What are they? The Ultra O 'biners are the new oval carabiner range from DMM. Coming in a non-locking version and three locking versions, the Ultra O's were born from DMM's expertise in the industrial sector, as they needed to produce a set of oval 'biners to complement their pulleys and hauling systems.
From the DMM website: "The momentum to start the [Ultra O] project finally came when we started producing pulleys for our industrial, arborist and technical rescue customers and the pulley range needed a range of ovals to create a hauling system."
The three locking gate options are Screwgate, Quicklock or Locksafe. Full descriptions of these gates are here: DMM Website.
Vital Statistics - Snapgate / Non Locking 'biner:
Vital Statistics - Screwgate / Locking 'biner:
What have I been using them for?
I've been using the Ultra O locking biner in conjunction with my Petzl Gri Gri for sport climbing – the 'biner has performed brilliantly. One of the common errors caused when belaying in this way is the turning of the carabiner, meaning the load of a fall is placed on the gate of the 'biner and not along the back-bar, where the 'biner is strongest. This turning is most disconcerting when your partner is about to take a monster whipper! Using the DMM Ultra O I haven't had it turn on it's side at all due to the oval shape.
I will also be putting this biner on my crevasse rescue kit as it works brilliantly with a pulley.
The non-locking version has found it's logical way onto my trad rack and works perfectly with my wires, which float around without tangling at all. It is a fantastic racking carabiner, the oval shape meaning less snagging of wires and the large gate opening of 24mm makes for easy removal and racking of gear. The rivet on the gate is a different colour to gate itself, which means identifying which end is the 'opening' end is quicker and easier.
I haven't used it for aid climbing but DMM state: "A lot of people will see this as the ultimate racking carabiner. It is also a lovely aid climbing carabiner with a really wide, 9.75mm rope radius that is kind to marginal gear."
The Zodiac 2009 'biner is a strong and light offset D screwgate carabiner.
Described on the DMM website thus: "The Zodiac carabiners are hot forged from raw 12mm bar to become the perfect rigging carabiner with loads of safety reserves and friendly rope surfaces. The carabiner has a massive major axis strength of 32kN, a minor axis strength of 12kN and an open gate strength of 12kN. Very few other carabiners achieve this."
Vital Statistics - Zodiac 2009
What have I been using them for?
I've been using the Zodiacs for general climbing / belay rigging. The outstanding build quality and super smooth action gives you the same feeling as closing the door on a Mercedes – only cheaper! These aren't the lightest biners in the product range so I won't be lugging them up to The Ben this winter but they feel exceptionally strong and burly.
They come in three gate options - Screwgate, Quicklock or Locksafe. Full descriptions of these gates are here: DMM Website.
The Zodiacs feature a keylock nose, which means less snagging when rigging. A bombproof 'biner.
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