The UIAA equipment standard provides a baseline for equipment performance in a test lab under controlled conditions on new equipment. Although these test conditions are relevant to the conditions encountered climbing, conditions encountered at the crags and the condition of the equipment are equally important. This recommendation from the UIAA member federation The British Mountaineering Council (BMC) provides vital equipment information that is NOT explicitly addressed in the standard, particularly failure modes of the equipment and recommendations for the use, inspection, maintenance, and retirement of equipment.
“What’s the heaviest thing on your rack? Answer: your rope!”
This is the curious, lateral thought process that occurred to Fred Hall as he sat pondering the next breakthrough in climbing equipment design. Fred is our resident gear designer and all round genius; he has been a director of the company since the early days and has played a key role in the design of several important and innovative products (such as the Mamba quickdraw, the Predator ice axe). We could write a book about Fred’s contribution to modern climbing gear, but before we get carried away, let’s get back to ‘the heaviest thing on your rack’ conundrum.
The frictional drag that a rope can exert on you, particularly on a long and winding pitch, can be so strong as to actually make upward progress almost impossible. Sure, if you’ve had the foresight to extend that crucial runner below the roof with a long sling, you’re halfway there, but once you’re trucking up the final headwall, forearms dangerously pumped, and a few more runners placed here and there as the line of the route twists about, it feels like you’re dragging an elephant behind you.
Fred’s answer to the epic rope drag scenario was to look at the hardware end of the system. He decided to fit a pulley roller into the apex of a biner. A simple, but extremely effective solution to an age old problem. In practice, a Revolver placed at changes of direction on a long pitch can prevent that heavy harness feeling.
The story doesn’t end there though: during the prototype phase Fred struggled to get the weight of the biner down to an acceptable level. However this in itself prompted yet another innovation: the I-Beam construction, a method by which we can significantly reduce the weight of a biner yet maintain its strength. This has since been rolled out to all of the new DMM biner designs.
The Revolver also has a further interesting function – it can be used in rescue situations as a pulley. And for added security, there are locking versions available.
We’re not suggesting that you should climb exclusively on Revolver quickdraws, far from it, but it does make sense to have at least a couple on your rack.
-Unique pulley wheel design biner
-Strong and lightweight I Beam construction
-Wire gate to save weight
-Shrouded nose to reduce snagging
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In grams, the weight, as stated by the manufacturer/brand.
Rule of thumb
Almost every carabiner you use will be non-locking offset D’s, with the exception of a Pear/HMS locker as your belay ‘biner.
Offset D (aka Modified D)
60% of the market
A modification of the standard D shape, the top of an offset D is much wider, allowing for a larger (and superior) gate opening. When loaded, most of the weight is transferred to the spine of the carabiner making them stronger than most other shapes. Used for top and bottom quickdraws, as racking carabiners, and lightweight lockers.
Pear / HMS
22% of the market
The Pear/HMS carabiner is used primarily for belaying and/or setting a powerpoint in an anchor. The wide top means they can hold a lot of gear. They are almost always locking and are generally heavier (than D/offset D's) because they need more material to gain back strength lost due to their shape.
8% of the market
The first carabiner shape to be mass produced. When loaded, the pressure is shared equally on both sides of the ‘biner. Since the weaker gate shares the load with the spine, oval biners aren’t as strong as shapes that direct the load to the spine. The bonus is, your gear rests squarely in the middle, so it's great for holding nuts, pulleys, and prusiks.
D (aka symmetric D)
7% of the market
D’s have a symmetrical shape that sets the rope closer to the spine, putting the load on the spine (versus sharing the load with the weaker gate side, like the oval). Since the strongest part of the carabiner carries the weight, D’s are the strongest shape. Downside: Smaller gate openings than the offset D.
Quicklink (aka Oval link, Mallon)
1% of the market
Although most climbers wouldn’t refer to this shape as a “carabiner” they are certified by the same EN standard as all the other carabiners. These semi-permanent links ensure the gate will not accidentally open. They're used when setting up a semi-permanent rappel station (not used while climbing up).
Semi-Circle / 3D
less than 1% of the market
Semi-circle: Mostly used by Search and Rescue as this is a great way to secure a chest harness.
main non-locking carabiners uses:
main locking carabiners uses:
screw gate vs auto-locking gate
Screw gates are generally lighter and cheaper.
Auto-locking gates are usually considered safer as they automatically snap shut, not counting on one's memory to close and are harder to accidentally unlock. The debate comes on opening speed as some are much faster while others can be a struggle.
|Straight or Bent
Straight or Bent
It's easier to see the difference between straight and bent gates on solid gate carabiners:
The standard. Always used as the bolt-end of the quickdraw, and still sometimes used on the rope-side too. Also used for racking gear such as cam and nuts.
Created to make it easier to put the rope into a quickdraw with their larger gate opening. Primarily used on the rope-end (bottom) of quickdraws.
Many manufacturers are now making the bolt-end carabiner come standard in silver (to match the bolt color), and are coloring the rope-end with other anodizations.
Do not mix (interchange) bolt-end carabiners and rope-end carabiners. This can be very dangerous as small abrasions made by the bolt can easily wear your rope. DMM put out a great video/write-up on this issue.
Full size carabiners are easier to hold but generally they're also heavier.
This is a totally debatable field as there is no official size, weight, or gate opening necessary to be full size. There are no certifications and this isn't a standard the manufacturer's normally describe specifically.
We did our best to compare (descriptions, in-person use, etc), as a way to help give more information about this carabiner. Like always, if you see something that seems totally off, send us a note.
A keylock nose means the nose is smooth. Keylock carabiners are also known as: snag-free, notch-less, and hook-less.
The lack of a hooked nose makes for less snagging on gear and bolts – a dramatic improvement.
Given that they’re more complicated to manufacture, keylock designs often come at a higher price, especially in wiregates.
There are more design features necessary to guarantee a snag-free experience, like the curvature of the nose. Some keylock carabiners will still catch on the nose because of the lack of a smooth nose arc (smoother the arc, smoother the clip).
|Solid or Wire
Solid or Wire
Generally on beefier carabiners, so they're usually heavier and more durable. They can also feel more substantial in your hands while clipping. Often favored by sport climbers.
Featured on the lightest carabiners, so they're favored by trad and alpine climbers.
If you want keylock nose carabiners, then solid gates will be much cheaper compared to wire gates.
When wiregates first came out they were not trusted (too new, looked too simple). Now, it's proven that wiregates have less gate flutter and gate shutter than solid gates.
Gate Opening (mm)
Gate opening refers to the distance between a carabiner’s nose and the fully open gate.
top of your quickdraw: 17 mm – 22 mm
Adding bias towards a larger gate opening is a great option once you’ve narrowed your choice to a few similar carabiners and need help determining which one is the best.
|Number of Colors
Number of Colors
The number of different colors that you can find this carabiner in. This color-coding practice was started with just 2 colors, usually silver (that goes on the bolt side of a quickdraw) and another color for the rope side. Now, carabiners come in 5+ colors sets known as "rack packs" so your carabiners can match your cams.
Climbers can also match their carabiner color to their harness or other gear just for fun.
A visual warning is only seen on locking carabiners. It adds another tell to show if the carabiner is locked or not. If the carabiner is not locked, you'll see a warning such as the color red, a danger sign, or an unlocked image.
Only a small list of manufacturers add this safety feature, although you can easily add one yourself with a permanent marker.
In kilonewtons, the strength, as stated by the manufacturer/brand.
Major Axis Closed Gate Strength
This is the strongest orientation and the way carabiners are designed to be loaded.
Major Axis Open Gate Strength
This strength is measured because while climbing, carabiners lying against the rock can be opened slightly as they move across an uneven surface. A carabiner can also open slightly during a fall as the ‘biner starts to vibrate, dispersing the energy (also called "gate flutter"). A weak gate closure (due to a poor/failing spring or an over-stressed wire) could also leave the gate ajar.
Minor Axis Gate Strength
Carabiners are not intended to be loaded along the minor axis (cross-loaded), but it is possible for a carabiner to unintentionally rotate during use, especially while belaying. Of all accidental misuses of a carabiner, cross-loading is the most frequent suspect, which is why there is a rating for it.
Generally wire gates are stronger than solid gates in the minor axis. During the test, the wire gate bends, absorbing some of the force, as compared to a less pliable solid gate.
|24 kN 9 kN 7 kN|
If you’re interested in this carabiner, I’d recommend getting one; maybe two. But you honestly wouldn’t ever need more than that. Clip one to a quickdraw, and keep the other one free for contingencies. And climb on without the drag!
For rescue situations, however, having even one Revolver is nice. And while it’s still expensive for a carabiner, it’s the same price as the cheapest pulleys on the climbing market. So if you’re looking to add to your rescue gear, why not just buy a pulley that you can use as a full-strength carabiner also?
Revolver is not just a potty-mouthed rock and roll magazine, a mediocre movie by Guy Ritchie, or a legitimate means of settling arguments in Texas (actual successful murder defense: "he needed killin',") it's also a tricksy carabiner design from DMM.
The amount of friction-reducing benefit you see on lead varies according to how much or little the rope twists and turns, and whether the rope tracks completely or only partly across the pulley. In ideal conditions, the Revolution reduces rope drag as much as a single over-the-shoulder runner with biners. At $03 a pop, you'd go broke rigging every draw and sling with a Revolver, but it's great to have a few on hand for those pesky off-to-the-side pieces, or for using as impromptu pulleys for hand-hauling.
How to use DMM Non Locking Carabiners, Maintenance and Servicing, warnings and lifespan with instructional pictures.
A pictoral representation of UIAA-121 and EN-12275 standards for connectors (the UIAA's fancy word for carabiners).