Wiregate not closing-Adam Ondra video


Original Post
SLippy · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2013 · Points: 0

I was watching the Ondra video on Project Hard and noticed that one of the wiregates on his draw was not fully closed. This would theoretically hold less load-correct? Has anyone heard of gear failure because of this issue? It is something I have never really checked on my gear-is there a way to fix a carabiner that is not closing easily? Maybe lube the pivot?

Goodhue · · Boulder, CO · Joined Aug 2008 · Points: 10

Yes, carabiner failures are often attributed to open gates.

climberboy · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 0

Woah, that's not cool. A wire gate should never do that...

Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 438

Clean it in warm soapy water, a couple dabs of white lightning and they are usually as good as new.

Andrew W · · San Diego, California · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0

Dirt gets in the pivot and makes the gate sticky. Hot water and a toothbrush followed by a little cam lube after it's dry usually restores performance. 

CornCob · · Sandy, UT · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 0

I've had plenty of carabiners stick like that after they have been used for a while/get dirty. I usually give them a quick check before heading out to avoid issues. Like Nick Drake said, clean and lube and they are good as new.

BrianWS · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 770

Seen carabiners deform and break (but not snap!) when loaded with the gate open -- just from body weight and not a fall. 

Gates can also malfunction due to corrosion or damage to the mechanism. Sometimes cleaning will do nothing.

As others have said, clean your biners or retire them if the gate is chronically sticky.

Kyle Tarry · · Portland, OR · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 87
BrianWS wrote:

Seen carabiners deform and break (but not snap!) when loaded with the gate open -- just from body weight and not a fall. 

UIAA-mandated minimum open gate strength is 5-7 kN, depending on carabiner type.  That is approximately 1100-1600 pounds of force.  If a carabiner deforms and breaks (not sure of the distinction between "break" and "snap"), something else is going on, such as an improper loading scenario such as nose-hooking.

http://blog.weighmyrack.com/ensure-your-carabiner-is-strong-enough-to-climb-on/

Carabiners do not break under body weight, even with the gate open (or cross-loaded), in normal use cases.

BrianWS · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 770
Kyle Tarry wrote:

UIAA-mandated minimum open gate strength is 5-7 kN, depending on carabiner type.  That is approximately 1100-1600 pounds of force.  If a carabiner deforms and breaks (not sure of the distinction between "break" and "snap"), something else is going on, such as an improper loading scenario such as nose-hooking.

http://blog.weighmyrack.com/ensure-your-carabiner-is-strong-enough-to-climb-on/

Carabiners do not break under body weight, even with the gate open (or cross-loaded), in normal use cases.

It sure as hell bent the biner -- I was involved in the rescue and recovered the biner personally after it was removed (climber was impaled on the carabiner, which was most definitely bent out of shape after his accident). 

Weird shit happens with gear, and hanging from your Achilles via an open biner is definitely not using the product as the manufacturer intended.

Abram Herman · · Golden, CO · Joined May 2009 · Points: 0

With wiregates in particular the first thing to try is cleaning and a little lube, but if they're still not closing well you can very slightly twist/bend the wire gate to increase its springiness. I don't know how to clearly explain this via text, but basically you want to twist the wiregate while holding the biner still, same motion as if you're trying to twist off a bottle cap. Because the gate's springiness is a function of how the two wires are offset where they come into the biner, by twisting the gate slightly you can increase the tension and springiness.

Kyle Tarry · · Portland, OR · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 87
BrianWS wrote:

It sure as hell bent the biner -- I was involved in the rescue and recovered the biner personally after it was removed (climber was impaled on the carabiner, which was most definitely bent out of shape after his accident). 

Weird shit happens with gear, and hanging from your Achilles via an open biner is definitely not using the product as the manufacturer intended.

The fact that a body part, and not a rope or a sling, was the item hanging from the carabiner is probably an important piece of information to be delivered with your anecdote.

"I've seen carabiners break just lying flat on the ground!"  ("Well, it was lying on the ground, and a tank drove over it").

BrianWS · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 770
Kyle Tarry wrote:

The fact that a body part, and not a rope or a sling, was the item hanging from the carabiner is probably an important piece of information to be delivered with your anecdote.

"I've seen carabiners break just lying flat on the ground!"  ("Well, it was lying on the ground, and a tank drove over it").

A body part isn't going to magically create greater force on the basket than a rope or sling could. It's a fun, grisly anecdote regardless. 

I've had biners flex when I weighted them with the gate open (sticky gates and loading against a lip -- admittedly not proper use, but a common mistake). Fall and hang enough and you see anomalous stuff with gear pretty frequently. 

ChrisHau · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 295
Kyle Tarry wrote:

UIAA-mandated minimum open gate strength is 5-7 kN, depending on carabiner type.  That is approximately 1100-1600 pounds of force.  If a carabiner deforms and breaks (not sure of the distinction between "break" and "snap"), something else is going on, such as an improper loading scenario such as nose-hooking.

http://blog.weighmyrack.com/ensure-your-carabiner-is-strong-enough-to-climb-on/

Carabiners do not break under body weight, even with the gate open (or cross-loaded), in normal use cases.

Significant deformation occurs before breakage in the case of the open gate scenario, even when loaded along the correct axis:

Kyle Tarry · · Portland, OR · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 87
BrianWS wrote:

A body part isn't going to magically create greater force on the basket than a rope or sling could. It's a fun, grisly anecdote regardless. 

The direction and location of the force is EXTREMELY important in carabiner loading.  Carabiner strength is rated with the load at the rope basket, pulling straight "down," with no moment loading.

A leg (yikes!) could easily have been loading the carabiner much closer to the nose, and could also be imparting a significant moment load on the biner, depending on how it was hooked onto the poor person involved.  This significantly effects the strength of the carabiner.

So yeah, the fact that a leg was hooked on the carabiner, as opposed to a rope or sling running through it, is a very relevent piece of information.

Kyle Tarry · · Portland, OR · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 87
ChrisHau wrote:

Significant deformation occurs before breakage in the case of the open gate scenario, even when loaded along the correct axis:

Of course.  BrianWS specifically said that the carabiner "broke."  IE, it was broken.  The load rating for that is 5-7 kN, end of story.

The failure was no doubt due to this scenario being significantly different than how biners are designed and tested, and I think it's very important to mention the "abnormal" use case.

BrianWS · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 770
Kyle Tarry wrote:

Of course.  BrianWS specifically said that the carabiner "broke."  IE, it was broken.  The load rating for that is 5-7 kN, end of story.

The failure was no doubt due to this scenario being significantly different than how biners are designed and tested, and I think it's very important to mention the "abnormal" use case.

No longer working = broken. Please note that I never said the basket snapped. Also note that you can easily see flexing and deformation with an open gate under relatively normal circumstances - common, but still improper, usage. Load testing is cool and very relavent, but real-world applications have so many variables thrown in that anecdotal experience is also quite valid. 

If you're constantly climbing sport or gear at your limit, you WILL see shit like this happen sooner or later. Just because it doesn't fit the narrative of the UIAA or other QA testing doesn't mean that it doesn't happen during actual usage.

Kyle Tarry · · Portland, OR · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 87

I'm not going to keep arguing about this.  Your original statement was extremely unclear, and now that you have added a bunch of additional information, it makes a lot more sense.  Of course a carabiner can deform in a non-standard loading case with the gate open.


When you say that a carabiner "broke," the implication is that it is in multiple pieces.  I get, now, that you didn't mean that, but your original post was pretty unclear.


You also didn't to add the snide remark about "if you're constantly climbing..." as some kind of appeal to authority.  Yeah, I've seen gear "break" too.

Jake Jones · · Richmond, VA · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 748

*Drift* I think it's important to note that the load difference between a dynamic rope in a quickdraw/biner with an open gate vs a human body falling and catching on a draw are quite different.  One is dynamic, the other had the full weight of a falling person on it.  When biners are strength tested, they're not shock loaded, they're pulled slowly.  I think it's assumed that there will be dynamic property in the employment of any biner while climbing.  Sure, if someone is hooked statically into a biner by their Achilles and slowly weights it, then that wouldn't produce any more force than a typical, well under factor 1 leader fall.  But, if someone took an average 15-20 ft whipper and stopped abruptly because their ankle hooked an open gate biner, I imagine there would me more force involved. 

Is this the incident that happened at NRG not too long ago Brian?  I don't remember all the details, but I remember seeing a vid of the aftermath and being surprised how calm the guy was.

BrianWS · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 770

Reading comprehension -- I clearly said that the biners broke but didn't snap. 


Jake - the Achilles deformation was a hang - he didn't shockload the biner in his fall, but was pulled up into it. The basket was bent, and the gate was damaged.  This happened in a gym. Not as gnarly as if it happened outdoors, although it has.

Bottom line -- keep yer shit clean and in working order. Biners don't always behave as testing would suggest due to so many variables in actual use/abuse. Push your limits on bolts or gear, and you'll amass plenty of similar anecdotes.

Jake Jones · · Richmond, VA · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 748

Gotcha.  I thought you might have been referring to this one: http://www.rockandice.com/weekend-whipper-video/carabiner-hooks-climbers-ankle-in-fall

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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