Climbing outdoors for the first time can be nerve tracking, you have so many questions usually about what gear to take and what to leave? Do I need a helmet? Do I have the right size rope? Enough Carabiners? What about quickdraws?
While rope size might vary from route to route something that doesn’t vary too much is the number of quickdraws and locking carabiners you need. Quickdraws which are used for clipping into bolts on sport climbs are two carabiners that are attached by dogbone webbing which can usually take around 20N (2000kg)
Most sport routes tend to use anywhere from 8-12 quickdraws with longer routes having sometimes up to 18 bolts which mean 18 draws. This means if you take around 12 draws you will be able to climb most routes.
Locking Carabiners are usually used for two things locking off the rope and bailing! So when heading outdoors for the first time we usually recommend taking 2-3 locking carabiners to ensure if the route gets too hard you can always clip in a biner and lower off and bail! nothing wrong with coming back to get the route another day!
Frequently Asked Questions
How long should my quickdraws be?
Quickdraws usually come in a few different lengths usually anywhere from 10cm sling length all the way up to 60cms Its usually a good idea to have a mix of lengths between 10-16cm and then a couple of longer quickdraws for good measure.
What is Back clipping?
Back clipping is when you clip the rope backward so the side the climber is attached too is on the inside of the carabiner rather than the outside.
As you can see from the above diagram the rope when back clipped has the possibility to pull back on itself and unclip from the carabiner which means you will be taking a pretty big lead fall. If this does happen don’t panic just collect yourself and reclip the draw the correct way. If you have already climbed past it without noticing as long as you clip the next draw correctly you can ignore the back clip however its good practice to ensure you don’t back clip in the first place.
Why is it called a carabiner?
Carabiners are essentially a mental loop with an opening on one side which is known as the gate. Used for Climbing and various other outdoor activity’s the word Carabiner comes from the German word Karabinerhaken which means hook for carbine. These were originally used by early soldiers to carry carbine rifles and later adapted for outdoor climbing.
How long do climbing carabiners last?
A well-maintained carabiner can last anywhere from 15-20 years provided its cleaned and kept in good condition. Usually, you end up swapping them out for newer more enticing gear before the carabiner has reached its the end of its life.