Tech Tips: How to (Politely) Extend a Quickdraw

Illustration by Jamie Givens
Illustration by Jamie Givens

When climbers “fix” quickdraws on a sport route, they often link one or more draws to make the clip easier to reach from a convenient stance. Standard procedure is to clip a second quickdraw, minus one carabiner, to the existing draw. While this is a great technique to know for lengthening draws while leading, it’s not ideal for fixed draws.

Not everyone will prefer the repositioning of protection caused by extensions, and extendo-chains don’t allow shorter clips. If someone clips into a higher carabiner and thus runs the rope over a quickdraw’s webbing, the nylon-to-nylon friction could lead to a core shot or worse.

Instead, clip the bolt with a normal quickdraw, and then girth-hitch an appropriate-length sling around the draw’s upper biner, enclosing the sling of the quickdraw (see illustration). With this set-up, you can clip low or clip up—and it’s no problem to clip both. A slip knot at the low clipping carabiner will keep it from flopping around and make the clip easier.

When not hanging on fixed draws in Mill Creek, Utah, Lisa Hathaway monitors desert owls and moonlights as a disco diva with the Moab-based band Sparkle Motion.