How to Choose Quickdraws
When you are out shopping for quickdraws there are several things to look out for. The three basic questions you need to ask yourself are first of all, how many quickdraws do I need? Second, ask yourself what gate opening you need/prefer. And finally you need to decide on the length of the sling. More advanced climbers know that there is a bit more to it, like carabiner size&shape or sling material&width and of course weight strength ratio.
How many quickdraws do I need?
That depends entirely on the length of the route you are climbing and wether it is quiet straight or not. Furthermore, when a guidebook lists the number of bolts on a route, that’s also your quickdraw total but you always want 1 or 2 extra just in case. And consider that if you use quickdraws to build your anchor you'll need those extra to the bolts.
|average sport route (15m)||12 quickdraws|
|longer sport routes (30m)||16-18 quickdraws|
|sport routes 35m+||24+ quickdraws|
|Routes requiring a 70m rope or longer||12+ quickdraws|
What gate opening do I need?
The 3 main gate openings on quickdraws are:
- straight gate: solid straight gates that are easy to operate
- bent gate: concave gate that makes clipping a rope quick and easy
- wire gate: loop of stainless-steel wire for a gate decreasing overall weight
Also watch out for the keylock system, a system which keeps the carabiner from hooking and catching on your harness gear loop and other annoying places, by giving it a smooth notch at the point where gate and carabiner interact.
it can be found on some straight&bent gate openings. You will most likely pay a little extra for this but it's worth it.
Wire gate are always non keylock quickdraws.
What sling length do I need?
Another thing climbers consider when buying quickdraws is the length of the sling. Sport climbers tend to buy pre-made slings whereas alpinists tend to compose them themselves. Short slings are light but long slings are good at reducing drag.
When the route is pretty straight it is best to use shorter slings for reduced weight, between 10-12 cm.
When the route is not traveling in a straight path and/or more than 12 quickdraws are required, climbers tend to choose a sling between 17 and 18 cm long.
In general for sports climbing it is beneficial to have a variety of lengths with you because the route might develop differently than planned.
Trad climbers usually build their own quickdraws by taking a 60cm or longer sewn sling and clipping two carabiners of choice to the sling.
What else do experienced climbers look for in quickdraws?
- carabiner size - the smaller, the lighter but also more difficult to clip
- carabiner shape - affects the ease of use depending on hand size
- carabiner gate open clearance - affects the ease of use, too small can cause fingers to get stuck while too big can complicate clipping
- overall weight - saving weight can give you an advantage on long climbs
- sling material - depending on material, different weight
- sling width - Skinnier slings are lighter, but they also tend to be a bit harder to handle than a wider sling. Also affects overall weight
- carabiner strength - the stronger, the better. Consider everything else first and then choose the strongest carabiner that fits.
Shop online.........more time to climb.
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