/ When to use a screwgate?
Just so it's clear, in normal personal climbing I will generally only use screw gates for attaching a belay device or for the powerpoint at an anchor. When instructing it's a bit different.
Where and when do you think screw gates are appropriate/necessary in climbing (multi-pitch or single pitch)?
Why wouldn't you use a screw gate?
I also have my prussiks on a wire gate and don't see the interest of having them on a locking biner.
When you're abseiling with a prussik and the other end of the prussik cord attached to the leg loop by a wire gate, the prussik cord is always taught (if it's the right lenght, like mine is) and it's almost impossible for the carabiner to cross load or become in a position it could unclip. Also in this scenario, you're only using the prussik as a back up, you already have a belay device, attached to the belay loop by a screwgate. A screw gate would cause unnecessary clutter and be overkill when you can have your prussik on a tiny wiregate like a DMM phantom.
Obviously, this is just one use for prussiks, there may be other scenarios I haven't thought of
Surely the rational answer to this question is: when failure would be critical.
I carry a couple of big DMM boa lockers for building belays and a handful of various small light lockers, a few on 120 cm slings and a few loose. I rarely use them on a pitch but if I do it's where small gear is equalised on a sling or where there is a long run out protected by a single piece.
At belays I'd say it's sensible to use them if your gear is out of sight or where multiple bits of gear are equalised.
To add, my prussic loop (I only carry 1 to assist with gear recovery if I'm only on single pitch stuff) is on a small locker just because it's convenient as a lone clipper is not that useful.
Only for weight and space saving purposes I guess. And money, I already have many wire gates.
That makes a lot of sense. I haven't been in a situation where I have been running it that far out or equalising lots of micros (I'm a bit soft!). I think I would back to back some wire gates In that situation; if it wasn't for your helpful post I probably wouldn't have though of that!
Okay, this is quite crucial, as i am assuming you are a British trad climber, so i'll try and simplify it to make it clearer:
YOU MUST ALWAYS USE A SCREWGATE. ALWAYS. AND IT MUST ALWAYS BE SCREWED UP. ALWAYS. EVEN WHEN ATTACHED TO YOUR HARNESS, ON A BELAY LOOP. IN FACT, WHEN YOU GO TO BUY IT, IF THE GATE IS NOT SCREWED UP ON THE PACKAGING, IT MAY NOT BE SAFE.
So to review: ALWAYS SCREWGATE, ALWAYS LOCKED. ALWAYS.
And it is also important to mention twistlocks, and other such devices. THEY CAN BECOME UNSCREWED, THEY ARE DANGEROUS. VERY. IN FACT, PEOPLE AT HOME MAY BE AT RISK IF YOU USE ONE ON THE CRAG. IF IT IS NOT A SCREWGATE, YOU MAY DIE.
Again to review: STAY SAFE, ALWAYS SCREWGATE, ALWAYS LOCKED. Even when in your closet/attic/shoe box at home.
Caution: previous comments may contain some slight sarcasm...
I find when you learn you are taught everything by the book, and as you improve as a climber (especially if you gain any alpine or scotish winter experience) you gradually learn which pages of the book you can 'rip out'. personally I see no problem with using a wire gate for your prussic, especially seeing as the prussic is only backup anyway and some people don't even use them... saying that mine are all on screwgates.
to kind of answer the ops question, it could be argued that for a competent climber screwgates are never 'essential' but are an added safety feature. but of course if you have them then why not use them? its all personal choice I suppose to climbers who are aware of all the pro's and cons of why they might not use them.
As I said, I rarely use them on a pitch, I'm pretty soft when it comes to running things out too and to be honest I haven't been climbing properly for months due to a persistent injury so any sort of climbing is rare.
Fiouf I got nervous for a second there *wipes forehead with back of hand*
Good reply. I think, without analysing my thought process, I had already rationalised the risks involved in using wire gates but never questioned my decision until the lad at the crag told me off. Thank you.
I hope you took a BIG hms screwgate and shoved it up his ass. And then explained how safe what you just did was because you didn't use a wiregate.
Actually, I often wonder why people think a screwgate is 'safer' than a twistlock. Anyone care to bite?
They untwist and unlock.
the theory is that if the twistlock runs over an edge (for example the counter in the shop) then the gate can twist and become open. THIS MEANS THEY ARE RIDICULOUSLY UNSAFE AND SHOULD BE IMMEDIATELY REPLACED BY A SCREWGATE UNDER ALL CIRCUMSTANCES.
Now, if i become a bit less stupid, i'll explain the idiocy of my previous comments. The great British trad climber often insists on using screwgates in a similar way to my last post, i'd heard it an awful lot in the past. Fact is, if you look at the ratings for karabiners, there is no strength rating for gate shut but unlocked: you have major axis, minor axis and gate open. If the gate is not likely to come open (for example, hanging in mid-air) then a snapgate or wiregate is identical to a screwgate. Ignore the advice of the Great British Trad Climber, decide which you think is best and go from there
So do screwgates, and they have no spring to default them back to locked.
It's a good question. To respond to the contrary, auto lockers are often less intuitive by design making them good for use instructing with people likely to 'fiddle' with the krab. I have used these with a group of autistic children, one of which was particularly fond of shiny things.
I know. If they didn't untwist and unlock how would you get them undone?!
Actually, this is F all to do with Britain. Your average Canadian could out screwgate even the most ardent JB helmeted bearded wonder at Stanage Pop, because in most countries, trad is like BLACK MAGIC.
But the point is, all the hazards with twistlocks opening when they shouldn't apply to screwgates. Except with twistlocks they spring back.
Disagree. The amount of movement (in one direction) for a twist gate for it to open is about 20% of the same movement for a screwgate for it it open. Needless to say if you rigged anything were there was a chance of either opening then you should not be climbing, or at least you should be thinking of taking some kind of course, where someone can show you the what's, where's, and why's.
Personal opinion expressed.
Have you ever noticed a screwgate had come undone without you noticing? Probably.
Have you ever forgotten to do up a screwgate? Almost certainly.
If you've used twist locks, have either of those scenarios EVER happened? Probably not.
I only own a couple of twist locks and I rarely use them, I'm merely challenging the accepted wisdom that they are not as solid as a screwgate. As a belaying crab especially, I just think there's less to go wrong. So maybe I'll dust them off...
+1 for twistlocks
For normal rock climbing they are I believe much better. Make sure you get ones that take 3 actions to open: i.e. something like, depress something, twist something, open gate.
I find with screwgates not only might I forget to do them up, but they often unscrew from vibrations in the system. This won't happen with the one you tie into the belay with, but with ones where the rope moves through them, or the thing they are attached to moves.
I shall be sticking with BD Magnetrons for most future locking krab Purchases.
Like magic they are. A Leap forward.
Okay, morning after and apologies for the slightly over-the-top message from last night, was probably a touch too far.
The point was that there is, in my opinion, an over-reliance on screwgate krabs by your average UK climber. The twistlock argument does have an element of logic to it, granted, and i've demonstrated it plenty over the years.
My counter-argument would be: why are your karabiners moving that far? and if they are moving that far, why are they running over an edge? Same goes for screwgates. And if, for whatever reason, they are likely to move (any biner for that matter) and it is against a rock, why not turn the krab round?
Common sense must reign supreme with these things, using extenders and experience, and not simply buying one fix-all karabiner to use anywhere.
Yes, you are right on every point.
You could ask Michael Lush if he wasn't dead.
I have had a "3-action" twist lock carabiner come undone. The stance I was at had an static rope in place as another group were cleaning a new line; the static rope came under tension, touched the carabiner and simultaneously depressed, twisted and opened the twist lock. It was the powerpoint in my belay; I shat myself and never used it again!
I now use light weight screw gates in critical points (and wire gates the rest of the time). T
How could the way you carry your prusiks (as opposed to using them) be safe or unsafe?
That aside, the problem is that people think in binary terms: "safe" or "unsafe". That's clearly nonsense. Screwgates may be "safer" because the gate is mechanically locked, but in almost all scenarios the safety difference is marginal. If people choose to accept that difference in return for a saving in weight or cost that's just one of the choices we make when we go climbing, and probably a long way down the list of choices that could actually make a material difference to our safety.
I always use screwgates on belays, but I'm aware that it's purely habit, going back to when I first learned to climb. In the days of waist belays, the risk of the rope passing over the belay krab was much greater than today. I would definitely always use them to attach the belay plate, with an abseil device and when rigging a top-rope or retrievable abseil point.
Am I allowed to unlock it to get the rope in, or should I untie so I can thread the end through?
I know exactly what you mean. Two years ago a grand piano fell out of the sky and JUST missed me - smashed to bits in the middle of the road. I haven't been out of the house since.
Now, if you'd been wearing a helmet...
You're right, as usual...
...unless it was a really big piano. With Mrs Mills playing it.
I'm very much inclined to agree. Worth bearing in mind for the majority of climbers who've never actually used a twist lock is that there are two different kinds, the only twist/open and the lift collar/twist/open or one of the other permutations. If setting up a top rope these days I would almost invariably use a twist lock, if it rubs on anything I'd stick a wiregate backup on it for peace of mind.
The twist locks will lock by themselves when you forget and if by some miracle they do get undone the will lock themselves again whereas a screw gate will do neither of the two.
I'd never considered carrying my prussik on a wire gate but why not? I use an oval krab with a prussik and a petzl tibloc if I ever found myself needing to ascend a rope and if that was the case I would much prefer to be using screwgates over wire gates.
Treasure the moment. Decades back I thought these legendary screw gate safety police might be fictional until I met them myself. Top tip: body belaying makes them so apoplectic they can barely share the message.
Perhaps (and sorry, I haven't read all the replies here so it might already have been covered) the chap with the 'helpful' advice at the crag just assumed that - because you were carrying your prussik loop on a small wiregate - that this is what you'd use to attach the prussik to your belay loop with in the event that you had to use it in anger to ascend the rope? Obviously this wouldn't be the safest practice ever with such a vital attachment point... But as long as you had somewhere about your person a screwgate (or minimum back to back wires) for doing that, there's no reason you couldn't carry the prussik anyway you wanted whether on a wiregate, in your pocket or between your teeth!
I once narrowly escaped being run over by a bus that mounted the kerb. I now walk in the middle of the road.
Well we could have a séance? It's clearly very relevant.
What was a piano doing in the sky?
I am confused enough by powerpoint slides wandering about the crags on their own, let alone flying musical instruments. Presumably the danger from Powerpoints is that you die of boredom while they are running, or just lose the will to live at the endless stream of clichés and therefore throw yourself of the crag to your instant anihilation. Any other dangerous software that we should be aware of while climbing a V Diff?
I normally carry prussiks, if I do carry them, in my pocket. Is this illegal, or just certain death?
My prussic loops are fastened to the back gear loop on the harness with a larksfoot.
You'll get letters.
> if I do carry them, in my pocket
Frankly you and Simon are courting disaster.
But with luck like yours, you will be struck by comet fragments before we tangle our crampons in our prussiks and fall to our deaths.
A couple of years ago I was climbing at Castle Naize. One of the other groups there were doing some SPA/ML type training and at one point both the instructor, his two trainees and myself were belayed next to each other at the top of the crag. The instructor was talking about the use of screwgates when building a belay. At some point their eyes fell upon my setup.
Two wires, one on each rope, to which I was attached via a quickdraw on each. "Perfectly acceptable in this situation" said the instructor, "the ropes are in tension and the quickdraws aren't rubbing across any edge that might cause them to open".
Training books promote (or should promote) best practice, but real world situations are many and varied and best practice doesn't always fit nor may be expedient. Common sense should also come in to play: three anchor points per belay is fine but if one of those is a ten tonne boulder in line with the expected strain then what's the point in faffing about for ten minutes fiddling in a small wire just so you get your mandated number of anchors? The boulder is more than good enough, just sling a bight of rope over it and tie in.
Similarly with screwgates, if you've got them then fine but don't fuss over it if you haven't or have run out for whatever reason. Being adaptable is the name of the game.
> I did start wondering WHY this chap had a problem with it and if anyone else felt the same way.
I am assuming the prussiks were racked rather than in use?
I have always tended to attach my 'rescue' gear to my harness with a screwgate. After dropping an approach shoe down Cloggy in 2006 (narrowly missing another party) I am now extremely wary of attaching things to the back of my harness with only a wiregate. As such, I would certainly recommend people don't use a wiregate for crucial items but I wouldn't go as far as to say it was ever dangerous.
FWIW I use a Grivel screwgate accessory krab (from their axe leashes, rated 650kg) to carry 2xprusiks, 5-10metres of 5mm tat, a tibloc and knife.
There is also the issue that if you rack prusiks on a wiregate, you might be tempted to use them with the wiregate rather than change to a screwgate. However, I think that is a very poor argument. There is no point in carrying an extra heavy, expensive screwgate that you won't generally use just to rack some bits of cord. Although, as said, my preferred solution is to use a lightweight but high quality screwgate accessory krab to get the best of all worlds in terms of weight, cost and security.
It is worth remembering back-to-back wiregates are generally a suitable alternative, but after a decade of instructing climbing, when I have this discussion I boil it down to 3 situations:
- The krab is connecting to the harness (or rope loop).
(Due to the high risk of accidental opening i.e. ropes clove-hitched back at belays.)
- The krab represents a single point of failure that will be (or is very likely to be) loaded.
(In short, "if it fails you die". This covers the obvious belay 'powerpoint' but can also be said to includes situations such as sport climbing where a quickdraw unclipping on a crux bolt would result in decking out.)
- The krab is out of sight and will be (or is very likely to be) loaded.
(It is fairly obvious, but if you cannot see a krab, then just using a wiregate does not give much security. Abseil anchors and top-rope belays fall into this category.)
It is not an exact science and the three categories do overlap but I find they can help provide focus and get people thinking sensibly about things rather than just using screwgates by default.
I've never laughed so much at that...
WTF is a powerpoint!??!
I was wondering that too?
in what world is it 'dangerous' to just carry a prussic on a wire gate?
The orange and white sling in this photo is a powerpoint. I've only ever come across it in Bigwalling though because it's easy to set up and you're mate can get on with cleaning while you haul. on multi-pitch trad I just wrap the rope around everything i can find ;-)
Notice the random use of lockers and snaps in that photo ;-)
On abseils that involve ledges or other points where you might un-weight the rope, the prussic can become slack and move on to the gate - if you're unlucky, it can open the gate and slip off the krab altogether when you weight it again. Granted, your hand will usually be over the rope anyway so you'd be able to grip it (exactly what happened to a climbing partner of mine), but I don't want that niggling doubt in my mind when I'm abseiling so I use a screwgate.
However, since the situation you mention was about *carrying* prussics, I see no reason why a screwgate is essential ;)
It is a computer presentation tool used mostly by mediocre middle-managers to try to convince you that boring and largely meaningless clichés are important and valuable.
In what world are there rules about where you should carry a prussic, so long as you can get at it when needed?
Or what in planet Earth we call the belay, or if you want to be specific in a clusterf**k the main anchor.
Next you'll be defending the necessity of coining the term 'bottom rope'...
Hold on - i said I've only ever used one or the term "powerpoint" bigwalling - which has always been in a country which makes up silly phrases ;-)
Imaging rigging a "powerpoint" on Gogarth WTF???
This Powerpoint thing does seem to just be a sling joining Two Belay Points?
Nope nope... i dont use the term bottom roping, and neither should anyone else. Its top roping. And everythme i see Someone has written bottom roping i get dyslexia with the Second word and an unpleasant mental image.
Now i'm confused... You saying you never equalise a belay???
Edit: Right, you just use your ropes don't you? A bit slow in the head here ;-)
What's equalize? ;-)
Yes - find two good bits - hitch in and you're good. Problem is there's this new fangled system where you put your guide plate into the belay and not on your harness - I'm confused now.
My prussik cord is carried on a wiregate and always has been, nothing wrong with that whatsoever. Although as has previously been mentioned, if you want to be double sure they don't unclip from your harness and fall to the deck, a screwgate could be used instead.
When using a prussik during an abseil it's well worth attaching it to your harness with a screwgate. Last year I decided to use a wiregate on one occasion, and it did indeed manage to unclip all by itself. First and last time i'll be doing that then.
That thing you do on your music player that you boost the bass and touch up the highs a little. I'll mail you a powerpoint presentation about it.
Bottom... Roping... ;0
And whats with all this building belays Equalising and PowerPoints????
Its not some dark Arcane art. I swear these instructor Types make it all Sound Like you wont Possibly survive if you dont pay them to teach you all this guff.
just put some good Gear in and Clip yourself to it.
And stop all this guideplate belaying to a bit of Gear. Do it Properly.
That is all. Carry on.
This ^^^^^^^^ FFS
And the screwgates... don't forget the screwgates...
And just to get back on topic
If the people i see around lately is anything to go by, you need at least 3 screwgates. One to hang the shoes outside your mostly empty rucksack, another to attach a massive bunch of keys to your jeans, and a third one clipped to the sigg/nalgene bottle.
Screwgates all the way!!! If you go for a walk around the gear shops in Ambleside a nice shiny screwgate attached to the outside of your rucksack is a prerequisite, gaitors and trekking poles are advisable but optional.
If you don't use a screwgate, over time, you WILL LOSE your prussiks but saying it's dangerous on your HARNESS is obviously nonsense!
However the reality of climbing is that often you only make a mistake once, so it pays to be more than cautious.
I TRY to use screwgates for crucial runners and belays but in real life on long alpine style routes, it's the least of your concerns.
I won't go into the reason behind the aversions of using twistlocks but it happened in full public view on TV around the 1970-1980's.
As for the technical reason and aversion of using twistlocks, I'm not so sure but I can certainly say they are a real pain in winter climbing!
In a guiding, cragging or teaching situations you'd be a fool not to use belts and braces for insurance purposes.
BTW never heard of power point either, central point and I totally hate this bottom and top roping term for what has always been top roping, I think it sucks too!
Superb. I particularly enjoyed learning the new word 'apoplectic'. Thanks!
Come on, without a discussion on Banshee, DIL and RUBB belays, together with power points and master points where would we be? Clovehitching the rope to snap gates? Come, come.
The powerpoint (in my mind at least - perhaps I have it wrong!) is the word for where all the anchors in a belay come together.
This could be many things, for example, the overhand knot in a sling where two wires are equalised; the knot tied in a cordelette where multiple pieces of gear are equalised; where your two lead ropes which are clove hitched to the gear join (in this case, usually at you on your harness); where the two chains from two bolts on a belay are linked at a ring.
Simply, I just mean the single point where all anchors in a belay are equalised and, as it lacks redundancy, is therefore critical.
Climbing is like another language sometimes. A language I don't really understand.
I personally carry prussiks on snap gates, if I was to loose them then I would adapt and use whatever else I have with me. Normally some extenders or slings. That said I do have 1 prussik on a separate snap gate for abseiling etc so I dont need to fiddle around with the other bunch. I also think the time you are most likely to drop the bunch of prussiks and tat etc is when you are unclipping it from the harness, the same with either screw gate or snapgate.
Had to google that, and funnily enough the only hits were to a book that you wrote, and to a german forum where they are also wondering what's up with those names...
I suspect a conspiracy.
Most people on here are too young to know who Mrs Mills is?
Definitely a conspiracy
There's a few places where I'd only be happy using a screwgate:
Abseil back-up with single prussik to leg loop (got a small super light Grivel locker for this).
Attaching to the so-called powerpoint.
Attaching ropes from anchors to harness/tie in loops.
Getting lowered from a bolt belay.
Anything I can't keep an eye on, e.g. top rope/fixed abseil setups.
Indeed, Al - although neither of us, sadly, fit that category. Fortunately Jon doesn't either!
That's right - you remember; Dr Who's mum. Now drink the cocoa...
I would have to advise sticking to using climbing gear.
Nurse, He's out of bed again!
> I would have to advise sticking to using climbing gear.
I doubt you'd sell many insurance policies while wearing ronhills, a north face jacket, 40 slings draped around your torso, and a massive bunch of keys hanging from your trousers.
Always safer to dress smartly
glad someone got it!
haha it was briliant! there all just boring i guess!
No, we got it. It was actually quite funny, too. Not sure I'll be joining the ticker tape parade, though.
I'm sorry to hear about that, maybe next time you'll join?
Thinking about it, there are probably only a few places I'll always try to use a screwgate:
Single Abseil anchor (as in joining rope to sling round a tree or block)
Top rope anchor.
Pretty much everything else has redundancy in the system so i'm not too bothered.
As a beginner, I'm a bit mystified by 'best practice' on screwgates. Normally when I build a belay on single pitch I use one normal screwgate on each piece of gear, equalised with clove hitches onto one giant DMM Boa on my harness. I then use an HMS for my belay device.
So... that's 3x normal, 1xHMS, 1xboa, which already seems to be more than the UKC average.
Now, recently I was reading an instructional book and it said that you should only ever have one clove hitch per krab and that only HMSs should have clove hitches.
So... that 7xHMS (assuming I want the flexibility to clove hitch at any of the krabs) or 14xHMS between me and my partner for multipitch. That would weigh as much as my entire rack! Slight exaggeration, but it seems crazy to be carrying 14 HMS krabs, not to mention a few for prussiks and anything else where screwgates might be needed.
Separate to the leading rack on my harness I carry one large HMS with my belay device on, 2 small DMM HMS and 2 wire snapgates for building belays. Never needed any more. I also carry one very small screwgate with my prussik loops and a small knife on that I might use if needed in extremis (which is rare/never so far).
I put up to 2 clove hitches on the small HMS krabs and I'd put 1 on each of the snapgates.
I usually carry 3 micro screwgates when cragging on grit for example. I often use an overhand knot on a bight to tie back to the micro-krabs on my harness-end rope-loops, as it's easier than fiddling a clove-hitch on. With enough experience you can judge all the distances pretty well to get it equalised. I also often just put the rope through, or clove hitch straight onto a cam's micro-wiregate if using it in the belay.
I'd carry a few more micro-screwgates and probably a cordelette for multi-pitching.
Sure, having admitted these frightful sins I'll probably have my children taken off me, but you'll find after you've been climbing 15 years or so, in all sorts of different situations and all over the world, that you come up with solutions that work for you.
Hello. I agree that 14 screwgates are overkill and unecessary. I will try to explain my thinkings and reasonings in this area. I almost formed a rough rule last night whilst talking about this with someone last night.
My maxim is always use a screwgate where failure would be critical.
At the top of single pitch and also multipitch belays:
If using 1 anchor (a tree or a large boulder). Use a screwgate
If using 2 anchors consider putting a screwgate on the strongest anchor.
If using 3 anchors or more (assuming if they are all good) it is ok to snapgates on each individual anchor but screwgates if two or all of them are equalised into a single point.
If two of the three anchors are poor, then put a screwgate on the sole good piece.
This is only a guideline and there are no hard and fast rules in climbing, use your own judgement. Also, if a screwgate if unavailable, back to gate snap gates are just as good.
Using the method above you can limit your screwgates to a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 5-6 for the leader and around 2-3 for the second. I think I tend to average about 6-8 between the pair on multipitch (including all belay devices, personal lockers, etc.)
I was thinking about this the other day. I don't use many screwgates as I think they're too specialised to carry on a lot of stuff. I build belays out of quick draws mostly, screwgates where everything comes down to a single point like you say and I do carry a couple of small ones for emergencies etc. I think that if the anchors are tensioned as they should be, there is minimal risk of the rope jumping out, especially if it's clove hitched in there.
However there are plenty of times that I'll climb above a runner where, if it failed and I fell, I'd seriously hurt myself or perhaps worse. I had a runner unclip itself just last weekend - if I'd fallen off this hail beaten soaked through vdiff slab (...) it wouldn't have been pretty with all the ledges etc. I'd extended it and clipped the gate facing away etc etc before anyone jumps in. These things just happen occasionally, especially when you have something that's changing like a running rope.
For what it is worth, I carry one for the belay plate and one HMS to tie in with.
If I'm direct belaying I add another.
I only use a screwgate (other than the one I belay from) at my harness when I've used a sling to build the belay. If I'm building a belay from the rope(s), which I tend to do when possible/ convenient, then I attach myeslf by taking the rope back through the rope loop I'm tied into my harness with and tie off there using an overhand. If you have 3 anchors tied off in this way it does make for some bulky knottage at your harness, but otherwise for ease of adjustment and tying off it's very convenient and safe.
> Now, recently I was reading an instructional book and it said that you should only ever have one clove hitch per krab and that only HMSs should have clove hitches.
For what its worth I only guarantee to carry one for the belay device. I tie the rope directly back to the harness so I don't need one for the anchor.
Normally I'll carry a couple more, though to be used as and when it feels appropriate.
There was a guy at the crag a couple of days ago, who had about half a dozen slings on his harness each with a screw gate on. For an equal amount of weight he could have carried about three times as many wire gates, which would have been far more versatile.
Good if you expect a three way pull on a threaded sling runner. I think there was a case of a failed carabiner where the load went on the gate.
Screwgates are more secure than snap links, and are also made very compact and light these days. Why not carry a few? Seems a no-brainer to me. I even use them on running belays, occasionally. But then I do various other apparently rather uncool things, like preferring a fig 8 tie-in to a bowline, always using a double fisherman's for tat left in situ, to name but two.
Really? I don't think so - unless you're comparing the heaviest screwgate you can think of to the lightest snap link - which, frankly, wouldn't be making any sort of valid point at all. Here's a somewhat more relevant comparison of two fairly recent lightweight models: Grivel Plume locker at 37g versus DMM Phantom snap at 26g - a difference of 11g.
Don't mean to take the wind out of your sails but if we're going to compare a screwgate to a phantom snap gate it might as well be the phantom screwgate :).
Phantom screwgate: 41g
Phantom snapgate: 28g
However, Merlin's anecdote doesn't say what kind of screwgates this chap was carrying. My heaviest for example is 98g, and that's still a recentish (5 years) aluminium one. By the sounds of it, this guy was carrying some weight and not slender phantoms or grivel plumes on 8mm slings.
Also, you can't use these micro lockers for everything, belaying and clove hitching come to mind. You would need 3 plumes to get 3 fat clove hitches to your harness whilst 1 DMM Boa would take 3 fine.
3 Grivel Plumes: 111g
1 DMM Big Boa: 83g
I think a really efficient rack would be compromised of a mixture of the latest larger screwgates, and micro screwgates.
Ok, Phantoms all round if you like - I just mentioned the lightweight items I happened to own. Weight-wise, very much the same ball park.
I usually carry 2 Sentinels (54g mini HMS). One lives with my belay device and one for taking 2 clove hitches with skinny ropes. I also carry a super light locker on each sling, number depending on route, and another on a prussik. If I should need to clove hitch back to my harness from a third anchor I'll use one of those. I'd far rather do that than stack three clove hitches in a single Boa, especially if there's a significant angle between anchors.
I have a variety of large HMS, including Boas, but I've pretty much stopped using them for personal climbing, because I find that a larger number of small lockers give far more flexibility. The only time I still use full-size HMS is while instructing - for releasable abseil rope and Italian hitch on the safety rope.
Anyway, the scenario which prompted my post was the carrying of six slings each with a screwgate (six slings would normally be OTT but there are climbs where that would be appropriate). My point was that even with 6 slings, the weight penalty wouldn't be that significant if you used super light lockers - but with considerably more security when required. I was talking about the choice of crabs on the slings, nothing else.
These things this guy was carrying were chunky monkeys, possibly even old steel. I find the notion of carrying small screw gates for specific jobs a bit inflexible. I generally carry 3 boas, which offer a wider range of use and easy operating with gloved hands.
The crag was Dewerstone by the way - this place isn't the sort that requires such a monstrous complement of slings.
Yeah was not trying to be pedantic but there are some other lightweight snapgates out there (too small IMO, elderid 19g) so felt like if there was an equivalent locker we'd have a better idea of the weight penalty for putting a screwgate on a carabiner more generally.
I carry the Boa personally, because it's the most reached for carabiner, and I am often clove hitching 2 or more ropes to it and as demonstrated it's very efficient weight wise for that job. However, I started getting gear when things were going small anyway so I tend to pair my boa with a miriad of Phantoms, shadows, sentinels etc.
My biggest crime on the heavy lockers front is....
The original petzl attache. It weighs a bomb at 77g, it's quite small for that weight, and it's rated for 23-7-6, the least of any of my carabiners. A Zodiac is bigger, lighter and is rated to 32-12-12.
However I carry my attache on my reverso because.... they are both orange :(. Someone make an orange belaying crab that isn't a piece of crap please. The attache 3-D is a lot lighter but even weaker =/.
Why would you want to be able to fix multiple clovehitches at all the krabs? The anchor points will only have one rope going them, so only need to take a single clovehitch at each. You only need standard screwgates for the anchors. If you've tied into them you don't also need to equalise at the harness. Or the rope runs through them and you equalise at the harness with a single HMS.
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