Locking Biners for Anchors


Original Post
Sends McGee · · Denver, CO · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 15

I was just curious what everyone's opinions are about using locking carabiners for setting up anchors. I'm about to grab some more quickdraws and could customize a couple to include locking biners and am not sure if it's a waste of money/effort or not. Seems like it would be slightly safer but possibly unnecessary.

Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,067
Hunter McPherson wrote:I was just curious what everyone's opinions are about using locking carabiners for setting up anchors. I'm about to grab some more quickdraws and could customize a couple to include locking biners and am not sure if it's a waste of money/effort or not. Seems like it would be slightly safer but possibly unnecessary.
I just use quickdraws, but your risk tolerance may be lower than mine. Personally, I think it's overkill, but do what makes you feel good, no one will think poorly of you for it.
CornCob · · Sandy, UT · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 20

Everyone has a different opinion on this. I use standard quickdraws opposite and opposed, and I have friends that use locking quickdraws.

If simply having non-locking draws would cause you to question you anchor at any point in the climb then I would suggest you use lockers; peace of mind makes for more enjoyable climbing.

Jake Jones · · Richmond, VA · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 1,430
kennoyce wrote: I just use quickdraws, but your risk tolerance may be lower than mine. Personally, I think it's overkill, but do what makes you feel good, no one will think poorly of you for it.
^This. Also, keep in mind that if you pull the top rope, and someone wants to lead the route and clip into your anchors, they'll curse you up and down for having lockers if the stance to clip the anchors is desperate at all. That's happened to me once or twice. Getting up to a pair of anchor draws and finding Magnetron biners on the rope end while standing on small holds and hanging onto a crimp is no fun. I suppose I could have grabbed the draw and clipped in but not doing that is a habit I've worked hard to form. This is the reason why I used two opposed wire gates for my anchors. I've never had anything funky happen, but like kennoyce said- do whatever makes you feel warm and fuzzy.
Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,067
Jake Jones wrote: Getting up to a pair of anchor draws and finding Magnetron biners on the rope end while standing on small holds and hanging onto a crimp is no fun.
That would suck! At least with a screw gate you can usually get it unscrewed with one hand, but a magnetron would almost require two hands to get the biner open and get the rope clipped.
Trevor. · · Boise, ID · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 834

I have my anchor draws setup with relatively lightweight non-locking steel carabiners to prevent my rope from getting nasty with aluminum dust. Steel has the added benefit of being nearly impervious to wear.

If you're insistent on having a locker or two up there, I recommend Edelrid's Slide lockers as they add most of the security of a conventional locker without being overly difficult to clip one handed.

TLyons · · Lynbrook, NY · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 110

If you're going to go through the effort of buying more lockers and dog bones to do that you might as well just have a pre tied quad set up.
Bolts are not always perfectly set up to have all the load on both draws.
The quad is simpler, light weight, redundant, and equalized.

Leo L. · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Sep 2012 · Points: 20

For sport climbing two lockers if someone is top roping after me, Standard draws if a leader is (for the aforementioned ease at the anchor). If I use lockers at the anchor I usually tell em to bring a draw if they want a fast clip.

I tend to end up in places that don't have picture perfect chains/no chains so the go to is building an anchor with cord or a large sling between pieces and throwing small lockers onto that since I have em anyways.

really it just depends on the anchor. Is there anything you think would jam open your draws if they moved with a fall? might be good to extend or have a locker. Totally clean anchor set up? Do what you like as long as the draws are opposed.

n00b · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 40

One standard draw, opposite & opposed to one draw outfitted with a locker. That way there's a locker for TR, and a quick clip for a leader.

Sends McGee · · Denver, CO · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 15

Seems like it only really affects top roping. I just read a story about a rope working out of a draw via top roping and it caused a little concern.

TLyons · · Lynbrook, NY · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 110

Ya, I guess it could happen.
If you're going to be top roping all day on the same anchor, lockers make sense.
If you are going to lead and lower and your partner is going to top rope to clean, two draws are fine.

matt c. · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 155

I have a dedicated locker on a dog bone and really like it. At the anchor, I'll only use one bolt so the next person climbing it will always have something to clip without fucking with the locker. I recognize it only increases the safety a little bit, but its not very much additional effort.

Also, since I started carrying the locker-draw around, I find myself using it on those bolts that will cause me to deck if unclipped. I climb at places with pretty far bolt spacing so sometimes its really nice to have a little extra assurance.

Eric Chabot · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 35

I use quickdraws opposite and opposed (even some 'experienced' climbers don't know what this means or always do it). Especially when sport climbing and everyone is leading the route. If it's a longer TR session, it can be nice to have a looooong sling and some lockers to create an equalized master point especially if it's low angle rock and the draws touch rock and get pulled funny when weighted.

In certain situations, this sling and locker setup will also save your rope's sheath from xs wear

Guy Keesee · · Moorpark, CA · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 310
matt c. wrote:.... Also, since I started carrying the locker-draw around, I find myself using it on those bolts that will cause me to deck if unclipped....
Good one... I like to have one or two of these Locker/Locker Dogbones. Just like you said... use em where un-clipping would be fatal. I call em "Jesus Draws".

For Anchors I use one 24" with regular biners and one 24" with lockers.
David Gibbs · · Ottawa, ON · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 6

I am often setting a top-rope anchor that will be used by several other people; in this case I will use 4 locking 'biners.

If I am climbing with just one other person, and they're just going to follow, then clean, the route -- I'm quite ok with opposite & opposed quick-draws.

I'll still often use the lockers, though, as the one I use are big burly ones, and they'll handle the on-going wear of running the rope over them, especially for lowers, better than my smaller/lighter quick-draw 'biners.

Clint White aka Faulted Geologist · · Lawrence, KS · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 158

The quad is cool for top rope only, but if you are at your limit it is a little harder to work with. Mine has lockers on it; however, if the situation provides an underhang I will throw wire gates on it. They are great for toproping noobs that may wander in the route. It keeps the individual anchors from taking more abuse in high traffic areas on those 5.6 intro climbs.

Quickdraws shouldn't have lockers on them, lest they become slowdraws.

mountainhick · · Black Hawk, CO · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 120

Having a locker or two in the system does add a little piece of mind. Especially useful if there is any kind of directional issue near the anchor, i.e. the rope pulls the draws sideways, or some kind of unevenness cause rope end biners to interfere with each other

Trevor. wrote:I recommend Edelrid's Slide lockers as they add most of the security of a conventional locker without being overly difficult to clip one handed.
Until they start sticking open. While I love the concept, they don't last long. I've had a couple replaced under warranty, but now have more to send in for warranty that are sticking. But, I don't want more new ones in return to do the same thing over again.
Wrinkledpants · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2015 · Points: 10
David Gibbs wrote:I am often setting a top-rope anchor that will be used by several other people; in this case I will use 4 locking 'biners. If I am climbing with just one other person, and they're just going to follow, then clean, the route -- I'm quite ok with opposite & opposed quick-draws. I'll still often use the lockers, though, as the one I use are big burly ones, and they'll handle the on-going wear of running the rope over them, especially for lowers, better than my smaller/lighter quick-draw 'biners.
Exactly what I do. Just my wife and I - quickdraws. More than my wife and I - 4 lockers, 2 slings, sliding X if they are bomber anchors. I don't create two individual sliding X's, just two slings to make up a beefier sliding X. Most of the people we climb with aren't "climbers" and as others have already said - it just makes me feel better.
rocknice2 · · Montreal, Quebec · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 3,018

This has come up so many times. And as always it depend on the situation.

For the typical lead then follower cleans the setup can simply be 2 QDs. There really is no problem there. The rope can't get twisted up, unless the leader does something funky on the way down like pass under the belay strand.
This also works great for climbs that are overhanging. Since there is virtually no chance of the leader getting under the belay rope.
A good setup can be opposite & opposed draws with the leaders rope coming out of the top biners. This keeps the anchor well orientated when the leaders end becomes the belay side for the TR. The leader now belayer stands away from the cliffs base, forming a nice 'V' with the rope.

Even with a gang-bang TR party on an overhanging climb this setup [2 QDs] doesn't really pose any major problems. When the TR climber finished the route he/she usually clips a directional or two on the way down. The system generally keeps its proper orientation.

Where the problem arise is with the stated TR gang-bang on vertical or less than vertical climbs Especially where you can't see the anchor. Both ends of the rope will hang/lay at the base of the wall against the rock. It's too easy to twist the strands up. This twist in the rope can and will transfer into the anchor biners and slings.
If the anchor is 2 QDs, this can be problematic. While I've never heard of both QDs unclipping, I've personally seen many instances where one has come undone. At that point the TR is one QD with no locker.

Moral of the story is: [for TR gang-bangs]
-Use 4 lockers at the anchor. At a minimum use 2 lockers at the master point and 2 regular at the bolts.
-Use longer slings to form a narrow 'V' anchor. This allows the slings to twist up rather than a funky twist loading of biner against biner.

baldclimber · · Ottawa, Ontario, Canada · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 0
Trevor wrote:I recommend Edelrid's Slide lockers as they add most of the security of a conventional locker without being overly difficult to clip one handed.
mountainhick wrote: Until they start sticking open. While I love the concept, they don't last long. I've had a couple replaced under warranty, but now have more to send in for warranty that are sticking. But, I don't want more new ones in return to do the same thing over again.
Has happened to two of mine so far as well. Solution: clean with hot water and dish soap, rinse thoroughly, allow to completely dry, and finally lubricate slider mechanism with Metolius Cam Lube (or other wax-based lube such as Boeshield T-9 or wax chain lubes). Slider action is now better than new. Unlike screw-gates the Edelrid slide mechanism is unfortunately not maintenance free. However, I still prefer them over screw-gates.
Tommy Paz · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 40

What does anyone think of this:
(May be completely pointless/dumb but...)
I use draws with lockers that go into the bolt and then oval biners (non-locking) to TR through.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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