How To Stick Clip Without A Stick Clip

By Bryan Gilmore, 20 May 2014

  • DATE

    20 May 2014


    Bryan Gilmore


    Rock Climbing

So you show up at a new crag and pick the proudest line on the wall. You gaze up at the beautiful swath of rock, speckled with white chalk accents, and start counting how many draws are hanging. As you search in vain for a lower first draw, you notice that you’re going to have to (wo)man up for the initial 15’ feet above jumbled blocks before you can make the first clip. Next starts the frantic search for a long “natural” stick clip and then figuring out how to tape the rope in place to create a loop for clipping the draw hanging just out of your comfort zone.

Following these easy steps you’ll never again waste tape or be forced to sketch your way up through low cruxes with high first bolts.

Step 1: Find a stick. if you have a neurotic border collie or chocolate lab, this step is probably already taken care of.

Step 2: Stack your rope in the appropriate location.

Step 3: Sit down with the end of your dog’s stick in your lap. Pick up the top end of your rope (the end the leader will tie in with) and give yourself a generous amount of slack (enough rope to reach the draw and back to the ground, plus a little more). From the center of that portion of rope, grab a bite of rope with each hand and tie a simple over hand knot around the tip of the stick. Voila. Simple isn’t it?

Step 4: Stand up and ease the tip of the stick with your beautiful knot toward the draw. Gently “lasso” the clipping end of the draw with either loop of your knot and gently pull the corresponding end of the rope. Now watch the magic happen. The bite of rope “lassoing” the clipping ‘biner should squeeze the gate open and happily fall into place.

Step 5: Give it your all, knowing that if you blow it you’re safely clipped into the first bolt.

Be safe and have fun.

Bryan Gilmore


​Bryan started climbing at age 16 in his high school outdoor program (yes they did exist in the 80’s). But, didn’t really learn how to climb until much later. So, in reality – he has been climbing for far less time than pure mathematical law would like you to believe… say, 10 years. Traditionally eschewing everything except ground-up trad climbing, he luckily stumbled upon some friends that had heard of this great thing called sport climbing and has since seen great personal growth in all the varied disciplines climbing has to offer.

While he enjoys long, remote alpine routes as much as any narcissist, Bryan’s true quest in life is in searching out the best cup of espresso. Among his favorite route list in his journal is a similar list of the finest coffee shops he has stumbled upon. One day he hopes to publish the “50 Classic Cafes of North America”.