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Quickdraws are typically used to connect your rope to a bolt when lead climbing. The straight-gate carabiner on the quickdraw is connected to the bolt and then the rope is placed through the bent-gate carabiner on the other end of the quickdraw.

The main purpose of quickdraws is to reduce rope drag. Quickdraws help to 'straighten' the path of the rope therefore making the rope easier to pull. There is nothing worse than having to pull up 30 pounds worth of force (due to rope drag) when climbing.

Quickdraws also makes clipping the rope faster therefore protecting yourself faster.
Popular Quickdraw (View all Quickdraw)

Quickdraw Lengths
Longer quickdraws can reduce rope drag by changing the angle made by the rope at the attachment. Shorter quickdraws reduce the length of a potential fall to a shorter distance below the bolt. A shorter length also keeps the rope carabiner more steady while clipping in the rope.

Parts of a Quickdraw
'Standard' quickdraws, which are typically used for sport climbing, include three main parts. The following names refer to the image (below).

Straight-Gate Carabiner (1)
The straight-gate carabiner is designed to be clipped into the bolt. Straight-gate carabiners are designed so you can tap it against a bolt and clip it very quickly. This carabiner can be exchanged by a wire-gate carabiner.

The Dog Bone (2)
Dog Bones are made out of webbing. They come in many different lengths (typically between three and seven inches). A longer quickdraw reduces rope drag, while a shorter quickdraw reduces the length that you will fall.

Dog Bones typically have a tighter side and a looser side (where the carabiner is attached to the dog bone). Generally you clip the straight-gate carabiner to the looser side and the bent-gate carabiner to the tighter side. By making one side loose the quickdraw can easily pivot reducing rope drag. You clip the straight-gate carabiner to one of your gear loops on your harness and leave the bent-gate carabiner hanging. Therefore if you placed the bent-gate on the loose end of the dog bone you risk having the bent gate flip upside down. This can make an exciting clip become terrifying in a hurry (it will take you much longer to clip the rope in).

Trad climbers generally use runners to create extendable runners. Extendable runners permit you to minimize both rope drag and force on your protection even more.

The Bent-Gate Carabiner (3)
The bent-gate carabiner is designed to hold the rope. Bent-gate carabiners are designed to open much wider than straight-gate carabiners. This permits you to easily slide the rope into the carabiner. This carabiner can be exchanged by a wire-gate carabiner.

'Back clipping' is one of the most important safety concerns to understand when sport climbing. 'Back clipping' refers to an incorrect means of attaching a quickdraw to a climbing rope (slang: clipping). The direction you attach the quickdraw to the rope is very important.

Incorrect ('back clipping') clipping technique is shown below. Notice that the rope behind the carabiner goes to the climber and the rope in front goes to the belayer. Back clipping can lead to the rope disconnecting from the carabiner during a fall.

Direction of Carabiners
The 'standard' method of clipping your carabiners to the dog bone is having both carabiners facing the same direction. The direction that you clip your carabiners to the dog bone is a matter of personal preference. By having the carabiners face opposite directions, you actually use the same direction to clip the rope and bolt.

Clipping Bolts Efficiently
Many climbers use more energy clipping bolts than climbing. Though it may be tempting to clip a bolt as soon as possible it is often safer and more efficient to clip bolts when they are close to your waist. Try to find a good hold to hang off of when clipping bolts.

Practice clipping bolts so you get used to the clipping motion. You want to practice clipping the rope with both hands and in both directions.

Logic: When bolts are higher than your head, you have to pull out a significant amount of rope (two times the length from your harness to the bolt) to successfully clip the rope. If you fall after pulling out that amount of rope, you will fall considerably lower than you would if you fell with your waist at the bolt. By waiting to clip when your waist is close to the bolt you minimize the amount of rope you have to pull up, decrease your fall potential and decrease the amount of time it takes to clip.

Clipping Technique
There are numerous different tactics used when clipping ropes, but the following technique works well in most situations. This technique involves 'pinching' the carabiner. Place your thumb on the backbone of the carabiner and pinch the rope against the gate of the carabiner with your remaining fingers. By squeezing you will force the rope to drop into the carabiner. Once mastered, this technique can be conducted in under a second.

Contributors: Rmsyll
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