Choosing Carabiners (part 2)


The first part of our Choosing Carabiners articles described the types of carabiner available for climbers. You can read that here. In Choosing Carabiners (part 2) Paul shares his views on what type and how many screwgate carabiners he carries on his adventures. This would typically be the selection for a personal standard trad rock climb. In other situations or on a professional context it would vary. We hope you find it useful.

In Choosing Carabiners (part 1) I discussed the technical classifications of carabiners, but knowing the different types is only half the story.  Knowing what to take on your vertical adventures is vital too.  In this top tip I’m thinking of locking carabiners (which for me will always be screwgates rather than other locking types).  How many, what type and why?

I usually only take about 4 screwgates for personal climbing. Of course, like all things, that can sometimes vary according to the particular adventure.

Belay Plate Carabiner

Firstly, I take one as a dedicated belay plate biner.  This is usually a mid-sized pear shaped carabiner. This leaves plenty of working space and the ropes run smoothly.  The broad curve also ensures that the belay plate snugs up smoothly against the curve when it’s locked off.   I like this carabiner to be a completely different colour to the others. This ensures I can always find it quickly and never mix them up.

Recently, I have been loving the Petzl Attache 3D (the gold coloured carabiner in the picture) which is very light (55 grams) and also has Petzl’s Keylock system. This essentially means it has a very smooth nose allowing ropes or belay plates to slide in smoothly without getting caught up.  The Attache also features Petzl’s ‘Red Lock’ indicator system. This it great as it gives a clear visual guide to whether the gate is screwed up or not.

Tying In Carabiner

Secondly, I like a big HMS. Although a little heavier, this adds lots of versatility as a carabiner for tying in to belays.  Again, if this can be quickly identifiable from the others that’s a big help too.  The photo above shows a Mammut Bionic (the middle one with the blue screw gate). I sometimes carry a DMM Boa instead. 

Clipping In Carabiners

Finally, I usually carry a couple of smaller D shaped screwgates for all the other times I need a completely secure clip.  Often this is to clip into placements in my belay anchor.  For these types of task I prefer something light, strong and fairly compact like the DMM Shadow. These are great. Not so small it can’t be handled easily, but still small enough to be light.

Some climbers might prefer to take more than we suggest in Choosing Carabiners (part 2). Everyone, of course, makes their own informed choice. In my opinion I can often find alternatives (such as reversing gates on two snapgate carabiners) if needed. I prefer to keep things simple.

We share ideas on what equipment to take climbing for different adventures on all our rock climbing courses. Come and join us to find out more about gear choice. As mentioned above, please do also have a look at our Choosing Carabiners (part 1) article here.