British Mountain Guide Tim Neill tests out the new Wild Country proton Quickdraws.
The latest “sport” specific quickdraw unit from Wild Country is a pretty neat product. On first glance it looks exactly like what you’d want for the job and in practice it delivers really well.
Firstly the thing comes as a set. A good range of 3 different practical lengths are available to suit all the standard variables of a pitch. The biners come in different colours as standard so it’s pretty hard to mix them up.
The rope and bolt biners are an obviously different shape too. As a consequence you’re much less likely to damage the rope clipping end through wear from bolt hangers.
The slings are chunky and robust allowing for stretching the draw into reachy clips as well as being easy to grab (and more importantly easier to hold onto) if the pump takes control. They also look reassuringly solid from above inspiring even the most over imaginative minds to push on rather than ponder any negative doubts!
The design of the actual carabiner geometry is the clearest winner for me. The internal angles of the carabiners allow the quickdraw to hang in what seems like the perfect way maximising the strength rating (industry standard) and minimising any random cross loading or snagging of bolt hangers at the carabiner “neck” which is a problem with many contemporary designs.
In action their “vice” design feature (the bit that stops the carabiner moving around on the quickdraw) further secures this ideal symmetry allowing real confidence that everything is as it should be in that fleeting moment when contact is lost with the rock and you glance back down to check.
The action of the gates is positive whether clipping bolts or the rope and most importantly the rope clipping experience is as slick as it gets. If you’re sport climbing at your limit all these little finesses will compliment the efforts you’ve put in yourself to tip the balance in your favour.
I’ve used the draws for the last month or so including a couple of weeks in the Gorges du Tarn and other than a few bolt hanger nicks and the finish worn off the internal angle of the rope clipping biners they look tip top and ready for plenty more.
During our trip in France my climbing partner said “if I was buying some new sport quickdraws I’d get these!”
You can’t get fairer than that.
The Proton is available in three lengths; 12cm, 17cm and 25cm and is also available as 5 packs of 12cm or 17cm draws.
Wild Country Say:
"The new Proton quickdraw is sports specific and impeccably designed to enhance the all-important clipping moment. Distinct hot forged back and gates have been carefully thought out to create an ergonomic pair of biners engineered around our new variable width webbing to make an awesome package. Built for the smoothest clipping and stripping, the Proton’s elegant style enhances and redefines this integral part of the sports climbing experience. Additionally, deep internals locate both the bolt and rope in the most effective and efficient way, producing a clean hanging draw that’s perfectly balanced. Finished in a stylish new colourway, with clip and rope end defined, this is a formidable combination and essential kit for any sports climber. Quickdraws are available in 12, 17 and 25cm on variable width webbing with new ‘Vice’."
- Single Biner - £9
- 12cm - £19.00
- 17cm - £19.50
- 25cm - £20.00
- 5 Pack 12cm - £88
- 5 Pack 17cm - £90
MORE INFORMATION: Wild Country Website
Tim Neill is a fully qualified British Mountain Guide (UIAGM) and is based near Llanberis. He is often found working on his home crags of North Wales where he has climbed more routes than anyone else we know. He spends much of the winter working in Scotland and some of the summer working in the Alps.
Tim has been climbing for many years with ascents of hundreds of classic routes across the world (including some hard ones!), most recently an early repeat of the stunning ice climb Super Domo in Patagonia with James McHaffie (see UKC News).
- You can read more about Tim in this UKC Article from 2008: I Want That Job - Tim Neill
- Also on his personal Guiding Website here: Tim Neill Guiding
(Note Tim had a set of pre-production models that were different in colour to the sale models. For that reason Wild Country have supplied images of the QDs and asked that Tim's photos don't go with this review, so as not to cause confusion as to what these Protons actually look like. The quickdraws were exactly the same as the sale models, except for the colour).
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See this product at the Outside Ltd shop