I use old firehose from the local fire department for rope protectors. The department just gets rid of it once its serviceable life is up. Use it over edges or around trees to prevent damage to rope and nature. It’s tough and holds up for years.
For his winning tip in issue No. 372 of Climbing, Sam won a 70m Quest 9.6 dynamic rope from Sterling. Got a great Quick Clip climbing hack for our next issue? You could win a Sterling 70m Quest 9.6, too. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to submit your tip.
After having my climbing partner get stuck for an hour seconding the first pitch of a route I’d just led, my rope got swung across an overhang, sawing into the core. The next time I went out on a multi-pitch climb, I brought 30 feet of 8mm cord in order to lower down a handhold loop off the anchor to give them something to pull up on. This came in clutch to get my partner past the crux of the route, and kept us both happy in the adventure instead of succumbing to the inevitable frustrations that come with getting stuck with no easy solution or even ruining gear.
When the ground is wet or dirty, I put shoe covers over my climbing shoes to keep the soles clean. (The place where I used to work had an engineering lab that required us to wear disposable shoe cover upon entry, which we’d then dispose of upon exiting the lab—so I collected some used shoe covers to recycle.) It looks dorky at the crag, but it works well.
When your adjustable daises start slipping, causing the pucker factor to skyrocket, use the grease from the salami in your haulbag to lube the cam buckles, ensuring smooth action and a distinct reduction in trouser-filling daisy falls.
My quick tip for hand-jam training if your gym doesn’t have fancy crack volumes or if it seems to rain all the time (as it often does where I live, in England) and you can’t get to the crag: Buy a couple of cheap chopping boards and four large coach bolts, and you’ve got yourself an adjustable crack box that you can hang wherever you keep your hangboard!
For new lead belayers or just someone who wants to get comfortable with a new belay device quickly and safely: A great way to safely practice is to clip the first draw and practice from the ground. Your partner will pull the rope through the draw while standing next to you as you pay out slack. This method will allow you to get feedback in the actual belay position as you get comfortable with the device, all while you and your partner are safely on the ground. Work your way through one ropelength and you will be more comfortable with your device, plus your partner can flake the rope in the process too.
When out climbing and it’s really cold, put one of those cheap instant hand warmers in your chalk bag. Climbing with blue hands is not fun.
Keep your boots, tape, and chalk all together by threading your chalk-bag strap through the loops.
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.
When trying to remove the rope or a sling from a carabiner/quickdraw, it can be really hard to grab the draw/biner and dump the rope out of the gate. Instead, bring the rope up out of the basket and clip it through the gate again, and it’ll unclip the rope. Basically, it’s the same action that can unclip the rope during a fall if you’re accidentally backclipped—but here, you’re doing it on purpose.
On multi-pitch routes with long pitches or lots of other climbers nearby, my partner and I bring a set of short-distance radios. It allows for much easier communication once the leader reaches the top of the pitch or if something is going wrong and it’s difficult to shout that far. I’m always surprised I don’t see more people doing this!
—Devon Horner Bourassa
Black Diamond recently introduced a set of wires that can hold a cam down in the retracted position (for the C4 Camalots Nos. 4, 5, and 6), but you can get the same effect with a small wooden stick found at the crag. Just retract any large cam fully (works with BD, Wild Country, and DMM cams), and insert the stick straight through some of the cavities in the lobes. The cam will try to retract, but the stick will prevent it, holding the cam in the retracted position. Once you’re ready to place the cam, opening it slightly will release the stick. Be sure not to select sticks that could cause damage to people on the ground when they fall. I feel there is a diameter sweet spot between being a safety concern and having enough bending strength to resist the springs.
Save that scoop from a protein powder or coffee container and use it to refill your chalk ball. It makes the job easier and way less messy.
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