In my climbing career, I have been fortunate enough to climb
with very many people--from veterans to brand new climbers. I’ve seen all sorts
of things climbers struggle with. Surprisingly, one of the most common puzzles
that climbers face is solving how to easily open their climbing carabiner! I
know this might seem funny, as we climbers use carabiners all the time, but I
still see a lot of climbers struggle with them. Opening carabiners can be a
pain, but it doesn’t have to be.
For non-climbers, carabiners are small clips used to attach gear, ropes, and other things to the climber in a climbing system. They can be non-locking and used for accessories, or they can be double locking and used for necessary life support. A double locking carabiner is usually opened by pushing up on the barrel of the carabiner, turning the barrel, and then pushing the entire gate of the carabiner open. Confusing in writing? It is actually quite easy to master with a bit of practice and the right technique!
One of the major things I see when people are struggling to open a climbing carabiner is the simple fact that they focus on unlocking the latch without first preparing all their gear to be taken off or put on the carabiner. Most of the time, I see climbers struggle with the gate with their load sitting at the bottom of the carabiner. Once they finally open the gate, all of their gear that they wanted to take off is stuck below the gate, but their hands are already in use. This can easily be fixed by becoming more comfortable with opening your climbing carabiner and the proper order for loading your gear.
When taking gear off the carabiner, it is typically a great
idea to push everything to the top of the carabiner so it is ready to come off
as soon as the gate is opened. This means you need to think ahead before you
open your gate. While this is a small thing to remember, it can be hard when
you have time constraints, a bunch of workers breathing down your neck or a
boss that is a screamer! Thinking ahead is the first step in making your day
more efficient and moving smoother. So, first things first, take your gear that
is being removed and push it to the top of the carabiner so it won’t get stuck
on the gate as it opens.
The second issue with opening climbing carabiners is when people try to use both hands. There isn’t necessarily something wrong with this, but it can become quite cumbersome if you’d like to try a more advanced system like a CE Lanyard that employs a carabiner as the attachment point at the end of the lanyard. There is no way that you are going to want to use 2 hands to undo your lanyard every time you want to move through the tree. So, the best thing to learn is how to open a carabiner with one hand!
Watch this video to see how to easily open a climbing carabiner with one hand! Another thing to do is to bring a carabiner home and practice opening it with one hand while you watch TV, read, or just hang out. Practice really does make perfect and perfect makes time and money! Stay safe and let us know if this trick worked out well for you!