Rock Climbing: The Whats and Hows of Quickdraws

Side view of hand setting quickdraw on a rock

Being a popular sports activity, rock climbing has really gained the attention of many in Australia. The breathtaking mountains, the jagged cliffs and the challenging slabs are things that enthusiasts of the sport want to experience, along with many other benefits.

The truth is that Australia is a beautiful country with some exceptional climbing locations almost in every state, so it isn’t strange that a lot of climbers want to climb even the highest peak so they could feel and immerse in the beauty. If you, like many others, love the adrenaline and want to experience climbing even at shorter routes, it’s strongly recommended to stock on the essentials.

While all of them are fundamental in order for everything to go as smoothly as it’s supposed to, it’s the high-quality climbing quickdraw that’s crucial for attaching all ropes or belay devices to have better control during climbing. Without them, you even won’t be able to climb.

What Are Quickdraws?

Setting quickdraw on a rock

They are pieces of gear designed to attach the climbing rope to the wall. They are made of two carabiners attached to one another by a semi-rigid sewn webbing also known as dogbone. Given the fact that there are two carabiners, one of them is used for attaching to the protection on the wall, while the other is securely fixed to the dogbone with the help of a rubberised keeper.

The main difference between them is that the first carabiner is loosely attached to the dogbone so it could move freely and be attached to some other forms of protection like pitons, cams, stoppers, etc. The fixed carabiner, on the other hand, is designed for clipping the rope while leading and it has to be fixed for greater control.

How Do I Choose the Right Type?

Consider the Carabiners Gates

Even though the same at first, there are three main types of gates on quickdraw carabiners: straight, bent and wire. Given the fact that quickdraws have two carabiners on them, having a combination is the best option you could choose.

Two different types of quickdraw on a rock

Straight–Gate Carabiner

As the name implies, the gate of these carabiners is straight, from the very beginning to its very end. The biggest benefit is that these gates on the quickdraw carabiner are easy to operate tools. As such they’re among the most common choices for one of the carabiners on a quickdraw.

Gate opening carabiner two sizes

Bent–Gate Carabiner

As the name implies, the gates of these quickdraws carabiners are concaved which makes clipping a rope easy and fast. That being said, they can be mainly designed for the rope-end of quickdraws.

Bent-gate carabiner two types

Wiregate Carabiner

As the name implies, these carabiner gates are made of stainless steel wire that has the ability to create its own spring mechanism. Its purpose is to reduce the overall weight, and another great thing is that these gates are less likely to freeze up in cold temperatures, which isn’t the case with alternatives like solid gates.

Wiregate carabiner black

Consider the Sling’s Length

You should certainly consider the sling’s (dogbone) length because longer slings have proven to be more effective at reducing rope drag. However, it’s said that they’re also heavier and bulkier which is considered kind of a major drawback for some climbers.

  • Short Size Slings – These slings have a length of around 10 – 12cm and they can work perfectly when the route is straight.
  • Medium Size Slings – These slings are around 17 – 18cm long and are great for reducing rope drag when the rope isn’t travelling in a straight path or when the route is longer.

Usually, climbers love to combine both of these slings since they offer them a choice to start whatever route they want.

Measuring wire rope slings

How Many Quickdraws Do I Need?

This can mainly depend on how long you plan to climb, as well as when and where. For instance, for most of the sports routes, you’ll need 12 quickdraws. For longer routes of 30m, however, you’ll need around 18, whereas for the extremely long routes, it’s recommended to get more than 24 quickdraws.

A lot of rock climbing quickdraws hanging on a belt

What About the Size and Weight?

Carabiners can come in a range of sizes, and even though the smaller ones are considered the lightest, they’re the toughest to work with. For this reason, climbers prefer the use of medium and larger carabiners. Even though larger carabiners weigh more than smaller ones, still climbers prefer them because they give them easier access which is crucial during the route.

10 different types and sizes of quickdraws on a rock

Is the Colour of Carabiners Important to Consider Too?

To improve efficiency, it’s recommended for carabiners to be in different colours. Quickdraws of different lengths should also be in different colours because this allows climbers to easily identify them. For instance, duller colours like black and silver should be mainly used for bolt end carabiners, while brighter colours like blue, red, green, and even gold should be used for rope end carabiners.