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qwert


Mar 11, 2008, 9:07 AM
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Carabiner and quickdraw FAQ *draft*
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So im trying to write a FAQ on carabiners and quickdraws, to help to contain the recurring n00b threads on them.
Here is what i got so far.
feal free to correct me, or tell me what to add, or give me some matching links to include.
This is still work in progress (eg. some parts are still missing), but the first parts about carabiners and quickdraws in general are more or less finished, and should provide good information.

qwert


(This post was edited by qwert on Jun 3, 2009, 7:34 AM)


qwert


Mar 11, 2008, 9:08 AM
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Re: [qwert] Carabiner and quickdraw FAQ *draft* [In reply to]
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The Gear-Heads carabiner and quickdraw FAQ



What is this FAQ for?
This FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) is trying to answer some of the recurring questions about carabiners and quickdraws. Today we climbers are in the lucky situation to be able to choose between various carabiners. there are dozens of manufacturers out there, each again with a handful of different carabiners. Not only do they come in different colors, they also come in various sizes and forms.

This FAQ should be a help in finding out which type of carabiner is used for what purpose, and the what pros and cons of the various carabiner types are.

With this you should be able to find out which carabiner you should get. I will often make mention of carabiners by name and by brand, and if i say "the Wild Country Helium is one of the best all purpose carabiners out there" you can surely take this as a suggestion, but the goal of this FAQ is not to come to the conclusion "get carabiner XX by brand YY, because it is the best carabiner for everything of all time ...", since a lot of this is about personal preference. As mentioned, the goal is to give an overview about what is available, and what does what.


Disclaimer
Climbing is dangerous!!
Im trying to give the best advice i can, but i could be wrong. And even if all i tell you is right, you could still die climbing. All this climbing is dangerous stuff that comes with your gear is there for a reason. Take this advices seriously! You should not take this FAQ as your only source. the internet is a great thing, and you can get a lot of valuable information, but it is no replacement for proper training and a good book. If you're new to climbing, take a course first, read on the subject, find someone experienced to go out with and so on. Whatever you are doing, use your brain, be careful and double check everything thats important.

Im not responsible for your actions. If you fuck it up, you're on your own!!


With that out of the way, here is a list about what I'm trying to answer in this FAQ:

  • What types of carabiners are there, what are they used for and which ones should i get?
  • What types of quickdraws are there, what are they used for and which ones should i get?
  • What is the difference between cheap and expensive stuff?
  • Can carabiners still break?



(This post was edited by qwert on Jun 3, 2009, 7:32 AM)


qwert


Mar 11, 2008, 9:18 AM
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  • What types of carabiners are there, what are they used for and which ones should i get?


There are many different types of carabiners out there.

First thing to distinguish them is the material they are made of. There is aluminum and steel.

Steel carabiners

Steel is stronger than aluminim, but its way heavier, so it doesn't get used much in climbing. Steel carabiners are mostly used in rescue work or in industrial purposes (and recently in slacklining). Sometimes it gets used in climbing, for example if one is climbing on very abrasive rock like sandstone, where the rope will take up small particles, abrading the belay carabiner very fast. In such a situation it also could make sense to use steel carabiners for your toprope powerpoint. If you decide to get steel carabiners, get some from respected manufacturers. Don't go to the nearest home depot and get the cheap things they have. these aren't meant for climbing use!

Aluminum carabiners

Aluminum (or better, the various aluminum alloys) is the standard material used for climbing carabiners. its light, and albeit weaker than steel still strong enough for carabiners. When looking at the different aluminum carabiners, the first thing you will notice is the different colors. If the carabiner is silver, its the color of the aluminum. if it isn't silver, it is anodized. The anodizing creates a layer that will protect the carabiner from corrosion, but since aluminum isn't corroding much, it doesn't matter if a carabiner is anodized or not. It can be useful if you are using a color coding system on your rack, or to make them easier to spot, but mostly its about being pretty.

The next thing is whether a carabiner is a locking carabiner or a non locking carabiner.

Locking carabiners

These have, you might have already guessed it, some kind of locking mechanism, that prevent their gate from opening unintentionally.


From left to right: Oval locker, D-shaped locker, asymmetric D-shaped locker and pear shaped locker (Munter hitch locker or HMS locker).

Ovals are an old form, and don't get used much anymore, just as D-shaped carabiners. Some manufacturers still make them, and they do still have their place, but stuff like carabiner brakes and advanced rigging is beyond this FAQ. If you already have some, you can of course use them (as long as they are still working, and are not too old). They aren't unsafe, its just that asymmetric D-shaped lockers are better in most situations (and being newer, they are also often lighter than old carabiners of the same strength). As mentioned, asymmetric D-shaped lockers are what is used for most purposes nowadays. They do come in many different forms, just as their non locking counterparts (look there for further information on the different shapes). Pear shaped lockers are mostly used for belaying and rappelling, either combined with a designated belay/ rappel device (stuff like the ATC, the reverso, and other tubes, or figure eights) or alone with a munter hitch. They are also nice as a big powerpoint locker in which you can clip a lot of other stuff due to its size. The carabiners pictured are all screw gate lockers. there are various other locking mechanisms, but since i like screw gates best, i don't have any other types. could someone add something on the different mechanisms?

Links:

Article about which lockers to chose, by british alpinist Andy Kirkpatrick.
More aimed at experienced and alpine climbers, but nevertheless some good "all purpose" informations.

Another article by the same guy as above, this time about the number of lockers needed. Again, it is a bit to specialized, but does offer some valuable information.

Non locking carabiners

These don't have a locking mechanism. Non locking carabiners are the bread and butter of any rack. They get used for quickdraws, for racking nuts and cams, and for dozens of other purposes. They are available in many different forms, almost all of them being a variation of the asymmetric D-shape. Oval and D-shaped ones do also exist, but the stuff said about them at locker does apply here too. Additionally due to their form Oval non lockers have a very low open gate strength, which is something that should be avoided (see: can carabiners still break?). Apart from the obvious things like shape and color, the most differences are in open gate strength, weight and price, as well as size.

At the moment ultralight carabiners seem to be all the rage, and it definitely is a nice thing to have to carry less, but the disadvantages of this are a higher price, and often reduced size and strength.
Here is a short overview about some of the carabiners i have, with weight in grams, open gate strength and price level. The petzl spirit is considered somewhat of a benchmark, so it is also pictured with the small carabiners, to have something to compare them too (apart from the scale).


Bigger carabiners, from left to right:
Petzl spirit: 9,5kN, 48g, expensive.
Kong ???: 7kN, 49g cheap.
Wild country Helium:10kN, 34g, expensive
Salewa SUB: 9kN, 34g, medium



Smaller carabiners, from left to right:
Petzl spirit, shown again for size.
Kong Helium: 7kN, 36g, medium
Black Diamond Neutrino: 8kN, 34g, medium
Black Diamond Oz: 8kN, 28g, expensive
Camp Nano (old model): 9kN, 28g, expensive


So which carabiners and how many should i get?

Which ones you should get depends. apart from open gate strength (see can carabiners still break), its a matter of what suits you best.

Some people don't like small carabiners, some don't like wiregates, some want keylocks and so on. Number wise you wont need many non locking carabiners, since non locking ones are mostly used in quickdraws. Two or three free ones should do it, to clip some random stuff, or for slings. Lockers are needed for the belay device and for securing yourself to the belay, so that makes at least two, one of them being a big pear shaped one. Having some spare lockers is always nice, but if you are carrying so many that you are getting weighted down by them, you are doing something wrong.

As on which carabiners to get my suggestion would be to get a big carabiner, with keylock, high open gate strength, that is light and has a good price. However such a carabiner doesn't exist.

As you can see in the list, you cant have everything. you can have a big and light and strong carabiner, but you cant have that for cheap. You can have the lightest carabiner that there is at the moment, but you cant have that carabiner being big and strong (with the new camp nano being even smaller). There are also many different big, strong and cheap carabiners, but they aren't light.

You have to ask your self whats the most important for you: Are you doing trad or alpine stuff with big racks and long routes? You might want to have a look at the weight and if you can use them with gloves. Are you doing sport climbing with preclipped draws? Weight isn't an issue here, so get strong and easy to clip carabiners. And so on ...

If you want specific information on a specific carabiner, you should look into the gear section of this site.
There you can find ratings and reviews about specific carabiners.
Also you can search the forums for it. Typing "manufaturer name carabiner name" into the search box, will often turn up with discussions that contain info about that carabiner. Another possibility would be to click on one of the big ads on this site, by the likes like rei, backcountrygear and whatever. Most of these big retailers have also the option that their customers rate and comment the stuff they buy there. And last but not least the manufacturers themselves do often some good information about the stuff they sell, including intended use, and at which kind of climbers the respective product is aimed.

Gate and nose variations

Another thing that exists in different variations are the gates and the noses of the carabiners.


Clockwise from the top:
Salewa SUB: strange outward bent wiregate, non hooded nose
Faders ???: bent solid gate
Lucky Metor: another bent solid gate
Kong ???: Bent solid keylock gate
Austrialpin easy magic: mildy bent solid gate, keylock variant
Stubai supreme rope: bent wiregate, hooded nose
Salewa SUB: straight solid gate
Stubai supreme top: straight wiregate, hooded nose
Black diamond Oz: straight wiregate, mildly hooded nose
Petzl Spirit: straight solid gate, keylock
Kong Helium: straight solid gate, keylock



left, from top:
Faders ???: Non keylock
Kong ???: Keylock
Black Diamond Neutrino: Hooded Nose
right, from top:
Austrialpin Easy Spezial: old school claw type nose
Salwa SUB: non hooded nose
Wild country Helium: Wirelock/ wiregate Keylock nose
Black Diamond Oz: Mildly hooded nose


As you can see, there are many variants. Solid gates are the "traditional way" carabiners are made. A variation of this is the keylock. Keylock noses have the advantage that they wont get easily caught at stuff (be it bolt hangers or slings), so it makes the carabiners easier to use. The bent gate variation is meant for the rope end of the quickdraw, since it makes clipping a bit easier. As you can see some of the gate have notches or grooves on them. this is meant to make them easier to operate. again it is a matter of personal taste if you need such notches, and if yes, which manufacturer suits you best.

Wiregates are are "new" invention. Its biggest advantages are reduced weight, and added safety against open gate loading (see can carabiners still break). The disadvantage was that they couldn't be made in a keylock variant, but this has been solved, with carabiners like the Wild Country Helium or the DMM Shield. Wiregates also Exist in a bent shape, but most manufacturers just use straight gates, since wiregates are mostly easy to clip, thanks to the protruded nose (which is not found on straight solid gates). Some wiregates have a hooded nose, helping to protect the carabiner from getting opened by getting rubbed across the rock.

Here is an article about wiregates by british alpinist Andy Kirkpatrick about wiregates. As you will see from the statements in it, it is a bit older. but that gives an interesting overview about how wiregates at first where only slowly accepted by the climbing community.

Unusual carabiners

And apart from all the above described standard forms of carabiners there is also a big number of strange, or non standard carabiners. The most well known one is surely the wiregate, which was deemed a stupid or at least very strange idea by many, but its advantages helped it to become a accepted type very quickly (see link above). Many others weren't so lucky, so there is a number of discontinued or niche products out there. Maybe some will catch on, but a lot wont.


Heres a small sample, from left to right:
DMM Revolver: carabiner with built in pulley. Useful on meandering pitches to reduce rope drag. But heavy and expensive, and can only be used on the rope side of a draw (not very multi purpose). The british site planetfear.com has a very enthusiastic review about it, but given the fact that it is a quite expensive and specialized piece of gear, it is not something one must get as a beginner.
Stubai locker: Unusual shape for its age, and a plastic sleeve as locking mechanism. Having only a little piece of plastic preventing your locker from opening isn't as confidence inspiring as a big piece of aluminum on conventional lockers.
Salewa ???: big plastic grips that are supposedly making clipping easier. the silver part at the draw side gets levered upwards when weighted, making it impossible for the gate to get opened. Heavy as hell, and way to expensive.

Some of the strange or special carabiners have their niches, but for a beginner normal carabiners should do it.

Links:

Article about the different carabiner types by the user shoo. A lot of good and detailed information about the various types and shapes of carabiners.


(This post was edited by qwert on Jun 3, 2009, 7:35 AM)
Attachments: bigger biners.jpg (112 KB)
  gate types.jpg (99.7 KB)
  Nose types.JPG (99.7 KB)
  Strange biners.jpg (85.5 KB)
  smaller biners.jpg (49.2 KB)
  locker types.jpg (63.9 KB)


swaghole


Mar 11, 2008, 9:57 AM
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Re: [qwert] Carabiner and quickdraw FAQ *draft* [In reply to]
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Very nice! Lets hope people actually use the search functionality before posting questions about binerWink


sgauss


Mar 11, 2008, 9:59 AM
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Re: [qwert] Carabiner and quickdraw FAQ *draft* [In reply to]
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Maybe start by pointing out the gate of the carabiner vs. the spine.

Maybe even more basic, a quick explanation of why carabiners are used in climbing.

For a true beginner faq, it would be good to have a section on how biner strength is rated. Explain what a kilonewton is, and talk about axis, open and crossload ratings.


qwert


Mar 11, 2008, 10:14 AM
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Re: [sgauss] Carabiner and quickdraw FAQ *draft* [In reply to]
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sgauss wrote:
Maybe start by pointing out the gate of the carabiner vs. the spine.

Maybe even more basic, a quick explanation of why carabiners are used in climbing.

For a true beginner faq, it would be good to have a section on how biner strength is rated. Explain what a kilonewton is, and talk about axis, open and crossload ratings.
Could be a good idea, but thats too basic for me.
spine and gate is logical. and everybody should know what a kilonewton is. thats secondary school.
but if you write something it could get added.

my idea was that this is aimed at these people who roughly know what a biner is, and what they need it for (like from gym class, or from boy scout climbing or whatever), but now that they actually plan on buying some they find out that there are many different types and dont know wich one is meant for what.


sgauss


Mar 11, 2008, 8:00 PM
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qwert wrote:
sgauss wrote:
Maybe start by pointing out the gate of the carabiner vs. the spine.

Maybe even more basic, a quick explanation of why carabiners are used in climbing.

For a true beginner faq, it would be good to have a section on how biner strength is rated. Explain what a kilonewton is, and talk about axis, open and crossload ratings.
Could be a good idea, but thats too basic for me.
spine and gate is logical. and everybody should know what a kilonewton is. thats secondary school.
but if you write something it could get added.

my idea was that this is aimed at these people who roughly know what a biner is, and what they need it for (like from gym class, or from boy scout climbing or whatever), but now that they actually plan on buying some they find out that there are many different types and dont know wich one is meant for what.

I understand your intent, although kilnewton wouldn't be secondary school stuff for a lot of Americans. Unfortunately we have a deep distrust of the metric system, and it doesn't help that it has French origins! :)


jdefazio


Mar 11, 2008, 8:22 PM
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Re: [sgauss] Carabiner and quickdraw FAQ *draft* [In reply to]
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sgauss wrote:
I understand your intent, although kilnewton wouldn't be secondary school stuff for a lot of Americans. Unfortunately we have a deep distrust of the metric system, and it doesn't help that it has French origins! :)

Either you reject the metric system or you are with the terrorists. Every lb of force and every inch of length, when measured in the good ol' US of A, is infused with the sweet nectar of freedom and liberty.
Laugh


fattsmann


Mar 12, 2008, 6:39 AM
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Re: [jdefazio] Carabiner and quickdraw FAQ *draft* [In reply to]
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It's kind of funny that in the US, we buy our soda by the liter and take our medications by the milligrams and yet people don't realize that the metric system has already invaded our shores and slipped past our border patrols.
Tongue

9.8 Newtons in a kilogram
2.2 pounds to the kilogram


qwert


Mar 13, 2008, 9:43 AM
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Re: [qwert] Carabiner and quickdraw FAQ *draft* [In reply to]
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  • What types of quickdraws are there and what are they used for?


You can use about any type of carabiner described above and connect it to a short sling and another carabiner and call it a quickdraw. If you know what you are doing some seemingly "weird" combinations can make sense (eg. locker quickdraw or DMM revolver quickdraw), but in most cases a prebuilt quickdraw as sold by many different manufacturers will be the best solution. As far as i know all quickdraws sold today use carabiners of various forms of the asymmetric D-shape described above. As mentioned there, there are different sizes, shapes, weights, ... you get the idea. If you just came to this FAQ to read about quickdraws, please also read the part about carabiners. Since carabiners are a fundamental part of a quickdraw, it is important to have some understanding about them!

The three most common forms of quickdraws are solid gate quickdraws (with two solid gate carabiners, pictured at the top), solid/wire gate quickdraws (with one solid gate and one wiregate, pictured in the middle)and wire gate quickdraws (with two wiregate carabiners, pictured at the bottom)


So which side of the quickdraw is the bolt side and which one is the rope side?
With solid gate quickdraws, the rope end is the one with the bent gate, since this is supposed to make clipping easier. With solid/ wire mixed quickdraws the wiregate carabiner is the rope carabiner. Again it is because of wiregates being a bit easier to clip. Wiregate quickdraws often have the same carabiner at both ends (although some wiregate carabiners with bent gates do exist). But there is another way to find out which side is the rope end. In almost all quickdraws the carabiner on the rope end is fixed in a way.

The probably oldest version is to just make one end of the sling tighter.


The next version is to use a rubber band to fix the carabiner (often in combination with a tight sling). Some manufacturers sell rubbers especially for this purpose, but every little rubber should do it.


The "evolution" of this would be the Petzl string, and something that is sold for example as straightjacket by Black Diamond.


As far as i know the string is petzl exclusive. According to Petzl it also does add some protection against abrasion, since the rubber ist on the outside, but it seems like quickdraws without this added abrasion resistance or working just fine.


Next we have the Black Diamond Straightjacket, a little rubber ring sewn inside the sling. This system is also available under different names from different manufacturers.

But these fixations aren't meant to help you find out which side does what (thats only a side effect), they are there to keep the rope end carabiner oriented properly, in order to make it easy to clip (i.e. you don't have to fumble around to get your carabiner in a proper orientation when clipping) and to prevent it from being cross loaded. As you might have noticed, the top carabiners of a quickdraw aren't fixed, so they could still get crossloaded. Some people (for example the "safety pope" Pit Schubert of the german alpine clubs safety circle) suggest to also fix the top carabiner to prevent this, but it seems like this risk is quite small (otherwise manufacturers would sell such quickdraws). Also most modern carabiners are formed in such a way that they aren't very stable if placed in a cross loaded position. However this can become a problem, for example if big, bulky slings are used.

Another thing where the various quickdraws are differing is the length and thickness of the slings used.

Contrary to what one might think, the thinner slings offer often a small safety plus over the thicker ones. With the forms of the carabiners getting more and more asymmetric, their baskets often become quite small, so that the thick slings wouldn't sit very good. Furthermore the closer a carabiner gets loaded to its strongest point, the spine, the less levering does occur, which reduces the chance of it failing, should it get loaded with an open gate (see Can carabiners still break?). However the small slings can be hard to grab, when "french freeing", or working in a project. The Petzl slings are something of a mix, being very wide in their middle, but smaller where you attach the carabiners. Most manufacturers produce three lengths of quickdraws, with one around 10cm, one 20cm and one 30cm. The "standard" sport quickdraw is the shortest variant. the longer ones get used for meandering routes to reduce rope drag, or for, in some occasions, trad.


One Petzl 17cm quickdraw at the top, and slightly different standard length quickdraws by Wild Country, Black Diamond and Kong. Also seen are the aforementioned differences in thickness, with the petzl getting narrower at the carabiners, and the Kong one being a "oldschool" thick quickdraw.

For trad longer quickdraws get used to avoid the protection wiggled out of its spot by rope movement, since a long draw does absorb this movement better than a short (and stiff) quickdraw, but more often "trad draws" or long O-slings are used.


30cm Mammut O-sling "quickdraw" and 120cm tripled "trad draw"

One thing to keep in mind when using longer quickdraws is that every centimeter your quickdraw gets longer means 2 centimeters you fall further, should you fall on the quickdraw. When using a 30cm quickdraw instead of an 8cm one, this makes 2*22cm = 44cm of difference. This are nearly 20". This doesn't sound like much, but when falling into the first bolt, or above a ledge, these 44cm can be the difference between a normal harmless sport fall and a broken ankle! As mentioned, long quickdraws have their benefits, but use them with care.

So which quickdraws and how many should i get?
Answer is the same as with carabiners: Get what you like best, preferably something big, light, strong, with keylock and reasonably price.

Again you cant have everything, and its a matter of taste. Size wise the standard for sportclimbing are the short quickdraws. One or two longer ones can be a nice addition, but as mentioned before, use long quickdraws carefully. The number of quickdraws you need depends on your area. If you only have small rocks in your area, you most likely also only have short routes, and therefore wont need to much quickdraws, and the other way round. From my observation the "standard numbers" are somewhere between 8 and 15.


(This post was edited by qwert on Jun 3, 2009, 7:54 AM)
Attachments: quickdraw types.jpg (102 KB)
  thight sleeve.jpg (58.0 KB)
  generic rubber.jpg (60.0 KB)
  petzl string.jpg (55.9 KB)
  BD straightjacket.jpg (56.2 KB)
  Short draws.jpg (111 KB)
  Long draws.jpg (60.3 KB)


MonkeyInTraining


Apr 20, 2008, 10:29 PM
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Re: [qwert] Carabiner and quickdraw FAQ *draft* [In reply to]
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One other difference between wire gate and solid gate biners is that solid gate biners can develop a sharp edge on the gate pin slot (not keylock as orig. posted) which then can slice open your finger when you clip. Like what just happened to me. Right on the side of the second knuckle of my fourth finger, hurt allot and is likely infected from the filthy draws at my gym Unimpressed

I think I like wire draws for sport climbing more now. My finger hurts damnit.


(This post was edited by MonkeyInTraining on Apr 20, 2008, 10:37 PM)


maldaly


Apr 24, 2008, 12:46 PM
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Huge effort.

The SUB is not the same as the Trango Superfly.

Check your spelling and usage (to vs too and here vs hear)

That's a lot of info to read. Make it searchable and/or hyperlink to the meat.


jt512


Apr 24, 2008, 1:30 PM
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maldaly wrote:
Huge effort.

The SUB is not the same as the Trango Superfly.

Check your spelling and usage (to vs too and here vs hear)

That's a lot of info to read. Make it searchable and/or hyperlink to the meat.

And fix the formatting; as is, it is very difficult to read. There should be exactly one blank line between paragraphs. After the first sentence within a paragraph, new sentences should not begin on a new line.

Jay


qwert


Apr 25, 2008, 3:27 AM
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maldaly wrote:
Huge effort.
Indeed. But i think its worth it.
Unfortunately im having too much to do with hydrogeology and physical chemistry at the moment, so i havent found time to complete it, but i soon will continue.

In reply to:
The SUB is not the same as the Trango Superfly.
If you are saying so, im willing to believe it, but are you really shure?
The two biners have the same ratings, and the same looks, as well as this one.
If i remember correctly, Salewa doesnt do their biners themselfs, as well as climbaxe. Isnt Trango doing this too? Your other biner, the classic has korea labeled on it.
Im not saying that this is "bad", or that the biner is not good, but it just seemed like a too big similarity to me.
Any further insight from you?

In reply to:
Check your spelling and usage (to vs too and here vs hear)

That's a lot of info to read. Make it searchable and/or hyperlink to the meat.

Damm, i thought i, and my spellchecker had found the stuff. Will have another look through it, when im making some edits.
I dont know how i would make it searchable (is that even possible?), but linking the respective topics is a good idea. have to have a look into how that works. must be something with the postnumbers i think.

jt512 wrote:
And fix the formatting; as is, it is very difficult to read. There should be exactly one blank line between paragraphs. After the first sentence within a paragraph, new sentences should not begin on a new line.
Could you please clarify that? i get the part with the varying blank lines, but not the last part.
Do you mean that i should have no line breaks i a paragraph? sounds like it would make reading more difficult.

Thanks so far, constructive input is very welcome.

qwert


jt512


Apr 25, 2008, 7:23 AM
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qwert wrote:
jt512 wrote:
And fix the formatting; as is, it is very difficult to read. There should be exactly one blank line between paragraphs. After the first sentence within a paragraph, new sentences should not begin on a new line.

Could you please clarify that? i get the part with the varying blank lines, but not the last part.
Do you mean that i should have no line breaks i a paragraph? sounds like it would make reading more difficult.

That is correct. There should be no line breaks within a paragraph. I can assure you beyond doubt that putting line breaks between sentences makes the paragraph more difficult to read. That is why that is never done in typesetting.

As originally written, the following paragraph is incorrectly formatted:

In reply to:
Could you please clarify that? [I] get the part with the varying blank lines, but not the last part.
Do you mean that i should have no line breaks i a paragraph? [S]ounds like it would make reading more difficult.

The following is correct:

In reply to:
Could you please clarify that? [I] get the part with the varying blank lines, but not the last part. Do you mean that i should have no line breaks i a paragraph? [S]ounds like it would make reading more difficult.

New sentences should not be started on new lines, unless the new sentence starts a new paragraph, in which case the paragraphs should be separated by one blank line.

Jay


bb_guns


May 9, 2008, 12:41 PM
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Re: [qwert] Carabiner and quickdraw FAQ *draft* [In reply to]
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Nice work!

You may want to consider adding in a paragraph about wear on a biner and how it affects strength. I know I have some old biners that are worn down a bit that I no longer trust. Basically, if the wear is visible, the biner is suspect - especially with the asymmetric light weight biners.

Additionally, a section on how to clean a biner would be good. I do clean my biners, but I never lube them because I do not want them to pick up grit.

One final item: Wire gate biners are less likely to ice up than standard gate.

(This post was edited by bb_guns on May 9, 2008, 12:45 PM)


qwert


Feb 4, 2009, 5:52 AM
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  • What is the difference between cheap and expensive stuff?


As you will easily see if you browse through catalogues, or online retailer sites you can get carabiners and quickdraws at all price levels.
Of course you can find some retailers that are overcharging, or some fantastic special offers that make for a wide variance in prices, but even without those outliers you get great price differences for stuff that seems to basically be the same.

But first a warning: I am talking of the various prices in climbing carabiners, by respectable manufacturers. These are the carabiners you will get at legitmate retailers. They should be CE certified, which means that they pass certain safety regulations that confirm that they are suitable to protect a human beeing in climbing and mountaineering. While the CE sign is a european label, and a such is not required by law in the USA, it is nevertheless accepted as a sign for quality gear.
If you see a carabiner that does not have this sign (especially found at places like ebay, or some other shady online shops) it is probably best to not buy it, even if it is really cheap!

I am trying to give a short overview about why these prices differ so much, and if (or how) it should affect your buying decisions.

I just checked some big retailers, and you get a lot of carabiners at around 7$, but on the other hand you also can easily find a lot of biners at over 12$. Same (or even more so) with quickdraws. You can get one at 10$, or you can shell out 25$.
The good (and maybe confusing) thing is: They are all fine. They will work as they should, and keep you safe.
So why spend more than the lowest price?
The answer to this is rahter complicated: Just as with many other industries, there are the inovators and inventors, then there are the traditionalists, and the "copycats".
I will apply these terms to climbing manufacturers to give you a few examples:
Inovators/ inventors: Those crazy ultralight but still high holding power carabiners that got introduced by Wild country and DMM.
Traditionalists: Carabiners that are mostly the same as they were all the years before. Maybe some detail changes, but mostly time tested classics. Like a lot of the lineup of Black Diamond, or Trango or many others.
"Copycats": This might sound more negative than it is, so i am not giving names, but there are a few companies who are building stuff that is based on technologies pioneered by others (eg. the I-beam technology), but without the development work it can be sold much cheaper.

So obviously if you are pioneering a new manufacturing technique you have to do a lot of R&D, not only on the carabiner, but also on the machinery in your shop. This will lead to an expensive end product and in case of those "fancy formed" carabiners the form itself makes them more expensive.
Here is a quote from the manufacturer Wild country on this subject with regards to their new nitro carabiner:
"The Helium is an exceptional biner…everyone tells us so! It feels great in the hand, clips superbly, and is still the world’s lightest true full size biner. In fact maybe the only criticism is that it’s incredible patented ‘no-hook’ nose makes it’s production an expensive business.
So the Nitro is a solution to that, it’s a Helium with a skinny hooded nose that’s easier to produce and comes at a way better price. And at only 35 grams it's a real contender on the shelf and on the rack."
The traditionalists have it a bit easier. Most of their carabiners dont require any complete new techniques or machinery, so they can be offered at a rather low cost. Of course you also can find some rather plain biners at extraordinary costs, but thats life. some things are sold at a premium, and some people feel that its worth it, and some dont. Sometimes its simply the image and the reputation of a biner that helps it to be high priced.
And then there are the "copycats". Without much own development work to do, and by outsourcing your production, you can safe a lot of money, and offer your goods at a lower price. Most of the time these products are not as good as their expensive counterparts (eg. higher weight, lower strength), but they will get the job done too.

So it is all about compromises:
If you always want the newest toys, then you are going to have to spend a lot of money, and just when you have your complete high tech rack, a new invention will come along that will want to make you upgrade.
If you are just buying the tried classics you will have a fully working rack at a good price, but you will be missing a lot of nice features such as high strengths at low weights, or many advanced no snag noses.
And if you are just buying the cheapest "have seen that construction somewhere before" biners, you will get a nice fancy rack at a good price, with just a few compromises over the "originals". This is not a problem, or a thing to feel bad about, but if everyone would just buy that stuff, all those manufacturers that inovate would vanish, eventually leaving the climbing gear market to get stuck at a certain level.
I am not saying that these cheaper companies are evil. They are not, it is just simply part of normal capitalism that inovations will eventually trickle down, and cause competition, wich forces the inovators to react, by inovating again, therefore starting the circle all over again, which in theory is good for everyone.
But for this system to work, there also needs to be a demand for high priced, cutting edge stuff.

So to summarize, my advise is the following:
It all is about knowing what you need and what various features of your gear are worth to you. You do not necessarily have to buy the most expensive stuff, since it will not make you climb better, or make you significantly safer, but doing so helps all climbing gear to eventually become better and safer.
It is all about compromises. If you are just starting climbing, and you are not shure how much you want to get involved in the sport, its probably a good idea to not get the most expensive stuff. I would reccomend to look for a high open gate strength, since that is a real plus, but that is now also available in cheap carabiners. You can always ad something better later, if you feel the need to do so.

qwert


qwert


Feb 4, 2009, 5:55 AM
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So any opinion on this part?
I am not too happy about it, since it mostly is opinion, and not directly facts. But i think it is still the only thing one can say when it comes to price levels, since it boils down to "not rated and too cheap-bad; lots of ok mid priced stuff; inovative stuff expensive but very nice in all aspects"

qwert


kachoong


Feb 4, 2009, 6:32 AM
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jt512 wrote:
qwert wrote:
jt512 wrote:
And fix the formatting; as is, it is very difficult to read. There should be exactly one blank line between paragraphs. After the first sentence within a paragraph, new sentences should not begin on a new line.

Could you please clarify that? i get the part with the varying blank lines, but not the last part.
Do you mean that i should have no line breaks i a paragraph? sounds like it would make reading more difficult.

That is correct. There should be no line breaks within a paragraph. I can assure you beyond doubt that putting line breaks between sentences makes the paragraph more difficult to read. That is why that is never done in typesetting.

As originally written, the following paragraph is incorrectly formatted:

In reply to:
Could you please clarify that? [I] get the part with the varying blank lines, but not the last part.
Do you mean that i should have no line breaks i a paragraph? [S]ounds like it would make reading more difficult.

The following is correct:

In reply to:
Could you please clarify that? [I] get the part with the varying blank lines, but not the last part. Do you mean that i should have no line breaks i a paragraph? [S]ounds like it would make reading more difficult.

New sentences should not be started on new lines, unless the new sentence starts a new paragraph, in which case the paragraphs should be separated by one blank line.

Jay

Qwert, another formatting thing, you should try to keep your picture descriptions adjacent the picture it describes and separated from the next picture. It's difficult to tell which one you're explaining.

Content I'm yet to fully read, but good job!


(This post was edited by kachoong on Feb 4, 2009, 6:34 AM)


nkane


Feb 4, 2009, 7:35 AM
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qwert wrote:
So any opinion on this part?
I am not too happy about it, since it mostly is opinion, and not directly facts. But i think it is still the only thing one can say when it comes to price levels, since it boils down to "not rated and too cheap-bad; lots of ok mid priced stuff; inovative stuff expensive but very nice in all aspects"

qwert

Maybe talk a bit about some of the non-obvious features of some of the more expensive products? For instance, the Petzl Spirit draws look like a lot of other draws, but they just have this really nice smooth clipping action that cheaper draws that look the same don't have. When you shell out more money, you often get quality that isn't merely reflected in stats and features.


shoo


Feb 4, 2009, 8:05 AM
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The whole thing is very difficult to read, The two main reasons I can identify are formatting and unnecessary text. I will try to give examples as I go. Below is a piece of text I copied to best illustrate my points

In reply to:
I am trying to give a short overview about why these prices differ so much, and if (or how) it should affect your buying decisions.

I just checked some big retailers, and you get a lot of carabiners at around 7$, but on the other hand you also can easily find a lot of biners at over 12$. Same (or even more so) with quickdraws. You can get one at 10$, or you can shell out 25$.
The good (and maybe confusing) thing is: They are all fine. They will work as they should, and keep you safe.

Formatting: As JT512 pointed out, this format is extremely difficult to read. In general, you should not start a new line unless you're starting a new paragraph. If you're starting a new paragraph, you need some indication (either an extra space or an indent) to indicate that you've done so.

There are way too few section / subject headers. I don't want to read the whole thing just to find one simple piece of information.

Unnecessary text: There is absolutely no need to put half of the text you have in here. It makes it slower and more difficult reading, does not convey your points as well, and lacks an authoritative and professional tone. This will turn readers off.

If I were writing the section quoted above, it would look as follows:

In reply to:
Cost of Carabiners

The cost of climbing carabiners usually ranges from $6-$15. While they all have the same basic functionality, there is also significant variation in their specific functions. Similarly, quickdraws may vary from $10-$25, but have different feature sets which may be more desirable.

I also very much disagree with the content you have provided. You haven't provided real reasons as to why certain carabiners are more expensive. The reality is that certain carabiners have features that are exclusive to them, often through a patent. They may have more expensive manufacturing processes. They may have extra parts. I can go into more detail if you'd like. Innovators, traditionalists, and copycats aren't really the driving force behind prices.

If you are interested, there is a link below to a similar article I wrote on Knol.

http://knol.google.com/...ner/2eq51grcgbhof/2#


(This post was edited by shoo on Feb 4, 2009, 8:11 AM)


shoo


Feb 4, 2009, 8:22 AM
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qwert wrote:
very enthusiastic review about it, but given the fact that it is a quite expensive and specialized piece of gear, it is not something one must get as a beginner.
Stubai locker: Unusual shape for its age, and a plastic sleve as locking mechanism. Having only a little piece of plastic preventing your locker from opening isnt as confidence inspiring as a big piece of aluminium on conventional lockers.
Salewa ???: big plastic grips that are supposedly making clipping easier. the silver part at the draw side gets levered upwards when weighted, making it impossible for the gate to get opened. Heavy as hell, and way to expensive.

Some of the strange or special biners have their niches, but for a beginner normal biners should do it.

This is a via ferrata carabiner. It is not for normal rock climbing use.


qwert


Feb 4, 2009, 8:35 AM
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shoo, your article is quite cool, mind if i link to it in the first post?

And the salewa carabiner is not a via ferrata biner, it is indeed meant to be used as a "normal" carabiner. Still a weird thing.

Now that more than just one mentioned how badly this thing is structured, i think i really have to change that Angelic.

More sub headings are probably a good idea. Could it also work to simply make the key words bold?

Writing shorter is probably a good idea too, but i am not much of a writer (and english is not my native language) but i am open to suggestions.

qwert


shoo


Feb 4, 2009, 8:54 AM
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qwert wrote:
shoo, your article is quite cool, mind if i link to it in the first post?

Please do! Glad to help.

qwert wrote:
And the salewa carabiner is not a via ferrata biner, it is indeed meant to be used as a "normal" carabiner. Still a weird thing.

Huh. Well, there's a reason they no longer make it.

qwert wrote:
More sub headings are probably a good idea. Could it also work to simply make the key words bold?
qwert

No! Don't do that! It's extremely distracting. Consider making headings bold, but not words within a paragraph.

My general suggestion would be that you need to start with an outline for your article. There isn't a discernible structure. Use those as your headings.

Consider collaborating directly with another person who has experience in professional writing. There are many members of this site who would be happy to help as a co-author or editor, myself included.


(This post was edited by shoo on Feb 4, 2009, 8:59 AM)


qwert


Feb 4, 2009, 9:11 AM
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qwert wrote:

The Gear-Heads biner and quickdraw FAQ



What is this FAQ for?
This FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) is trying to answer some of the recurring questions about carabiners and quickdraws. Today we climbers are in the lucky situation to be able to choose between various biners. there are dozends of manufacturers out there, each again with a handfull of different biners. Not only do they come in different colors, they also come in various sizes and forms. This FAQ should be a help in finding out which type of biner is used for what purpose, and the what pros and cons of the various biner types are. With this you should be able to find out which biner you should get. I will often make mention of biners by name and by brand, and if i say "the Wild Country Helium is one of the best all purpose biners out there" you can shurely take this as a suggestion, but the goal of this FAQ is not to come to the conclusion "get biner XX by brand YY, because it is the best biner for everything of all time ...", since a lot of this is about personal preference. As mentioned, the goal is to give an overview about what is available, and what does what.


disclaimer
Climbing is dangerous!!
Im trying to give the best advice i can, but i could be wrong. And even if all i tell you is right, you could still die climbing. All this climbing is dangerous stuff that comes with your gear is there for a reason. Take this advices seriously! You should not take this FAQ as your only source. the internet is a great thing, and you can get a lot of valuable information, but it is no replacement for proper training and a good book. If youre new to climbing, take a course first, read on the subject, find someone experienced to go out with and so on. Whatever you are doing, use your brain, be carefull and double check everything thats important.

Im not responsible for your actions. If you fuck it up, youre on your own!!


With that out of the way, here is a list about what im trying to answer in this FAQ:

  • What types of biners are there, what are they used for and which ones should i get?

  • What types of quickdraws are there, what are they used for and which ones should i get?

  • What is the difference between cheap and expensive stuff?

  • Can biners still break?


qwert wrote:
  • What types of biners are there, what are they used for and which ones should i get?


There are many different types of biners out there.

First thing to distinguish them is the material they are made of. There is aluminium and steel. Steel is stronger than aluminium, but its way heavier, so it doesnt get used much in climbing. Steel biners are mostly used in rescue work or in industrial purposes (and recently in slacklining). Sometimes it gets used in climbing, for example if one is climbing on very abrasive rock like sandstone, where the rope will take up small particles, abrading the belay biner very fast. In such a situation it also could make sense to use steel biners for your toprope powerpoint. If you decide to get steel biners, get some from respected manufacturers. Dont go to the nearest home depot and get the cheap things they have. these arent ment for climbing use!

Aluminium (or better, the various aluminium alloys) is the standart material used for climbing biners. its light, and albeit weaker than steel still strong enough for biners. When looking at the different aluminium biners, the first thing you will notice is the different colors. if the biner is silver, its the color of the aluminium. if it isnt silver, it is anodized. The anodizing creates a layer that will protect the biner from corrosion, but since aluminium isnt corroding much, it doesnt matter if a biner is anodized or not. it can be usefull if you are using a color coding system on your rack, or to make them easier to spot, but mostly its about being pretty.

The next thing is whether a biner is a locking biner or a non locking biner.

Locking biners have, you might have already guessed it, some kind of locking mechanism, that prevent their gate from opening unintentionally.


From left to right: Oval locker, D-shaped locker, asymetric D-shaped locker and pear shaped locker (Munter hitch locker or HMS locker). Ovals are a old form, and dont get used much anymore, just as D-shaped biners. Some manufacturers still make them, and they do still have their place, but stuff like biner brakes and advanced rigging is beyond this FAQ. If you already have some, you can of course use them (as long as they are still working, and are not too old). they arent unsafe, its just that asymetric D-shaped lockers are better in most situations (and being newer, they are also often lighter than old biners of the same strength). As mentioned, asymetric D-shaped lockers are whats is used for most purposes nowadays. They do come in many different forms, just as their non locking counterparts (look there for further information on the different shapes). Pear shaped lockers are mostly used for belaying and rappeling, either combined with a designated belay/ rappel device (stuff like the ATC, the reverso, and other tubes, or figure eights) or alone with a munter hitch. They are also nice as a big powerpoint locker in which you can clip a lot of other stuff due to its size. The biners pictured are all screw gate lockers. there are various other locking mechanisms, but since i like screw gates best, i dont have any other types. could someone add something on the different mechanisms?

Links:
Article about which lockers to chose, by british alpinist Andy Kirkpatrick. More aimed at experienced and alpine climbers, but nevertheless some good "all purpose" informations.
Another article by the same guy as above, this time about the number of lockers needed. Again, it is a bit to specialized, but does offer some valuable information.

non locking biners: these dont have a locking mechanism. Non locking biners are the bread and butter of any rack. They get used for quickdraws, for racking nuts and cams, and for dozends of other purposes. They are available in many different forms, almost all of them being a variation of the asymetric D-shape. Oval and D-shaped ones do also exist, but the stuff said about them at locker does apply here too. Additionally due to their form Oval non lockers have a very low open gate strength, wich is something that should be avoided (see: can biners still break?) Apart from the obvious things like shape and color, the most differences are in open gate strength, weight and price, as well as size. At the moment ultralight biners seem to be all the rage, and it defintely is a nice thing to have to carry less, but the disadvantages of this are a higher price, and often reduced size and strength. Here is a short overview about some of the biners i have, with weight in gramms, open gate strength and price level.
The petzl spirit is considered somewhat of a benchmark, so it is also pictured with the small biners, to have something to compare them too (apart from the scale).

Bigger biners, from left to right:
Petzl spirit: 9,5kN, 48g, expensive.
Kong ???: 7kN, 49g cheap.
Wild country Helium:10kN, 34g, expensive
Salewa SUB (most likely the same as the Trango superfly): 9kN, 34g, medium


Smaller biners, from left to right:
Petzl spirit, shown again for size.
Kong Helium: 7kN, 36g, medium
Black Diamond Neutrino: 8kN, 34g, medium
Black Diamond Oz: 8kN, 28g, expensive
Camp Nano (old model): 9kN, 28g, expensive

So which biners and how many should i get?

Which ones you should get depends. apart from open gate strength (see can biners still break), its a matter of what suits you best. Some people dont like small biners, some dont like wiregates, some want keylocks and so on. Number wise you wont need many non locking biners, since non locking ones are mostly used in quickdraws. Two or three free ones should do it, to clip some random stuff, or for slings.
Lockers are needed for the belay device and for securing yourself to the belay, so that makes at least two, one of them being a big pear shaped one. Having some spare lockers is always nice, but if you are carrying so many that you are getting weighted down by them, you are doing something wrong.

As on which biners to get my suggestion would be to get a big biner, with keylock, high open gate strength, that is light and has a good price. However such a biner doesnt exist. As you can see in the list, you cant have everything. you can have a big and light and strong biner, but you cant have that for cheap. You can have the lightest biner that there is at the moment, but you cant have that biner being big and strong (with the new camp nano being even smaller). there are also many different big, strong and cheap biners, but they arent light.
You have to ask your self whats the most important for you: are you doing trad or alpine stuff with big racks and long routes? you might want to have a look at the weight and if you can use them with gloves. Are you doing sport climbing with preclipped draws? wheight isnt an issue here, so get strong and easy to clip biners. and so on ...

If you want specific information on a specific biner, you should look into the gear section of this site. There you can find ratings and reviews about specific biners. Also you can search the forums for it. typing "manufaturer name biner name" into the search box, will often turn up with discussions that contain info about that biner. Another possibility would be to click on one of the big ads on this site, by the likes like rei, backcountrygear and whatever. most of these big retailers have also the option that their customers rate and comment the stuff they buy there. And last but not least the manufacturers themself do often some good information about the stuff they sell, including intended use, and at which kind of climbers the respective product is aimed.

Another thing that exists in different variations are the gates and the noses of the biners.


clockwise from the top:
Salewa SUB: strange outward bent wiregate, non hooded nose
Faders ???: bent solid gate
Lucky Metor: another bent solid gate
Kong ???: Bent solid keylock gate
Austrialpin easy magic: mildy bent solid gate, keylock variant
Stubai supreme rope: bent wiregate, hooded nose
Salewa SUB: straight solid gate
Stubai supreme top: straight wiregate, hooded nose
Black diamond Oz: straight wiregate, mildly hooded nose
Petzl Spirit: straight solid gate, keylock
Kong Helium: straight solid gate, keylock


left, from top:
Faders ???: Non keylock
Kong ???: Keylock
Black Diamond Neutrino: Hooded Nose
right, from top:
Austrialpin Easy Spezial: old school claw type nose
Salwa SUB: non hooded nose
Wild country Helium: Wirelock/ wiregate Keylock nose
Black Diamond Oz: Mildly hooded nose

As you can see, there are many variants. Solid gates are the "traditional way" biners are made. A variation of this is the keylock.
Keylock noses have the advantage that they wont get easily caught at stuff (be it bolt hangers or slings), so it makes the carabiners easier to use. The bent gate variation is meant for the rope end of the quickdraw, since it makes clipping a bit easier. As you can see some of the gate have notches or grooves on them. this is meant to make them easier to operate. again it is a matter of personal taste if you need such notches, and if yes, which manufacturer suits you best.

Wiregates are are "new" invention. Its biggest advantages are reduced weight, and added safety against open gate loading (see can biners still break). The disadvantage was that they couldnt be made in a keylock variant, but this has been solved, with biner like the Wild Country Helium or the DMM Shield. Wiregates also Exist in a bent shape, but most manufacturers just use straight gates, since wiregates are mostly easy to clip, thanks to the protruded nose (wich is not found on straight solid gates). Some wiregates have a hooded nose, helping to protect the biner from getting opened by getting rubbed accross the rock.

Here is an article about wiregates by british alpinist Andy Kirkpatrick about wiregates. As you will see from the statements in it, it is a bit older. but that gives an interesting overview about how wiregates at first where only slowly accepted by the climbing community.

And apart from all the above described standard forms of biners there is also a big number of strange, or non standart biners. The most well known one is shurely the wiregate, which was deemed a stupid or at least very strange idea by many, but its advantages helped it to become a accepted type very quickly (see link above). Many others wherent so lucky, so there is a number of discontinued or niche products out there. Maybe some will catch on, but a lot wont.


Heres a small sample, from left to right:
DMM Revolver: Biner with built in pulley. Usefull on meandering pitches to reduce rope drag. But heavy and expensive, and can only be used on the rope side of a draw (not very multi purpose). The british site planetfear.com has a very enthusiastic review about it, but given the fact that it is a quite expensive and specialized piece of gear, it is not something one must get as a beginner.
Stubai locker: Unusual shape for its age, and a plastic sleve as locking mechanism. Having only a little piece of plastic preventing your locker from opening isnt as confidence inspiring as a big piece of aluminium on conventional lockers.
Salewa ???: big plastic grips that are supposedly making clipping easier. the silver part at the draw side gets levered upwards when weighted, making it impossible for the gate to get opened. Heavy as hell, and way to expensive.

Some of the strange or special biners have their niches, but for a beginner normal biners should do it.

So i changed the first two post a bit (tried to separate the pictures a bit more, killed the many paragraphs.
Is this better? (the "original" version is still visible in the original posts, the changes are just in my quotes for now)
Or was it too much paragraphs that i removed?

qwert

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