Each issue, we pick the best Quick Clip to run in print and then post it and any other submissions online. Our winning tip is from Jonathan Carter, who wins three Bulletproof quickdraws from Edelrid. Submit your Quick Clips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
After a long fall on a steep climb, you may need to boink up the rope to get back on route. But boinking is incredibly strenuous and slow going. However, you can make this tiresome task significantly easier by using a prusik knot cinched high on your rope and a quickdraw (or two) with both biners clipped to the tail of the prusik cord to create a handle (or handles). Pull up and let go as you normally would when boinking, but now with much greater efficiency. You’ll be back to your high point in no time and still have enough energy to give it another go (well, I can’t actually guarantee that last part!).
Here are our runners-up:
When rappelling on two ropes tied together with a knot, sometimes you want to get the knot pulled down below an edge it might hang up on. Pulling the knot down with you as you rap over the edge can be difficult, as you’re holding at least half your body weight. Instead, grab the two free ends coming from the knot, thread them through your rappel biner, and squeeze all four free-end strands together. This keeps the knot close to your rap device as you feed rope through. It still works if the friction around the rap anchor and over the ledge is high.
When you’re on a multi-pitch climb, the next pitch often leaves to the left or right of the belayer. This potentially positions the belay loop on the opposite side of the tie-in from where the leader is headed, causing the lead line to cross/run over the belayer’s tie-in. Before putting your partner on belay, sneak the belay loop through the tie-in to position it on the same side as your leader, making for a clean, no-cross system.
Tired of being woken up by the sound of a flapping portaledge straps? Throw a simple twist in the strap to prevent it from taking to the wind and ruining your night.
Assuming supply and demand have returned to a pre-pandemic equilibrium in your local area, save the cardboard from an empty toilet-paper roll. Then place it inside your chalk sock for a no-fuss, no-muss refill.
Need to pee but don’t want to wrestle off your boots? ✅
Protect that precious rubber? ✅
Shoes don’t match your garish aesthetic enough? ✅
Crack too wide for foot jams? ✅
Work on those smear muscles? ✅
Want to be weird and get the crag to yourself? ✅
Turn warmups into campus projs? Need a lightweight slip on for far-away/wet/muddy walkoffs? ✅
Welcome to the future of climbing. Croc oversoles will win over your souls.
On multi-pitch routes with long pitches or lots of other climbers, 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 has gone wrong and it’s difficult to shout that far. I’m always surprised I don’t see more people doing this!
—Deon Horner Bourassa
My “climber hack” is to buy cheap water-bottle holders from the dollar store to clip to my harness when climbing (you can rig a clip-off carabiner with duct tape). It’s way less bulky than clipping the Nalgene to the back of your harness, and no need for an extra pack with the bladder in it.
If you’re tired of breaking sunglasses, pick up a pack of safety glasses designed for outdoor use—they feature UV protection, are almost unbreakable, and cost $2–3 a pop. 3M makes a solid choice that I’ve used for years after getting fed up with fragile sports sunglasses snapping in my pockets and pack lids.
In the Alaska alpine, when weight is an issue, I use my freeze-dried meal bags as pee bottles in the tent—much to my partners’ dismay.
Use a piece of 5mm or 6mm cordage to tie your chalk bag around your waist. Without taking any room on your harness, you will always have something with you for backing up a rappel, ascending, and boinking on overhanging sport routes. (Boinking is waaaaay easier with a prusik to pull on rather than just snapping up the rope.)
Hack #1: Rather than tie your cordelette in a loop with a double fisherman’s knot or something like that, tie figure-eight knots with plenty of tail in the ends instead. This allows you to use the full length of the cord whenever it is needed for pieces that are spread apart without having to undo a knot that may be completely welded after a lot of use. It also allows you to halve the length of the cord by just clipping both ends into a single piece.
Hack #2: Store your nut tool in a pair of belay gloves to prevent it from punching holes in your pack en route to the crag.
Ever had a bolt that was just a little too high to reach? Are you vertically challenged—i.e., shorter than the NBA player who bolted the route? Make a stiffie! Grab a Petzl 25cm dogbone—one of the thick, stiff ones like the Petzl Express. Then buy a Mad Rock Trigger Wire carabiner (it has a piece to hold the gate open). Put the trigger wire on the side of the dogbone with the rubber stopper/keeper so it doesn’t really move much and, voila! Activate the Trigger Wire and reach high to clip that bolt ladder on Half Dome! Also after clipping and getting situated, consider flipping the draw around, as Petzl doesn’t recommend using the rubber end of the dogbone on the bolt side of the draw.
When you’ve fallen on a nut and welded it into the rock, you don’t have to bash the nut tool with your bare hands. A locker, a belay device, or a sufficiently sturdy water bottle can act as a makeshift hammer or finger guard, or you can place it at the end of the nut tool to have a bigger surface to hit with your fist. More power, less hurt!
Climbing-pack maintenance and organization: Hold onto old harness packaging for better pack organization. Most companies overbuild their packaging for harnesses, which makes them the perfect “free” burly small bag for a medical kit for your pack. They also make phenomenal snack bags!
When setting up a rappel, if you have thrown the rope (rather than saddlebagged it), pull up some rope then step on it, leaving plenty of slack above your foot. This will make it much easier to load the rope into your rappel device as well as rig your third-hand backup.
Whenever I’m on a single-pitch trad route, I’ll stuff extra slings into my pockets of my jacket or even pants. This keeps me from using them to extend a piece and forces me to save them for anchor building.
Gopher pole with a 3D-printed Epic stick clip on the end. Pole is 26’ feet long 🙂
This can be used as a stick clip and is much cheaper. I call it Old Clippy. For this you will need two carabiners (one preferable Mad Rock Trigger Wire) and a piece of plumbing pipe. You morph it together like the Power Rangers, and it makes stupid-runout routes more manageable. I recommend carving out one side of the pipe to stabilize the carabiner.
I did not come up with this idea—I picked it up while living in Kentucky and climbing at the Red River Gorge. The Red is known for its pumpy sport climbs, many of which have high first bolts. A stick clip is a must. I now live in a Colorado and get comments on my stick clip nearly every time I hit a crag. I tell people it’s my “redneck stick clip,” straight from the hollers of Kentucky. The components were lying around my house but can be easily be purchased for a much lower price than a store-bought stick clip. Just attach an alligator clamp to the end of a painter’s pole with hose clamps (zip ties or tape also work). I hope this prevents some folks from decking. Stay safe out there!
I was tired of wearing out my sport draws by toproping through them, so for my sport-climbing kit I created a “locker quickdraw”—using a small C.A.M.P. locker for the bolt side and a locking Edelrid Bulletproof carabiner for the rope side—which I use to set up topropes. This draw comes in handy in other circumstances too, such as cleaning a top anchor.
Keep a small length of 1mm cord tied to your helmet by the plastic clip area—use it to secure your headlamp in place for climbs where losing your headlamp is not an option. This cord doubles as a rope cutter in case of emergency: Use it to saw back and forth and cut larger ropes.
Instead of doubling a 120cm runner, then looping it around your shoulder, make a loop so that a carabiner joins it (don’t put it over your head, pull it around your back). This way, even if you have bandolier-slung cams, jackets, etc., you can just unclip the carabiner, and pull it out from underneath everything!