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New Carabiners

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New Carabiners

Postby Neil » Fri Nov 16, 2007 9:10 am

I was at the climbing gym a few nights ago and got into a discussion with some folks about carabiner wear and replacement. There were a myriad of opinions from replace when visibly worn to a certain degree to replace as a matter of course every X months/years.

What are the thoughts of the climbers on this site? I've always been satisfied with a visual inspection and seem to just pick up new ones ocassionally when I find a good deal. I realize much of this depends on how well one cares for the biner and its storage conditions, so I would love to hear your techniques for this as well...

Thanks! :D
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Postby CO Native » Fri Nov 16, 2007 10:17 am

As far as carabiners go there really is no purpose to replacing simply due to age. While it is true for ropes as the fibers of the rope have a short lifespan and even if never used will weaken with age. A carabiner on the other hand is made of high quality aluminum or hardened steel. Age has very little effect on these materials. Visual inspection is important for determining retirement. Look for wear, damage, signs of corrosion, and most importantly proper gate function . However visual inspection lacks key information. Knowing what that biner has been through is very important. That's why you should never buy used gear.
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Postby ajkagy » Fri Nov 16, 2007 10:51 am

CO Native wrote:A carabiner on the other hand is made of high quality aluminum or hardened steel. Age has very little effect on these materials. Visual inspection is important for determining retirement. Look for wear, damage, signs of corrosion, and most importantly proper gate function . However visual inspection lacks key information. Knowing what that biner has been through is very important. That's why you should never buy used gear.


that pretty much says everything right there...visual inspection of all your gear is essential, ropes, biners, slings, pro, harness

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Postby cushman » Fri Nov 16, 2007 11:03 pm

Ok, you all expect it will be coming so...

If you doubt your gear, send it to me and I'll "test" it.
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Postby Two Headed Boy » Sat Nov 17, 2007 3:14 pm

Carabiners and such metal objects seem to be the last thing I worry about while climbing. Am I right or wrong in my thinking, I don't know? It just seems to me that the fabrics will fail long before the metals (dog bones, rope, cordelette, slings, webbing, PPE, etc.).

Unless I dropped something metal a ways or knew it was somehow massivley cross-loaded I don't think much about it.

Cushman - I have a couple of sets of BD cams I should send you (or you could come pick them up) to make sure everything is OK. I guess the only worry I have is that I am sure they would all be unuseable and much too used to be safe. Well hell I'll trust that you would give me a proffessional assessment.

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Postby CO Native » Sat Nov 17, 2007 4:21 pm

Two Headed Boy wrote:Unless I dropped something metal a ways or knew it was somehow massivley cross-loaded I don't think much about it.


Keep an eye on those biners. Enough use (especially the ones you use on your harness for belayrappel) and the rope will actuall saw through them slowly. Many people use these biners to tie in for lead climbing and therefore they are exposed to falls. The best measure to watch here is smooth gate operation, if it begins to rub or not open as it did when it was new you've probably got some deformation going on and should no longer trust it.

Corrosion, especially on steel biners, is another key problem to watch for.
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Postby Two Headed Boy » Sat Nov 17, 2007 5:57 pm

CO Native - Here is a kind of cool project - How many accidents in the last 15 years have been caused bye failure of metal.

I don't know the answer to this and I might research it but at any rate I bet the number is miniscule.

We can't count anything but actual fact, no speculation or maybes but actual fact.

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Postby cushman » Sat Nov 17, 2007 11:28 pm

CO Native wrote:Many people use these biners to tie in for lead climbing and therefore they are exposed to falls.

I don't know who you've been climbing with, but I've never seen someone tie into a locker for lead climbing. I would never do this and I wouldn't climb with someone who would. The only time a biner should take a large load would be during a lead fall (the one on the gear and one on the belay device). The only metal I would not trust on my rack would be:

a. If it had been dropped
b. If it didn't function normally (gate doesn't close, cam doesn't retract correctly)
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Postby CO Native » Sat Nov 17, 2007 11:57 pm

Two Headed Boy wrote:CO Native - Here is a kind of cool project - How many accidents in the last 15 years have been caused bye failure of metal.

I don't know the answer to this and I might research it but at any rate I bet the number is miniscule.

We can't count anything but actual fact, no speculation or maybes but actual fact.


I'm sure very few. Not trying to say it's a huge risk, just things I've been taught to look for in my gear. There's just a lot of rumors out there about gear. I hear a lot of people talk about if you even drop an aluminum biner a few feet onto a hard surface you need to retire it. Yes the metal gear is very reliable and accidents caused by their failure are almost unheard of, however it's still good to know what signs to watch for on your gear to know when to retire it. The useful life of a biner is long, but it is still finite. I've retired a few biners from the rope wear, I'm still amazed at the damage a rope can do to a metal biner.

cushman:
Sorry, I get to typing fast and don't think to be as specific as I may need to be, but what I had in mind was generally sport leads. Stop by RRCOS or the Garden sometime and you'll see lots of people sport leading tied into a biner. Lot's of other entertainment there too. My favorite are the people that attach to the top anchors with quickdraws then completely untie themselves from the rope to pass it through the top anchors. Not sure what the plan is if the rope ever slips out of their hands.

Anyway if you spend most your time trad climbing you're a much better and luckier climber than I.
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Postby Two Headed Boy » Sun Nov 18, 2007 2:34 am

you'll see lots of people sport leading tied into a biner. Lot's of other entertainment there too. My favorite are the people that attach to the top anchors with quickdraws then completely untie themselves from the rope to pass it through the top anchors. Not sure what the plan is if the rope ever slips out of their hands.


You should never tie into a biner. Ever. Whether it's sport climbing or gym climbing the only place you should be tied in is directly to your harness.

Clipping into bolt anchors with PPE and then placing a clove hitch on the rope, untieing and running the rope through the anchors and retieing is a very common practice and if done correctly should never result in losing the rope.

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Postby d_baker » Sun Nov 18, 2007 8:21 am

"You should never tie into a biner. Ever."

I believe glacier travel would be the exception here.

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Postby Two Headed Boy » Sun Nov 18, 2007 9:28 am

d_baker wrote:"You should never tie into a biner. Ever."

I believe glacier travel would be the exception here.


I disagree.

You should never, ever tie into a biner. There are several knots you can use to tie into the middle of a rope.

Double bowline and double rewoven figure 8 are two standard ones that come to mind right away.

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