a double set of nuts, 10 hexes and 5 cams. I've never liked the cams much and would always go with a hex if I could and still will, admitedly on F2 I'm generally not hanging upside down on one finger when I place them.

Reading the forum lately I don't ever hear any talk about hexes anymore? Even the trad rack on offer from BD for the tradathon does not include one hex. I can understand that at very high grades placeing a hex might be too cumbersome but it seems that at that grade the guys have prepped exactly what goes exacly where anyway. So I was just wondering am I still stuck in the dark ages or is there still a place for hexes these days? Has cam technology just become that good? Bearing in mind I just read the story about Brian and the ping ping ping thud? Or maybe the grade I used to climb is just too soft?

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Re: Hexes?

Post by ant » Thu Mar 01, 2012 4:27 pm

Hexes still have a vital role.

Particularly on the lower slopes of Table Mountain, as an anti-personal device.
Alternativly in the hex in winter - if you are ever lost in a whiteout it is much easier for rescue teams to locate you with a set of them clinking around your ankles.

For trad climbing under standard conditions however they are becomming less commonplace. Modern cams are significantly better and more reliable that those 15 years ago.
I climbed with a hex to stand in as a double for larger cams when I was a student, but have rather just bought more cams now. Those on a budget will still find them useful, but the factor is cost, less-so than security.

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Re: Hexes?

Post by vander » Thu Mar 01, 2012 4:31 pm

I'm no bigshot climber, but there are few things in life that make me smile as broad as a well placed hex :thumleft:
Chuck Norris wears Ueli Steck pyjamas

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Re: Hexes?

Post by jgb » Thu Mar 01, 2012 4:54 pm

Ha ha good point Ant, I have of late on a few walk in and outs actually made sure my biggest hex is near by just in case :lol:

Chris F
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Re: Hexes?

Post by Chris F » Thu Mar 01, 2012 5:56 pm

I often carried them on bigger low grade mountain routes where you are likely to encounter wide cracks but due to their fiddly nature I rarely use them. They were always in my rack I take along when doing single pitch routes but usually I scope out the route beforehand and invariably leave them off the rack, and the less you use something the less adept you become at placing it. Recently I got some of the big WC super rocks (11-15) and found I use them much more than I ever used hexes, guess because they are a natural extension of my nut placing skills?

I still carry hexes on winter routes though, they seem to sit better in iced up cracks, having a wider contact surface than the big rocks.

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Re: Hexes?

Post by Brussel » Thu Mar 01, 2012 6:30 pm

Vander I agree with that sentiment.

I had (I left on TM in a late night abseil) a medium hex, just one. BUt that thing in most placements I would be happy to take a 50 footer onto - I recon you could hang a bus off them!

one or two are worthwhile on TM

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Re: Hexes?

Post by mokganjetsi » Thu Mar 01, 2012 7:17 pm

i carry 3 hexes but mostly place them as oversized nuts . i think i have only ever placed one where i would rely on the camming action if i were to fall. dig them for ant's reasons, and, if i happen to run out of cams there is back-up. but i rack 12-cams so i guess it won't happen easily. nowadays i think the hex is reduced to the utility-oversized-nut section.

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Re: Hexes?

Post by oubaas » Thu Mar 01, 2012 8:46 pm

Hexes are a total waste of time and weight. Rather carry a full set of cams

Andy Davies
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Re: Hexes?

Post by Andy Davies » Thu Mar 01, 2012 8:57 pm

Is this the hex AA club? Hi I'm Andy and I have 2 hexes on my rack. Whew glad I got that off my chest :lol:

Hexes are flippin cool and they work in our sandstone cracks - vs Yosemite & Moab parallel smooth cracks. They are light, cheap and make for great extension slings. In fact they are so cool, this website has a hex for its logo!

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Re: Hexes?

Post by Gavin » Thu Mar 01, 2012 9:31 pm

In some types of rock they may not have much use. However is SA, most rock is formed in horizontal layers, which are the ideal place to put hexes. Usually better than a cam placement in a horizontal position. They certainly still have a place. Keep using them.

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Re: Hexes?

Post by mokganjetsi » Fri Mar 02, 2012 6:57 am

Andy Davies wrote:Is this the hex AA club? Hi I'm Andy and I have 2 hexes on my rack. Whew glad I got that off my chest
hahahaaaa! :lol:

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Re: Hexes?

Post by WikiDave » Fri Mar 02, 2012 7:09 am

A well placed hex will bring the mountain down !
I carrry six hexes and i love them, I love how they annoy my friends when they clinging off my harness too.With that I carry 13 cams (whats multi pitching again ? )
Most of the time i wedge them like nuts but on the odd occasion i find great pleasure when I can swing them over my head and they sit in the crack above :jocolor:

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Re: Hexes?

Post by BruceT » Fri Mar 02, 2012 8:47 am

Hi, I'm Bruce and I have 5 hexes.
Why hexes are my friends:
1. cheap
2. light
3. rack easily
4. they don't walk out on me
5. easy to assess placements
6. identify me as an old fart and luddite
7. clanging alerts cool FB-enabled youngsters to my arrival, allowing them to depart hurriedly before they are forced to listen to my completely outdated opinions.

But thats just me...

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Re: Hexes?

Post by shorti » Fri Mar 02, 2012 11:26 am

Haha, nice one Bruce!

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Re: Hexes?

Post by DeanVDM » Fri Mar 02, 2012 1:02 pm

Nothing more comforting than to see that a fist sized piece of metal needs to be forced through a finger sized opening in solid rock for the piece to fail.

I also seldomly use hexes in camming mode but regularly use them as oversized nuts. I prefer the slinged ones (vs the hex on wires). I think Camp tricams are better as an alternative to cams. I have been told by a Canadian climber that from time to time he would rack up with a complete set of tricams if he is on a route with lots of parallel (typically similarly sized horizontal) cracks as a second set of cams.

The heavier hexes are also useful to weigh down a peice of directional gear or a slung chickenhead that might slip out with rope movement.

.. as they say practice safe hexing

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Nic Le Maitre
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Re: Hexes?

Post by Nic Le Maitre » Fri Mar 02, 2012 1:08 pm


I've been tradding for several years now and recently replaced my rack, didn't even cross my mind to buy hexes. Cams are so good these days that hexes are not really needed, unless you use them like most people seem to and place them as giant nuts.

Although all my (old and greying (yes Hann, that means you :lol: )) trad climbing buddies swear by them. I think that perhaps they need them because their eyes are failing them and they use the clanking and clinking to echo-locate... :thumleft:
Happy climbing

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Re: Hexes?

Post by Ray » Fri Mar 02, 2012 1:18 pm

I hate climbing without them. Mainly because yes - they are dispensable in a parallel or flaring crack, but cams are pretty useless in a crack that has a narrow opening but a much wider inside (provided you can slot the hex in from the side). Here a hex will make you feel much safer than a loose cam!

Agreed though this is only really applicable to easier climbs. I have used them extensively in climbs graded up to grade 19ish. less so above that grade (in my experience). But even then they make a great stance piece usually at some point when you have used all your cams...

Whenever I leave them behind, I generally regret it.

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