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TOPIC: ACP- Carabiners

FINAL WORD 12 years 7 months ago #126189

  • icabod
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OK,
First time I have to step in to play devil's advocate. First I must say I WILL NOT climb on a screw lock (though I regularly descend on one). I had a very bad experience with one on a 5 story wall, it resulted in a short fall, stopped by a static lanyard (this was about 10+ years ago), and major bruising. My wife was actually looking over the wall when it happened, not fun.
That said, I cannot support any language in our final document that requires "positive locking" biners. I have a friend (who is also my regular climbing partner, some of you may remember Saplin' from the old days of this board) that will not use one. He is a professional in the field of adventure education. He uses only screw locks...we fight about this everytime we link up. BUT, he always backs up his argument with a very good point, anything automatic makes people lazy. Heck, he's got me checking my lock now at link up, and at the top of every pitch, 'cuz I am paranoid (no backup this time). Also I think that we cannot specify any particular technology, as this will stifle innovation.

I suggest the following terminology:

==START OF CLIP==
Connection to a climbing system, for the purposes of life safety operations (i.e. harness to climbing line), outside of direct tie-in may be made through several methods, listed below in order of the preference indicated by the authors of this document:
--EDITOR NOTE--the order below should be put up for a survey, so we get it right--
1. Quick Link
2. Auto Locking/Positive Locking Carabiner
3. Manual Locking Carabiner

Non locking connections must not be used for life safety opperations. Non locking connections may be used for non-life safety connections to systems (i.e. equipment storage, footloop connections to ascenders, etc. )
==END OF CLIP==

Climb Safe! Lets be careful to not get carried away.
Icabod
Cam "Icabod" Taylor
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12 years 7 months ago #126193

My list of preferences is as follows...

1. Auto Locking/Positive Locking Carabiner
1.5- Snap hook
2. Quick Link
3. Manual Locking Carabiner
4. 2 non-lockers used simultaneously, opposite and opposed

love
nick
Would you like a lanyard spliced up, or anything else for that matter??? Give me a call- 323-384-7770 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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12 years 7 months ago #126197

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I feel that giving a list of options in order of preference is going to lead us down a slippery slope. I prefer the simplicity of saying that we recommend a climber should use a positive locking carabiner.

What does everyone else think about this?
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12 years 7 months ago #126199

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I believe that Leon has the right idea.

If I recall correctly, none other than Don Blair, in his excellent book "Arborist Equipment," strongly recommends screw links because of their safety. (I sure hope I'm remembering correctly--I don't have a copy handy).

If a list is going to be made of acceptable life-support devices, it seems they should be ranked in order according to safety (not convenience, or cost, or color, etc.). That seemingly would force screw links to the top of the list.

Of course, several sources (e.g., web sites for accredited rescue operations, ANSI) must be investigated in order to create the ranked list.

However, at the risk of being accused of throwing a monkey wrench into the works, I again must strongly encourage everyone to consider what would be done here by such specificity: Once we write such details in these STANDARDS, it must be assumed that every standard will be specific and comprehensive.

That means that we can leave no stone unturned--every word in the document must be examined carefully. This will mean an incredible amount of work, probably not possible by a group of loosely organized (no offense!) volunteers who don't have unlimited time and unlimited resources.

Then, before acceptance, the document must carefully be reviewed by people who really know what they are doing--experts with our technology, our practices, and with the law. Now we're almost talking about unlimited money.

Why need we do that? Because then we will have a document that can be used in a court of law. Well, why do we need that? Because it unfortunately probably, at some time, will have to be used there. You can guess why.

I have grave concerns that, as the result of our laudable desire to have a fine document, we are headed down a very slippery and dangerous slope . . . being supported only by some old cotton sash cord and one non-locking carabiner.

It's one thing to have discussions, and make recommendations, about issues such as carabiners on a board such as this; it is another entirely different thing to openly publish those recommendations as standards recommended by a recognized group.

I strongly suggest that this commission regroups and considers its purpose and goals.

Question: Do we really want a comprehensive and rigorous set of legally airtight standards, or do we want a set of guidelines that will enhance our avocation? Your choice.

I think that, in this case, less is more.

Respectfully--

Jim
Peace.

Jim
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With Respect... 12 years 7 months ago #126204

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Jim W...
We've already had that discussion...and I think you may have missed a few posts, I've yet to hear anyone post about taking a fall while using a quick link or snap, but have about autolockers and screwlinks. I think that if you make a blanket *reccomendation* and ignore completly the other options that you instantly have created the "out of specification" option that said lawer will be looking for.
I dont want to limit options here, and again look at the title of the discussion-not STANDARDS, but rather Accpeted Climbing practices. I would accept the use of a locking snap (though I'd not use one because of the weight), or even a redundant non-locking (and I may start carring some for use with the Garda hitch).
Perhaps order of preference is not a good idea though, and I see where you may be correct there, so howabout we list all possible options (that have merit, dont give me the "tightly wrapped paper clip" option) and list them in no particular order.

Climb Safe!
Icabod
Cam "Icabod" Taylor
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11 years 9 months ago #128016

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Originally posted by Treeman
RocknRoll-Thanks for that clarification. How about this saying- "See threads- You's deads"! So here is a question along that line.

Should a wrench be used to screw down the screw link? Lock it down, so to speak. I think Sherrill catalog says do it (or is he talking about the clevis?). What do you all think about that? Has anyone seen a screw link, be it delta or oval, unscrew itself?

Should this be a usage standard? The old addage- "screw down so you don't screw up."

never seen one unscrew by accident, but I carry a old drilled out wrench to hang off the harrness anyways. I tighten them down tight. (i also lube the threads with copper anti-sieze).

I figure if a 10mm oval Maillione Rapide can be used with my 3/8"s transport chain for pulling out a 5000lb modified 78 Bronco from the mud, it can be used for my paltry 180 lbs of weight...lol :D
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11 years 9 months ago #128017

any body tried these yet ?
The mini HMS Spring lock karabiner has been designed by the manufacturer as a main attatchment karabiner between ropes and harness. The two spring loaded barrells are free to spin, allieviating the possibillity of the rope passing through the karabiner rotating the twist lock gate to open accidentally. Operation of the spring lock requires the outer barrell to be pushed up over the black inner barrell to get a perfect alignment of the internal mechanism. As pressure is released on the outer barrell allowing it to drop back slowly, a sideway force from the thumb pushes the gate open.
30 kn
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11 years 8 months ago #128183

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Guys, right up front, I'm new to all this. When I first got interested in climbing, I started looking at rec shops at carabiners. I live about 10 miles from Rock Creek Outfitters and about 10 miles (another direction) from the On Rope 1 shop owned by Bruce Smith.

I like the Omega-Pacific auto lock Jake carabiner and bought one. I was playing with it one day and ran a piece of 9mm prusik cord through it an pulled one end with no force or restraint on the opposite end of the cord. The rope twisted the lock to the open position and the carabiner opened, releasing the rope.

Thinking I did something wrong, I tried it again, and again, and again. It did it every time. I went to one of the shops, don't recall which one, and tried it on another Jake; it did the same thing.

I repeated the test on every screw lock I could get my hands on and absolutely none of them opened. So I proceed to buy screw locks and avoided the auto locks with a passion because I could easily demonstrate failures.

After seeing how easy it is to inadvertantly open an autolock, I was stunned to learn that ANSI does not approve the screw locks for tree work. The only problem I've seen with a screw lock was on a Petzl Attache when after a climb I couldn't unscrew it and had to use pliers.

Could it be that ANSI's position is based on early screw lock designs that may have had some problems?

I guess I'm just a little confused by the wide acceptance of auto lockers that are so easily openned?????
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11 years 8 months ago #128186

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Is the Jake a double action or triple action auto locker? I've never used one. Triacts are not easy to open by rope action.

Have you run the same test on a Petzl or a Kong triact biner? I'm not saying you won't be able to get it open by running cord across it but you'll have to work at it. I've had the rope make a good attempt to open the gate on my triacts while climbing but it's never succeeded. Also I always face my gate in, the climbing rope is usually contacting the biner from the outside. This is different then the rock climbing standard for screw gates (down and out) but then again this isn't rock climbing. I know many tree climbers practice down and out gate position, don't think this is a good idea with autolockers.

Ropes can open a screw gate biner, there are many anecdotes from tree climbers about this.
-moss
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11 years 8 months ago #128188

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Moss,
This is interesting but, I may be getting confused by terminology. The term I was seeing that I thought met ANSI standards was auto-locking. That's what my Jake is; it locks automatically but it only takes a twist to open it.

I assume double locking means you have to do two things to release the gate lock, like push up and twist. Omega makes the Jake in a screw-lock, a Quik-Lok, and a 3 stage Quik-Lok.

So do auto locks meet ANSI standards or do they require double-lock or triple lock biners and auto-locking?

I've been using screw-lock Petzl OKs and have yet to find a lock loose, but now I'm wondering if I may need to replace them with double locks.

Edit:
I think I've found the answer to my question. The WesSpur site says that to meet ANSI standards for Tree Care Operations and Arborists, the carabiner must be auto-locking, auto-closing, and require two actions to unlock them and another to open. The also have to have a minimum breaking strength 5,000 lbs (23kn).
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11 years 8 months ago #128193

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I think the standard is (or should be if it's not) triple action, double locking. Meaning three moves to open or close. Two of those steps are locking so there is double redundancy on the locking and triple redundancy on the motion required to open the gate.

The easiest way to explain is to hold one in your hand and put it through the paces.
-moss
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11 years 8 months ago #128194

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Ron,

I agree with you that autolocking biners are way more dangerous than screw locks. I choose triple action biners over screw locks, though.

Don't give up on that Omega Jake yet. Try out the 3-stage quiklock, which isn't near as prone to accidental opening. It's one of the smoothest opening triact biners on the market (in my opinion). I love 'em!
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11 years 8 months ago #128196

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Guys, thanks so much for your responses. I went by On Rope 1 on my way in today and bought a Petzl Am'D Triact-Lock and a Kong HMS Auto-Block. They both are listed in the Sherrill catalog as devices that meet ANSI standards. Well I double checked that and Sherrill states that the Kong does NOT meet the ANSI standard, yet the Kong unlocks exactly like the Am'D - push up and twist. WesSpur says both meet the ANSI standard - no wonder this is confusing.

I'm sitting here playing with the Kong right now and with a 9mm rope through it and a half turn around the gate, and the slightess resistance on the end of the rope, I can pull the rope briskly and it immediately comes out of the biner. I can do it at will, time after time. And I'm not talking about extremes here, it's a half turn around the gate - that could easily happen and since I only have an 8 foot length of rope I put just a slight amount of friction with my finger to simulate the weight of a longer heavier rope. It's simply scary how easy it is to do.

I just tried the same thing with the Petzl Am'D and got the same results - it's easy to make the carabiner unlock, open, and release the rope. Not only is it easy, it represents a very simple configuration that could easily happen while climbing.

I have tried the same thing with my Petzl Oval screw locks and have yet to open one. In fact, commonly I have to use both hands to open a screw gate that I tightened snugly with one hand.

But let's be sure I am testing carabiners that meet ANSI standards. Each of these require you to push up the lock and then twist. Thats two actions. Then after doing that a 3rd action is required to open the gate. That's the ANSI requirement, right?
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11 years 8 months ago #128201

Lots and LOTS of confusion here about the ANSI Z133 standard. Let's see if I can clear up some of the confusion...

The Z requires that biners/life support hardware have greater than 5k# breaking strength. When a biner is rated 22kN it comes up about fifty pounds short. That's why the Kong biners don't make the cut...no matter what some vendors say...UNLESS the Kong biners are labeled 5k#, and some were for a while.

The gate opening definition is:

...requires two separate and distinct motions to prepare the gate to open.

The actual spring loaded gate is NOT counted as a motion. Twist lock biners and screwgate biners don't comply with the the Z standard.

For too many years arbos have used biners that snap shut. The use of screwgate biners has never been common in pro tree climbing in the US. Since that's the case I feel VERY strongly that screwgate biners not be used. Considering the few documented accidents from having autolockers open I believe we're on the right path.

Tree climbing is a bit different than other rope access disciplines. We routinely go up, down and sideways. Our ropes move across bits and pieces that could cause screwgate biners to open.

People need to be taught to do gear checks routinely no matter if they use screwgates or autolockers. Almost every time that I reposition I'm giving my whole system a once-over. This takes absolutely no time.. It becomes as routine as breathing if the climber is taught to do that from the beginning. Too often climbers are not being taught with a strict regimen...too much loosey goosey style actions.

Since autolocking biners came on the market I have never had one fail during use. No one who's worked for me ever had a failure either. The autolockers that I have in my 'Dead Climbing Gear Collection' have come from other climbers. The ones in the collection that are mine are all Kongs. They fail when a small plastic piece inside the gate sleeve breaks. This has always happened when a gate snap shuts, never during use. In those cases another biner was taken and the Kong junked.

The most that I have ever had an MR screw link open, after being hand tightened, is three flats or about 1/2 a turn. The threads are finer on MRs than screw gate biners. When screw/nut threads are made there are several tolerance or slop, specifications. The MRs are tight, screw links loose. Look at the thread pitch too. Oh, when I use MR or screwlink I mean the ones made only by Maillon-Rapide that are commonly found in climbing catalogs. Along with these plain steel ones I use stainless steel screwlinks made by Wichard or other known marine quality manufacturers. It the company name and rating aren't on the link or hangtag, I don't buy them.


Ron,

How do you get the wrapped rope to push in the button on the Petzl biners and release? Are you using the new metal sleeve biners or the plastic sleeves?
Strong limbs and single ropes!
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11 years 8 months ago #128203

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Wow! Right you are! I didn't realize that until you posted - the Kong is rated at 22kN; that is shy of the ANSI standard by about 54 pounds. However, while that is a concern, it's only shy by a bit over 1%; I'm not too concerned about that.

What really, really bothers me is whether they will unlock in use. I can "drop" a rope much easier with a PAT (Push And Twist) than I can using the exact same procedure on a screw lock. OTOH, I have to respect the collective expertise that went into setting the ANSI standard.

While I am really new at tree climbing, I am widely experienced in antecdotal "evidence". The problem with antecdotal evidence is the absence of detailed accounts and numbers required for statistical accuracy.

That is, do we know for sure how many total climbs have been performed using screw locks and out of those climbs how many times a screw lock biner openned and caused an accident?

Also, it is not surprising at all that certain types of equipment are used and other types aren't. If most of the tree climbing instructors use a certain piece of gear, that's what they teach and that's what their students use.

You asked how I hold the biner:
I hold the biner vertically with the gate to the right and the spine to the left. The gate opens at the top.

I pass the rope from the bottom over the bottom end of the biner, through the biner and under the top end of the biner.

I hold the bottom end of the biner in my right index finger as if the biner had been attached to a loop. I bring the rope at the top of the biner back over the gate; it clearly makes a half turn around the gate. I apply a very slight amount of friction to the rope at the bottom of the carabiner to simulate a little weight or drag a rope would naturally have. I briskly pull the rope upwards and it pulls the gate up and twists it around and opens it and the rope drops free. It's easier with the Kong than the Petzl, but I can do it pretty easily with either.

I even tied a figure 9 with a bight for a little mass and did not apply any friction to the rope and could still open the gate and release the rope.

Please understand, I consider this a serious concern; this is not just something I wish to banter back and forth about. I'm new to this and even though I have over $100 invested in screw lock biners (Petzl OK) I won't hesitate to buy safer biners if I see reasonable evidence that I what I'm using is a significant risk.

But I also need to be sure that stories about screw locks openning are not propogated by circular cirulation. I also want to be sure that a few incidents have not been made to seem like many more.

As for ANSI, did they have data that they analyzed and came to a conclusion that screw lock biners were in fact X% more likely to open than double locks or was it because the experts on the committee had always used double locks and heard a story or two about screw locks and decided from that?

I guess the issue is on what data or evidence was it decided that screw locks were less safe than double locks?

And P.S.
Can somebody tell me the configuration of a 5-3 Blake's hitch. I asked this in another thread and got no responses. I know the 5 means five wraps, but are the 3 wraps at the bottom or top?
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