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Locking carabiners are required to belay, rappel, and when you tie into an anchor. Most climbers carry 1-4 locking carabiners on thier harness. For indoor use, you only need one locking carabiner.
Most carabiner shapes come in locking or non-locking and wire or solid gates. Each carabiner excells in different areas; the most common wire/solid gate shape is Offset D. The most common locker shape for belaying is Pear/HMS. For other lockers it’s Offset D’s, to save weight.
Price of Carabiners
The price of carabiners varies dramatically. Generally, the lower the price the heavier the carabiner (excluding steel, which is much heavier and much more expensive). Nice to have options like keylock carabiners are also more expensive. Lockers are also pricier than non-locking.
Weight of Carabiners
Carabiner weight varies from 19g to over 100g (the latter being steel). Wiregate carabiners range from 19g to about 50g and are by far the lightest available. Solid gate carabiners are the next lightest and range from 31g to about 80g. Lockers are even heavier, ranging from $7.50 to $26. It’s worth noting that screw gate lockers are significantly lighter than auto-locking carabiners.
Solid / Wire Gate Carabiners
All locking carabiners have solid gates. Non-locking carabiners can have wire or solid gates.
*gate flutter (aka gate lash): a very rare occurance when the carabiner experiences irregular forces and the gate momentarily opens. You’ll see “open gate strength” listed on all carabiners
Straight / Bent Gate Carabiners
All locking carabiners have straight gates. Non-locking carabiners (both wire and solid gates) can have straight or bent gates. There’s no price, weight, or strength difference between straight and bent gates. Both types may come with a keylock nose.
*Bent gate carabiners main use is for the bottom of the quickdraw because it makes clipping the rope easier. It’s also nice to have a bent gate to distinguish the rope-end of the quickdraw. This is important because the top carabiner that touches bolts may get micro-cuts/burrs in the metal (enhanced by falls) that can have surprisingly dangerous results (http://goo.gl/6tpVw) of cutting the rope. It’s important to be consistant in which carabiner is used for protection and rope side of the quickdraw.
**Usually the quickdraw dogbone (material connecting the carabiners) is fixed in place (by tigher sewing or a rubber stopper) on the rope-end. If the fixed side is used on the bolt (and not the rope), and the quickdraw is loaded, the sling could contort the carabiner and result in cross-loaded forces.
Keylock Nose Carabiners
All carabiner gate types may have a keylock (”notchless”) nose. There are no disadvantages to a keylock nose except price. If you can easily afford all keylock carabiners, you will find them quite pleasurable.