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Carabiner Extravaganza!


Submitted by vegastradguy on 2008-07-22

Rating: 12345   Go Login to rate this article.   Votes: 4 | Comments: 14 | Views: 9589

by John Wilder


By vegastradguy

A while back, my illustrious predecessor did a round of carabiner testing on different draws with different carabiners. Since then, a few new carabiners have arrived on the scene, and some of the manufacturers have sent me samples over the last year or so for me to check out. I figured it was a good opportunity to do another en-mass review of the newer offerings from folks.

All of the carabiners below have been used in both trad and sport for several months each. I did keep them together for draws (straight/bent combos also), because I prefer the same carabiner on each end of my draws. I got lots of feedback on each carabiner, and there were definitely favorites, and some that werenít so popular.

Finally, I also managed to test a few new locking carabiners from Trango, Mammut, Black Diamond, and Mad Rock. There were definitely some surprising results in that category! So, without further babbling on my part, on with the review!

Black Diamond Oz

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The Oz, BDís 28g offering.
Black Diamond
The Oz, BDís 28g offering. Photo: Black Diamond.

The Oz is a pretty cool little carabiner, although it is definitely on the small side. I suspect those folks who really like the neutrino will like this one as well. It clips surprisingly well, although its small size makes it less than ideal for putting a bunch of stuff on it at anchors. I found myself reaching for these guys more often than I expected when they were on my trad rack, especially when I wanted a fast clip. This little guy would make an excellent rope end carabiner for any draw, but its small size is kind of tough to deal with sometimes on the pro-end. Specs: 28g, Major-20kn, Minor, 7kn, Open, 8kn

More detail and user reviews of this biner

Mammut Bionic

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The Bionic, the weirdest looking carabiner of the lot
Mammut
The Bionic, the weirdest looking carabiner of the lot. Photo: Mammut.

When these guys were on the trad rack, they were not received well. Their tendency to hang up on the tripled sling made them annoying when trying extend the sling. The severe curve really does keep them in place! The fared better on sport draws, as expected, but they still were not the favorite carabiner of the bunch. They are cool looking, though, and their lime green anodizing on the bent gates and fairly easy clip make them a decent choice for a rope end carabiner. Specs: Major, 24kn, Minor, 7kn, Open, 10kn

Bent Gate: More detail and user reviews of this biner
Solid Gate: More detail and user reviews of this biner

Mammut Element

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the simple Element, a good all arounder.
Mammut
The simple Element, a good all arounder. Photo: Mammut.

Despite their simple look, they are a solid carabiner that would make a good workhorse on anyones rack. They feel like a lightweight Positron or Spirit, although I cant find the spec weight on them, they are very light for a solid gate. Cheap, too- $7.00. They definitely were more popular on the trad side, but theyíd make fine anchor draws or even good bolt-end draws thanks to the decent size and easy handling. Specs: Major 23kn, Minor, 8kn, Open, 8kn

Straight: More detail and user reviews of this biner
Bent: More detail and user reviews of this biner

Trango Smooth

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Trangoís latest offering!
Trango
Trangoís latest offering. Photo: Trango.

With the end of the keylock patent, comes a slew of keylock offerings from folks not willing to pay the royalties, and among those is Trangoís Smooth series. Lightweight, smooth action, and fancy gate colors are the highlights. I liked them a lot on the trad side of things, a simple workhorse that can go anywhere, Iíll probably put these permanently as stopper racking carabiners. For sport, they worked well, easy clipping and fairly lightweight. Specs: 40g, Major 23kn, Minor, 8kn, Open, 8kn

Straight: More detail and user reviews of this biner
Bent: More detail and user reviews of this biner

Mad Rock Ultra-tech

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Mad Rockís pretty new keylock.
Mad Rock
Mad Rockís pretty new keylock. Photo: Mad Rock.

Iíll be the first to admit I wasnít expecting much when I got the new carabiners from Mad Rock. They are a shoe company, after all, but I was pleasantly surprised. They are a bit heavy (49g), but they have excellent action and they were my favorite solid gate carabiner of the bunch, especially on the rope-end of a sport draw. Probably the best clipping action, most likely thanks to the burly build. This is a really nice, and really cheap ($7) carabiner, a good addition to the rack if youíre looking for a standard keylock solid gate. Specs: 49g, Major 25kn, Minor, 9kn, Open, 9kn

Straight: More detail and user reviews of this biner
Bent: More detail and user reviews of this biner

Mad Rock Ultra-light

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The wire-gate offering
Mad Rock
The wire-gate offering. Photo: Mad Rock.

Like its solid-gate cousin, this wire gate ended up being a favorite, especially on the sport side. Lightweight, easy to clip, and decent size made it popular among the climbing crew testing it. While I still prefer the Wild Country Helium as a workhorse wiregate due to the clean nose, this is probably my favorite normal wire gate carabiner thus far. I probably wonít put it back on the trad rack, mostly due to the large number of Heliums I have, it will definitely live happily in the sport draw pile for years to come. Specs: 31g, Major 25kn, Minor, 8kn, Open, 8kn

Straight: More detail and user reviews of this biner
Bent: More detail and user reviews of this biner

Overall, Iíd say the Mad Rocks were the surprise favorite, both the solid and wire gate versions, but the Oz was definitely a contender for rope-end work, and the Element and Smooth were popular as work horses, and probably will get more attention than the Ultra-tech due to their lighter weight.

Black Diamond Vaporlock

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the lime green vaporlockÖpretty and lightweight to be sure.
Black Diamond
The lime green vaporlockÖ pretty and lightweight to be sure. Photo: Black Diamond.

At 51g, this is a really light hms locking carabiner. It also has a keylock nose and a semi-I-Beam cross-section. I used it for a couple of months as a belay carabiner and really liked it, and it did provide the increase in friction that BD says it will. Unfortunately, though, the carabiner wore through way too fast. After two months (probably 12-16 climbing days), it developed noticeable grooves, and within 3 months, I retired it. While it would make an excellent anchor locker or other multi-use locker, I canít say that Iíd recommend it for belay use in general. Specs: 51g, Major 21kn, Minor 8kn, Open, 8kn

More detail and user reviews of this biner

Trango Smooth Lockers

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the HMS screwlock, one of two new lockers from Trango.
Trango
The HMS screwlock, one of two new lockers from Trango. Photo: Trango.

Trango has two new lockers on the market, both keylock. One is your standard asymmetrical D locker, the other is a burly round stock HMS model. While the D locker doesnít feel all that solid, the HMS is the opposite and it has found a home on my anchor kit. The D locker is fine, but the screw mechanism doesnít feel as smooth as other models out there (Iím guessing this was to shave grams), so it has been relegated to the prusik/rappel ring holder on the harness. Specs (HMS): 83g, Major 23kn, Minor, 10kn, Open, 8kn; (Screwlock): 48g, Major 23g, Minor, 8kn, Open, 8kn

HMS: More detail and user reviews of this biner
Screw: More detail and user reviews of this biner

Mammut Bionic Series

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Mammutís Bionic Mytholito, despite the look, this is a full sized HMS carabiner.
Mammut
Mammutís Bionic Mytholito - despite the look, this is a full sized HMS carabiner. Photo: Mammut.

The Bionic series wasnít ideal in the non-lockers, but the locking carabiners are awesome. Burly, to be sure, the smooth action and solid construction make them ideal for anchor carabiners. I also liked the Mytholito, because they shaved off a bunch of weight (over 20g), by just shrinking one end of the carabiner, but leaving the other side the same as the full sized HMS option, leaving a reasonably svelte belaying carabiner, or a nicely lightweight HMS option if youíre going light and fast! Specs (HMS) Major 22kn, Minor, 7kn, Open, 7kn; (Mythos) Major 25kn, Minor, 8kn, Open, 8kn; (Mytholito) 58g, Major 24kn, Minor, 10kn, Open, 7kn

Mythos: More detail and user reviews of this biner
Mytholito: More detail and user reviews of this biner
HMS: More detail and user reviews of this biner

Mad Rock Ultra-tech series

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The Ultra-tech screwgate, the prettiest locker of them all!
Mad Rock
The Ultra-tech screwgate, the prettiest locker of them all! Photo: Mad Rock.

I really liked these two carabiners, especially the HMS version. It immediately went onto my Sterling Chain Reactor and hasnít left since. The regular screw gate is awesome as well and will find a permanent home on the trad rack serving the same purpose as the BD Positron locker- small, lightweight, spare locker! Very cool little carabiners, both of them. I think the HMS might be a bit small compared to the other ones reviewed, but its solid construction and compact size will make it a contender against Petzlís fabled Attache, if Iím not mistaken. Specs (Screw): 56g, Major 25kn, Minor, 9kn, Open, 9kn; (HMS): 67g, Major 25kn, Minor, 9kn, Open, 9kn

HMS: More detail and user reviews of this biner
Screw: More detail and user reviews of this biner

The new lockers were all pretty cool, with the Bionics and the Ultra-techs being the highlights of the collection. I think its important to note that I donít use cordlettes, but I would guess that the Ultra-Tech HMS and the Mytholito would probably not do well in cordlette masterpoints due to the narrow basket on one end of the carabiner. The Mythos and the Trango HMS, though, would be ideal as they have a similar footprint to the monster Petzl William.

So, there you have it, your quasi-regular carabiner extravaganza! Time and a few OR shows will tell if another one will be done at some point in the future!

Full Disclosure: The company that manufactured this item provided it free of charge to rockclimbing.com who in turn provided it as compensation to the reviewer for his review.

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14 Comments CommentAdd a Comment

 patmay81
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 2008-07-22
thanks for the review. the only thing I have to add is that I have had issues with the soft metal on the mammut bionic biners. mine had a crazy deep groove in it after one use as a master point biner.
 Roasta
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 2008-07-22
Great review. Nice work.
I have had trouble with the Positron locker getting a few grooves too. Softer grade alloy these days?
 Roasta
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 2008-07-22
Great review. Nice work.
I have had trouble with the Positron locker getting a few grooves too. Softer grade alloy these days?
 vegastradguy
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 2008-07-22
interesting on the soft metal...ive been using all of the carabiners for months, and aside from the vapor lock, all of them are in good shape.
 ddansby1
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 2008-07-23
Could it be due to the amount of "grit" in your rope? I know I have two ropes, one used only slightly, the other used a whole lot. The one that is used a whole lot definetly will wear grooves much faster than the other.
 vegastradguy
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 2008-07-23
well, in the case of the vaporlock, its unlikely. my ropes get washed 2-3 times a year, or when they turn brown because i forget to bring my rope tarp.
 dondada
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 2008-07-23
camp nano 23??, trango superfly?? jus curious
 vegastradguy
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 2008-07-23
i asked for the nano 23, but we weren't able to get it for review. the superfly isn't among the newer offerings from trango, so it wasnt included in the review set from them.
 tigerlilly
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 2008-07-24
I'm getting significant wear on my Mammut Bionic Mythos after one year of use as my belay/rappel biner. Is the Madrock HMS munter hitch friendly?
 vegastradguy
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 2008-07-24
the mad rock is in line with the attache from petzl- its a smaller version of a standard hms biner. i'm sure you can use it for a munter, but my guess would be it'll be happier with a skinnier line due to the size. i'll see if i can find some time in the next day or so to slap a munter on mine with a couple of different ropes and see how it feels.
 wmfork
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 2008-08-02
How about the "new" Metolius element? A bit heavier @ 35g, but only a touch smaller than full size and has one of the highest rated strength (28KN close gate, 10KN open gate).
 vegastradguy
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 2008-08-02
i didnt get a chance to check that one out, but maybe i'll include it in the next review sometime down the road!
 patmay81
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 2008-08-05
I just bought some of the new Metolius Infernos, those things are sweet! The shop I went to didn't have the element, but if it is a similar quality, strength and price to its non locking counterpart I'd say it would be a great biner! The only complaint is the basket is a little small- but I'm using them on draws so its not really that critical.
 andyluomin
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 2008-10-18
we are a supplier of carabiner,if you want to buy ,please refer to our website thank you
www.lt9001.com,my MSN is lxx@lt158.com,thank you

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