Importance of keylock for bolt side biner and rubber thingy on Alpine draws


Original Post
Climb Germany · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 2,510

I've recently experienced the dramatic difference that properly used alpine draws can make compared to sport draws. I'm looking to build a consistent set of alpine draws and in the consideration phase with weight being of course the big factor

Use: Multipitch and trad

Existing sets I've seen such as DMM's Alpha trad set have multiple lengths although they are fixed and not flexible like using a sling would be.

Question 1: How important is it that the bolt side biner is keylock and doesn't potentially snag on the bolt as it rotates?

Question 2: And how important is having the rubber thing on the rope end to keep the QD properly aligned? -------ANSWER: apparently a bad idea!!!

Currently considering combo: Petzl Ange S + 8mm edelrid sling + DMM Alpha Trad

Edited for clarity/brevity

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

No rubber thingy on alpine draws. Search for the threads that discuss this issue.

Non-key lock biners for the bolt side are advised against here:
http://blackdiamondequipment.com/en_US/qc-lab-choosing-the-right-tool-for-the-job--carabiners.html

I would just use quick draws for single pitch sport if you have them. Using a sling for certain pieces of gear for extension or roofs etc is good. Using light biners for every day cragging will wear these expensive biners down, creating a sharp edge where the weight saving cutouts are. Save your alpine draws for the alpine or some big multipitch.

Climb Germany · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 2,510

Yes, I have a set of Petzl Spirit express which I love. they just aren't ideal for multipitch or trad. So that's why I'm looking to make some. Thanks for the BD link. I see so many regular notched nose carabiners used for alpine draws and sold as such in sets, I wondered how big of an issue it really was.

Clint White aka Faulted Geologist · · Lawrence, KS · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 158
SwabianAmi wrote:How important is it that the bolt side biner is keylock and doesn't potentially snag on the bolt as it rotates? And how important is having the rubber thing on the rope end to keep the QD properly aligned?
I saw bolt and assumed you were talking about single pitch sport primarily.

https://www.mountainproject.com/v/carabiners-on-alpine-draws-rotating/111725277
As for the rubber thingy, read this post starting about half way down where Rgold posts up the DMM video. The argument continues as people banter about how dumb you have to be to screw up the rubber thingy, but the fact still exists that if the alpine draw runner gets put thru the gate and you don't do an exhaustive check of each piece of gear, you will whip on just that rubber thingy holding the biner to the sling, snap, fall, die.

Use a single color biner for the top side (bolt side) biner to prevent burrs from contacting the rope after precious metal to metal contact.

Happy climbing.
Climb Germany · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 2,510

For multipitch plenty of routes are bolted, even if sparingly. So I'm thinking about both bolts and gear.

I'm happy to pass on the rubber carabiner keeper, was just wondering in general. Not set on having to have them or anything.

if keylock is best for the bolt side carabiner though, why are there TONS of companies offering regular notched nose carabiners on the bolt side???

patto · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 25
SwabianAmi wrote:if keylock is best for the bolt side carabiner though, why are there TONS of companies offering regular notched nose carabiners on the bolt side???
Because they are cheaper and simpler. (especially for wire gates) The advantages of keylock are minor and largely aren't deal breakers for most people. That said if I was to build my rack again I'd probably go for DMM Alpha Trad as my workhorse biner.

I would have over 40 non locking carabiners on my rack and they are almost all notched nose wire gates. For wires I have oval notchless biners because that's what I like. I have a variety of screw gates, some have notches some don't.
Pavel Burov · · Russia · Joined May 2013 · Points: 50

If you are going to climb routes all around the World it is a good idea to get some "gear end" binners could be clipped to virtually anything.

E.g., Edelrid Pure and Petzl Spirit could be clipped to some narrow old style hangers where virtually nothing else would go. In an extreme case you need something like (outdated) Kong Helium (virtually the only carabiner will clip to some old style hangers).

You don't need all your binners to be smthng like Kong Helium, but it is a good idea to have a couple of them on your harness when travelling thru "older" climbing areas.

P.S. In a really extreme case one can catch virtually anything with a pecker.

Brian L. · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 90

For reference: here's some accidents related to the rubber keepers:

The BD style on quickdaws is best because you can't easily be in the keeper, and not in the sling, at least not without it looking funky.

For alpine draws you can't use that stlye, since it's sewn into the tacking of the loop.

http://publications.americanalpineclub.org/articles/13201110000/Fall-on-Rock-Equipment-Failure-Due-to-Mis-use-West-Virginia-New-River-Gorge-Kaymoor

http://www.rockandice.com/lates-news/tnb-the-tragedy-of-tito-traversa

For question 1: I don't think it matter's. Snagging is more of an extraction issue in my experience, and more of an annoyance rather than a danger.

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 456
SwabianAmi wrote:if keylock is best for the bolt side carabiner though, why are there TONS of companies offering regular notched nose carabiners on the bolt side???
because that only applies to sport climbing. Your typical quickdraw is pretty stiff and the webbing often isn't free to twist or flex. When this is the case, the bolt end biner twist and turn as the draw moves around. When this happens, biners are prone to getting nose-hooked or cross loaded, both of which are better mitigated with a keylock biner.

With a floppy sling, however, all this twisting and turning motion is being done by the webbing on the sling and the pro/bolt end carabiner rarely receives this motion.

Most of my alpine draws are CAMP Nano 22 for bolt/pro side and CAMP Photon for rope side and a 10-13mm dyneema sling.
Climb Germany · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 2,510

@eli poss: ahhh! Hadn't really thought of that, despite it being so clear and obvious! Learned something new today then.

As for biners, I'm looking at hte Edelrid 19g maybe for the bolt/gear end since i'm not clipping the rope into it, and then the Nano 22, Edelrid Mission, Alpha Light/Trad, Chimera or WC Helium for the other end. Above all, Alpha Trad seems to be the most mentioned/recommended in general.

Nick Blankenberger · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 35

I would say the only critique to your set up is cost. If not an issue, go ahead! I have a similar set up I have been experimenting with as well. Alpha trad or alpha light on rope side(considering the Chimera), Petzl Ange on gear/bolt side, and Mammut contact sling. The Mammut is excellent because the tail ends of the sling mold into each other and are not stacked like traditional slings which allows smooth expanding if you are doubling/tripling up with longer runners. Not sure if this is the case for the mentioned Edelrid.

Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 478

Buy a 19g biner first and try it before committing to a whole set of alpine slings. I find that biner annoyingly small for handling.
The nano 22 is easier to handle. I use those on the gear side, 8mm contact sling, and astro biner on the rope side.

Climb Germany · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 2,510

@Nick Drake: Totally. They do seem incredibly small and a 3g difference for the next size up is pretty small in exchange for it being usable!

Fortuna Wolf · · Durham, NC · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 20

There are some slightly larger slightly heavier biners than the nano 22. I like the nano 22 since its affordable and large for its weight class. I do have for sale some new Cypher Mydas quick draws which have 24g biners on them that are larger and have a larger gate opening than the nano 22. That 2 or 5g savings evaporates pretty fast when you're fumbling to clip it.

patto · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 25
Fortuna Wolf wrote:That 2 or 5g savings evaporates pretty fast when you're fumbling to clip it.
So much of this. Light biners are great. But in the scheme of thing it starts getting pretty marginal. Even with 40+ biners on your rack.
Nick Blankenberger · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 35

I agree with the consensus on the "micro" biners. I found that most in the sub-28g range are just too small to make the weight savings trade off acceptable. But the weight savings of moving to the ange/alpha trad from the BD positrons I was using was more than justified. 49g to 28g-30g = :D

Rich Farnham · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2002 · Points: 278
SwabianAmi wrote:...I'm looking to build a consistent set of alpine draws and in the consideration phase with weight being of course the big factor Use: Multipitch and trad...Question 1: How important is it that the bolt side biner is keylock and doesn't potentially snag on the bolt as it rotates?...Currently considering combo: Petzl Ange S + 8mm edelrid sling + DMM Alpha Trad
If you're mainly doing single pitch trad climbs then you might be able to keep things organized to the point that your "alpine draws" with different biners on each end stay that way. If you're climbing multipitch, I would expect things to get shuffled around enough by the time you hit the top of a route that getting that picky about each biner isn't worth the brain damage. I'm sure there are people who keep their rack that organized on a long climb, but neither I nor my partners care to. It will just slow you down and doesn't matter that much.

The "bolt end biner" is more of a concern with sport draws where you are regularly clipping and unclipping from bolts, and whipping/yarding on the draws. The main reasons I like keylock biners (or hoodwire) is for ease of cleaning draws off a sport route while I lower, and ease of extending a tripled alpine draw. The nature of sport climbing can be hard on the bolt end biner, which is why you ideally don't mix those biners back into the rack. But you don't NEED a keylock biner to clip into a bolt if you're on some multipitch route that has a bolt here and there, or bolted anchors.

You've got a nice set of Spirits for sport climbing. I'd suggest just getting a bunch of one kind of biner for your alpine draws, and not regularly mixing them into your sport rack so they stay free of burrs. If weight is your biggest factor, get the Nano 22 or the Metolius, or whoever has the lightest biner - but expect a little bit of a hassle unclipping a tripled alpine draw. Not a huge deal and you can get used to it. Or, if weight isn't the only factor that matters, get something reasonably light that is keylock/hooded. The BD Oz is pretty nice, but I'm not a huge fan of their gate action. I recently got a bunch of the WC Helium on sale, and although they are a little heavier than my Oz's, they are much nicer to work with (but pricey).

If I'm hiking way back to the middle of nowhere, I'm probably not climbing at my absolute limit and can handle a little extra fuss in getting the runner extended, vs carrying the extra weight all the way in. If I'm cragging and really pushing my limit, I'll use the nicest gear I have to increase my chances of success. Figure out which you do more, and buy the biners that work best for that.
M Bageant · · Cambridge, MA · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 50

^^^ Agree with everything Rich said. ^^^

I built my set with Alpha Trads. If I had to do it again, I'd consider Alpha Lights or the most recent CAMP Nano (with a much improved gate opening). I like the Alpha Trads a lot but the Alpha Light and Nano have a big enough gate opening and are lighter. I really dislike the Metolius Mini because the gate opening feels really small and difficult.

I also care more about having a no-snag nose on the rope end, especially with tiny biners and fat ropes.

Climb Germany · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 2,510

@Rich Farnham Thanks so much. I definitely loooove the spirits. Fantastic draws all around. Have a mish mash of 5 or so alpine draws from extra slings and random biners and want to go ahead and slowly move to make it consistent. Absolutely necessary, not really, but I'm organized/anal like that.

I also wont mix the biners between sport and multipitch/trad anyway. Hence, making uniform alpine draws, all exactly the same. I think the Edelrid 19G is way too small from having seen it but definitely wanna give the nano22 a try in store and see about the Alpha Light or s.th else light like edelrid mission.

Appreciate your helping me better evaluate how important thee keylock/notch issue actually is.

Rich Farnham · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2002 · Points: 278
SwabianAmi wrote:@Rich Farnham Thanks so much...
No worries! For what it's worth, I have a bunch of an older version of the Camp Nano 22 as the racking biner on most of my cams. I like them a lot. I can tell the difference when they end up on a tripled runner, but it's not that bad. The gate opening and gate action make them seem bigger than they are, but they do have a nose and snag a little. But they sure are light!
Nick Blankenberger · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 35

May seem obvious but color coding is key, for me anyways. I keep colors differentiated for rope and gear side. Quick, easy to maintain, and takes minimal effort to keep sorted. While I agree that you don't want to waste too much time obsessing, small efficiencies with organization will shine the next time you are on 5+ pitches. Reminds me of the shooting expression, "slow is smooth, smooth is fast."

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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