October 12, 2022

What Z-Clipping Is and How to Fix It? (When Z-Clips Happen)

by Jullie

Z-Clipping is dangerous for you and your climbing partners.

Many faced Z-clipping at some point in their climbing career.

When a climber clips his rope into a quickdraw lower than the previous one, it is known as Z-Clipping. It is harder to climb the wall due to more slack in the rope. Accidents can happen when the climber falls on the lower quickdraw instead of the one at a high position.

Most new climbers face this issue more often because they focus more on climbing techniques.

It is better than focusing on other small details.

It is better to learn to prevent Z-clipping to ensure you do not fall on the lower quickdraw and injury yourself or your climbing partner.


Table of Contents
What Z-Clipping Is and How to Fix It
What Z-Clipping Is and How to Fix It?

What Is Z-Clipping?

The main reason for Z-clipping as a mistake is in the rope-grabbing technique. Some climbers forget about the rope they should grab. They mistakenly pick the lower-end belay rope to fix the clip. Climbers can clip this rope in the upper quickdraw to create the slack. This creates the Z-clipping problem.

You will frequently see Z-clipping when there are more quickdraws on the walls.

You will see this more commonly in climbing gyms.

Climbing gyms place clips close together on the climbing walls.

They want to facilitate beginner climbers.

They do it to match the climbing style of different climbing athletes.

This act does not always give benefits because Z-clipping is its disadvantage.

When and Why Z-Clipping Happens?

We can take the example of a climber.

The climber is going up on the climbing wall and comes across two clips near each other.

The climber fixes the right end of the rope into the clip and finishes this step successfully.

He realizes he can reach the clip on the upper location.

He tries to take the climbing rope and clip it into the higher clip.

He accidentally picks the climbing rope from the belay instead of the knot he has with him.

It creates slack in the climbing rope.

It may appear like a small mistake, but it can go a long way.

Small mistakes can make a difference in rock climbing.

Picking the wrong rope may look like a small mistake.

It can cause a lot of trouble because the climber creates a Z-clipping with this mistake.

You will make this mistake more in beginner climbers and when bouldering professionals transition into sports climbing.

You should not think negatively about your climbing skills if you suffer from Z-clipping issues often.

Experienced athletes can also make this mistake when going on a new climbing wall with many clips in one location.

The Problem with Z-Clipping

Z-clipping is bad because climbers notice it after a long time.

Falling without correcting the Z-clipping issue can cause severe injury.

Climbers estimate the rope length to prevent falling on the floor.

This estimate will become wrong when there is a Z-clipping.

The climber will fall lower than his anticipated location.

It can also mean the climber falls on the floor while climbing on low-level holds.

It is due to slack. Slack means excessive rope between the climber and the clip.

If the climber has a longer slack, the chances of injury are higher.

A climber with longer slack thinks he will fall on the higher draw.

He will fall on the lower draw and increase the chances of accidents.

We can take the example of the climber who fits his rope on the clip near his waistline.

He will think that the draw will catch him immediately.

He will fall to a long distance instead.

Falling a long distance without care may cause accidents.

Unexpected fall has a high chance of accidents.

Z-clipping can also make you suffer financially.

Most climbing types of equipment are expensive.

When ropes pass from a Z-clipping, they face a lot of resistance.

It can reduce the durability of the climbing rope.

You have to use more force to climb because of the Z-clipping resistance.

How to Fix a Z-Clip During Climbing

It is better to solve the problem of the Z-clip fast because keeping it for a long time will increase the chances of injury.

It is better that you solve the Z-clip issue by yourself.

If it is not possible, you can take help from your climbing partner.

You need to go to the lower clip to remove your rope from it. You must keep the climbing rope clipped to the upper clip because removing the climbing rope from the upper and lower clip will end your protective measures. There is nothing to prevent you from falling directly on the floor. You can remove the rope from the lower clip and fit the belay end of the climbing rope to the bottom clip.

It will end the Z-clip issue.

Your struggle does not end there because you need to look for the actions that led to Z-clip.

You have to ensure you do not repeat this mistake in the future.

You can observe the pressure on your rope.

An increase in rope pressure indicates a Z-clip.

What Can You Do to Prevent Z-Clips when Climbing?

There are many ways to prevent Z-clip from occurring, as you can keep the actions that caused the formation of Z-clip in mind and avoid them in the future.

One of the best ways to prevent Z-clip is by grabbing the rope from the knot.

It will prevent you from accidentally grabbing the rope from the belay side.

Climbers try to start with the knot most of the time.

It helps them prevent the Z-clip.

If you forget this step, you have a higher chance of Z-clip formation.

It is not only the duty of the climber to watch the Z-clips.

Belaying professionals also need to look for the Z-clips.

The belayer must catch the climber in case of falling.

He can prevent Z-clips by looking for the actions of the climber.

If a belay person sees a Z-clip, he should tell the climber.

It is crucial to know that Z-clipping is not the only mistake climbers can make.

There are many other clipping errors to look into to improve your safety on the climbing wall.

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About the author 

Jullie

Jullie is a professional indoor climber. She loves speed climbing competitions. This style makes her feel like she's flying. Maybe because her other passion is flying airplanes. Obviously, high speeds are her thing.

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