Review by: vegastradguy, 2006-08-05
[size=12]Full Disclosure: This reviewer paid full price for these products. This manufacturer does not currently advertise with RC.com – 8/6/06With the disappearance of the fabled HB offset from the market, many folks are looking to other stoppers to fill the rather large gap that appeared. Among the most popular responses you’ll see to the “What are my offset options?” question is Wild Country’s Superlight Rocks- a half-sized version of their regular rocks that also include a slight offset.
I picked up a set on a whim, as I am like as not to do on my regular trip to my local shop. I had seen them in the magazines and was intrigued by the mono-cable and had been pondering them as a ‘micro’ stopper set. Although the thought of using them for micros went out the window upon initial inspection at the gear store (they’re definitely ‘full size’ stoppers…mostly), I bought ‘em anyway because that’s the kind of guy I am.
My first trip out to the crags with them was to do a route called Arm Forces, located on the southern end of the Red Rock escarpment. A single pitch 5.9, the route protects nicely with regular cams once you get about 20’ off the deck. Before that, it’s shaky stoppers and courage that usually does this job. I started up the route and about 10’ up, in what would normally be a questionable stopper placement, I slotted the second biggest of the set into a bombproof placement. Awesome! The constriction would have been problematic for my regular HB’s with their dual cables, and a regular BD stopper would have rattled out of it if only slighty jostled by the rope movement, but the WC Superlight was bomber! I immediately fell in love and the stoppers remained on my rack for months afterward as a supplement to my BD's. They were perfect for the occasional flared placement that often appears in Red Rock sandstone.
However, when packing for my trip to Yosemite, I left these behind in favor of two full sets of the HB's- as great as they were for the occasional flared placement, nothing could top my confidence in the HB's in Valley pin scars.
Size- the Superlights are small, but sturdy in size. Like Wild Country says- it’s a full size stopper sliced in half.
Weight- almost nothing. Put these baby’s on a WC Helium and its like carrying air.
Functionality- Like the HB’s, these stoppers will work like a regular stopper in a pinch, but where they shine is in the slightly flared arena.
Mono Cable- I like this feature. It gives you more options, especially in funky desert sandstone like we have out here in Red Rock. However, this feature also contributes to the stoppers biggest liability.
Strength- even the strongest of them is only rated to 6kn. While this is strong enough to hold a fall, these are not strong enough to climb with abandon on. Most of the low rated strength comes from the mono cable, which by its nature prevents the stopper from obtaining the high strength of a dual cable stopper.
Price- They’re expensive for little stoppers! At a whopping $13 a piece, you got to want ‘em bad to buy a set. Fortunately, there’s only 6 to a set rather than 13 or so. Unfortunately, those 6 stoppers cost the same as a full set of BD’s.
If you are looking for a primary stopper set for your trad rack, I’d pass on these. With only 6 stoppers, all of which have a low strength rating, they wouldn’t be the best choice.
If you’re a stopper lover, though, and are looking for that ‘half set’ of stoppers to add to your full set you’re already carrying, I'd recommend taking a second look at these little babies. Also, if you’re into shaving the ounces, these are a good option- the two largest together still weigh less than a single Petzl Spirit!
Although, I’d recommend them as a good, but expensive option for a supplemental stopper, I would also hesitate to say that these stoppers fill the gap that the HB's left behind. Luckily for you, you can now buy HB's at the Yosemite Mountain Shop, who carries them exclusively![/size]