Modern carabiners (or, krabs, as they are often referred to) are very strong and extremely safe; they are also incredibly light and easy to handle. Rope clipping (often the very moment when you might fall out of love with a particular krab design) has never been easier. Let’s face it we’re spoilt these days!
Carabiner design continues to evolve; just when you think it can’t get any better those smarty pants at DMM and Black Diamond come up with yet another refinement. The innovations which we have seen in the last 10-15 years have truly revolutionised these essential pieces of climbing kit.
Wire gates and I-Beam construction have stripped away all unnecessary dead weight while retaining strength and improving functionality. These days everything you see is there for a reason. Check out the DMM Phantom
, which weighs in at an astonishing 26g!
Solid gate krabs have greatly improved too – the current crop of designs are easily tough enough to cope with the stresses of repeated falls, but crucially also have exceptional handling qualities, as well as being surprisingly light. Take a look at the DMM Shadow
for a top quality example.
So, no more lugging round a heavy, clunky skirt of metal – nowadays we are free to glide up the crags, barely noticing the comprehensive rack hanging from our harness and happy in the knowledge that, should things turn 'spicy', it won’t be the hardware that lets us down.
Most of the krabs on your rack will be set up ready to go as Quickdraws
, but you will also need a range of single krabs for the rest of your gear.
The DMM Ultra O
is an oval shaped design, originally made for aid climbing, but one which works extremely well as a racking krab for your wires or hexes (although some folk prefer to rack the big stuff individually). Separate krabs for small, medium and large nuts works best, it also reduces the ‘disaster factor’ should you drop one of them en route.
Many people rack their Cams
in bunches too - this method is especially worthwhile if your cams have short non-extendable slings.
You’ll need at least one krab for each of the slings you carry, although some prefer to use Locking Carabiners
for these. Either way, you should carry a few additional screwgates or 'lockers' for setting up belays.
A final note of caution: some modern krabs achieve their remarkable weight savings by significantly reducing the overall size of the krab. While this is normally okay for standard rock climbing, these 'key ring' style krabs are not much use when it comes to winter climbing, or for those of us blessed with bear paw
hands. If you need your kit to work in all sorts of situations then we can recommend the DMM Alpha Trad
- these 'State of the Art' wire gate krabs offer truly exceptional performance, even if your wearing gloves.
For more info on the technical aspects of the modern carabiner check out DMM’s Anatomy of a Carabiner