This article originally appeared on Climbing
Extendable trad/alpine draws should have a place on every climber’s rack, whether you’re climbing sport, trad, or mountain routes. The new Edelrid Mission II Extendable Quickdraw is an excellent entry in that category.
I can’t remember when I saw my first “trad draw,” but I certainly remember the “magic trick” of passing one carabiner through the other then clipping all three loops with the passed-through clipper to create an easy-to-rack draw you could slap on a harness gear loop. Back in the era of shoulder-slung racks and draws made with 1″ webbing tied off with water knots, the time- and space-saver was a revelation.
The Mother of Invention
Necessity is the mother of invention, as the proverb goes. And so it’s certainly no surprise that climbers, looking for an easy solution for rope management that didn’t involve carrying cumbersome shoulder slings with jangling free carabiners, innovated the trad draw. These draws have also proven themselves invaluable in the alpine, where you need lightweight gear and the versatility to extend your placements, to reduce rope drag and/or protect your rope over the sharp edges found in mountainous terrain.
A Ready-Made Trad Draw
The German manufacturer Edelrid has come out with a preassembled trad draw in their Mission II Extendable Quickdraw, which I’ve been testing--and greatly enjoying--for the past few months on sport and mixed/traditional climbs. (They also sent me the Mission II Sixpack [$74.95] of six bent-gate carabiners, the same one used on the Extendable Quickdraw.) The sling is Edelrid’s 60 centimeter Dyneema/Spectra sling, which weighs 19 grams, tests to 22 kN, and retails for $12.95. It’s a good, hard-wearing, staple sling, and is also Bluesign certified--i.e., the textiles have a low impact on the environment, workers, and end users.
It’s also easy to knot, as you might do when you want to keep either or both carabiners from flipping, as on a redpoint project where you leave up a long sling.
With a retail price of $34.95 for the Extendable Quickdraw, most of what you’re paying for is the carabiners, which have been custom-designed for trad/alpine draw use.
To the clippers! I have big hands and sausage fingers, so ultralight, small-gate carabiners are rarely my jam, even when I want to save weight. It often seems to be basket size and the gate opening that get shrank, and for me, that typically equals “fumble fingers” on clips.
Edelrid scores high marks here, for producing ultralight, solid-gate carabiners that don’t skimp on size. Using I-beam construction, the carabiners maintain a svelte frame, yet the gates, which have killer snap-back action and a keylock closure, are solid construction--which makes them easy to handle.
For example, I hung the draw, extended, on a bolt up in a ceiling on a 5.12 sport climb near Lyons, Colorado, to keep the rope from getting pinned at the lip once I passed it. A free-hanging draw in a roof is hard to clip in any situation, especially a lightweight one, but neither my climbing partners nor I noticed a difference in clipping ease between the Mission II Extendable, and say, a 1.5-draw dogbone-extendo you might use otherwise in this scenario.
“Light, easy to clip and unclip, and it was easy to maneuver the draw around, too,” said my friend Will, who was also climbing on the route. That has been the consensus throughout testing--it’s worth paying the premium price for lightweight carabiners you can actually use, whether pumped on a trad or sport climb or futzing around in the alpine with gloved hands. The snappy, ample gates on the Mission IIs--both straight gate and bent gate--really can’t be beat.
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