The Freedom of The Bolts: #2

posted by limit

Stick Clipping

Fig. One: The Trango Squid

Sometime in the dawn of the prehistoric age, man began using sticks as tools. Whether as clubs or drawing tools, the stick became essential to Caveman’s survival. Interestingly, I find that there are striking similarities between sport climbers and Caveman: they sit around in the dirt, they employ similar mating rituals (mostly grunting and flexing). They also both love their sticks. You probably think I’m full of shit, but in reality, I have been in contact with several prominent anthropologists regarding these similarities.

But what, the trad climbing choss monger asks, could a sport climber want with a stick? Apparently, you missed the Squid
sensation. Attached to a stick, this handy device allows the would be hardman to clip any lower bolts on a route. With creativity, the resourceful sport climber can fashion his own stick clip from items found in almost any crag pack. See figure one.

Fig. Two: The ersatz stick clip (

Pros: It will keep you bones intact. Pretty much anybody with a beating heart and opposable thumbs can can do it. Actually, opposable thumbs might not even be necessary. Unlike the rodeo clip (coming in the next installment) stick clipping works great on routes without fixed draws.)

Cons: Pretty much anybody can do it. which means it won’t help you Cool Status. You also have to either find a stick or wonder around the crag with an aluminum pole that makes you look like some kind of postmodern John Muir.

Philisophical Implications: During nearly every climbers career, ethical reservations about stick clipping are experienced. These feelings typically occure after (1) you visit an area with “strong traditional ethics” and historical testosterone starts to tug at your heartstrings leading you to do things you otherwise wouldn’t(2) you break your ankle and need a way to justify it (3) you start collecting back issues of the alpinist. And you read them. This series of events typically occures between years 2 and 5 of the climber’s career, meaning that stick clipping is typically employed by either noobs or those with enough experience to transcend silly ethical reservations about a preclipped bolt.

Tags: caveman, fotb, freedom of the bolts, stick clipping

Thursday, November 20th, 2008 Crag Exposure, Main

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