Rockbusters' Blog Post


The way to use the clip-stick


In the last few years, we have been witnessing a rise of dependency of a clip-stick or stick-clip (who knows what to call it the right way) in many crags. As the sport climbing is becoming more popular and is spreading through a less crazy and adventurous population, we can understand there is a much bigger demand for safety and fewer climbers like to go out of their comfort zones.

Still, we think sport climbers could draw the line somewhere and start using some kind of unwritten “clip-stick codex” or soon sport climbing is gonna turn into a hybrid we won’t understand anymore. We have decided to express our feelings about it to push forward a discussion within the climbing community about some kind of ethics “HOW TO USE THE CLIP-STICK”. Of course, in the end, it is up to individuals, but the things we are seeing at the crags every day are getting quite ridiculous and pathetic, nothing like the adventurous outdoor sport that Rock Climbing should be.

Do not get us wrong, we want to play it safe, after all, it is still a sport. We do not want accidents to happen, people breaking legs, ankles, or even something more serious, just to prove the point. We encourage the use of a clip-stick when necessary, but overdependence on the stick became ingrained in the average user by pre-clipping the bolts without even considering if one can climb it safely or not. It became quite normal to clip the first bolt in every case and as well to climb up the route with clip-stick hanging out on the harness and clipping the bolts on the way up to the anchor. The rest of the visitors in the crag can only hope the party does not occupy the route for their top-rope session of the day. That is way over the top, pun intended.

There are, however, some cases in which we think it is OK and we encourage the use of a clip-stick.

  • First, evaluate the potential danger and difficulty of a climb below the first draw, and only if really needed, pre-clip the first one or two bolts. Try climbing it without thinking of clip-sticking the bolts. However, some of the early boltings were done with the first bolts dangerously high.
  • When one can’t find beta and keeps falling on the same move over and over, use a clip-stick to check the moves or to clean the route. Consider choosing a route for your level or one that might suit you more.

Climbing can be a risky sport, to a degree, but most of the time only in our heads. Nowadays route developers are usually bolting climbs to be safe, however, that does not mean there will not be runouts toward the tops of the routes. Climbing can be mentally stressful for some and fun excitement for others, that is one of the thrills and that is why we love it as well.

By being prepared and equipped with the necessary skills, and being able to evaluate the situation, conditions, and our abilities we can minimize the risks, but please, do not lose the FREE CLIMBING sensation with overusing the clip-sticks.




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