Monday Climbing Gear Hacks: Cheap Rope Bucket, Cam Speed Draw and More

These reader submitted tips solve common climbing problems, or just make climbing a bit easier.

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“A little climbing-related practical hack: Ever spent 10 minutes untangling an extension cord? Flake your power cord into an Ikea bag just like you would a climbing rope. Start with the male end but leave 16 inches of tail out of the top of the bag, then flake the rest of the cord right into the bag, and store. When you are ready to use the cord, grab the 16” of tail on the male end and plug that into the outlet. The female end will be on top of the pile. Just hook it up to your leaf blower or shopvac (or whatever) and the cord will come out of the bag untangled, like a freshly flaked climbing rope.”

—Tom Pointner

Matt Pelekanos

Save time and energy when placing cams. With a little practice, you can unrack and place a cam in one movement, without the need to hold it in your teeth, elbow, chin, etc. Simply pick up the cam by the finger tabs, using your middle two fingers as shown. This hand position allows you to unclip and then place the cam in a single movement, after a bit of practice. It’s also possible to do this with your normal two fingers, but is a bit more fiddly in the unclip.
—Matt Pelekanos

I turned 60 in January, and I didn’t start climbing until I was 41. I love the challenge of the sport and the way it clears my mind. One thing that irritated me early on was getting my shoes dirty when bouldering or working a sport project. So I went to my local shoe store and bought a pair of Komodo sandals. Those seem to not be readily available anymore, so Crocs will do the job. I have worn mine so long that the straps have long since broken off. They are real handy on muddy or even dusty days when you step off the pad and into these. I even move from boulder to boulder in them. If you can’t go to a store with your climbing shoes to see what will fit over them, my advice is order sandals that are three sizes bigger. I wear size 8 in climbing shoes, and my Komodos are size 11.

—Noel Francis

I’ve started tucking a rectangular box-cutter blade inside my phone case or taping it to the inside of my helmet instead of carrying a belay knife. It doesn’t add weight or bulk, and slices through webbing, rope, and Dyneema with ease.
Matt Hanrahan