There’s no doubt about it, the Petzl Spirit Quickdraw is one of the most popular quickdraw you can find in the market for sports climbing. It is also one of the most expensive ones to own; it feels like getting a Ferrari as one of your gears. That being said, we have been using the Spirit for almost two decades. And personally, once you start using it, it’s also hard to go astray.
All things gold and new
The Petzl Spirit Quickdraw came out with a few new features. It became lighter, the sling is more stiff, and both upper and lower carabiners are reshaped for better ease while clipping and unclipping. The upper “notchless” keylock carabiner is now designed in such a way that the notch and gate fits perfectly in one another. This allows snag free clipping, be it a bolt, sling or wire.
Some technical jargon: (source: Petzl)
- H-shaped profile offers good strength to weight ratio.
- Keylock nose on top biner.
- String webbing prevents the bottom biner from rotating, and prevents fraying on the sling.
- Weight: 93 g (12 cm), 100 g (17 cm)
- Materials: hot-forged aluminum 7000, nylon webbing
- Quickdraw breaking strength: 22 kN
- Carabiner breaking strength:
– major axis: 23 kN
– open gate: 9 kN
– cross-loaded: 8 kN
Gate opening: 21 mm
- CE EN 12275 type B / UIAA
- 3-year guarantee
Weight and slings
Each draw weighs now 11 grams lighter than the old quickdraw. With just 93 grams (before: 104 g) for the 12 cm version, it feels lighter especially when your harness is geared up with 18 quickdraws and more to get on longer sports climbing routes. Holding the new quickdraw in your hands, the first thing you can’t fail to notice is how stiff the sling has become. It’s so stiff, the quickdraw stands almost on its own. The slings are now out of durable polyester, not anymore nylon.It feels solid in the hand, and if you’re someone who loves to grab your quickdraws while checking out a route, then you will find happiness in these slings.
A rubber basket holds the bottom biner firmly in place to prevent the biner from flipping unintentionally (avoiding a transverse position), the upper biner is usually left loose for more flexibility while the rope moves around during a lead. There was a phase when we thought it would be good to fix both biners, but found out quickly that this might make the quickdraw inflexible and cause it to unclip itself from the bolt, in certain, unfortunate positions and instances.
The Petzl Spirit quickdraw is made out of hot-forged aluminum 7000, it has a straight-gate on top and a bent-gate biner on the bottom. There’s a wider surface on the biner, so that the rope glides over easily without wearing out the biner too soon.
Notice how the old biner starts to wear out, when constant friction from rope (and dirt) runs over the biner, making it vulnerable and sharp at the corners. This is usually high time to retire your biner, instead of increasing the chances of getting a ripped rope, or a broken biner during a fall. In this instance, the biner has seen about 8 years of constant usage every weekend and vacations. In terms of durability, I am pretty pleased with the results. It’s too soon now to tell how soon the new Spirits will wear out yet. You might notice how the biner on the right is already starting to show signs of wear and tear after about a year.
The Spirit lays well even in small hands like mine. It might get some getting used to the stronger spring in the gates which makes clipping in a slight tad more difficult (especially when you’re all stretched out on your toes) than before. Yeah, I know, two more moves and clipping the bolt would’ve been way easier. But once it’s in, it stays in. Unclipping and clearing was no problem, even in steep overhanging terrains. It may be one of the most expensive quickdraws in the market, but in terms of durability, usability and material, it kept us happy for a longer while. Trad and alpine climbers may prefer looking for lighter alternatives e.g. wiregate that are way off lighter.
Without having to exaggerate, once a Spirit, always a spirit.
*Disclosure: Thanks to Bergfreunde.de for the sample for review purposes. My opinion and views are based on my experience.