A carabiner is a climber’s best friend. It is used to belay, to attach the rope, to tie-in, for abseil, etc. In short, there is no climbing without it. Climbing and mountaineering carabiners are made of Zicral, an aluminium and zinc alloy that is very strong and lightweight.
These are equipped with a screw to lock the gate of the carabiner against the body, which prevents the gate from opening randomly. These carabiners are used for important connections such as anchor points, belay devices and systems, abseiling, and safety lanyards, etc.
Non-locking carabiners are mainly found as a component of quickdraws or camming devices and will hold a climber in the event of a fall. They should not be used for anything else.
Carabiners come in different shapes, depending on their use:
These can be used for clipping in (at the end of sling) or for belaying (only with a Grigri). Compared with pear-
shaped models of the same diameter, D-shaped carabiners are stronger as the load is transferred along the major axis of the carabiner.
HMS carabiners can be used for belaying (with all kinds of belay device or an Italian or Munter hitch) and for clipping in, using a clove hitch. Their shape means the gate can open wider than other carabiners, which makes them easier to use.
The opening on a carabiner is the distance between the gate (in the open position) and the nose.
– Carabiners with small openings are lightweight and compact.
– Carabiners with large openings are easier to use.
There are two kinds of locking systems for locking carabiners:
This is the classic closure system and comprises a ring on a threaded gate.
The carabiner can be opened with two or three (depending on the model) movements of the gate. The main advantage is that the gate closes automatically, so there is no risk of forgetting to lock it.
The shape of the nose dictates the closure system between the gate and the body of the carabiner.
In the past, all carabiners had a notch or a hook on the nose of the carabiner. This is a less than smooth system as the hook easily catches on the rope and item of equipment.
Today, most carabiners have a snag-free Keylock system. This makes them easier to use.
Simond has another kind of carabiner nose system called the Spider, whose ergonomic and totally snag-free design is even smoother to use than the Keylock.
Simond has developed an additional feature for some of their carabiners. The BLC (Belay Loop Controller) allows the user to fix the carabiner to their harness and ensures that it is always loaded along its major axis to give maximum strength.
Understanding the markings on a carabiner:
Every carabiner bearing the CE or UIAA marks will show the following information: – Breaking strength along the major axis with the gate closed
– Breaking strength along the minor axis
– Breaking strength along the major axis with open gate
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