/ NEW REVIEW: Locking Gate Karabiners With Added Safety Features

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Safety Karabiners Montage Image, 4 kbMark Glaister takes a look at 5 screwgate karabiners each with an added feature that improves the safety of the belay system - the Petzl Universo, Black Diamond Gridlock, Mammut Element Smart HMS, Climbing Technology Concept SGL and the DMM Belay Master 2.

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/review.php?id=4854
mloskot - on 27 Nov 2012
In reply to UKC Gear: On the first photo, what is that use of Click Up about?! Can't find it in http://www.climbingtechnology.it/ebusiness/2366.pdf
Wiley Coyote - on 27 Nov 2012
In reply to UKC Gear:

I found the Belaymaster brilliant...right up to the moment I lost the plastic clip. Practically everyone I know who uses one has lost the clip, it's a real design flaw and it's not easy to get a spare. I know Needle Sports have them on mail order but by the time I've bought it and paid P&P it seems more cost effective to buy a whole replacement - probably the Black Diamond since that has no extraneous bits to lose - and keep the Belaymaster krab as a spare screwgate..
In reply to Wiley Coyote: Drill a hole put a key ring, or a small bit of string through it.

The BD one is total hassle to use I've found when using my mates on his grigri. The DMM one is only a moderate hassle.
In reply to mloskot:
> (In reply to UKC Gear) On the first photo, what is that use of Click Up about?!

That is the way you would use it if you were belaying at the top of a pitch. This doesn't look to be the case in the photo though but it is supposed to be a photo of a krab, not a belay device.

Alan
katiep - on 27 Nov 2012
In reply to TobyA:
Agreed, I was given the BD one as a gift. It's caused me large amounts of grief trying to force half ropes through the stopper bit.
Wiley Coyote - on 27 Nov 2012
In reply to katiep:

> I was given the BD one as a gift. It's caused me large amounts of grief trying to force half ropes through the stopper bit.

Sorry Katie but I'm not quite with you. Isn't it just the belay loop that goes through the 'stopper bit'? I've used a mate's BD Gridlock at the wall and been very impressed. I'm not the world's most technical chap but even I could not mess it up.... but I've only used it on single ropes and never tried it with doubles where you suggst the problems come in..
Wee Davie - on 27 Nov 2012
In reply to UKC Gear:

I've used the Belaymaster and the Gridlock.
The Belaymaster is great until you dislodge the black plastic latch down Savage Slit and have to abseil for it.
The Gridlock is a much more satisfactory solution, as bits don't/ shouldn't fall off it. It's not perfect- it can be slightly fiddly- but you can learn how to work it quickly.
If I was to lose my Gridlock krab I'd get another.
Wiley Coyote - on 27 Nov 2012
In reply to TobyA:
> (In reply to Wiley Coyote) Drill a hole put a key ring, or a small bit of string through it.
>
>
Yes a mate who managed to find someone else's dropped clip did just that. I just find it a bit peeving to have to make modifications like that to a brand new bit of kit because the designers can't (or won't) put it right.
Everyone I know who has had one raves about it and then moans about losing the clip.
The version under review is different to mine so they may have addressed it in the Mk2 model but it's impossible to tell from the pic.
torquil on 27 Nov 2012
In reply to TobyA:
> (In reply to Wiley Coyote)
>
> The BD one is total hassle to use I've found when using my mates on his grigri.

maybe the first couple of times you use it but you soon get used to the action and then its no problem. on double rope trad it is awkward to clip it through both ropes, i just use it through the belay loop instead and thats fine. In all i found it to be a really simple, clever, usable design.
chrisflowers - on 27 Nov 2012
You have the BD karabiner backwards.
The Ex-Engineer - on 27 Nov 2012
In reply to UKC Gear: One of the better reviews recently.

To be honest, I don't think anyone has yet nailed it completely with this type of karabiner. The main reason being that you have several distinct use and one solution for all will be pretty much impossible.

That said the DMM Belaymaster 2 is a very, very useful of kit. It especially excels when it comes to people connecting/disconnecting themselves quickly and securely to/from top-ropes or safety ropes such as when used on auto-belays.

I do think that Black Diamond's new magnetic gate has a loads of future potential as I now distinctly dislike standard screwgates for belay krabs because they are always the wrong way up (i.e. not held closed by gravity) when abseiling and triple-lock designs are still very fiddly.

I also think that there is more potential for oval designs rather than the current HMS designs.
simondgee - on 28 Nov 2012
In reply to UKC Gear:
Interested to know the incident and nature of instances that these different krabs are solutions to? e.g. how crossloading krab failures there have been in belay situation? Is it really a problem that needs fixing and does it fix it?
ledifer on 28 Nov 2012
In reply to UKC Gear:
another vote for the gridlock, admittedly at first its a tad fiddly to set up but after a while its second nature. When I use my partners device I always pause after clipping the crab on as habit has me wondering where the gridlock 'bit' is to.
freerangecat - on 28 Nov 2012
In reply to simondgee:

Although this might not be the main reason they were designed, just as an example, I use a belaymaster krab when belaying indoors with a sandbag. I found normal krabs frequently got rotated and crossloaded due to the different forces on the belay loop. While under these conditions I would think a krab's unlikely to fail, it can be awkward to belay and lower someone off. The belaymaster solved the problem, although it is a bit of a faff to use.
My two pence. Do buy a dedicated belay karabiner. It's worth it. I own a DMM Belay Master, because it's the "safest" and a Climbing Technology Concept SGL HC, because it's the "simplest". Imho.
The Ex-Engineer - on 28 Nov 2012
In reply to simondgee: Interesting question.

In terms of teaching belaying, I witness no end of novices making a hash of it and regularly twisting, inverting and otherwise cross-loading their belay krabs.

How quickly novices master basic belaying varies massively. With some appropriate instruction, the majority quickly get to the stage where they can generally maintain the belay krab in the correct orientation and position without excessive movement but a small minority do struggle and have issues that persist well past the first few times they belay.

I wouldn't say there is a big safety issue as regards belaying but using a Belaymaster etc. will make things easier for those novices who both take a lot longer to get to the conscious competence stage of belaying and who then struggle to get to the stage of unconscious competence. Equally it may also make it a bit easier for instructors who are supervising such belayers.

However, I don't think it would appreciably improve the safety of experienced belayers though. There is a potential argument they can improve a belayers' situational awareness as they can spend more time looking at the leader and less checking their belay krab but I am not wholely convinced by this.

But where there is a massive safety issue is in the use of karabiners to connect the rope to climbers rather than tying in. There have been numerous recorded injuries across Europe resulting from standard screwgate being used in this manner and then subsequently becoming detached. There is long standing UIAA guidance note about the risks of this.

As mentioned in the article and my previous post, using a DMM Belaymaster greatly increases the security of this method of attachment. For example, I routinely use a Belaymaster for connecting the safety rope when I need to safeguard an abseiler.
neuromancer - on 28 Nov 2012
In reply to UKC Gear:

I personally find the gridlock a rather sexy addition to my rack. It helps me know that the biner is x or y way around when setting up a messy belay.

And the orange colour is the identical orange to petzl's new orange reverso.

Gotta look good.
neuromancer - on 28 Nov 2012
In reply to neuromancer:

Oh, and for what it's worth, I find it very easy to fit two halves in the small end of the biner. When making an equalised rope belay, I often then clip my belay device to the fig8 loops in my harness already. Belay tape loop gets enough wear as it is!
winhill - on 28 Nov 2012
In reply to simondgee:

I swapped over to my old SRC a while ago, to save wear on my grigri 1, improved heat dissipation doing 4x4s etc.

Then a couple of weeks ago I started using it with a belaymaster 2, like the Ex Eng mentioned, I'd only used them for top rope swop overs beforen never really belayed with one.

One thing I found with the SRC (and the grigri 1 on a freino) is the crow barring mentioned in the article, because they are large enough to slip over the gate.

The plastic clip does away with the possibility completely, I think it's the only one in the review that would (universo wouldn't with an SRC etc).

I'm not sure it's a huge safety issue but it is annoying when things crowbar, sometimes just when handling them and they're unroped.

Hopefully the BM2 won't lose the clips so easily, as I seen a few on the ground before, although the key ring tip is very useful.
cliff shasby - on 28 Nov 2012
In reply to UKC Gear: it always amazes me how weak lockers are in the minor axis,considering they are a solid gate and have a big screw sleeve on them,i use attache 3d and wc neon for weight reasons both 7kn minor axis and my nano 30's are 10kn..!
simondgee - on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to The Ex-Engineer:
Some good points...having climbed for 30 years (eek) it has never come close to being an issue...personally or in instruction...My own experience:
1. Crossloading...to crossload a screwgate and especially a conventional HMS to anything approaching its failure point in a dynamic system would by nigh on impossible...I do not think there is anything in the stats to contradict this. Static load haul systems e.g. rescue are a different matter but i still doubt we would see much indication of failure in crossload or crowbarring.
2. Krabs such as these are just as vulnerable to user error and detachment in direct attachment scenarios...in so much as they smoke screen buddy checking.
3. Centres and group instruction environs are the highest user groups for direct attachment and least budgeted to employ these krabs...especially ones that will lose bits and then immediately be out spec. (and should be retired).
4. KISS - conventionally designed krabs ensure development of good technique and avoid complacency...and the krabs on your rack have flexibility of application...these on the whole don't.
As I say I would be interested to see the data showing what these products really fix.
There are a limited number of things climbing hardware companies and shops can sell given the loooong life of initial purchase metalware ...different is not necessarily better or safer.
Martin Imms - on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to UKC Gear: Hi folks, maybe a daft question but with regard to the Mammut HMS the artical says that "The karabiner is not suitable for multi-pitch trad climbing". Can anyone explain to me why this is? I've used one foe belaying on multi pitch routes with no obvious issues.. I'm I missing somthing?

Ta

Fraser on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to katiep:
> (In reply to TobyA)
> Agreed, I was given the BD one as a gift. It's caused me large amounts of grief trying to force half ropes through the stopper bit.

Not sure if this is a troll, but I'd love to hear a follow-up response to this! How exactly are you trying to use this crab???

GrahamD - on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to Fraser:

I would guess trying to belay off the rope loop. Even trying to thread something like a WC Pat Littlejohn harness with no distinct belay loop (you have to thread a loop on the waist and on the leg loops)is tricky. I yould imagine threading a chunky rope loop and a belay loop could be a real pain.
David Coley - on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to cliff shasby:
I find normal lockers and HMS ones do cross load a lot when I'm belaying. This is only a worry to me when a very high fall factor might occur. The solution for me has been moving to an oval aid-style locker. I'm not sure why, but these don't seem to rotate. They are also typically stronger on the major and minor axis than an HMS.
In reply to GrahamD: Yep, I found it fiddle on a chunkyish belay loop on my Renegade in summer using it with a grigri. Wouldn't work with an alpine bod for example.
In reply to Martin Imms: The Mammut HMS is not really suitable (for trad or sport multi-pitch) as it is time consuming to keep taking it on and off (unless you leave it attached all the time to the belay loop). Removing the plastic bar speeds things up, although it is still feels like a big bit of kit.
Fraser on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to GrahamD:

Hmmm, I must be missing something here as I still don't see how the ropes would be below the 'closure' stub part of the crab. Back to my cave....
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ledifer on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to Fraser:
you can use these crabs 'upside down', can't think why you would, but you can
David Coley - on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to ledifer:
> (In reply to Fraser)
> you can use these crabs 'upside down', can't think why you would, but you can

One reason: Top roping at a wall with groups. The gri gri is left on the rope between belayers. If the BD gridlock is used upside down it is easier for one person to unclip it (leaving the gri gri attached) and for the next belayer to clip in.

This is indicated in the pdf.
GrahamD - on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to Fraser:

When you first attach the krab to your loop, the gap left when in the gate open position between the wide and narrow end of the krab is not that wide. Therefore when attaching it you have to orientated the device carefully to pass the harness loop through the gate and down to the narrow end of the krab. I assume that it would be even more awkward if you were trying it with a rope loop.
chrisflowers - on 02 Dec 2012
In reply to Mark Glaister - Assistant Editor: Nah man ya wrong there. Read the instructions, and look at the pictures properly and you will see that for a ATC you can use it either way. For Grigri and other Chunky devices you should have the belay device in the small end to prevent cross loading. Otherwise it does not work (as depicted in the PDF you attached). Not trying to be argumentative but showing the Biner being used incorrectly leads to the misuse. Cheers.
SteveSBlake - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to UKC Gear:

Has it been mentioned earlier..... I think the Eddy in the last photo isn't loaded properly......tsk!

Steve
In reply to chrisflowers:

Hi Chris

I see what you mean re instruction sheet PDF. I will ask BD what they think. Thanks Mark
In reply to chrisflowers:

Hi Chris

Just got this back from Black Diamond "We recomend to use the GridLock with the small hole in the Safety loop of the harness and the big hole of the grid lock for the belay system (grigri, tube, atc, ..)"

This is the way I have always seen it in use and used it myself this way, but as you say the advice in the instruction PDF is the other way around.

Cheers

Mark
jonnie3430 - on 06 Dec 2012
In reply to Fraser:
> (In reply to GrahamD)
>
> Hmmm, I must be missing something here as I still don't see how the ropes would be below the 'closure' stub part of the crab. Back to my cave....

If you get to the top of a pitch and build a rope belay where the rope you climbed on is now attached to your belay gear, you would normally belay off the rope loop that you are tied in with, not the belay loop on your harness (Load goes climber, rope, belay plate, crab, rope loop, gear. Instead of climber, rope, belay plate, crab, belay loop, stitching at side of harness belay loop, harness, stitching at other side of harness belay loop, rope loop, gear.) If you use half ropes and use them both in the belay, then both would need clipped to belay off. I imagine it is getting two half ropes into the small end of the crab that is problematical. I liked the idea of the gridlock, but avoided it because I thought it too small at the wide part of the HMS (personal preference, please don't ask me why!!)

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