Extending a Quickdraw

 

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pic source

Oftentimes when climbing, we encounter situations where we need a longer draw. A route which wanders, a roof, or if you’re trad climbing, a piece that may walk out of place are all good reasons to want some length on that draw.

It’s  a good idea for any sport climber to own 2 to 3 long draws. These can either be store-bought, or self made – simply buy a long dogbone from the climbing store, remove the carabiners from one of your regular quickdraws, and install them on the dogbone, making sure to put the top carabiner in the loose side and the bottom carabiner in the tight side of the bone.

How to make an extended draw

1. Buy one

Bam done. 2 issues with this approach is that your local climbing store may not offer longer draws, you  may not like the ones they have, or you already have a shitload of draws and don’t want to buy more.  In this case proceed to option 2.

2. Make one

Yer gonna die!! Not really. If you have any amount of common sense, you can make a perfectly safe extended draw.

Go to your local climbing store and pick a dogbone of desired length. Typically a double length, 18cm dogbone is perfect. While extending with a sling is possible, dogbones are generally much more convenient for sport climbing purposes.

Remove the biners from your old quickdraw and install them in the dogbone, making sure to put the bolt side biner in the loose side of the dogbone and the rope side biner in the tight side. The loose side of the dogbone allows the rope to move without shifting the bolt biner into a dangerous position, while the tight side of the dogbone keeps the rope biner in place so you don’t have to fumble with a carabiner while clipping.

If your dogbone uses a rubber keeper, make sure to install it correctly. The biner should be supported by the sling, not only the rubber.

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↑wrong dangerous installation! pic source

3. Make one from 2 draws

If you’re at the crag already and don’t have an extended draw, you can make one from two regular draws. Don’t a pull a gumbie and simply clip two draws together. Remove the bolt biner from one quickdraw and slide the rope biner through.
“Hard on soft” or “soft on hard”, never “hard on  hard.”

The gumbie extended draw has a few issues – the bolt biner on the lower draw can move freeely which lets it rotate into undesirable positions – meaning it may get loaded on a minor axis or across the gate. It may also get loaded across the gate of the biner it’s connected to – meaning it could potentially unclip itself under force. In addition you have metal on metal contact.

The properly extended quickdraw will be stable and functional almost as well as storebought draw.

19702512_10155425750001753_7106683098055110419_nphoto from 飛岩攀登隊

 

When to extend a quickdraw

The classic reason to extend a quickdraw is to reduce rope drag on wandering routes which can hinder the climber and reduce the dynamicism of the rope. While not a huge issue on an ideally bolted sport route, in the real world, bolt locations aren’t always perfect, or the route wanders by nature. Using regular quickdraws on these routes would create intolerable rope drag. Instead, using extended draws at locations where the route diverges lets the rope run a straighter course, decreasing rope drag along the climb.

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↑ It is necessary to extend the quickdraw under a roof to protect the rope from abrasion against the edge and reduce rope drag. Photo by Ya-te Chen

When NOT to extend a quickdraw

The first clip if there is danger of a groundfall. Extending the first clip reduces rope drag for the rest of the climb, but it extends the fall from the first bolt — not ideal unless you’re absolutely sure you won’t fall. If rope drag is a huge concern, consider down climbing and extending the draw after clipping the second bolt.

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