I went into an outdoor shop today. Other than wonder when the last time I could afford something from one of these shops (There was a waterproof in the sale was over £300 quid and I saw a pair of ice axes for over £300 smackers, and ironically they were a set I know have a tendency to break and the manufacturer claim you were’t using them right when you return them!).
What amazed me was the wall of climbing gear, whilst to be honest it was not bigger than the last time I was in there, there was one section that was so big that I was slightly taken aback. I think I have mentioned this before about carabiners and the quest for the “lightest carabiner in the world”. For years this was actually the selling point of carabiners, with the advent of modern hot forging it allowed more and more shapes to be made as the metal could be squished to where it was needed.
Some of todays crabs are so small that they are virtually unusable or in some cases a bi-product of these lightweight carabiners is that rot at the sight of a sea cliff, so instead the focus has turned away from weight and to function. This was illustrate by a wall of quick draws, and one manufacturer had 12 different types of quick draws that all came in three different lengths, yes thats right 12 different type of quick draws.
So there are not only sport climbing quick draws but different levels of sport climbing draws. With a seemingly unending combination of different carabiners and sling combos which leads to 12 quick draws coming to market. In the same way that shaving grams off subsequent generations of carabiners lead to people being sold the idea that they should buy more draws ever couple of years. I suspect the diversification of the range to such a specialised extent goes some way to trying to convince us that we can’t sport climb without a sports draw and your trad climbing will suffer for dragging those fat sports draws with you.
The shop has also made up some quick draws from slings and biners from different companies so they can sell them cheap. However since a shop that sold the quick draws to whoever took Tito climbing is being taken to court in Italy. The UK shop I was in is now having to wait to get in the instructions for each carabiner and the sling, so each Quickdraw will come with three instructional booklets.