Tag Archives: Black Diamond

Choosing the Right Tool for the Job – Carabiners

The Black Diamond Journal recently posted an excellent article that discusses some of the characteristics of various types of carabiners.  It’s an excellent overview of carabiners in general, but also contains some details of interest to seasoned climbers.  I’ll post an excerpt here- for the rest, check out the original post on Black Diamond’s blog.


QC LAB: Choosing the Right Tool for the Job – Carabiners

By Kolin Powick

With dozens of companies making untold numbers of carabiners these days, it can be a real chore to navigate through countless different models to choose the one that’s right for your type of climbing. Wiregate vs. standard gate.  AutoLock vs. screwgate. Ultralight vs. heavy. What biners should I use on my slimmed-down alpine rack as opposed to my daily sport cragging kit? As with most pieces of climbing gear, there is a certain amount of inherent versatility, but often certain products are better suited, and more often than not designed specifically for certain applications. As with almost anything, it’s always prudent to select the right tool for the job. This month we’ll attempt to distill the basics of carabiner usage to help you figure out what’s the right choice for your type of climbing.

Differences between Industrial and Recreational Carabiners

We’ll start off with a quick word on basic carabiner use because we get this question all the time.

I get lots of random calls from arborists, fire departments, rescue workers, marinas, yachting folks, Jeep guys and warehouse personnel wanting to know if it’s okay to use our carabiners for their particular application. The official answer is always no, not recommended. Just as all of our instructions say, our gear is “For Climbing and Mountaineering Only.” But why?

The simple answer is that we are climbers and mountaineers, we know climbing and mountaineering, and we design, test and certify our gear for climbing and mountaineering. We’re not as intimate with the loads, the uses, misuses and abuses of these other applications.

What many people may not realize is the different ways that recreational gear is designed, tested and rated compared to industrial equipment. Industrial carabiners are usually made of steel, are much heavier, are much stronger, and rated differently than aluminum climbing carabiners.

An industrial carabiner is usually rated to a SWL (safe working load, or safe working limit)- of let’s say 30kN. This means that you can load the carabiner safely to 30kN. And in industrial applications there is almost always some kind of safety factor say of 2 or greater, which means that the carabiner won’t actually break until around 60kN. However, climbing gear is rated to the load at which it will actually break. So a 20kN carabiner actually breaks at that load. There’s a big difference.

Bottom line: Climbing gear shouldn’t be used in industrial applications—it just isn’t designed and rated for those types of loads and situations.


This is only a small excerpt of the complete article- to see the rest, visit Black Diamond’s Journal here.

 

Beautiful Photos of Climbing on the Island of Corsica

Jasmin Caton spends her winters working as a backcountry ski guide and her summers as a rock climbing guide. As a Black Diamond sponsored athlete, she crams in an absurd amount of climbing, both in her home country of Canada and throughout the world. Below is an except of a report Jasmin wrote about her recent trip to the island of Corsica.


Corsica is a mountainous French island in the Mediterranean, and according the Lonely Planet Guide, “it’s hard to find a better combination of nature, culture and pleasure”. With a description like that, it’s pretty hard not to want to make a trip there! But as I was planning my annual spring Euro climbing vacation, I found it hard to get a sense of the quality and quantity of the climbing in Corsica, and after visiting many of the ultra-classic French climbing zones like Ceuse, the Gorges du Verdon, Presles and the Gorges du Tarn, all of which I could easily revisit, I wondered if Corsica was going to stand up to my high standards of French stone.

I travel a lot and when I arrive in a new place that really inspires me I feel energized by the new smells and tastes and seeing new landscapes and combinations of colours. I run around taking a million photos of weeds and trees and bugs. Through my “fresh” eyes all of these commonplace things are National-Geographic-worthy spectacles, although a few weeks later when I am home and wading through all of my mediocre-at-best shots, I wonder what the hell I was thinking. A few years ago near the Verdon Gorge in France I went for a long solo hike on a rest day and witnessed a parade of nose-to-ass caterpillars that was so long I couldn’t even see the end of it. I took 50 photos and several movies, which is pretty funny considering that I took almost no photos while climbing up the steep and exposed walls of the beautiful Gorges du Verdon. “Ho hum, just another multi pitch rock climb, yawn. But these bugs are so cool!”

Showing up in Corsica brought on a flurry of that feeling of excitement, wonder and super-energy. The landscape was beautiful, rugged and very different from what we had just experienced the previous week on the neighbouring island of Sardinia. It sounds silly to say that a certain rock type has special meaning to me, but there’s something about granite that I completely love. Perhaps it is the fact many of my formative dirt-bag adventures were played out on the granite walls of Squamish and Yosemite.

After driving off the ferry in the town of Bonifacio on the southern tip of Corsica, we bought a map and made our way towards one of the main climbing areas: the Col de Bavedda.


This is just an excerpt of Jasmin’s complete post- to see the rest of the trip report, as well as more of her photos from Corsica, visit Black Diamond’s Climbing Journal.

Sonnie Trotter bouldering a trio of Joshua Tree mega-classics

On a recent trip to Joshua Tree, Black Diamond athlete Sonny Trotter realized that there were three outstanding boulder problems (all established by bouldering legend John Bachar) he’d never attempted.  Thus, he decided to conduct his own personal “John Bachar Memorial Climbing Day” and complete all 3 routes: J.B.M.F.P (V5), Slashface (V3), and Planet X (V6).

Video: Cody Roth climbing in New Mexico’s Sandia Mountain Wilderness

After several years climbing in Europe, Black Diamond athlete Cody Roth has returned to his hometown of Albuquerque, NM.  In this video, he climbs Date With Death (5.13+), a beautiful mostly-trad route.

Alex Honnold on his 5.13 multi-pitch first ascent in Gran Trono Blanco, Mexico

In early February, Alex Honnold established a first free ascent of a new multi-pitch 5.13 , along with Will Stanhope, Paul McSorely, and photographer Andy Burr.  You can see the entire report on Black Diamond’s blog.

Photographer Andrew Burr notes: "Real and raw emotion displayed by someone is powerful, but when felt by all, it invokes surrealistic euphoria. If this photo captures just a small piece of that, then I have done my job. Shown here is Alex, completely stoked after completing the mega thin and bold traverse of pitch 5. While only halfway up the wall, this section was the last of the uncertainties. Alex answered—the wall will go free!"

Video: Conrad Anker ice climbing in Hyalite Canyon, Montana

How-to Video: Black Diamond ATC-Guide

The Black Diamond ATC-Guide is an excellent device for belaying and rappelling and has features like a high-friction mode that make it a very good choice for users of all ability levels.  However, with a little training the device can be used in “Guide mode” which allows the belayer to belay or lower two seconding climbers simultaneously.  Check the video for details!