Choosing Quickdraws

Quickdraw buying can be a somewhat baffling affair; given that we have panels full of them, it can be quite difficult to discern the advantages of each. The good news is that there is a reason we keep each model, each has it's place and hopefully this article will explain why. So why the different types? In some cases, ‘Light is right’, the lighter the individual pieces of kit, the less the overall weight you’re lugging up. Other variations improve the way quickdraws handle, we will talk later about ‘variable width slings’ and ‘clean noses’ ...

Sport Climbing:

Sport Climbing quickdraws tend to be on the beefier side. Clipped onto solid, steel bolt hangers and taking repeated falls they need to be able to take some abuse. We keep two specific Sport Climbing models; the Mammut Classic Quickdraw and the DMM Alpha Sport.

 

So what’s the difference? First the obvious – the width of the slings holding the carabiners together; the Mammut Classic ‘draws use a skinny one, which is super strong, the DMM Alpha Sports have an even wider sling, not to be stronger but to be easier to hold, giving you a useful handle to grab when practising hard moves on tough Redpoints! The other advantage of the Alpha Sports is the lovely shape of their lower bent carabiner gate which means the rope is super easy to clip, it pretty much falls into the carabiner. Both have Keylock/Clean nose systems on the bolt clipping carabiner, as you can see in the top-right frame, what this means is that it is far easier to take them off of bolts, there is no notch to get caught as you have with most Wiregate carabiners.

If you want to get going we would recommend a couple of packs of Mammut Classic quickdraws.Ten quickdraws will get you up most starter routes at Cheddar Gorge, Portland or New Quarry in Avon Gorge (topo available here). They’re a fantastic price and do the job required, well. If you want the best of the best; comfortable to use, quick to clip and let’s face it even nicer to look at then the DMM Alpha Sports are the ones to go for, especially as they have two longer lengths for when you need an extended quickdraw to sit nicely on the lip of an overhang.

 

Trad, Alpine and Multipurpose:

The majority of our selection of quickdraws are Wiregates meaning they have ... a wire gate. This has a variety of advantages; firstly they are lighter in weight in comparison to the chunky solid gates, secondly in winter they are less prone to freezing and finally they are less affected by ‘gate-flutter’ (we won’t get into that here, but might be worth a search online to find out more).

So what do you need to take into account for Trad/Alpine climbing? Two things; firstly how easy are they to handle? In Winter you’re fumbling with gloves on or in summer panicked on Trad routes frantically trying to clip gear. At these times it is preferable to have large carabiners on your quickdraws that are easy to get the rope clipped to. As you can see in the top frame of the photo below, the gate openings of our high-end quickdraws vary quite a lot, the purple Wild Country Helium having the largest, easiest to use opening, down to the Edelrid Nineteen G having the smallest. Our two standard wiregate Quickdraws; DMM Spectres and Wild Country Wildwires are both a similar size to the Heliums and as such nice and easy to use.

So why use the smaller Nineteen Gs and DMM Phantoms? Because they weigh so little and you can never have enough quickdraws on a route! But ... once you start piling on more and more quickdraw they soon start to weigh you down, this is when you start wishing you had brought the lighter ones! Also on Trad and Alpine routes, you’ll often be using super skinny ropes so clipping these smaller carabiners isn’t as difficult as it would be with a fat Sport Climbing rope.

So with regards to our range of Wiregate Quickdraws, hopefully the following table and recommendations for use will help make decision buying easier!

Make

Model

Length

Weight

Opening

Cost

Recommended use

 

Edelrid

Nineteen G

10cm

45g

17mm

£17.10

Super-lightweight Alpinism or as extra quickdraws on a Trad rack in addition to full-sized, easy to handle models.

 

18cm

47g

17mm

£18.90

 

DMM

Phantom

12cm

65g

22mm

£14.40

Lightweight Alpinism or Trad climbing. Are easy to handle despite their small size and make significant weight savings to Rack.

 

18cm

68g

22mm

£14.85

25cm

70g

22mm

£15.30

 

Wild Country

Helium

10cm

73g

27mm

£14.00

Lightweight Trad climbing or Winter Climbing where ability to clip quickly and/or with gloves on is essential. With clever nose design reducing chance of snagging on pegs and gear.

 

15cm

74g

27mm

£14.00

20cm

75g

27mm

£14.00

 

DMM

Spectre 2

12cm

75g

25mm

£10.00

Reasonably lightweight, easy to handlequickdraw perfect for Trad/Winter/SportClimbing  and at great price.

 

18cm

78g

25mm

£10.00

25cm

82g

25mm

£10.00

 

Wild Country

Wild Wire

10cm

93g

27mm

£9.00

Fantastic price for a full sized, easy to handle wire gate quickdraw. Perfect for Trad, Winter and for Sport.

 

15cm

95g

27mm

£9.00

20cm

97g

27mm

£9.00

 

I hope this quick rundown has been of benefit and as always any questions don't hesitate to ring or email or even better pop in to the shop for a proper demonstration!

 

Pete

Pete Derrett September 15, 2014 6 tags (show)