Preventing Rope Drag - the Alpine Draw
A nicely extended piece reducing rope drag
This is more commonly an issue on traditional routes where the lines are more likely to wander and bulge, BUT it still can be an issue when sport climbing.
Rope drag occurs when the friction generated from the rope running through the quickdraws and over the rock builds to the point where the climber noticeably feels the drag and potentially cannot climb any higher. This happens when the angle the rope takes to run from one quickdraw to the next is too great. There will be essentialy zero rope drag on routes where the bolts are in a perfect vertical line, while there would be extreme rope drag on a route with a 90 degree angle between two bolts (unlikely, but you get the idea).
So what do you do?
The solution is simple but will require a few extra pieces of gear. All you need is to construct a few alpine draws and include them in your sport rack. An alpine draw, composed of two carabiners and a runner, can be used the same way as a quickdraw, BUT if you need to extend your clip in order to reduce rope drag, you simply unclip two loops of the runner from one of the carabiners and it will easily extend to twice the length.
You will need:
A 24" runner (preferably dyneema if you're concerned about weight)
Watch the video below to see how to construct an alpine draw, and how to extend it.