What if I gave you ten quick draws, but told you one wasn't going to hold a fall, and you don't get to know which one? Would the dirtbag in you still use them? Many of us have used draws that are over 10 years old and we tested two separate batches where each one had a result lower than the force you may get during a whipper.
Anchors are built strong, redundant, equalized...yada yada... so you can top rope or fix a rope to ascend. That's great, but we should also focus on the one piece of gear that isn't bomber, locking, or redundant and it's the one piece of gear that actually catches you falling! For a fun thought experiment, I cut a nylon and Dyneema quickdraw half way through on one side and pulled on them. We of course wouldn't climb with one of them but they both broke almost 3x stronger than the draws we tested cut with time.
What YOU Get - Whipper Forces
We have 3 videos dedicated to measuring the force of a climbing fall in a gym setting. Most of these falls were with the feet around the last bolt clipped. More rope does not always mean more force since you have more rope to absorb the fall. Our softest catch with the lightest people saw 2.40kN at the anchor and Tanner, who is 290lbs, had his grigri bolted to the wall and his quickdraw saw 7.19kN.
You really do need your climbing gear to hold at least 8kN to have any level of certainty of it working during a fall.
What We Got - Our Data
Tests we did in 2020 sent to us by Rob Warden
Tests we did in 2022 sent to us by Jakob Basler
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Get your quick draws here.
Quick draw buying guide
D shape carabiners are perfect for draws, it keeps the rope and pro lined up with the spine. Wire gates are ideal to have on the rope end so they don't flutter open. The rubber keeper on one side is intended to keep the biner orientated in the right direction after clipping the bolt or pro. Nylon is easier to grab, dyneema is going to be lighter. Large carabiners are way nicer for handling, small carabiners are lighter. Extendable draws are slings doubled up so you can make them longer on the fly. Steel cable draws are intended to be installed as permanent quickdraws as both nylon and dyneema will degrade in the sun and you won't know when they are no longer super good enough.
Extreme Gear is a non-profit and supports us 10%, these are only some of their options:
Best price AND light - Ceres II Ultralight
My favorite - Dyon Express KS
Lightest - Nineteen G Set
Longest lasting - Bulletproof
Extendable draws can be any combination you want on extreme gear, just message John at email@example.com and he'll put together what you want.
Another concern with permanent draws is that you can get some groovy carabiners. We tested a whole bunch in this episode.