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Making The Clip


by Anthony Bubb

December 29, 2001

Adapted from rec.climbing

It seems to me that alot of beginning climbers bobble the clips on their first leads alot. It sucks, if you ask me. I took a couple whippers not long ago, blowing a "speed-clip" on a route I was trying to get. Being 15' above my pro, then pulling out the slack, then falling SUCKS! I guess it was kinda fun after I started, but the scare-factor is kinda high. Not much I could have done to save it, but there have been a few times when I could have clipped better and didn't. Now I clip one of two ways, just depending on what sort of position I am in. I'll talk about both. There are other ways to clip, these are just the two I prefer.

The description, as written assumes your right hand will clip any biner on your right, and left any on the left. I'll discuss crossing over for a clip afterwards. Your milage may vary. Both assume you've hung the biner on the bolt/pro/whatever. I guess we're primarily talking about sport-climbing, because the odds are that if you were on trad and placed gear, that you will have the hands/coordination available to clip quite fluidly.

PINCH CLIPPING: Best with the biner's gate facing away from you. The rope is grasped and "folded" lightly such that the belay end is closer towards the finger tips, and the tie-in end closer to the palm and wrist. The rope is more or less trapped in the hand by the fingers. You reach out and put your thumb on the back of the biner and pinch, forcing the rope (trapped between the gate and first finger) into the biner. CLIP, you are in.

ROLL CLIPPING: Best with the biner's gate facing you. The rope is grasped (pinched) between the thumb and first finger The tip of the middle finger is put IN the biner (still closed) at the bottom, where the rope would be running through it. The rope now lies bewen your thumb and forefinger, just outside of the gate, going from your finger-tips to the belay-end, and coming out along your wrist towards your end. Now "roll" your hand such that the thumb and forefinger bring the rope into and through the gate. CLICK. You are now clipped in. This can be kind hard to do when the draws are resing on slabby stuff, as the rope is interfered with by the rock. It has a distincit advantage that you can easily "grab" the draw if you start to slip, and that you can use the pull on the draw to bring up slack out of the rope. It also seems to work better for reachy clips, though not at all for clips below my waist (in which case I use a whole other technique I'm not going to bother with... It doesn't happen that often.)

Sometimes you will be reaching right with the left hand (or vise versa) to clip. That being the case, you simply make sure that you reverse the said "best" way to clip, and just make sure that the gate is on the side of the biner with your thumb to roll clip, and on the opposite side to pinch clip.

With a little practice, both of these methods can become quite fast and effective. I don't bobble clips neerly so badly any more. You can also choose which clip you are going to do, by facing your draws the way you like as you clip the bolt. Anyone else do other things? I, for one, could always use a suggestion. -T. P.S. (I'm gonna get a load of shit off of this one, to be sure. If not flames for posting some way other than "yours". then by his trad buddies for making a purely "sport-climbing" post.)

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