Deep in the backcountry, self-reliance is key, and the savvy climber will want to carry a knife for various climbing and non-climbing related applications. The Trango Shark ads a few teeth (har har) to the traditional nut tool by including a foldable knife in the handle. The result is an ok nut tool that's on the heavy end of the spectrum, and a short knife that's perfect for removing tat or cutting ropes, but not so good for cleaning fish or cutting your avocados. Probably not what Trango has in mind for their nut tool/knife combo, but be aware that while it can replace your knife on route, don't count on it for your backcountry kitchen.
Trango Shark Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Comes with a built-in knife
Cons: Heavy, doesn't have its own clip-in biner
Our Analysis and Test Results
As nut tool, the Shark isn't especially light like the Metolius Feather, but it's sturdy like the Wild Country Pro Key, the Metolius Torque the Camp USA nut tool. Our testers weren't sold on the tool/knife combo and prefer a nut tool with its own clip-in beaner and more ergonomic handle.
Constructed from stainless steel, the shark has the burl factor on lock and is ready for repeated punishment. It showed no signs of damage after repeatedly bashing on it with a grigri while trying to free a nearly-welded brassy. The profile on the business end isn't as narrow as 87987987 but still is able to access all but tiniest of nuts.
For cleaning cams, we like a tool with a curved shape for hooking triggers, trigger wires, and holes in the lobes. The Shark isn't particularly curved a the end like our favorite tool, the Metolius Torque.
Ease of Handling
In terms of ergonomics, the Shark suffers from the tool/knife combo design. It doesn't have its own clip-in biner, so you need an extra biner to keep it attached to your harness. The biner also prevents the knife from opening accidentally (awesome), but the biner can get in the way when you need to bang on the end with a hammer or your palm. The handle of the Shark doesn't include a smashing plate (a blunted end) like the Torque or the Pro Key, a critical feature if you're removing loads of weighted nuts on an aid climb.
Made from stainless steel, this is one of the toughest tools out there, like fixe a broken portaledge strong. Potentially overkill strong.
This is the heaviest tool we tested, weighing in at 21.5oz, but if you want to bring along a knife, the combo could save you a few ounces.
First ascents, backcountry adventures, and routes that involve a little gardening are all great times to bring along the Trango Shark.
This tool is relatively expensive because it includes a knife, and will shake you down for $24.95 Again, if the combo appeals to you, you stand to save a few dollars by purchasing the tool/knife combo.
At the end of the day, it's all up to your preferences and individualized needs. However in the spirit of decisiveness, our testers ere on the size of buying a really nice nut tool like the Metolius Torque and an awesome knife a la the Petzl Sparta instead of combining the two into one device.
— Ian Nicholson