For sketchy aid or trad placements and ice screws, a load-limiting quickdraw can provide a margin of safety and confidence. These runners are sewn into a compact bundle with stitching designed to break under a heavy load, absorbing some of the impact force. (The expanded runner retains full strength.)
The name says it all: This is one simple gear sling. And that’s a good thing. Constructed of black webbing that’s double-width over the shoulder to distribute the load, it weighs only 2.5 oz. and hangs the rack just above your hip. (It’s available in two sizes: 20” and 24”.) “Initially I was concerned about a lack of padding, but the webbing was wide enough that it was adequately comfortable, especially over a jacket or other layers."
Ask a group of climbers what their favorite standby quickdraw is, and the majority will answer with the Petzl Spirit Express. Petzl decided to give this classic draw a facelift, while managing to drop the price by $4. Each biner has been tweaked to maximize performance for its specific duty.
Svelte, ultralight carabiners tend to slide around in quickdraws, even when the draw is cinched tight with an elastic band or bartacking—this can leave the biner cockeyed and hard to clip. Not so with these Metolius draws, which have a rubber fitting that loops up around the biner and locks it in place (Metolius calls this the JIG).
Tagged as “the lightest carabiner set on the market,” these clippers barely tip the scales at 19.5 grams (about 0.7 oz.) per biner—hence the name. That’s about 20 percent lighter than the sveltest micro-biners out there. Put another way, a rack of 10 Edelrid Nineteen G quickdraws with 10cm Dyneema slings weighs less than a pound.
Although I’ve heard anti-crossloading carabiners derided as “taking a problem that doesn’t exist and making it worse,” that would only be true if the cross-loading protection made the biner a pain to use. In fact, carabiners rarely—if ever—break during belaying, but cross-loading can cause untimely opening of improperly locked gates and other problems.
The Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, is madness this time of year—the reason is the summer Outdoor Retailer Trade Show, a massive gathering (over 20,000 people, I've been told) of outdoor gear and apparel companies, retailers, media, and athletes.
I've been adding more and more micro-carabiners to my rack, mostly for racking cams and for the free biners I carry on slings... and especially when I'm doing long approaches into the mountains. And of all the micro-biners I've tried, my favorite is the Omega Pacific Dash with the new Infinity wire gate. The Dash, which was introduced in 2009 and is named after the late Micah Dash, isn't the lightest or smallest rock climbing biner on the market, but I find it the easiest to handle of all the mini-biners I've tried.
Black Diamond Hoodwire Quickdraw - This is the first ready-to-buy draw using BD’s clever HoodWire technology. A standard wire-gate biner has a hook in the nose that can snag on bolt hangers or gear loops on your harness, but the HoodWire shields this hook with little stainless-steel strips for hassle-free clipping and unclipping. The hood will not trap debris that could cause open-gate failures, and it protects the nose from wear.
Micro-biners slash grams but not performance - There was a time when biners came in very few flavors: You had ovals, Ds, lockers, and bent gates. And all of them, with their solid-gate construction, were fairly heavy. Then the wiregate revolution hit, letting climbers shave ounces off their draws and racks. With the new millennium’s push for ultralight wiregates, clippers have became so svelte (typically 30 grams—1.1 ounce—or less), using them can save up to a pound or more in a big rack.
After months of testing on hundreds of routes, we offer up our picks for the most innovative, useful, and just damn good gear of the year. The Singing Rock Crux, Mammut Smart Alpine, Black Diamond Gridlock Screwgate, Petzl Grigri 2, Five Ten Arrowhead, Arc'Teryx Squamish Hoody, Beal Joker 9.1, North Face Verto, and Salewa Rapace GTX all won our high praises and took home the Editors' Choice Award.
You’re at your limit, pumped, panicked, and staring down the barrel of 20 feet of slack. Shaking, you go to clip a draw that’s just within reach, but the rope gets stuck between the gate and biner nose, popping out and setting the biner swinging. Luckily, this unpleasant scenario has a solution: the new Mad Rock Trigger Wire carabiner.