Craig DeMartino has been a climber for the past 24 years. He climbs around the US and the world chasing routes of all types… In 2002 he was accidentally dropped 100 feet onto the talus of Rocky Mountain National Park which resulted in the loss of his leg, a fused back and neck, and a lifetime of chronic injuries. It is also what led him to Paradox Sports. He leads clinics for Paradox teaching other disabled climbers how to get back to climbing, and life, with humor, psych, and a love for their new “normal”. Craig was the first amputee to climb El Capitan in Yosemite in under a day, part of the team on the First All Disabled Ascent of El Cap, and a Bronze Medal winner in the Paraclimbing World Championships in France. He is a dad and husband and loves to spread his love of climbing to the world through our programs at Paradox. – Paradox Sports
New routing can be a thankless job. You toil up on the side of a cliff, cleaning, bolting and dreaming up the line you think is good, usually far from the seeing eyes of the masses. If the route is fairly hard, you leave draws there to work out the route and allow others to enjoy your work. Here lies one of the problems in the climbing world. Resident gear can be a bad and scary thing. Standard aluminum carabiners can wear and have sharp edges after repeated lowering from multiple seasons. The best solution is steel carabiners, and this is where the Omega Pacific Dura Draw shines.
Like the name implies, it is mega-durable. We hung the draws in a cave where the routes are steep and the falls plenty. The draw clips as well as any biner, but has the durability of a tank. Whereas most classic biners (such as a Hotwire or a Spirit) have a 25mm gate opening, the Dura Draw gate opening is 31mm. With the cable swagged between the steel biners, you never have to worry about the sun bleaching and weakening your draws while they hang on your project. You also don’t have to worry about grooves being worn into the end biner every time you are lowered. Even better, at 22 kn, the screw link that attaches the Dura Draw to the bolt is significantly stronger than other screw links.
I installed Dura Draws at the anchors on a few popular routes where lowering happens often. The climbing group I belong to, the Northern Colorado Climbers Coalition, does some route maintenance here in Colorado, and this is a great way to keep the climbing population a little safer on popular routes. I was just in the Red River Gorge last week, and I saw first hand the wear that lowering can do to high-traffic anchors. Some of the quickdraws there have deep, sharp groves in the anchor carbiners, and it is a really scary thing to lower from. Frankly, I carry leaver carabiners with me for lowering if the anchor carabiners are suspicious.
All this safety doesn’t come light, but you are not using these on all your routes. Besides, you only install Dura Draws one time, then it’s all playtime. Admittedly, they’re pretty heavy, but they really should be considered an investment in durability and safety. The Dura Draw even has an innovative installation label. At about $19 MSRP per draw, they’re in the price range of any good draw, and the peace of mind they give while lowering or working a route is priceless.
At the end of the day, we all want to be as safe as we can, and feeling secure in something as simple as a quickdraw, year after year, is pretty great. Being a family man, the last thing I want to happen is to get a chopped rope on something as silly as a worn carabiner. For that reason the Dura Draw is my go-to for resident gear and anchors on popular routes so that the love of climbing is the only thing I’m focused on.