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To Hex or not to Hex


To Hex or not to Hex

I have been in the market for a set of hexes for some time now.  What I’ve found is that even when I have cams and nuts, I quite often feel that I need a nut that’s just a little bit bigger – to slot into a gaping hole and protect me from a fall.

So when I saw someone selling their hexes for £20 I jumped at the offer.  When I arrived to collect them I realised with much consternation that they all looked like this:

Old School Hexes1

‘What do I do with those?’, I thought, and the person I bought them off must have seen my brain ticking away, as he piped in at just the right time ‘7mm cord (cordelette) with a double fisherman’s’.

Thankfully I have done my homework on knots and dutifully bought 4 metres of 7mm cord from the nearest shop.  The smaller hexes seemed to be a bit small for the 7mm, so I made a judgment that 6mm would also be sufficient and proved to be right when I looked on the instructions inside the packet:

Old School Hexes 11I also learnt a few things by looking at the safety and storage information on the label.

The next question was – ‘How long does the cord need to be on a hex?’.  At first, the answer evaded me – I had a good look around a few websites and eventually Andy Kirkpatrick gave me the answers I needed with just the right amount of technical information to make me feel happy with my decision… www.andy-kirkpatrick.com

So…How long did I make my cord?  2 metres long for alpine and mountaineering or 20cm for general climbing?  I was put off having 2 metre long cord hanging around my ankles, as I’m only 5 ft tall!!  Still, I decided to go longer than I had initially intended, but also decided to store them on my rack at half height by pulling the cord through the centre-holes.

This seems to work.  Once it’s in use, I can pull down the cord and clip the rope directly into a carabiner – saving on quickdraws too.


What to use a hex for..

I love using hexes for setting up belays.  As long as the rock sounds good when I give it a good tap and I’m confident in my placement of the hex, I feel that a hex is a really secure method of creating a belay.  The downsides of these hexes is that they are old school and therefore very heavy.  I call it winter practice/additional exercise to make myself feel good though.

What do you use your hexes for and what do you think of them… Let us know in the comments box below.

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Happy hexing everyone.


1 Comment
  • Beth
    October 30, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    This is really useful info Emily cheers!!

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