A clever climbing cowboy realized some time ago that he could avoid hazardous soloing to a preclipped first bolt if he just “lassoed” the hanging quickdraw. Instant toprope—without looking like a stick-clipping ninny. The “rodeo clip” is simple enough in theory and very stylish, but if this is your first rodeo, I advise practicing when no one else is around.
Here’s the method.
1. Form a bight in the lead rope a few inches longer than your outstretched arm. Position yourself facing the rock, below the first draw. The lower biner must be hanging free from the rock.
2. Swing the bight airplane-propeller style, parallel to the rock and clockwise if the biner gate is facing left, counterclockwise if it’s facing right. Gradually add rope to make increasingly larger circles, zeroing in on the biner’s gate.
3. Make your move: extend your arm slightly so the bight crisply hits the gate, popping the rope into the draw.
Make sure before climbing that you’re not back-clipped, with the shorter tie-in side of the rope facing in toward the rock; if you are, pull the rope and start over. Or, if the above exercise took you half an hour, simply pull the rope through the draw until the tie-in side is correctly facing out.