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Use a Daisy Chain

Speed Climbing Tip 6


Dennis Jump on the first belay ledge on Turner Prize Spire in Indian Creek Canyon, Utah.

Dennis is anchored to a belay ledge with a daisy chain clipped to cams in Indian Creek Canyon, Utah.

Photograph © Stewart M. Green

If you’re climbing a multi-pitch route or a lot of sport pitches, use a daisy chain to initially clip yourself into the anchors rather than the rope. This saves time when cleaning the anchors or doing a changeover between leaders.

This Tip is For Experienced Climbers Only!

This speed tip is for experienced climbers who know their safety system, its limitations, and the need for redundancy in the chain of safety. If you are a novice climber, disregard this tip and always tie yourself into an anchor first with a secure knot like a figure-8-on-a-bight before putting your partner on belay. A daisy chain, however, when properly used can save you time on both big walls and sport routes.

A Daisy Chain Saves Time on Big Walls

If you’re climbing a big wall, it’s fast and easy to clip yourself into the anchors after ascending a pitch on Jumars or ascenders. This works especially well if you’re going to lead the next pitch. You ascend the rope up to the belay anchors, clip into them with your daisy chain, and since you should be already tied into the end of the rope, your partner can put you on belay right away. You grab the rack, unclip your daisy, and you’re ready to start leading. Clipping into the anchors with your daisy chain speeds the changeover and you’re not messing with tying and then untying a clove hitch into the anchors.

Daisy Chains Save Time at Sport Anchors

Likewise, using a daisy chain if you’re doing a lot of sport pitches or even four- or five-pitch free routes can save you lots of time. On sport pitches, clip into the bolt anchors with your daisy, then thread and clean the anchors. A lot of climbers clip themselves in with a couple quickdraws, and that works. But I have always climbed with a daisy chain attached to my harness. I reach the sport anchor and can clip myself into the anchors in two seconds. Presto, I’m safe and ready to thread the bolt anchors then lower to the ground.

Ditto For Multi-Pitch Routes

The same procedure goes for a multi-pitch route. I get to a belay ledge, set my first piece of gear and clip into it right away with my daisy chain. If my first piece is bombproof, I can have my belayer take me off belay while I set a couple more anchors, equalize them with a cordelette, and tie a clove hitch to a locking carabiner at the master point. Remember though that the first piece has to be absolutely secure since you will be only tied into it. This usually works best if you’re on a good ledge and not on a cramped foot stance.

Daisy Chains Can Be Dangerous

Daisy chains if improperly used can be very dangerous. For more about daisy chains and their use and misuse, read Using a Daisy Chain and view the Black Diamond video Clipping in Short to Your Daisy Chain.

Buy a Daisy Chain:
Metolius Personal Anchor System $22.47
Black Diamond Daisy Chains $14.50-$29.95
Wild Country Dyneema 12 mm Daisy Chain $17.95

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