Place a Stopper while Rock Climbing

Place a Stopper while Rock Climbing
A stopper, otherwise known as a wire, nut, or wedge, is a passive chock used as artificial protection while rock climbing. A stopper is a tapered block designed to fit into cracks in the rock. It sits passively until weight is applied then wedges itself into the crack tightly. Your goal when you place a stopper is to have the most contact between the chock and the rock as possible.


Difficulty: Easy

Step 1
Look for constriction in a crack when you want to place a stopper. This is where sides of the crack come together closer in one spot.
Step 2
Choose a stopper that will fit your crack and constriction. The chock needs to have as much surface area as possible touching the rock inside the crack so that it can be wedged in securely.
Step 3
Place the stopper above and behind the constriction. You may have to rotate your stopper to fit it inside the crack at first, and then rotate it again to ensure the stopper is placed snugly and correctly in the crack. Secure it with a sharp jerk downward.
Step 4
Test the stopper by tugging on it downwardly, as would happen if you fell, as well as upwardly, which is how you will be climbing and therefore pulling your rope. Tug on the stopper in every direction you can anticipate it could be pulled, including outward from the rock.

Tips & Warnings

Always use a back up piece of protection when you place a #1 or #2 size stopper. These stoppers are rated for pressure only, not for a fall. Always find a stopper that fits your crack rather than searching for a crack for a specific stopper.
Avoid cracks with nearby crumbling or deteriorating rock. Don't place the stopper too far back into the crack or it will be difficult to retrieve it.

Article Written By Gail Roberts

Gail Roberts is a Creative Writing graduate from UNCW who is married to a Marine Corps Combat Ski and Rock Climbing Instructor. She has no choice but to learn these things for the sake of her marriage.

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