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Passive Protection

Stoppers are a type of Passive Protection and are also known as Nuts. Stoppers are designed to be crammed deep in small to medium sized cracks. Most stopper placements are only appropriate for one direction of pull (normally down).

When placing nuts, the key is to have as much surface area of the nut touching the rock as possible. If the nut is relying primarily on a small crystal on one side you risk having that crystal break, which in turn allows the nut to be released from the rock. An ideal nut placement is often a crack that starts wider than the nut you plan to use and gradually narrows until the crack is thinner than the actual nut. Therefore you can place the nut in the wide section and pull down until the nut becomes 'stuck'.
Popular Stoppers (View all Stoppers)

Micro Nuts
Micro nuts are designed to go into the smallest of cracks. Make sure you check the strength rating on these because they are generally rated for forces smaller than 6kn. A good rule of thumb is that if a piece of protection is rated at smaller than 6kn it is rated for body weight only (aid climbing).

Offset Nuts
Offset nuts have unique widths on either side of the nut. Offsets are specialized gear designed to go into flaring cracks (where normal nuts will not work). Offset nuts are required for some areas and useless for others so ask a local before investing in these.

Organizing Stoppers
Use an oval carabiner to organize your nuts. Oval carabiners let your nuts slide back and forth making it easier to select the right nut. Most climbers organize their nuts on two oval carabiners, one for small nuts and one for large nuts.

Placing a Stopper
Stoppers are ideal for cracks that start wider than the size of your nut then narrow until they are thinner than your nut. The left image shows a narrowing crack. Place the nut in the wider section then pull the nut down until it is constricted by the crack as shown in the center image.

Avoid placements where a nut depends on one crystal. Always try to maximize the surface area the nut has against the rock. If a wider placement is required, nuts can be placed sideways (right image).

Jammed Nuts
The secret to wiggling out passive pro is to start soft. The worst thing you can do is take a nut that is not moving and try to yank it out with all your force (because if it does not that nut will be fixed).

Place the nut tool directly below the nut and slam your palm into it. This will often get the nut moving again. Another tactic is to get the nut tool behind the nut if possible. Place the claw of the tool below the nut. Then use the edge of the crack to gain leverage and pry the nut out. You can tap (or slam) the opposite edge of your nut tool with your palm to increase force.

Especially if the nut has been weighted it is likely jammed straight down in the crack. Try pushing the wire up through the nut (so the wire is on the opposite end now). Place a biner (plus a sling if desired) on this end and pull.

A last resort tactic is to attach a runner from the nut to your rope (so you will not drop it). Grab the runner and jerk it upwards violently. This will allow you to gain a lot more momentum. This tactic will also permanently jam the nut (if you are unlucky) so use this only as a last resort tactic.
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