Camp Ballnuts (previously known as Low Balls) are the smallest active protection devices available.
Camp Ballnuts (previously known as Low Balls) are the smallest active protection devices available. They are small enough to fit where standard cams won't, and because of their spring loaded holding power, will set in places where you just can't get a chock to stay. Use them in in horizontal or vertical, parallel sided, small cracks.
Expansion range ratio of 2:1 in each of five sizes. Suitable for cracks ranging from 3 to 18 mm. Sold individually.- Thin crack protection.
The Ball Nuts by Camp USA for the slim and grim. Ball nuts protect fissures as small as 3mm while maintaining a breaking strength of 8 kN.
The Ball Nuts from C.A.M.P. are the smallest active protection in the world! Great for rock climbing and aid climbing; these Ball Nuts are color-coded for fast, easy identification.
Invented in 1987 by John Middendorf and originally brought to market as Lowe Balls, these have become the secret weapon of many aid and trad climbers. These little wonders will work in small parallel-sided cracks where the only other option is pounding a piton. Ball Nuts also work in pin scars and small flares where cams simply won’t fit.
The Ball Nuts by Camp can give you a little giggle with its name, but when you are actually using one on a route or wall, we can promise you probably are not laughing. Designed to be used for the slim and grim placements that are awkwardly shaped or flared on thin routes or long, clean aid climbs. These weird looking "cams" can be used in cracks as small as 3mm while maintaining a breaking strength of 8 kN.
Simply pull the trigger down, place your gear and when released, the opposing forces of the brass ball and aluminum nut holds the Ball Nut in place.
|Chock Strength:||8 kN|
|Expansion range ration of 2:||1 in each of five sizes|
|Maximum Range:||18 mm|
|Minimum Range:||10.5 mm|
|Weight:||1 oz / 29 g (# 1)|
|CAMP Ball Nut Stoppers||$39.95|
Good gear for small cracks.
I used the number 2 to protect the crux of a 24 (low 5.12 in US terms I think) we were working. I bought them specifically as no other piece would fit for the crux. The only other piece below that (which we could get into the crack) was a number 1 RP. We took about 5 falls on the ball nut and it held every time.
However, we did notice that the ball nut shifted about a bit when we were dogging the move, even with a draw on, making the placement a bit sketchy and requiring a reset. It could be operater error, but other climbers I have talked to who also use ball nuts have noticed the same thing. So, I would be particularly careful with ball nuts to check they have not moved if you are resting on them repeatedly.
I think there is room for improvement of the design of these units. For example, the plastic stem is thicker than the size of the head on the smaller nuts, which can make it difficult to set the piece deep in smaller cracks.
Overall, the bottom line is ball nuts do a great job of protecting very small cracks and, for me anyway, did what no other piece could do. But, maybe more than other types of pro, care needs to be taken if they are subject to lots of movement.
I bought the 3 smallest sizes for aid climbing and I have not really used them that much. I would not really want to take wippers on the smallest size. They can be tricky to remove if heavily weighted because of the soft material on the "sliding ball". They are obviously great for small cracks and for podded out pin scars. They are definitely not my "go to" piece but a nice addition to a standard free or aid rack.
I fell on the #3. It was in a shallow flared seam. The ball rotated in the groove of the nut and held fast. The piece was hard to clean, but held the fall like a champ. The 2 and 3 stay on the racking biner with my small stoppers, rocks and microstoppers. Even the larger ones will go places that cams will not. I do not consider the smallest size worthy of lead falls of any size, however.
Definitely a great addition... I wouldn't use them as a nut replacement, as I don't feel they are as secure as a good ole chock, but they definitely protect when nothing else will, and with a strength rating for their size that puts other pro to shame. Their construction and design seems rock solid, just be extra cognizant of each placement as with any piece... Its usually not the gear that fails, but the rock around it.
I have the 2 smallest sizes (1 & 2) of these guys and they are great pieces for your aid arsenal. I have found the 2 smallest sizes to be most useful, above that you can get Black Diamond C3 000's (or other micro cams). These really shine in parallel sided thin cracks where you can't get a decent micro nut placement.
Ever get to that spot where the 2x0 C3 really does not fit, and your sketched on leading on a piece rated at 6kn? Carry ball nuts. Period. You can place them passively, or actively. They suck into the crack, are bomber, lighter than anything (ever leave gear on the deck because 'it weighs too much'?) Get the ball nuts.
I've used these fro about 15 years. I've gotten out of a lot of uprotected positions with them. You will have to watch the placement and make sure they are set correctly, but they are usually very solid and I've never had one pull out when fallen on or weighted.
These are a great addition to your box of tricks.
a huge fan was on Arrow Place at Red Rocks using my partners Ball Nut. Better really for aid and granite routes, but we find our purpose for these bad boys in the sandstone at times. A savior at the start of Arrow Place where cacti wait patiently below the crux decking move.
Awesome product great for protecting small cracks quickly!! I've taken a few good falls on the smaller sizes and didn't budge a millimetre. The only issue is that it can take forever to get them out once fallen on....but hey I didn't hit the deck and that's what counts.
These are great alternatives to pitons and give a greater strength rating over smaller camming devices. I use these a lot. More than I thought I would.