Climbing Puzzles


You’re having a great day climbin, but something unexpected occurs! How will you deal with it? Introducing Climbing Puzzles!

Situation 1: You climb to the top of the route, only to find a large boulder with a single rusty but stable-looking piton pinned in the back. You have the following items:

  • 2 screwgate and 5 sets nonlocking carabiners on alpine slings
  • 60m rope tied into your harness
  • belay partner 60 feet below
  • accessory cord (only long enough to wrap about the boulder once with a single strand)


Situation 2: You approach an anchor, but it appears that there are 3 anchor points. Two side by side, set 6 inches apart, and a third about 3 feet higher and a foot to the side. The bolted anchor in the middle is loose and rusty. You have the same items with you as above.


Situation 3: OH NO! Getting pumped, you’ve finally reached a bolt, ready to clip, and realize you didn’t partner check and you never finished your figure 8 knot. It wont fall off without warning, but it’s certainly not weight-bearing. You have 1 good hand sized jug, and small edges for feet. You need at least one hand to stay on the wall, and the bolt is 2 feet above your head. What do you do? Materials:

  • Rope, barely attached to your tie in point
  • Belayer, 70 feet below you
  • 2 quickdraws (not long enough to reach from the bolt to your harness)


Situation 3.5: Based off of a true story. This time it’s in a gym, you’re the belayer, and this time it’s your MOM that’s 60 feet up, with the rope barely danging on her harness. She has no gear on her, you have an atc with a screwgate carabiner currently attached to the live rope. What do you do? Materials:

  • Gym, with other members
  • Other routes next to the current route, all with bolts
  • Belay device and locking carabiner


Situation 4: You’ve reached the anchor, only to realize that you used up all your quickdraws on the way up. The anchors are bolted with 2 chains and rap rings hanging from it. Materials:

  • Rope, attached to your tie in points
  • Belayer, 70 feet below you
  • Your wits


Situation 5: Your belay partner is lowering you off a severely overhanging route. You’re 10 meters down from a 30 meter routeShe’s using a belay device and the gate of the carabiner gets caught between the tube entrance and the rope. She spends 10 minutes trying to get it out but its hopelessly snagged. She can’t open the carabiner gate because that’s the part that’s stuck. What can she do? Materials:

  • quickdraws
  • cordelette
  • locking carabiners
  • 20m left of remaining rope behind the belay device
  • alone at the crag


I’ll post my own answers in a few days! Message me if you’ve got other good puzzles where you’d like to hear answers from the community!