Carabiners

  1. Carabiner Gates 101

    There are few, if any, items in your gear bag that are as versatile as a carabiner. Carabiners come in all shapes, sizes, and strengths and making sure that the carabiner you use is up to the task is an important part of your safety. In this blog post, our Gear Experts® are going to give you the low down on carabiner gates.

    Gate Ratings


     

    A carabiner gate is the portion of the carabiner that can open to allow the carabiner to attach to the item you want to attach it to. The gate will have a specific rating that states how many pounds of force can be applied on the gate before it is damaged. This rating is separate from the load rating of the carabiner and will be stamped directly on the gate. Typically, it will be in one of 3 formats: 3,600 lbs., 16kN, or 3.6m. If you do not see this stamp on your carabiner there’s a good chance you’re not in compliance and you should not continue to work with that gear.

    Hiking Through the Woods


     

    We’ve all see those carabiners that hold your keys or are used to connect your canteen to your hiking backpack. Imagine that you are on a hike and you have your canteen connected to your backpack with one of those carabiners. As you climb the motion of the backpack moving slowly wiggles the gate of the carabiner open and your canteen falls to the forest floor. You’re focused on getting to your campsite and you bought an ultra-lightweight canteen, so you don’t notice that it falls off – that is, until you go to get a nice refreshing drink of water. If only you had used a carabiner with a gate mechanism. Then your canteen wouldn’t have been able to be opened by accident and you wouldn’t have lost your favorite canteen.

    Carabiner Gate Mechanisms


     

    The purpose of carabiner gate mechanisms is to prevent the accidental opening of the carabiner while it is in use. Losing your canteen while hiking is bad but having your carabiner come detached from an anchorage point while you are 100 feet up on a tower is worse. Carabiner gates come in a few different varieties (screw-lock, twist-lock, and auto-lock). For tower climbing, the most common is the twist lock, but some other work may require another variety of gate function.

    Screw-Lock

    The screw-lock operates by unscrewing the sleeve down the gate to open. This gate will not auto-lock as the sleeve has to be manually tightened after the gate snaps shut.

    Twist-Lock

    The twist-lock is a double action gate that quickly opens with a simple twist and pull movement.

    Auto-Lock

    This is a three-stage design as it requires 3 different motions to open. First you pull the sleeve down, then twist, then pull back to open. Some auto-lock carabiners only twist in one direction, while others can twist left or right.

    Click here to download a free PDF copy of the above poster.

    Got more questions about carabiner gate mechanisms? Click here to contact one of our Gear Experts®.

    Click here to see our full selection of carabiners

    Carabiners: Playlist


     

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  2. Must-Haves: Tower Climber Edition

    As a tower climber there is a ton of different gear to choose from and sometimes weeding through everything can take way too much time. This week our Gear Experts® are going to break down the must-have gear you need to get the job done and stay safe.

    The Gear


     

    So, what are the essentials needed for tower climbers?

    Harness 

    Let’s start with the most obvious: a harness. Your harness is the focal point of all your gear, but which harness is the best? Well, that depends on some factors about what job you will be doing. Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. You can click here to check out our Ultimate Fall Protection Harness Buying Guide for details on how to pick the right harness for you.

    Helmet

    The next intricate piece is a helmet. Protecting your dome is important and picking the right helmet ensures that your noggin will go uncracked. Picking the right helmet involves a little bit of knowledge about the job at hand. Check out our Safety Helmets 101 blog post where we take you through the what’s what when it comes to keeping your noodle safe. You can also download our free Safety Helmets 101 pdf from our Knowledge Base.

    Twin Leg Lanyard

    Once you’ve got your harness and helmet covered, it’s time to look at a shock absorbing lanyard. Twin leg lanyards are diverse. They come in a range of styles and lengths for a range of specific applications (like foot level tie off or tie-back) and with a ton of different connection point options.

    Cable Safety Sleeve (Cable Grab)

    Chances are, a tower you encounter will have a cable climb system which means you will need a way to securely connect your harness to that system. In fact, nearly every telecom tower in North America has a cable climb system of some sort. So, your gear list isn’t complete without a cable grab. While the basic function of cable grabs are pretty much the same – there are subtle differences in each.

    Pass-Through Sling (Pass-Through Web Anchor)

    Sometimes you will run into a situation where you need to make your own anchorage point. Having a pass-through anchor in your gear list will give you the ability to produce that anchorage point.

    Positioning Lanyard

    You’ve made it to your destination on the tower, but now you can’t quite work where you need to because the cable climb system isn’t in the right spot and you need both of your hands to work. That’s where a positioning lanyard comes in. Using your twin leg lanyard to move safely to your working location you can then position yourself and work handsfree with your positioning lanyard.

    Bolt Bag

    You’ve only got two hands (us too, unfortunately) which means that carrying nuts, bolts, and small tools up the tower while your climbing isn’t possible. That’s why a bolt bag is on our must-haves list.

    Carabiner

    At least one carabiner will make your life and the job so much easier. We recommend at least two typically, but one will get you by. Carabiners have a ton of different applications but using one to connect your bolt bag to your harness isn’t a bad idea. Find out more about carabiner gates with our free downloadable pdf from our knowledge base.

    Separator Bar (Spreader Bar)

    Sitting or leaning while positioned on the tower can place a lot of pressure on your waist and hips. It’s hard on your body and uncomfortable. Especially if you’re in that position for an extended amount of time. Using a separator spreader bar helps relieve that pressure and keep you feeling great.

    RF Monitor

    Not all dangers can be seen with the human eye and RF frequencies are one of them. Ensuring that you are not overexposed to RF waves is extremely important to your safety and the FieldSENSE 2.0 Personal RF Monitor has you covered. For more information on the FieldSENSE RF Monitor check out our blog post.

    Duffle Bag

    You’re loaded up with all the must-have gear for climbing the tower, but now you’ve got one little problem – you can’t carry it all. Did we mention having 2 hands isn’t enough already? A duffle bag fixes that problem. Fit all your gear neatly organized in one single, easy to transport duffle bag.

    All-In-One Solution


     

    We’ve covered a lot of information in this blog post – and sifting through all of the different options for each of the must-have pieces of gear takes time. Because we know that your time is precious our Gear Experts® have put together an Essential Tower Climbing Kit that includes all of the equipment we discussed in this blog post (except for the RF Monitor). It also includes a variety of upgradable options (like the RF Monitor).

    We have a variety of different kits assembled by our Gear Experts® for a range of different applications.

    Need help finding the perfect kit? Click here to contact one of our Gear Experts®.

    Click here to see our full selection of tower climbing gear

    Click here to see our Essential Tower Climbing Kit

    **The content of this blog is not intended to replace proper, in-depth training. Manufacturer’s instructions must also be followed and reviewed before any equipment is used.

    Tower Climbing Kits: Video Edition



     

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  3. Not Your Average Metal Loop

    This little loop of metal has come a long way. The term carabiner comes from German, “karabinerhaken” which means hook for a carbine. Before they were saving your life, the first carabiners were used for sailing and weren’t made to support a load. They usually just had a spring loaded wire closure, which was not made to catch a person’s weight, when they… say… fell off a tower.

     

    Two Carabiners

     

    The first load-bearing carabiners were hand forged steel. Lighter aluminum versions came around WWII but there were no safety features, such as auto-twist gates. And the shapes were pretty basic ­– usually just an oval, which led to cross-gate loading, causing the ropes to slip out. That’s bad.

     

    Obviously, a lot has changed over decades. Carabiners are better, and you should be pretty pumped about that. Instead of an oval there are offset D shapes or larger pear shaped carabiners. The closing function is much better. Instead of a light wire gate, there are screw or auto twist gates. Each revision has made the carabiner more functional and safer. That’s good.

    Carabiner ANSI Gate

     

    In our industry, carabiners must comply with specific regulations. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) says that for a carabiner to be used in fall protection it must have a strength rating of 5,000 pounds, or 22 kilonewtons and gate strength of 3,600 pounds, or 16 kilonewtons. The tested and approved ratings are always stamped or printed somewhere on the carabiner and gate. If you're not sure if yours are rated, or the stamps aren't visible… DON’T USE THEM!! (In case you were wondering: A newton is the force required to accelerate a one-kilogram mass one meter per second per second. 1000 N = 1kN = 224.8 lb force) OK! Enough math.

     

    There are obviously a wide variety of carabiners, and they all have the same basic parts:

    • The body, which is a loop
    • The gate and hinge, which open to allow attachment
    • The inner sleeve, which is what the gate twists around

     

    Different carabiner options may work better for one application over another.  GME Supply can help you select the best one for you, so you can Climb Higher!

     

    Carabiner Gate Closeup

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