Petzl Attache Unlocks In Use


Original Post
Nolan Huther · · Clarkson University · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 567

I have a Petzl Attache Herabiner (like pictured below) that I generally use to clip into the guide ring on my ATC-style belay device while giving a guide belay. This weekend I noticed on a multipitch that it was unlocked while I was taking up my second. I thought "Hmm, strange, I thought I locked that" so I locked it up, and at the next pitch I explicitly made a point in my head to make sure it was locked, which is quite easy with the red marking. Then, after a bit of belaying, I noticed it unlocked again. It happened a total of 4 times on that multipitch, and then multiple times throughout the weekend while giving a top belay. I'm using a Positron-style locker in the meantime.

Has anyone noticed this before? I've had this biner for a while now and I never noticed... I figured the first two or three times it was the motion of the biner against the rock but I thought it was strange that it was happening so often, and I never had the problem before or with any of my Black Diamond lockers.

Ernest W · · Camarillo, CA · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 0

Don't have the Herabiner, but my Attache 3D's will unscrew/unlock occassionally unless I torque them down pretty tightly. Oddly, I never have that problem on my old-style Attache.

tradvlad · · SLC, UT · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 0

I have used those types of carabiners for 5 or 6 years, and I do have some of the HERA variety as well. I never had the issue that you describe. Here are 2 things you should try:

1. Make sure your orient the carabiner in such a way that when the gate screws down it also locks. Due to gravity and vibrations from belaying, the gate might start to rotate.

2. Make sure you tighten the locking sleeve all the way, and lock it tightly.

Linnaeus · · Idaho Selkirks · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 0

I've been using one for 15+ years, never had that problem.

beach · · Portland, ME · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 44

mine did that for a bit when they were new, but they have broken in and don't do it anymore

Nolan Huther · · Clarkson University · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 567

Hmm, I'll have to keep an eye out then... The one thing I notice is that the gate is much smoother and takes less to unlock than the BD lockers so I figured it was just that they were more susceptible to opening. I'll just take an extra second to think about the direction of contact and all as mentioned...

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 0
Nolan Huther wrote:Hmm, I'll have to keep an eye out then... The one thing I notice is that the gate is much smoother and takes less to unlock than the BD lockers so I figured it was just that they were more susceptible to opening. I'll just take an extra second to think about the direction of contact and all as mentioned...
This is why I stopped using screw-gate lockers for belaying (and pretty much anything else) 15 years ago.
Dana Bartlett · · CT · Joined Nov 2003 · Points: 890

I've owned locking carabiners that do this. Conscientiously lock them and then after a while, the screw gate loosens and moves down the gate.

Pavel Burov · · Russia · Joined May 2013 · Points: 25

Screw locks sometimes unscrew due to vibrations.

Climb Germany · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 2,485

When I started climbing, I was taught "Screw down, so you don't screw up"

Stormannorman · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 0

Biff it out, start again, sometimes biners are very slightly faulty. I am getting fussy these days though. I always weight test screw and other lock gates in unlock or unscrewed mode because some times they will open when weighted, especially Black Diamond ones. If they do then out the door they go. Dunno if it is because I can't handle the run outs anymore or what. Or maybe because I have been so close to death so many times that I should probably give up while I am ahead.

But anyway, don't risk it.

Brian L. · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 0

I haven't had a complete unlock, but I did notice the locking ring on my New style Attache (formerly the 3D) can be a bit loose after a belay.

If you want to replace it with a similar style biner to the Hera try a Metolius Element. Their screw gates have a finer thread, so it takes more rotations to unlock, and they tighten down better, and aren't as loose in general.

PW Zenpw · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 0
Greg D · · Here · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 511

I have seen many unlocked lockers over the years. Some from the rope running over the gate, some from simply forgetting to lock it.

I decided to give the twin gate a try. It is much faster and impossible to forget to lock it. If took a little time to get used to it. But now I can open it in my sleep.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TwhJjqnofEg

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 0
Stormannorman wrote:I always weight test screw and other lock gates in unlock or unscrewed mode because some times they will open when weighted, especially Black Diamond ones.
Do you mean magically open on their own? Or do you mean that you can open them when they are unlocked and weighted? If the latter, biners are supposed to be able to be opened when weighted. If they didn't do that, aid climbing would be nearly impossible.
Craig Childre · · Lubbock, Texas · Joined Aug 2006 · Points: 4,945

Weird.

1st suggestions. Get yourself a different style locker. I've been happy with my Magnetron from BD. Many options to choose from for non screw type lockers.

I would be interested to know, how was the screw gate oriented... like to unlock, would the screw go down, or up? Theory being, the screwing mechanism is so smooth that the rocking action of the rope loosens it.

My guess. As you use that biner more, dirt and grime will work their way into the screw action, make it far less likely to unscrew.

Either way. Interesting.

FourT6and2 Haftel · · San Francisco, CA · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 5

The simple solution, as others have mentioned, is to always orient the carabiner such that the screw gate tightens with gravity. i.e. point the open end of the gate down.

Stormannorman · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 0
Marc801 wrote: Do you mean magically open on their own? Or do you mean that you can open them when they are unlocked and weighted? If the latter, biners are supposed to be able to be opened when weighted. If they didn't do that, aid climbing would be nearly impossible.
You weight it and the gate will open slightly due to the pressure.
diepj · · PDX · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 0

I have one of those I use for belay sometimes. I noticed the same phenomenon and after keeping a careful eye on it I found it was being unlocked by the brake strand being drawn over it in certain stances. Just brushing it and causing a slight turn. This can be mitigated by changing the orientation of the gate or adjusting my stance.

climberz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2007 · Points: 90

Yes, i have had Attaches and ALL other locking biners come unlocked MANY times.
I changed to a petzel 3 step locking biner. Only had this come close to being unlocked a couple
Times (one - two of the steps). I use this for my belay biner. I use a dmm with a plastic no, cross loading, crossbar for my gri gri. I've never had this one come close to unlocking.
I regularly use a locking draw on key pieces or bolts. This is regularly unlocked when i am lowering back down.
Yes, the screw gates unlock as a result of rubbing against the rock or having the rope run over them.
My answer is to use the complicated multistep lockers for my belay device. A locker and non locker for anchors and i screw them tight if really worried. I Always clip in with two seperate slings and biners on an anchor. Or a clove hitch on a locker, a loop of slack then a figure eight on a bight to one of the biners on a piece of the anchor.
This may seem a bit overkill but in 23 years of climbing i have had 6 biners come unclipped and broken one bolt.

Joe Crawford · · June Lake, California · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 0

Start being cognizant of how you clip the biner so that you ensure the rope runs in the direction that closes the screw and does.not open it. The rope can unlock any biner, the attache might be more likely to do this with its oversized screw, but proper management can avoid this situation altogether with any biner.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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