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How to Pick the Right Carabiners for Indoor Climbing

Learn how to pick the right carabiners for indoor rock climbing from expert Cliff Simanski in this Howcast video.


Another piece of climbing equipment that you're going to need for climbing in a gym is going to be a couple of carabiners, and you have lots of choices when you're picking a carabiner. It comes in all kinds of colors, shapes, and sizes. They all serve pretty much the same purpose. So to give you a couple of examples, right here we have a locking carabiner, and another type of locking carabiner. Both serve a similar purpose, the color doesn't really mean anything, you're going to see lots of options when you go to pick some out.

The most important feature is that they have this screw gate here, which locks the gate in the closed position, preventing it from opening while you're climbing. These are the kinds of devices that you want to have for attaching your belay device, to use for anchoring yourself, a little bit more expensive than a non-locking caribiner, but certainly a critical choice. You should definitely have one for your belay device.

These carabiners here are what are called non-locking carabiners. You'll notice there's no screw gate on them, but they also still look a little bit different, meaning that one of these carabiners has a wire gate, the other one has a straight gate. And these types of gates serve a similar purpose. You have some difference in functionality as far as how the carabiners feel when you're clipping your rope to them, but as far as the strength and things like that, they're pretty comparable.

So non-locking carabiners are great for when you're sport climbing, and you're using those as what's called a quickdraw to be making your clips. They are a little bit easier to work with, so this would be a great example of a non-locking carabiner.

A final type of carabiner that you might see is something known as a quickdraw. They look like this, and it's basically two of those non-locking carabiners connecting to what's known as a dog bone. That's the piece here in the middle. And these quickdraws are what you would use for lead climbing here in the gym.

Most of the time, these are already fixed to the wall for you, but it's still a good thing to be able to identify, and it is one primary use for those non-locking carabiners. So again, these are quickdraws. You probably won't need to purchase any on your own as most climbing gyms do provide them for you, but just so you know what you're looking at, these are both examples of quickdraws used for lead climbing. And that's what you need to know before buying any carabiners to come to the climbing gym.

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