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Frost Works Sentinel Nuts Review

   

Nuts and Stoppers

  • Currently 4.2/5
Overall avg rating 4.2 of 5 based on 7 reviews. Most recent review: July 3, 2010
Street Price:   $8 ($72/set)
Pros:  Easy to clean, easy to assess nut placement.
Cons:  Heavy, not as useful in flaring or irregular cracks.
Best Uses:  Trad climbing.
User Rating:     
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 (5.0 of 5) based on 6 reviews
Recommendations:  100% of reviewers (6/6) recommend this product
Manufacturer:   Frost Works
Review by: Ian Nicholson ⋅ Review Editor, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ March 3, 2010  
Overview
Frost Works nuts use a time-tested design that sets these apart from other nuts. Tom Frost, along with Yvon Chouinard, designed and engineered the first artificial chocks manufactured in North America. In the early 1970s, they led climbers away from hammering pitons and toward the clean climbing era. Decades later, Frost re-introduced the straight-sided, tapered design with the Sentinel Nut. They are easier to remove than any of the curved or offset nuts we tested. The nearly strait-sided taper also makes determining the quality of the placement easier, an especially nice feature for beginners. These come in a longer cable version that is designed to save the use of a sling or a quick draw.

They excel in smoother rock types and have a harder time in heavily featured rock. We like the size range they offer and we used both sides of the nut more than with almost all other nuts we tested. They are a great nut for those getting into traditional climbing because they are inexpensive, easy to clean and easy for judging the quality of a placement. They don't fit as broad a range of rock as many of the nuts we tested but are a durable nut that won't break the bank.

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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

Likes
The Sentinel's nearly strait-sided taper was the easiest to clean of any nut in the review. The Sentinel also has relatively long faces, which provide greater surface area and thus greater holding power. The Frost nut has an excellent taper along both axes. We used Frost nuts more than others in both orientations because the taper was more aggressive in the side-to-side (less common placement style) orientation. The larger sizes of the Sentinel nuts were among the nicest to place, not sliding around on the cable when we adjusted our placement (as happens with Black Diamond, ABC or Omega Pacific models). We also like the price, Sentinels being among the least expensive nuts we tested. Of the nine sizes available, we liked the small ones and found that none of the larger sizes were too big. Also, Sentinels were not as good as any of the offset models in flaring cracks but their aggressive taper made them appropriate in some pin scars.

Dislikes
The nearly strait-sided faces didn't fit into irregular rock types as well as most other models. The Sentinel nuts also performed below average when it came to parallel sided cracks; we rate them just below BD Stoppers and Wild Country Rocks on a Wire. In the longer, cabled version they got tangled more and also hit us in the knee if we racked them on our harness. Sentinels were the only nut we tested not to have anodized heads, which made hunting for the correct size more difficult. Sentinels were the heaviest nut in the review.

Best Application
Sentinels are great priced nuts with a design that has stood the test of time. Easy placement assessment and a nice size range makes them a good selection for beginners. These nuts favor, but aren't limited to, smooth rock such as that in Yosemite, Index and the Adirondacks, but are among the poorest nuts we tested in more heavily featured rock. As the heaviest nut we tested, Sentinels are a poor choice for alpine use or climbers looking to shave a few ounces.

Value
Frost Sentinel nuts are a great deal. They are a good rack to build from and learn to climb on. While not as versatile as many nuts we tested, they work well in common bottleneck placements. They are tough, easy to clean and it is easy to assess their placement quality, making them an excellent choice for climbers breaking into the sport.

Ian Nicholson

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: July 3, 2010
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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 (5.0)

100% of 6 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
6 Total Ratings
5 star: 83%  (5)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 17%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 6 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
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   Jul 3, 2010 - 12:00pm
Steve Grossman · Climber · Seattle, WA
Another dimension to Frostworks is that it's just Tom. When you order your set from him, Tom himself goes out in the garage and swages them up! Handmade by a legend…Can't beat that!

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Dec 21, 2009 - 10:17pm
kimgraves · Climber · 2 exits North of the Gunks
(full disclosure: Tom is a friend and I coded his website). I grew up using the original GPIW nuts and always felt they were the perfect nut. Easy to size, place and inspect. But the new nuts are even better in all the above ways. I've placed friends curved nuts and find them impossible - at least for this old brain; they stick before you're ready to set them and then they're hard to remove. Tom's tapers just make everything easy.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Dec 20, 2009 - 05:49pm
Steve Grossman · Climber · Seattle, WA
Sentinel nuts are what I carry having retired my older regular and half sized Stoppers a while ago. While I really like the original configuration of the Stopper in its ability to allow shallow sideways placements, the Sentinel nuts are more square in cross section and rotate more easily for keyhole placements. I tend to use keyhole placements in irregular crack systems and because they are more secure against outward pull and stabilize the belay system under load.

Should you need to give a Sentinel Nut a stout yank or happen to fall on one, they clean easily and are hassle free while maneauvering them into position. Sentinel Nuts are far easier to see, size and slot than any other configuration whether you are just learning or are an old pro under pressure. A quick turn and you are in the wider attitude with its perfect degree of taper and offset.

The long cabled version is really useful while alpine climbing where block chocking is common and they thread more easily under and around awkward spots.

Tom sells these nuts as a service to climbers like myself who prefer the straightforward shape and greater utility that Sentinel Nuts offer. They are a joy to place and remove and by using them I maintain a satisfying connection to the Stoppers that allowed the clean climbing revolution such great success almost four decades ago. Sentinel nuts are even better! Get some!

FROST- For Routinely Outlandish Staunch Traditionalists--- Like ME!

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Dec 19, 2009 - 08:14pm
Captain...or Skully · Climber · Where are you bound?
They're damn good gear. I have a few and I like 'em a lot.
A set of these will take you places. High, freaky places.
Thanks, Tom.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Dec 16, 2009 - 12:03pm
Doug Robinson · Climber · Santa Cruz
These are my favorite nuts, by far. They hold really well with the long taper, and the angles are steeper, making them fit better in greatly bottle-necked placements. As a guide I consider their ease of removal a big plus; clients can get them out without a lot of hassle and distraction, and without a nut tool.

I cut the wire off all the bigger ones, drill them out, and put them on cord. That lightens them up a lot and often saves the trouble of a quick draw. Frost himself cast his engineering eye on my modification and says they are still strong. He sometimes sends me just the nuts without the wire, which saves us both some hassle. Getting them set up in a jig to drill is not easy, though.

Slinging them on cord has several advantages. Better shock absorber — they stay in. Lighter. Less need to add a draw or runner. And since I use chunks of actual climbing rope whenever I can (not accessory cord), it adds dynamic load reduction to the whole system, especially reducing peak force at the top piece. In a fall, that's where the highest load is concentrated in the entire system. So if it helps keep from ripping the nut out of the crack, the one that's saving your ass, that's a good thing right?

Best nuts ever!

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Dec 15, 2009 - 07:54pm
Anonymous · Climber · CA


Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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A set of Frost Sentinel nuts
A set of Frost Sentinel nuts
Credit: Ian Nicholson
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