I’ve been getting a lot of odd looks recently. It could be due to dressing in drag, or climbing on a fatter rope than normal, but I think these glances are directed at the fancy (and funky?) looking new quickdraws on my harness. “What are those?” seems to be a common question when people first spy the Petzl Ange Finesse draws. It’s not that I blame them, I’m just starting to get self conscious with all the attention.
When wiregate biners came out, they were a game changer. It opened the door to the incredibly light clips we have today, but there was always a piece of the puzzle that was missing. How to give them the no snag functionality of a key lock. A few other companies have put forth some idea, but arguably none are as cutting edge as what Petzl has achieved with the Ange.
Taking things way outside of the box, their solution was to change the wiregate to a bar, which allowed the end of the gate to fit nicely into a keylock nose. No more snagging on bolt hangers, ropes, whatever. I’ve been testing the Ange S Finesse draw for the last couple of months, and I think they should appeal to a wide range of folks.
The fast and light crowd will of course be into them, getting after it on long routes where they still need quickdraws but don’t want any extra weight. I’ve also found them great for trad cragging, when you are lugging around a bunch of cams and might as well drop some pounds where you can. I could also see them being great for that overseas trip to a place like Kalymnos, where you need to pack a ton of draws and all that extra weight really starts to add up, and could mean higher baggage fees!
The gate action is very smooth, though the opening is small, and as such I’ve found you need to be fairly precise when clipping. The actual draw is quite stiff, and can give you a little extra reach if you clip with the bottom ‘biner, an added bonus when the next bolt is just out of reach. The keylock works just like it should, and cleaning sport routes is a breeze.
So when your friends start harassing you about your old, worn-out draws, be sure to give these a look. They’re an excellent choice for climbers looking to shed a couple pounds off their current setup, and with the added bonus of the keylock wiregate, what’s not to like?
BJ Sbarra lives and plays in the Roaring Fork Valley of Western Colorado, and runs the websiteSplitterChoss.com. He coaches a youth climbing team with his wife, Tracy, and can often be found dangling from the end of a skinny rope at one of the many local choss crags.