UKC

/ When to stop trusting Karabiners?

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martinturner - on 14 Jan 2018

So I’ve found an old set of 6 quickdraws I was given when I started climbing. 

They're probably nearing 20years old, but I know the guy who gave me them very well, and trust he wouldn’t have given me them if he didn’t think they were safe. 

However, they’ve been sat in a chest for 5years and I’ve never used them. In fact, I completely forgot I had them. 

My main concern is the snapgates themselves. I have every intention of binning the slings/dogbones (whatever you want to call them) and replacing them with varying length, brand new, slings. For a scrambling rack. But when would you stop trusting a piece of metal that looks and feels sound, without some extra form of testing?

If the main advice is bin it all and start over, then so be it. But I thought I may aswell see the overall feeling that some more experienced people have, before throwing away, possibly, perfectly good gear.

john arran - on 14 Jan 2018
In reply to martinturner:

20 years is not a long time for alloy metalwork that has been little used and well looked after. If it looks fine and the gates operate smoothly, I would be happy to use it. Indeed, some of my gear may be that old and it gets mixed in with newer stuff and I don't get concerned about the difference because they're all fine.

purplemonkeyelephant - on 14 Jan 2018
In reply to martinturner:

Just ran a quick Google ;) 

Petzl: "The lifespan of metal products is not limited."

Mad Rock say: There is “no limitation to the life of the carabiner.” But that the “useful lifetime depends on environment and use.” A carabiner should be “retired if it has any of the following: a crack, burr, sharp edges, gate rivet that is loose or bent, weak gate spring, significant wear, or any deformity.”

DMM: "the maximum lifespan of metal products have no defined time limit".

So inspect them, and use them accordingly. 

Sophie G. - on 14 Jan 2018
In reply to martinturner:

It's not the years, it's the mileage.

martinturner - on 14 Jan 2018
In reply to john arran:

Thanks everyone!

I always google these things before posting, don’t know why I didn’t this time. But thanks for the replies. 

9fingerjon - on 14 Jan 2018
In reply to martinturner:

If you go to any karabiner page on the petzl website there is quite a useful pdf that runs through inspecting karabiners and what reasons to retire them and is pretty generic to any karabiner.

e.g.. https://www.petzl.com/GB/en/Sport/Carabiners-and-quickdraws/DJINN

then scroll down to find the "PPE inspection procedure" download

TobyA on 14 Jan 2018
In reply to martinturner: what are the gate open strengths of the krabs? If it's less than 7 KNs (or 700 kgs if early 90s or older) than I might retire them. 9 KNs is better I reckon particularly if not wiregates. The age alone isn't an issue with metal as far as I understand it, all my Camalots are still on original Neutrinos, I still really like those krabs and they are still pretty light for a late 90s design.

 

Pursued by a bear - on 14 Jan 2018
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:

That's a good summary.

The age of the metal bits of my climbing rack wouldn't stop me trusting them. My age, however...

T.

tjin - on 14 Jan 2018

Little burs can be sanded off and gate action can be smooth again with some lube. Other than that what others already mentioned. 

Pete Houghton - on 06:56 Mon
In reply to martinturner:

I have a couple of biners in regular usage that I inherited from my mother's rack, which was mostly used in the late 70s, early 80s. No worries.

One of them is a solid steel pear which is heavier than just about every other piece I own combined. I use it for roadside cragging, indoor walls, zero walk-ins, etc, and it has outlasted the wear through several retired and replaced aluminium belay devices, and their counterpart aluminium biners for mountaineering and multipitch.

Post edited at 06:58
AlanLittle - on 07:02 Mon
In reply to Pete Houghton:

I went out and bought a steel krab for my grigri for the wall & single pitch cragging after I got fed up with wearing out alloy ones every year or two.

Jasonic on 10:48 Mon
In reply to TobyA:

I have a few older karabiner with 7kn gate opening strength- is there an argument for replacing them ? 

AlanLittle - on 11:23 Mon
In reply to Jasonic:

I fail to see how karabiners that have one of these newfangled "gate open" ratings have any place in a discussion of *old* karabiners  

Jim Walton on 14:39 Mon
In reply to Jasonic:

EN-12275 Minimum Gate-Open Strength for Type B (Basic, D Shaped etc) carabiner is 7kN.  Type H (HMS) is 6kN and Type X (Oval) is 5 kN.

 

TobyA on 18:18 Mon
In reply to Jasonic:

I think it was when people started to understand gate flutter in the 90s that there was a push towards 9 or 10 KNs for gate open. I don't think that 7KNs is the end of the world, but over the years I've mainly replaced all my old krabs of that rating with stronger ones.

jimtitt - on 18:54 Mon
In reply to TobyA:

The original standard was 6kN and after a number of failures it was moved up to 7kN. There have been moves to go up to 9kN but they have been blocked for years, some companies only make 9kN karabiners anyway and that´s all I buy as well.

Jasonic on 21:46 Mon
In reply to jimtitt:

Thanks all- very helpful.

 

jkarran - on 09:26 Tue
In reply to martinturner:

> They're probably nearing 20years old, but I know the guy who gave me them very well, and trust he wouldn’t have given me them if he didn’t think they were safe... But when would you stop trusting a piece of metal that looks and feels sound, without some extra form of testing?

I wouldn't give it a second thought, personally I'd use them as is if they've been stored dark and dry.

Personally I'd bin krabs: showing signs of flakey/exfoliating corrosion, gates that stick open and can't be cleaned and freed with oil, gates that don't close through distortion, gates missing springs, rope bearing surfaces with deep wear or nicks (10-20% depth) or anything else that otherwise looked or felt 'wrong' or different from others like it.

It's you that has to trust them so ultimately you need to do as you see fit.

jk

David Coley - on 12:53 Tue
jkarran - on 13:24 Tue
Neil Williams - on 13:45 Tue
In reply to jkarran:

Quite!

Aluminium can crack on heavy impact - such as being dropped a long way.  So that could be what happened here.  Perhaps we should inspect any gear that has been dropped more carefully.


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