A daisy or daisy chain is a sewn piece of gear that aid climbers use to connect themselves temporarily to a piece of protection. This provides a method for hanging the climber’s body weight while they search for higher placements, adjust or move their aiders, or manage ropes during a climb.

BDDaisy-1 1
A climber in Moab who has used a fifi hook to attach to a daisy chain.

Daisies are not generally designed or tested to function as a Personal Anchor System (PAS), though due to historical overlaps in language some people misleadingly call their PAS a ‘daisy.’  This post will dive into the specific types, uses, and features of Daisy Chains.

The 2 basic types of daisies are:

  • Fixed Length Daisy Chains are used for capturing progression and reaching higher placements by clipping or fifi hooking on progressively higher pockets.
  • Adjustable Daisies capture progress and hold body weight from a single connection point which can be tightened or loosened gradually as the climber moves up or down in their aiders.
Daisy Types 2
Daisies are used to temporarily connect aid climbers to pieces of protection and hold their body weight. They are not usually tested or rated to catch a fall.

The main thing a daisy is designed to do is to hold a climber’s weight while aid climbing. While leading an aid pitch, climbers need to periodically attach themselves to each successive piece of protection that they place (ideally) as far above them as possible. A ladder (or aider) is then clipped to the piece that the climber then walks (or aids) up step by step, slowly progressing up the wall without the need to free climb.

During this ‘walking-up’ the climber needs to pause and place a new piece and the process starts all over again; this is where the daisy becomes useful in holding their weight.

How a daisy chain works
Clipping higher in your daisy (or adjusting it to be shorter) allows you to stand taller in your aiders and reach higher up for your next aid placement. The climber pictured here uses a fifi hook to quickly adjust the length of their daisy without having to unclip and reclip a carabiner.

Daisies also add stability to the aiding process by allowing the climber to hang away from the wall, forcing their feet forward and down into their aider steps. This connection also provides a point of leverage to press against as they get higher and higher in their aiders, keeping their lower body in tension as they place the next piece.

Being able to adjust the distance between the waist and the pro is the key to the whole maneuver of aid climbing, dialing the length as tension and height require. Using a single loop of webbing would not allow for this flexibility and thus the daisy becomes necessary. The higher you stand in your aiders, the higher your next placement, and thus the less placements per pitch and the faster you climb.

While both types of daisies are used for these functions, and they each have their place and specific way they accomplish it which we’ll dive into now.

Fixed Length Daisy Chains

Fixed length daisies are usually made from one closed loop of Nylon or Dyneema with several gathered pockets (or daisy loops) sewn along their length.

Daisy 3

The successive pockets in a sewn daisy chain make it easy to pick a loop at the right height to clip into and hold your weight while you search for the next aid placement, or suss out ropes and gear.

They also have one long loop at one end which is girth hitched to the harness, though some daisies have a long loop at either end for this purpose.

Daisies come in many different lengths depending on a climber’s needs. Taller climbers might want a very long daisy to ensure they can reach as far as possible, while others might choose the shortest daisy they can to minimize bulk and weight.

Sewn daisies can also be quite cheap and can be repurposed for many uses when it’s time for retirement. They make great ‘adjustable’ hammock hangers, gear slings, or rack organizers.

Safety Note: Though this type of daisy is usually very strong end to end, its pockets are not stitched to be strong enough to hold a fall (some have been tested to fail as little as 2.2kN (~500lbs). The lack of strength per pocket is often brought up whenever daisy chains are mentioned, specifically because it concerns safety and risk of failure. This is the primary reason they should not be used as a personal anchor.

If a climber clips themselves to two loops that are next to each other, they are no longer clipped to the entire daisy chain, but rather around the stitching between the loops. This is called cross clipping. If this ‘not designed to hold a fall’ stitching were to suddenly see an unexpected fall, the carabiner could rip the stitching, resulting in the daisy failing and the carabiner becoming detached. This can also happen in a much harder to see (and explain) fashion when short clipping a lower loop in a specific way.


Black Diamond made this video several years back that does a great job of showing just how easily this can happen.

In practicality the fear of this situation rests on two suppositions: that the climber is using their daisy as a Personal Anchor System, and that they aren’t clipping their harness to a single pocket in the daisy as it was designed. The result is a bit of a mess in understanding for beginners and a fair amount of unnecessary worry that daisies are a dangerous piece of gear.

Any chance a daisy has of failing comes from its misuse. Ultimately the thing to remember about daisies is that they are a piece of aid gear for leading aid climbs. They were not designed to be used as a personal anchor.

Fixed Length Daisy Chain Examples

The CAMP Daisy Chain Dyneema has 11 sewn loops between its ends to allow for several options for clipping while aiding. Its harness loop also features a half-twist that helps it sit flat when girth hitched.

One of the most common daisies on the market is the Black Diamond 18mm Daisy Chain. Made from Nylon it is bulkier than other options, but because it is pretty cheap and highly available it has been in wide use for a long time.

Fixed Length Daisy Summary

The Good

  • Simple, nothing but webbing and stitching
  • Generally inexpensive
  • Comes in many different lengths and materials
  • Handy for other non-climbing functions

The Bad

  • Bulkier than other options
  • Best when sized correctly for your reach
  • Have a risk of misuse / failure

Adjustable Daisies

Adjustable Daisies are a single flat piece of webbing with a built-in adjuster so they can be shortened and lengthened as needed during an aid climb. 

AdjDaisy 4

Like their chain counterparts, they also have a loop on one end for girth hitching to the harness. Rather than a series of loops for potential clipping, they have an adjustment buckle that hangs from a single reinforced attachment point. This dogbone-like loop is meant for a single carabiner to connect to the piece of protection, making the system considerably more streamlined.

Their slide buckles make them infinitely adjustable to any length and many aid climbers prefer them because they have less material and are less bulky. Some models also feature a ring or handle at the end of the strand to make it easier to pull and adjust.

The feature that stands out the most for adjustable daisies is their ability to cinch and tighten as the climber moves upward onto a piece of pro. You can think of this similarly to how you can sort of ‘haul’ yourself closer to the anchor with an adjustable PAS by yanking down on them as you pull yourself in. This results in a freer and smoother climb in many instances with no need to hook/unhook/clip/unclip your daisy as you move up or down in your aiders.

Like all daisies, these are only made to be progress capture devices for aid climbing and should never be used as an anchor or as PPE as their buckles will not hold more than body weight.

Adjustable Daisy Examples

The Easy Daisy from Metolius uses a specialized buckle for its adjuster that allows you to pull down on the webbing to adjust while going up, and pull up on a special loop to loosen the daisy to go down.

The Adjustable Daisy from Yates uses a pinch style buckle in its adjuster which allows you to lower easily while the daisy is slightly weighted. It also features an SMC lowering ring for a handle.

Adjustable Daisy Summary

The Good

  • Easier to capture progress or lower
  • Lighter, less bulky
  • Allows for precise dialing of length
  • Can ‘self haul’ onto a piece while climbing

The Bad

  • More expensive
  • Can wear out faster (only one piece of webbing)
  • Aren’t currently available in very long lengths for very tall climbers

Certification Note

Daisies are not certified pieces of climbing gear.

Most companies test their gear similar to slings, so the end-to-end rating would hold 22kN, but this is not a rule. Thus, daisies cannot be assumed to reliably hold a fall in any situation. They are only to help position yourself on a wall while aid climbing.

Although at WeighMyRack we often only add certified gear to our database, we make an exception when an entire gear type is not certifiable (ie, bouldering pads).

In Closing

The most important things to know about dasies are:

  • There are two types (fixed loops and adjustable webbing), and it’s personal preference which style you choose.
  • The length to get is largely dependent on your height and how light you’re trying to make your kit.
  • Daisies are not certified pieces of climbing gear, and in part, another reason they are not recommended to be used as a personal anchor.
Jeff Jaramillo

Jeff Jaramillo

Jeff currently lives in the Midwest and spends most of his free time answering questions nobody asked. When not plugging gear on moderate warmups and calling it a day, he can be found whining about whipping on bolts in the gym or at the local pub waxing poetic about climbing saving humanity and the planet.

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