Can Carabiners Really Get Micro-fractures if Dropped from High Up a Route?
The Internet is full of tales of micro-fractures in climbing gear. The story is that a belay device or carabiner dropped against a hard surface may develop tiny fractures in the metal—you can’t see them, but they can cause the device to fail or break. But don’t panic if you drop your belay device from the top of a route; Black Diamond climbing category director and gear innovator Bill Belcourt claims micro-fractures are not all they’re cracked up to be. Always examine your equipment carefully after a long drop, but if there aren’t any visible scars, cracks, or dents, the device is probably fine to use. On the other hand, a carabiner or belay device is pretty darned cheap—if you have any doubts at all, throw out the dropped piece and buy a new one. —Julie Ellison