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Is this a dodgy krab?

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I came across this karabiner at our scout climbing wall. I'm trying to find out how it got there but meanwhile, what has made me suspicious, is that it has no branding details on it at all. Any thoughts or experience?


 Mike-W-99 08 Oct 2021
 danm 08 Oct 2021
In reply to phizz4:

I'm fairly sure it needs to have the manufacturer name clearly marked , also there should be a notified body number next to the CE mark, which I can't see?

In reply to phizz4:

Yes, just found these as well.

https://www.amazon.com.au/Locking-Carabiner-5600lb-Climbing-Silver/dp/B083ZW9W8L

I think that they are on Amazon.uk as well. I wonder if I could get it tested?

 C Witter 08 Oct 2021
In reply to phizz4:

Probably a cheap one off, e.g., Ebay or Amazon. I remember a long time ago that I looked into some Chinese manufactured wiregates. They had the CE and UIAA markings, but UIAA had blacklisted the company. The company claimed, in correspondence, that the model had been approved by the UIAA and they had certification for it, but the hadn't wanted to keep paying the UIAA to renew their licence and it had gone out of date. I didn't know what to make of it all, tbh, and gradually demoted the carabiners I owned to other roles (e.g. mounting a hangboard). They've not broken in 7 years, though.

The link from Mike, above, looks correct. It looks like a Taiwan-based company that has had certificates from a Czech lab to ensure CE conformity. But, I notice this model doesn't claim to have have a UIAA safety marking. Probably not essential, but I suppose that would make me cautious in the context of group work.

Post edited at 22:47
 FactorXXX 09 Oct 2021
In reply to phizz4:

The CE marking on this might mean 'China Export' as opposed to 'Conformité Européenne'.
Google it as there are subtle differences with spacing between the C and E.
As for if they're safe or not?  Who knows...

 deepsoup 09 Oct 2021
In reply to FactorXXX:

> The CE marking on this might mean 'China Export' as opposed to 'Conformité Européenne'.
> Google it as there are subtle differences with spacing between the C and E.

Google it yourself and you'll see that's a myth.  There are genuine CE marks and in some cases there are bogus CE marks, but "China Export" is not a thing.

In reply to phizz4:

I'd NEVER buy something like that, and if you aren't sure if the CE is valid or not you can't endorse their use, but actually at a Scout climbing wall the risk is zero.

When I had kids in Scouts I did the most occasional evening as an occasional helper (yes CRB check and all that) including on occasion at the outdoor climbing wall, although my single pitch supervisor award (I think now called Rock Climbing Instructor?) expired about 25 years ago so I was helping not being The instructor. The kids would climb up (belayed from below) then come over the top get clipped to a tether and be swapped  to abseil down the other side. Everything was doubled apart from the climbing up rope, 2 anchors, doubled up krabs at top of the top rope, 2 slings etc safety rope as well as abseil rope.

A 25kn (8 open and 7 crossload) from Taiwan that might have expired its CE mixed in that setup would be no concern to me at all. I would remove it at the end of the evening as paperwork conformity might not be valid, but if I saw it during an evening I'd not even slightly worry as long as it wasn't a single point, which shouldn't happen in a setting like that anyway

Post edited at 08:06
 jimtitt 09 Oct 2021
In reply to CantClimbTom:

You can't check if ANY CE mark is valid, the only people entitled to see the documentation are trading standards. Under Brexit they may well no longer be able to either.

 AlanLittle 09 Oct 2021
In reply to C Witter:

>  It looks like a Taiwan-based company that has had certificates from a Czech lab to ensure CE conformity. But, I notice this model doesn't claim to have have a UIAA safety marking.

... and Kingsnaps don't appear in the UIAA certified equipment database: https://www.theuiaa.org/safety/safety-standards/certified-equipment/

 jimtitt 09 Oct 2021
In reply to AlanLittle:

Plenty of companies don't, it's meaningless.

In reply to CantClimbTom:

At something like a Scout wall you generally don't use any equipment other than the official equipment at the wall, anyway, so if that's been left there by another instructor, perhaps because it was in their bag and they removed it to get to something else and forgot to take it, you probably shouldn't use it anyway.

SPA/RCI/whatever don't expire, by the way, they are once-off "logbook" awards.  Scouting would issue their own Permit based on that (which do expire).

There is no actual need to double up screwgates at the top of a top-rope.  Hardly any climbing wall does (though you do get doubled snapgates instead of one screwgate), and Scout walls follow the same standards.  Someone is clearly paranoid!

Post edited at 13:11
In reply to jimtitt:

Quite interesting that a post from Jim, someone in the actual business of making and selling certified climbing gear, got down-voted.

In reply to Alkis:

I've turned them off, but could it be because people dislike the situation his post described rather than disliking the fact he made it?

In reply to phizz4:

Bin it. Or at least retire to part of a washing line or dog lead set up! 

There are loads of pieces of questionable climbing gear out there for sale, some of which will be perfectly safe to use, some of which won't be. Why take the risk?

Post edited at 17:55
In reply to phizz4:

Looks like an imitation of some old caribiners I have.  

In reply to phizz4:

It's very similar to a Black Diamond Liteforge. The blank space on the one side is ready to accept a stamped logo, so it could be passed off as a legitimate make. I will bin it, once I've managed to find how it got mixed up with the scout equipment.

 jimtitt 09 Oct 2021
In reply to phizz4:

If your bothered you can actually read the certificate of conformity on King Snaps website. They've been around for years and make karabiners for all sorts of companies.

 C Witter 10 Oct 2021
In reply to jimtitt:

> Plenty of companies don't, it's meaningless.

Out of curiosity, Jim, what do you think of the UIAA approval certification? I've gained the impression that it's a bit of a money-making racket, but I've no real knowledge.

 jimtitt 10 Oct 2021
In reply to C Witter:

It's a major income source. When the UIAA were in financial difficulties due the the DAV leaving the UIAA brought in a marketing agency who recommended they expanded the Safety Label coverage to improve their income. Actually benefiting climbing safety was not on the agenda.

How rigorous the UIAA is in controlling the issuing of the label is up for debate. Even the product manager for Black Diamond says the label is worthess, they put it on because customers expect it.

In reply to jimtitt:

So what standard should someone find 'reassuring' when buying kit or is it literally a case of sticking with brands you trust? (in which case how would a new brand break into the market)

 jimtitt 10 Oct 2021
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

Who knows? After all Wild Country managed to make sub-standard products with UIAA for four years and they aren't the only ones.

In reply to jimtitt:

> Who knows? After all Wild Country managed to make sub-standard products with UIAA for four years and they aren't the only ones.

They were sub-standard but then that was picked up. Without a meaningful std where are we?

 jimtitt 10 Oct 2021
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

Not by the control system from the UIAA.

 C Witter 10 Oct 2021
In reply to jimtitt:

Interesting, thanks! And... a little worrying!

In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

Not really sure what the Wild Country products/situation was? What is this referring to?

In reply to phizz4:

Don't see how 30 or 40kg kids top roping is ever going to go anywhere near 25kN forces.  25kN is like hanging a 2500kg car off it.  The thing is so massively overrated for the scenario I wouldn't sweat it unless when I picked it up as opposed to looking at a picture it was obviously poor quality junk.   

 galpinos 11 Oct 2021
In reply to jimtitt:

> It's a major income source. When the UIAA were in financial difficulties due the the DAV leaving the UIAA brought in a marketing agency who recommended they expanded the Safety Label coverage to improve their income. Actually benefiting climbing safety was not on the agenda.

When did the DAV leave? They are very actively involved members currently. The Safety Labels/standards were created as the first standards for climbing equipment, before CEN got in on the act and the first CE/EN standards were a carbon copy of the UIAA standards at the time. Belittling this legacy seems a little unnecessary Jim. 

> How rigorous the UIAA is in controlling the issuing of the label is up for debate. Even the product manager for Black Diamond says the label is worthess, they put it on because customers expect it.

Really? BD are very active on the Safety Commission. They are on multiple working groups and seem pretty engaged.

 galpinos 11 Oct 2021
In reply to C Witter:

> Out of curiosity, Jim, what do you think of the UIAA approval certification? I've gained the impression that it's a bit of a money-making racket, but I've no real knowledge.

In what sense?

It's something manufacturers voluntarily sign up to, thought they may feel obliged to due to consumers expecting them to. No one if forced into it and the standards are created collaboratively between national delegates from their respective NRBs (CAF, BMC, DAV, CAI, AAC etc) and engineers from the brands.

 galpinos 11 Oct 2021
In reply to phizz4:

Thoughts:

The marking does not conform to EN 12275 therefore the CE mark is invalid. I would imagine if there was an incident, using non-certified equipment in this setting would be problematic.

Experience:

Often these items are strong enough, the manufacturers just have no desire to pay for certification, they can sell their product cheap and they know amazon (and the like) has zero due diligence and will happily "sell" uncertified products. The issue is, do you know whether this manufacturer is reasonably legit, does their quality control ensure this isn't the "Friday afternoon" krab that is pretty dodgy etc.

In reply to jimtitt:

> Not by the control system from the UIAA.

Yeah but they were presumably working to the UIAA std and that meant they were obliged to check what they were selling met that under consumer law. I'm just wondering what std we would have if all guidance was removed and it was left in the hands of the manufacturers. 

In reply to steveshaking:

> Not really sure what the Wild Country products/situation was? What is this referring to?

They moved manufacturing of their Rock wires (which were being made for them, briefly, by DMM) to China resulting in some failing below their rating. They then had to do a major recall and moved production back to the UK (all before they wee bought out so I've no idea what they are doing now)

 jimtitt 11 Oct 2021
In reply to galpinos:

History!

The DAV, ÖAV and VAVÖ left the UIAA in 2008 taking half the UIAA membership with them, they rejoined in 2013 after their dispute with the IOC was resolved (the UIAA backed down).

The BSI standards pre-dated the UIAA ones by a long time and were issued by an internationally recognised Standards Authority, the UIAA has never been authorised or recognised internationally.

 jimtitt 11 Oct 2021
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

> Yeah but they were presumably working to the UIAA std and that meant they were obliged to check what they were selling met that under consumer law. I'm just wondering what std we would have if all guidance was removed and it was left in the hands of the manufacturers. 

They were manufacturing to the requirements of CEN and paying a fee to the UIAA to use their safety label, neither system was robust enough to ensure the criteria were met and the UIAA seemingly willing to take the money without checking.

In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

Thank's

I found that in the end - I presumed that was the issue. Not great when they supposedly used 3 sigma rating. And there were cam issues too.

It's remarkably hard to find any information on where manufacturing is now. 

It's a good case for centering on DMM. But obviously China and many other countries are more than capable of producing excellent quality gear. I don't feel clearer about how we sort the wheat from the chaff.  Is the astounding conclusion that none of the quality marks actually care or do any real testing? 

In reply to steveshaking:

> Thank's

> I found that in the end - I presumed that was the issue. Not great when they supposedly used 3 sigma rating. And there were cam issues too.

> It's remarkably hard to find any information on where manufacturing is now. 

> It's a good case for centering on DMM. But obviously China and many other countries are more than capable of producing excellent quality gear. I don't feel clearer about how we sort the wheat from the chaff.  Is the astounding conclusion that none of the quality marks actually care or do any real testing? 

I wouldn't expect them to actually test the gear but they should regularly audit the quality control systems in place to ensure the manufacturers ability to detect substandard gear is up to scratch.

In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> Don't see how 30 or 40kg kids top roping is ever going to go anywhere near 25kN forces.  25kN is like hanging a 2500kg car off it.  The thing is so massively overrated for the scenario I wouldn't sweat it unless when I picked it up as opposed to looking at a picture it was obviously poor quality junk.   

How do you know its a 25kN crab? There are plenty of pirate manufacturers of all kinds of things that will stamp, etch, paint whatever they need to make it look legit. 

Can you tell the composition and harness of the aluminium with your eyes? 

A couple of weeks ago I made a thing called a spring fuller in my forge, it looked excellent but I got the heat treat wrong and the 12mm solid steel round bar that I used shattered on the first hammer blow. 

In reply to Dax H:

> How do you know its a 25kN crab? There are plenty of pirate manufacturers of all kinds of things that will stamp, etch, paint whatever they need to make it look legit. 

If someone is willing to stamp 25kN and CE on a product which isn't, why wouldn't they be willing to stamp 'Black Diamond' or 'DMM' as well and sell it for more money and with less chance of any accidents being traced back to them.

If you don't think it is safe to trust what's stamped on the product when the product looks and feels legit then you'd need to test everything you came across which you hadn't purchased yourself from known distribution, even stuff with a brand name.

I've been reading news on climbing websites for more than 10 years and I've read plenty of reports of accidents but from memory I don't remember a single report of anyone dying from using 'fake' climbing equipment with false markings.  Maybe there has been a couple I've not seen or don't remember but it seems pretty clear it is a very rare occurrence if it happens at all.

 galpinos 12 Oct 2021
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> If someone is willing to stamp 25kN and CE on a product which isn't, why wouldn't they be willing to stamp 'Black Diamond' or 'DMM' as well and sell it for more money and with less chance of any accidents being traced back to them.

> If you don't think it is safe to trust what's stamped on the product when the product looks and feels legit then you'd need to test everything you came across which you hadn't purchased yourself from known distribution, even stuff with a brand name.

On the other hand, the markings on the carabiner in the picture are not correct to the standard. Why would they go to the effort of getting it certified by a notified body, then incorrectly mark all the production run?

> I've been reading news on climbing websites for more than 10 years and I've read plenty of reports of accidents but from memory I don't remember a single report of anyone dying from using 'fake' climbing equipment with false markings.  Maybe there has been a couple I've not seen or don't remember but it seems pretty clear it is a very rare occurrence if it happens at all.

Equipment failures are pretty rare, I agree. This is mainly due the fact the safety margins are pretty high and also most of us don't fall off regularly and if we do, we don't fall far. I would also agree that these "knock-off" items are often "strong enough", but there is a margin for error there that I'd be unhappy with.

Personally, I like to trust my gear and knowing that a link in the system is potentially sub standard would affect my head game (which is fragile enough as it is!) Also, wrt the OP, in a "professional setting" (scout wall) I would be disinclined to use equipment that did not conform to the standard.

 jimtitt 12 Oct 2021
In reply to galpinos:

> On the other hand, the markings on the carabiner in the picture are not correct to the standard. Why would they go to the effort of getting it certified by a notified body, then incorrectly mark all the production run?

Are you looking at the current requirements or the standard when the karabiner was made? A quick look at my rack shows ca.80% don't meet the current standard.

 galpinos 12 Oct 2021
In reply to jimtitt:

Current Jim, I've not been involved in all this for that long!

I was going off the fact the standard was published in 2013 and the crab in question doesn't look THAT old.

 Gary Latter 12 Oct 2021
In reply to steveshaking:

> Thank's

> It's remarkably hard to find any information on where manufacturing is now. 

I bought a set of Wild Country Friends last week - seems like they’re made in Taiwan, though Wild Country is now owned by an Italian company.

 galpinos 12 Oct 2021
In reply to Gary Latter:

> I bought a set of Wild Country Friends last week - seems like they’re made in Taiwan, though Wild Country is now owned by an Italian company.

Oberalp:

https://www.oberalp.com/en/our-mountain-brands

 Cobra_Head 12 Oct 2021
In reply to galpinos:

"Discover moer"  WTF?

 deepsoup 12 Oct 2021
In reply to Cobra_Head:

It's just a typo.

 Cobra_Head 12 Oct 2021
In reply to deepsoup:

> It's just a typo.

I know what it is, cheers though!

I does sort of demonstrate a lack of attention to detail though, for a company of such size.

 Snyggapa 12 Oct 2021
In reply to phizz4:

googling AK-12099N brings you to this fine boutique:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Paliston-Locking-Carabiner-5600lb-Climbing/dp/B077CJ3N6H?th=1

along with such other quality brands like BEEWAY, XINDA, BRAVESHINE and my favorites TOMPIG and BROTREE

-edit - I see same links have already been posted above. sorry for duplication.  I am scouring amazon for WOODWIP brand carabiners now..

Post edited at 15:33
 Cobra_Head 12 Oct 2021
In reply to Snyggapa:

Who wouldn't want a TOMPIG in their collection?

ha ha ha they've even managed to transpose the major and minor axis here.  4th image down.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tompig-Carabiners-Carabiner-Screwgate-Rappelling/dp/B0839G4CXB

Post edited at 16:05
 Mike-W-99 12 Oct 2021
In reply to Cobra_Head:

I’m reassured that it’s certified for dog leashes.

Post edited at 16:14
 deepsoup 12 Oct 2021
In reply to Cobra_Head:

> I does sort of demonstrate a lack of attention to detail though, for a company of such size.

It might be a bit of a worry if proofreading the website and quality control of the hardware are the same process, otherwise it seems like quite a lot to be hanging up on the peg of a simple typo.

Each to their own I guess but if I were looking to nitpick, one out of six instances of "Discover More" having a typo in it would concern me less than the following paragraph (more because it seems to be meaningless than that it's not quite grammatically correct):

"Product testing
We test our products according to our strict internal chemical policy, which go far beyond legal requirements."

In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> If you don't think it is safe to trust what's stamped on the product when the product looks and feels legit then you'd need to test everything you came across which you hadn't purchased yourself from known distribution, even stuff with a brand name.

I only purchase from known distribution. My game is rife with fakes, in fairness some are very good, even better quality than the OEM parts but most are crap. They look the part but they don't perform as well. Some are downright dangerous. 

I have seen machines set on fire and in a few cases actually explode and the root cause investigation has tracked it back to fake parts. 

These are some very convincing fakes out there and the only way to be sure is to buy from trusted sources. 

We lose quite a bit of work because we get under cut by people selling the copy parts (a service kit can be as little as 1/4 the price of the OEM kit) but typically we get the work back again a year or so later when things start failing. Once the end user realises that the loss of production is a lot more than the extra cost of servicing they start ringing again. 

In reply to Dax H:

> I only purchase from known distribution. My game is rife with fakes, in fairness some are very good, even better quality than the OEM parts but most are crap. They look the part but they don't perform as well. Some are downright dangerous. 

Sure, and in plenty of industries that's a requirement.

But, let's be real here: every climber climbs on other people's gear sometimes.  Even an indoor climber trusts their partner's belay device and crab.   We all buy gear from retailers, pretty much none of us go straight to licensed distributors for personal equipment.   And yet accidents caused by fake carabiners are unheard of in indoor climbing - which is what this post is about.

In the real world, if I am climbing indoors and using someone else's belay device and crab or one from the wall I will have a look at it and if it looks and feels basically OK I'll use it.  If someone is belaying me I am not going to ask for complete documentation of the provenance of their belay crab.

A brand name stamped on the crab is just psychological comfort, you don't know that because it is stamped with a brand you heard of it is actually made by them.  These days when most gear is made in China not being great at English or having a stupid sounding name isn't an absolute red flag that a company doesn't know what it is doing technically.  The guys with the stupid name are very possibly manufacturing the gear for the brands you have heard of.

Finally, in this particular scenario we are talking about a kid top roping.  So maybe 50kg i.e. about 500N hanging off a crab which says it is good for 25kN.

That is the physics but the regulations about being a professional supervising in a wall may well say you've got to use traceable gear.  I've no idea about that.

Post edited at 01:07
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

youtube.com/watch?v=BQfKTx5T2WM&

Guy tested 12 of these knock off brands and they all exceeded specs. Draw your own conclusions.

 jimtitt 13 Oct 2021
In reply to Dax H:

The discusion isn't about fakes, the karabiner is clearly marked with the manufacturers idenifier and the code number of the (European) certification laboratory used at that time. The declaration of conformity for the current model is available for download on the manufacturers website, who are incidentally well known in the industry, attend the international trade shows and have been in business for over 35 years.

In reply to Jonathan Lagoe - UKC:

> Guy tested 12 of these knock off brands and they all exceeded specs. Draw your own conclusions.

I'm sure the reputable brands that spend money on quality control systems and support UKC with advertising will be pleased to know that.

 timjones 13 Oct 2021
In reply to phizz4:

> I came across this karabiner at our scout climbing wall. I'm trying to find out how it got there but meanwhile, what has made me suspicious, is that it has no branding details on it at all. Any thoughts or experience?

The simple answer is that if you do not know it's provenance you cannot justify using it based on answers to a question on an online forum.

 Snyggapa 13 Oct 2021
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> A brand name stamped on the crab is just psychological comfort, you don't know that because it is stamped with a brand you heard of it is actually made by them.  These days when most gear is made in China not being great at English or having a stupid sounding name isn't an absolute red flag that a company doesn't know what it is doing technically.  The guys with the stupid name are very possibly manufacturing the gear for the brands you have heard of.

> Finally, in this particular scenario we are talking about a kid top roping.  So maybe 50kg i.e. about 500N hanging off a crab which says it is good for 25kN.

On the whole I agree with the above - although I do disagree that a brand name is just psychological comfort. 

You know where it has come from, they have a reputation to protect, probably have batch and serial numbers lasered into the frame for traceability and will almost certainly be around to answer and questions or warranty issues and have quality control and recall procedures . Why even bother to risk the chance of taking a whip on a WOODWIP when you can pay basically the same for DMM or other branded carabiners. 

In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

I’m guessing you didn’t watch the video.

Start at 19 mins if you can’t be bothered to watch the whole thing.

Post edited at 17:04
In reply to Snyggapa:

> You know where it has come from, they have a reputation to protect, probably have batch and serial numbers lasered into the frame for traceability and will almost certainly be around to answer and questions or warranty issues and have quality control and recall procedures . Why even bother to risk the chance of taking a whip on a WOODWIP when you can pay basically the same for DMM or other branded carabiners. 

My point was that if the premise is that people are stamping a crab with CE and 25kN when it isn't then they can just as easily stamp it 'DMM CE 25kN' and stamp all the tracing numbers copied straight off a real DMM product.   In fact, if falsely stamping products was your business model, you'd be crazy not to go the whole way and stamp a known brand on it because you'd make more money on your falsely stamped product and it would be harder to trace back to you if it failed.

I would also buy a branded product in preference to a non-branded one but the OP scenario is coming across an already purchased non-branded crab and using it for top roping.  If I was handed a non branded crab by a wall or a partner I wouldn't refuse to use it and if a partner had one I wouldn't refuse to be belayed by them as long as it wasn't obviously junk when you looked at it/picked it up.   A 25kN crab failing in a top roping situation indoors isn't a major concern,  I'm going to spend my limited 'due diligence' time on the knot, harness buckles and obvious serious fraying/wear on the belay loop or rope. 


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