Dirtbag Tricks: How to Make a Stick Clip for Rock Climbing

Sport climbing is an amazing discipline, allowing climbers to push their physical limits without fear of injury from the hazards of traditional climbing. Unless the first bolt is 15 feet off the ground, leaving you precariously perched over jagged rocks. We’ve got the beta you need to keep your ankles safe while venturing up to your first clip!

From the cheapest stick clip to the best money can buy, explore your options below:

Dirtbag $3 Stick Clip

Shopping list

Alright dirtbags, you need to round up three essential items to build your own stick clip. Kick off your stick-clip-building adventure with a trip to the hardware store. Pick up a metal spring clamp, appropriately sized for a carabiner. This should set you back, at most, $3.

 

 

Here’s where you have to get creative. The next item on your “shopping” list is a pole. Start by checking the dumpster behind the hardware store. No luck? Do not fear: poles abound, you’ll find a suitable one in no time. I found one sitting in the street, while walking to the coffee shop to write this article.

 

Now I have a stick clip, and a giant hold brush!

 

Finally, you’ll need to grab your duct tape. If you don’t already own a roll of duct tape, smack yourself in the forehead and go back to the hardware store. This isn’t a purchase for the stick clip, it’s an investment in your future!

 

Assembly

Thankfully, it doesn’t take an engineer to build a stick clip. Take your spring clamp, remove the rubber cover on one arm, and attach it to the pole with as much duct tape as you can reasonably wrap. Voila! You are now the proud new owner of a stick slip.

 

American flags optional.
Fancy Pants $16 Stick Clip

 

Shopping list

Congratulations, you are about to build the Cadillac of stick clips! Head down to the hardware store to pick up the following items:

 

Extendable painter’s pole

Choose the appropriate length for your stick clipping needs. Don’t forget to factor in your height and reach for the total clipping length. The longest stick clips available for purchase are just shy of 20 feet, but most fall in the 5 to 15-foot range. I went with a 6-foot pole for $10.

Metal spring clamp

Next up, you’ll need to find a metal spring clamp that can reasonably hold a carabiner. This should cost about $3.

Hose clamps

Finally, take your spring clamp and painter’s pole over to the plumbing department. While that may sound like a euphemism, you’ll need them to find the appropriate sizes of hose clamps to attach the two. If in doubt, choose a larger size; it’s easy to tighten through extra material if the clamp is too big, and much harder to make more material magically appear if the clamp is too small.

Assembly

For this step, you’ll need a screwdriver or small wrench. Start by taking the rubber cover off of one arm of the spring clamp. Now loosen the hose clamps and place them on the end of the painter’s pole. Slide the now bare arm of the spring clamp between the hose clamps and the pole. Tighten the hose clamps, taking care to do so evenly. Once the clamp is securely attached to the painter’s pole, call your favorite climbing partner and head to the crag, your stick clip is now complete!

 


Next Level $35 Stick Clip

If you’re looking for a hybrid pre-constructed/DIY option, look no further than the popular Superclip, which can either be attached to a pole of your own or a store-bought extendable rod. Weighing less than 2oz, the Superclip provides pleasantly marginal weight savings over a bulkier clamp.

super-clip-rock-climbing-stick-clip

Just show me where I can buy the nicest damn stick clip.

Those who shudder at the thought of putting things together can take the less laborious route, and purchase ready-made stick clips online. We recommend the Trango Beta Stick, which extends to 12 feet and comes with a brush that can be used to clean holds high off the deck.

trango-beta-stick-min

Help! I'm at the crag and I need to make one RIGHT NOW!

Alright, take a deep breath and look at your surroundings. You need a stick that is long enough to reach the first bolt. Once you’ve selected your stick, you need to find a way to attach a quickdraw to the end. Climbing tape works well, but if you came to the crag without any, you’ll need to get creative.

 

Try tying the stick and dogbone together with webbing or your chalk bag belt. I’ve heard rumors that even hair ties have been used to build stick clips before! Finally, use a small twig to prop open the gate of your carabiner.

 

Best of luck making your own literal stick clip.

Build a quickdraw to match

Make your stick clip even more useful by pairing it with the Mad Rock Trigger Wire. This carabiner is purpose-built for use with stick clips. It uses a second gate on the spine of the carabiner, which locks with the main gate, holding it open until you hook the carabiner onto the bolt hanger.

Mad Rock Trigger Wire Carabiner


If you’re going to use one quickdraw for your all of your first bolts, it needs a bomb-proof rope side carabiner to slow wear and tear. The Petzl Djinn is large, rounded, and easy to clip, making it a perfect rope side carabiner. Attach the two with an ultra-stiff Petzl Express dogbone for maximum stick clipping ability!


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