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The Alpine Quickdraw   

Tagged in: Alpine Climbing, Gear, Trad Climbing
by Dougald MacDonald
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A better way to rack your slings 

You'll often carry several full-length, 24-inch slings on long rock routes or alpine climbs, to reduce rope drag, wrap around horns for protection or belays, or rig belay anchors. But draping multiple slings over your shoulders is cumbersome. The solution? The alpine draw. Doubling up a sling makes it into a quickdraw that’s versatile to use and easy to rack on your harness gear loops. Here’s how to do it right.

Rock Climbing Photo: by Chris Philpot

by Chris Philpot
First: With a carabiner on each end of the sling, thread one carabiner through the other.

Second: Clip this carabiner into both strands of the sling to make a quickdraw.

Third: To extend the draw, clip one biner to the piece of protection, unclip the other biner from the quickdraw, and then clip it back to any single strand of the sling. Pull on this biner and— presto!—the sling will extend to full length.

Six more clever ways to use slings 

  • Carry a sling while working a sport route. If you can’t do a move, clip the sling to the bolt and stand in it for some improvised aid.

  • If you rack your pro on a gear sling, buy a sling rated to full strength. That way, you can clip it to your pro if you run out of normal slings.

  • On seldom-traveled climbs or alpine routes, always carry at least a couple of slings tied from nylon webbing, versus sewn slings. An untied sling is longer than a sewn sling and is easier to tie around a tree or boulder, or to replace sun-bleached or frayed slings at an anchor.

  • When sport climbing, use slings to extend hard-to-clip bolts or to keep a carabiner from bending over an edge.

  • A sling can substitute for thin perlon cord for a rappel back-up (such as a Bachmann knot) or ascending a rope with a prusik or kleimheist knot. Beware: the heat from friction can easily damage thin Spectra or Dyneema slings. Use them this way only in emergencies.

  • A long sling can be used to improvise a "diaper harness." Loop the sling across your butt, then pull one strand up through your crotch. Clip the three loops— both hips and crotch—with a locking carabiner. This is only for emergencies!

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Comments on The Alpine Quickdraw Add Comment
By Mountain Dreamer
From: Salt Lake City
Feb 3, 2015
By definition this is not a quickdraw. A runner must have one end tightly secured on one of the carabiners in such a way as to prevent it from spinning in order to be considered a quickdraw. This is what makes it a quickdraw. The configuration shown here does not serve that function. It is a great way to rack your 24 inch runners. But it is not a quickdraw.
By Nicholas Aretz
From: Lakewood, Colorado
Feb 19, 2016
I know this as an alpine sling.
By rgold
From: Poughkeepsie, NY
Jun 12, 2016
Quickdraws, both the items and the name, were invented by Yosemite climbers around 1970. The original ones consisted to two carabiners connected by a single or double loop of knotted 9/16" webbing. Nothing was used to bind either end of the webbing to a carabiner.

You can see a bunch of quickdraws tied with green 9/16" webbing in this picture:

In view of the history, the term alpine quickdraws is entirely appropriate. They are more like the original quickdraws then the modern versions.

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