By George North
It wouldn't be right to start a review of the DMM Offsets without mentioning how they came into existence. Offsets were originally produced in both their brass micro wire, and alloy macro wire (a purely invented term!) forms by HB Climbing of Wales. Unfortunately when HB went bust, Offsets, which have always had something of a cult following, disappeared from the market with them. Fortunately for lovers of all things irregular DMM bought the tooling equipment for making these little beauties and in 2008 started up production - first of the larger alloy sizes, and then later of the brass micro-offsets. The brass offsets were essentially unchanged apart from the removal of the plastic sheath around the wire loop.
The Alloy Offsets have had a few tweaks however – they’re anodised in the same colours per size as walnuts for a start. They've also drilled weight saving holes in the two largest sizes to shave off a couple of grams of weight – every little helps as the advertising slogan goes. The wires are also now countersunk where they bend around the head of the nut. Because the wire is under extra tension here this is often where fraying occurs so your wires should be less prone to damage and might last a bit longer.
Being a big fan of the original HB brass offsets I snapped up a set of the new DMM HB Brass Offsets as soon as they became available and have used them ever since to provide many a sneaky gear placement. It was only recently however that I purchased a set of their larger alloy cousins. I was at first unsure as to how they’d fit in with my existing wires (one set of DMM Wallnuts and one set of Wild Country Rocks). However since investing in them I've placed them on every route I've done and except on short pitches I’d probably now always carry them as either a second or third set of wires as the route dictates. It’s not so much that you can place offsets where you wouldn't be able to place a standard wire – it’s just that in so many flared placements they offer a much better fit – sometimes transforming a marginal piece into a bomber one. As with any bit of new kit it takes a little while to get your eye in to spot potential placements. As well as making the nut sit better in irregular cracks, the recesses on either side of the head allow for some really creative placements, especially in the irregular pockets so common on volcanic rock. My only real gripe with the DMM Offsets can also be levelled at Wallnuts and Wild Country Rocks: why has the colour coded tape been removed from the swage?! When selecting a wire from a bunch the swage is the bit you grab hold of so it seems logical to me that this is the bit that is colour coded. Obviously anodising the nut looks prettier but this is hardly the point of climbing gear! This rather personal gripe aside I’d recommend a set of offsets to any serious trad climber looking to compliment their main set of