When you're following a pitch on a trad climb, what is a good method for racking and handling the nut tool? My goals are to be efficient but not to drop the tool.

My current system, which I'm not very happy with, is this. I have the nut tool tied to one end of a 30-cm cord, and on the other end I have a tiny biner. When I'm getting ready to follow on a pitch, I clip the biner both to the front gear loop on my harness and also through one of the holes in the handle of the tool (so that the tool isn't swinging loose). When it's time to clean a nut, I have to unclip the biner from the hole in the handle, and usually I also have to remove the biner from my harness and clip it to the climbing rope, since otherwise I can't reach far enough. When I'm done, I put everything back the way it was. This is all very awkward and time-consuming, and although I haven't dropped my tool yet, it seems like it's only a matter of time before I fumble while doing one of these complicated clipping and unclipping operations.

  • 1
    I have mine clipped to a full sized BD Neutrino biner, less likely to fumble then a mini biner but still the chance to drop it is there. I know some ppl wear a thin material bracelet and clip it to the bracelet while knocking nuts out so they don't drop it...
    – AM_Hawk
    Aug 2, 2014 at 1:16
  • 1
    I also have mine clipped to a snaplink (Carabiner). I have a 25cm / 10 inches long 6mm loop of cord attached to the tool using a Lark's Foot and slip my hand through this loop to prevent accidentally dropping the tool. OF course that loop of 6mm cord has another use as a Prusik loop of required.
    – Paul Lydon
    Aug 4, 2014 at 11:24

3 Answers 3


Wild Country's nut tool has a spring leach with a tiny biner. See here

Ive used it many times and the leash provides enough length for almost any position and the spring keeps it closer to you body.


You probably want your tool to have a longer extension, more like 100 cm. If this length bothers you, consider using an extendable bungee cord (e.g. 80 cm long, which you can stretch to 100 cm); twist it so it compacts itself when retracted.

It might be possible to use a spiral/telephone cord, however it may be too bulky (I have seen it used for ice axes, never for nut tools).

  • Elastic bungee is brilliant! Aug 4, 2014 at 14:56

When free climbing with a partner the first time, I explain that he/she owes me a beer for every nut that I need the nut tool for. This drastically improves efficiency since it makes the leader realize that you do not need to over set a nut for it to be secure. For the few nuts I need a tool for, a slight tap is usually all it takes. Every once in a while (e.g., after a fall) I might need to bang on the nut to get it out.

As for what I do with the tool, for free climbing, I tie the nut tool to a full strength carabiner (specifically an appropriately marked "bail biner") with about 18 inches of cord/webbing. I then clip the nut tool directly to the carabiner and the climbing rope directly above my tie in knot. While putting it in this position gets in the way a little and cuts down on the efficiency of using the tool, it is not too bad. I think it is offset by the fact that I do not need to do anything to use the tool.

For difficult import beer style stuck nuts (i.e., ones that a light tap does not get it out), I curse out my partner so it does not happen again. Then I unclip the nut tool from the climbing rope and clip it directly to the nut while leaving the nut attached to the climbing rope though the draw/sling. I let the nut tool hang from the short piece of cord so it has full mobility.

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