Last Updated on: 10th May 2023, 12:00 pm
Back-clipping is when you’re leading a climb and you incorrectly clip the rope into the bottom carabiner. Instead of your end of the rope coming out of the carabiner AWAY from the rock, your end of the rope comes out of the carabiner going TOWARD the rock. That’s bad. Here’s what I mean:
Why is back-clipping bad? Can you tell by looking at the image above? Well, it’s bad because if you’ve back-clipped a piece and you fall, the rope could unclip itself out from the carabiner. Like this:
In the first diagram above, the lead climber has back-clipped. In the second, the climber has taken a fall. In the third, the force of the lead end of the rope changing directions forces open the gate of the carabiner. In the fourth, the rope has become completely unclipped from the carabiner.
If that doesn’t make sense, here’s a video that shows back-clipping (and the playback should start at 2:51):