Here’s the first of the written feedback we’ve got on LittleHammer, this is from a very experienced climber and aid specialist who goes by the name ‘M9’ online, Originally published on Chockstone the Australian climbing forum, republished here with permission of the author. Thanks M9 for your considered response, this is part of the conversation that will help evolve LittleHammer.
I received my LittleHammer in the mail late last week, so many thanks climbdesign!
I too had opportunity to use a prototype on the North Wall over the Buffalo Aidfestival weekend.
It is a beautiful bit of craftsmanship and works really well, though takes a little getting used too.
My initial impressions of it were;
1). That although heavy-ish it is nowhere near as heavy as I was expecting it to be, and it’s certainly lighter than the lightest of aid hammers!
2). It is sturdy and will stand up to a lifetime of use/abuse.
3). The engagement notch for the weight when loaded could use possibly being a fraction deeper for a more positive ‘catch’ for fumbly-fingered hands like mine…
I notice on my newly delivered LittleHammer that indeed the engagement notch is a frag more positive than the prototype I used (good!), and the drive-spring is also a tad stronger.
The biggest issue I had with that ‘catch’ was my inept use of the device as I was ‘loading’ it by retracting the weight from the wrong (bottom) end. Although loading it in the wrong fashion is still easy enough to do single handed, it engages much more easily when the drive weight is correctly retracted by holding its upper end!
In usage I was impressed with its ability to easily dislodge passive protection that had been fully body-weighted as part of upward progress in ettriers (in my opinion a much more solid ‘placing’ of the gear than would normally be achieved in most trad climbing placements which are often unweighted), and this primarily […] due to the precision of applying appropriate force vector to the nut.
Many nuts were removed and the only nut that required several shots from the LittleHammer was one of the old fashioned wide-thin profile types (ie the type that have very little taper lengthwise for their size), and this because it tended to rotate with the shots but still be pinched down upon by granite rugosities (that had scored into the aluminium) holding it in that particular placement. All other placements pretty much were freed with a single shot.
In fact it is such a nifty gadget that one is tempted to simply reload for a second go if the pro doesn’t entirely disengage from its seating first time, instead of simply scraping or lifting it out as per traditional nut-tool usage as it is also capable of doing!
In summary it works and very well at that. I am glad I bought it and supported the innovation that it is.
While adding the new item to my rack ready for my next outing I compared my old nut tool in one hand and the new one in the other to judge their weights. I found that due my old nut tool having been modified as more hand-friendly for stabbing pro with, by the addition of being bound with elastoplast tape, the weight of the LittleHammer really is favourably comparable to my old tool.
A point of consideration that my old tool prompted, is due its rear-end claw-like feature that would still likely be better at removing stuck slcd devices due being able to ‘claw’ the trigger wires if the placement allows that feature to fit.
I notice the LittleHammer has the model number engraved on it, so I guess that climbdesign.co is allowing for future innovation which may address such issues. In the meantime I shall simply be as careful as I have been in the past to not get slcd’s stuck!
After more climbs with LittleHammer M9 had these thoughts about the reverse impact function:
A bit more unsolicited feedback, on the reverse-hook feature of LittleHammer…
I recently cleaned (by using a LittleHammer), a hand placed BD Pecker #3 that had been vigorously bounce tested and body-weighted during an aid ascent. It was in a deep and secure placement, and wouldn’t unseat with the usual tugging on its quickdraw, or scraping it with the hook function of the nut tool.
On this climb I didn’t take an aid hammer or funkness device (which based on my previous experience probably would have removed it with one shot), but relied on the LittleHammer to see how effective it would be for removing such recalcitrant aid protection…
This particular placement took about 8 ‘shots’ using the reverse-hook feature of the LittleHammer, however I’m pleased to report that it did retrieve the Pecker.
The first and second of those shots were misfires due to my unfamiliarity with using that feature; and many of the subsequent shots were me getting used to not causing the protection to tend to pivot somewhat in its placement, i.e. lining up the ideal vector to free it.
Up until this incident I had slight reservations about the LittleHammer reverse hook feature for removing anything other than smaller size esoteric aid pieces, because it (the reverse hook) visually appears to have only a slight ‘catch-notch’ for this design feature.
A Pecker #3 is a significant sized bit of aid gear when its full tang is engaged in its placement as this one was within a narrow granite crack, rather than just the tip of its beak, and the leader who placed it was learning aid so was extra vigorous in the bounce testing of it, so it was indeed well seated!
With further experience (on the part of that leader), that placement would have sufficed without being tested in that manner and would likely have come out with only one or two well aimed LittleHammer shots…
I was pleased that I didn’t have to return to the car to fetch a heavy hammer to get my gear back! ☺
In summary; the reverse hook feature works once the user gets used to using it.