Top tips #3 (keeper cords)

20th Feb 2013

Although alternative protection methods should be used whenever possible, pegs can sometimes be very useful for winter climbing.  They work well in iced up and thin parallel sided cracks that would be hard to protect by other means - but they are also small, difficult to handle with gloves on and they often need two hands to start the placement (one to hold the peg and the other to use the hammer).  Pegs are also difficult to rack on your harness as they tend to stick out at awkward angles if several are racked on a carabiner or clipper crab together.

A useful way to help manage them is to add a 'keeper cord' to each peg.  Keeper cords are a small loop of 3mm accessory cord tied to the clipping eye of each peg with a fisherman's knot.  When you are racking your pegs you clip the keeper cord on to the carabiner and they will sit nice and straight.  

Then, when placing the peg, the keeper cord gives you something to hold while hammering them in.  This may be holding them with your fingers or keeping them clipped to a crab and holding that.  The cord keeps the crab far enough away to avoid it being hit with the hammer. 

Finally, for removal of the peg the best method is to clip the keeper cord then tap the peg from side to side to loosen it before pulling it out.  It works a treat.  It will be the best bit of 3mm cord you ever use.  No more dropped pegs, no more mashed fingers and no more mangled carabiners :)