Rope drag

Rope drag

In rock climbing, rope drag is the friction felt when pulling a rope through a number of pieces of protection, or over rock prominences. It is exacerbated by having great numbers of anchor placements, and especially if they form a zig-zag rather than straight line.

Rope drag makes a lead climber's job much more difficult as it slows him/her down, increases the effective weight being carried, and increases the chances of the climber falling due to the difficulty of making progress. Sometimes it can prevent progress altogether.

The chances of rope drag occurring can be reduced by using two ropes in parallel instead of just one (so that for each point of protection, the nearer rope can be used), or by using slings to extend protection so that the rope can stay in a straight line. If drag still happens, then the climber may need (if possible) to stop and set up a belay point sooner than expected.

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