What's your stance? Screwgate or clipgate?

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PeterHS
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What's your stance? Screwgate or clipgate?

Postby PeterHS » Tue Jul 05, 2016 9:29 pm

So, Black Diamond sell these fancy matchy coloured clipgate carabiners to go with their different types and sizes of Camalot cams. This got me thinking .....

Often, I'll use cams for stance protection to belay. I'd always use screwgate carabiners on a stxnce - so bang goes my super colour co-ordination!

Do you always use screwgates when building a stance? Or sometimes clipgates to attach slings and/or cordelette? Or a mix?

Just curious to know - and the pros and cons.

TIA. Ciao,

Peter

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Re: What's your stance? Screwgate or clipgate?

Postby Old Smelly » Wed Jul 06, 2016 8:05 am

There have been previous opinions ventured on this topic on the site.

Every time I encounter Professional guides or go on a course it is very clear that one should use locking carabiners at a stance. Yes you can use 2 clipgates back to back but really the weight is about the same and for most of us the versatility of more clips and less lockers is truly negligible. You are going to get many answers but as I say when I have encountered people who do things right they use lockers on the stances along with a cordellette or sling used in the correct manner, which means the stance can be left in place when you move off, and they do this on all stances. Yes you carry more gear but you are proficient and effective in terms of safety. This also obviates unnecessary complication of having the rope in the system or having to steal biners from somewhere else to re rig the pro you are taking with you when you re-rack to do the next stance.

So I suggest using the lovely coloured biners for your pro and carrying lockers and a sling or cordellette for stances. Lots of other people have many BS answers as to why you should use the rope and double backed clip gates but as I say the true professionals - alpine guides & all official training courses suggest lockers. Other then weight saving there really is no reason why you wouldn't.
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Re: What's your stance? Screwgate or clipgate?

Postby Nic Le Maitre » Wed Jul 06, 2016 8:26 am

I have to disagree there, OS. Or at least I think I do if we are talking about the same thing:

I think Peter is referring to the biners on the pieces of pro at the stance and you are talking about the master point/BFK

The reason that people don't like clip gates generally is because of "gate flutter" under shock loading and the potential for the rope coming out; also the potential for the gates to open unobserved. Is this problem on stances? No, not really.

The biners on the pieces of pro used to build the stance can be clipgates: you should clove hitch your rope or cordellette on to the biners on the pieces of pro of your stance, then there is no way that the rope will come out of the carabiner. You can see all the pieces of pro of your stance and adjust it if it looks like carabiner gates are being opened inadvertently (if you can't see them all then sure use a locker if it looks like there might be an issue).

Should you use locking biners at the master point/BFK of your stance? Absolutely and always. There is so much rope movement and general shaking around that happens during belaying that you have to use screwgates or auto-lockers.
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Re: What's your stance? Screwgate or clipgate?

Postby Old Smelly » Wed Jul 06, 2016 2:34 pm

Well put and logical Nic. :thumright

Still I do not think you will find one course or professional who will not use locking carabiners on all points on the stance. Ask anyone who has done any MDT courses or equivalent BMC, Italian or other qualifications and I think you will find that all points on a stance are not negotiable with regards to them all using locking carabiners.

As I said - if your personal quest is to be totally lightweight I get it but then maybe use small lockers - the down side to that is that one should still be able to put a clovehitch and possibly another knot into any of the carabiners which would require a larger basket area - so generally modified HMS biners are used. This help is you suddenly need to create a pulley system or attach to another point other than the Master point.

Personally I do not get the drive to use anything else other than locking biners on a stance and must put it down to some weird ego trip once again...
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Re: What's your stance? Screwgate or clipgate?

Postby mokganjetsi » Wed Jul 06, 2016 2:43 pm

Old Smelly wrote:Personally I do not get the drive to use anything else other than locking biners on a stance and must put it down to some weird ego trip once again...


Nah OS it's overkill man. 3 equalised pieces on normal carabiners are more than adequate - there's no way you're going to unclip the lot accidentally & at the same time. You sometimes run it out 10m above a single piece clipped on a normal carabiner..... all those screwgates just add weight and complexity to an extensive rack. and your cams already has normal biners on them.

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Re: What's your stance? Screwgate or clipgate?

Postby Nic Le Maitre » Wed Jul 06, 2016 3:12 pm

Old Smelly wrote:Well put and logical Nic. :thumright


Then why on earth do you disagree? Or are you just trolling at this point?

Are there other issues with using clip gates that I've missed?
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Re: What's your stance? Screwgate or clipgate?

Postby Hector » Wed Jul 06, 2016 3:49 pm

The biggest safety risk if I ever climb with OS is the heart attack he'll have when he gets to my stance. The second biggest is that I'll die of old age waiting for him to finish setting up his. I'm guessing the tried and tested body belay is out of the question...?

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Re: What's your stance? Screwgate or clipgate?

Postby PeterHS » Wed Jul 06, 2016 4:03 pm

Awesome guys and thanks for the input so far. I learn so much from your comments on this and other threads - risk is never absolute and opinions and scenarios differ. Thanks so much for taking the time to respond and for writing so well. Peter

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Re: What's your stance? Screwgate or clipgate?

Postby Chalk » Wed Jul 06, 2016 4:05 pm

Personally I prefer screwgates - you get decent small light screwgate for each placement (and it makes your rack look pretty - chicks dig it).

I always ask my self .. so the climber takes a factor 2 and pulls everyone off the ledge like something off a washing line.. the rescue team arrives with a bucket and a mop to clean up and looks at the mess at the foot of the climb.. and sees a clip gate where you could have put a screwgate.. It will just be one more thing that they will be able to say something about, after dragging them away from their Sunday braai and potato salad.. . (Liability Clause : I have the greatest respect for the work of the rescue teams and they haunt my every stance build).

In truth - modern clip gates are probably as strong, give or take a few Kn, as a light weight screw gate, and who knows why the stance actually failed when its lying in a pile at the bottom of pitch 3... but why take that chance? It never goes wrong till it does..

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Re: What's your stance? Screwgate or clipgate?

Postby mokganjetsi » Wed Jul 06, 2016 4:29 pm

i honestly fail to see how a screw gate is safer than a clip gate in a stance situation, other than being less likely to accidentally get un-clipped. if you understand and is happy with that risk (which is minimal if you build your stance properly and not make a crow's nest) then all fine i guess.

Chalk wrote:so the climber takes a factor 2 and pulls everyone off the ledge like something off a washing line.. the rescue team arrives with a bucket and a mop to clean up and looks at the mess at the foot of the climb.. and sees a clip gate where you could have put a screwgate..


well putting yourself in a position to take a factor 2 is probably the problem, not using clip gates. but yeah, if you do that sh!t go with screw gates. and a 7-piece stance which is even more fail proof :thumright

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Re: What's your stance? Screwgate or clipgate?

Postby Nic Le Maitre » Wed Jul 06, 2016 5:12 pm

@Chalk and OS: Seriously beyond gate flutter and gates getting inadvertently opened what are the other risks of clip gates that we have failed to address that make you so convinced that they are bad to use on the pieces of pro at the stance?

Next you'll be putting them on every piece of gear you place. Also by extension you should all be using triple action autolockers everywhere then, since they don't have the risk of vibrating open and becoming clip gates.
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Re: What's your stance? Screwgate or clipgate?

Postby jacosmuts » Wed Jul 06, 2016 5:40 pm


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Re: What's your stance? Screwgate or clipgate?

Postby Chalk » Thu Jul 07, 2016 4:36 pm

Totally agree with you on the issue of clip vs screw. Its about the amount of risk you are prepared to take on. Its probably wiser to use your one screw gate on the first placement above (protecting) the stance. I have arrived at a "stance" to find my buddy holding a single nut in place with their thumb.. to stop it from falling out..while they do a single hand belay. Would a screw gate have made a difference? :?

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Re: What's your stance? Screwgate or clipgate?

Postby mokganjetsi » Thu Jul 07, 2016 7:40 pm

Chalk wrote: I have arrived at a "stance" to find my buddy holding a single nut in place with their thumb.. to stop it from falling out..while they do a single hand belay.


yoh! heard the story of jerry moffat arriving at a "stance" where his buddy was balancing on a precarious ledge with no gear. when he asked what-the-hell? the guy apparently said "i just thought it's jerry moffat - he won't fall".

but seriously, a leader's most important task is to build a solid stance & give a safe belay from that. no compromises.

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Re: What's your stance? Screwgate or clipgate?

Postby supralicious » Fri Jul 08, 2016 12:18 pm

I think discussions of this kind, and any debate around safety in climbing, come back to the point that sound judgment is more important than hard and fast rules. Especially when you're talking about trad anchors. There are a plethora of setups that would fall within the bounds of what a reasonable person would consider safe - all with corresponding pros and cons.

My personal thoughts on snaplinks vs screw gates on a belay is that scre gates are preferable, but not mandatory. To suggest that they are mandatory, means you'll be forced to carry 5-7 screw gates. (Assuming a 3 point anchor and an ATC guide belay, depending on how you attach yourself and extend pieces). Not to mention that there is safety in efficiency and speed - both of which are somewhat compromised by sticking to a mandatory all screw gate belay.

I've been through professional guide training, and this is their recommendation. Not to say it's the final word, but just my experience.

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Re: What's your stance? Screwgate or clipgate?

Postby Old Smelly » Fri Jul 08, 2016 1:52 pm

Oh I take exception to that! :puker:

What is actually best is to use best possible practices so that when things go "pear shaped" YOU - the responsible leader have made such a good stance that being pulled up or sideways or seeing your leader fall right past you doesn't mean that you are the guy who sees his clove hitch slide onto the wire gate of his snapgate and take the whole load of the fall because the stance is suddenly pulled weird!

I do actually call BS to all this "discretionary" and "sound judgement" stuff! Clearly if the guy is asking for advice he needs to learn the best possible methods -i.e. not some massively compromised, patched together hodge podge of a stance -he could have probably done that all for himself without all the banal comments.

Look - use back to back snapgates - no real risk there, but yes you are making a decision. Set your stance with standard clipgates and a masterpoint as a locker - that is your decision BUT don't go and advocate that this is the best possible practice OR the way people should be taught! The moment you start cutting corners with your "good enough" practices then YOU know that you are cutting corners - but don't advocate this as the norm!

Climbing is a risky part time and often we are forced to make discretionary decisions or what could be seen as risky moves, but the knowledgeable climber identifies them for what they are. That is entirely different from always doing the worst possible job or compromised stance and then seeing it go wrong on a regular basis!

No doubt whoever is discussing this thinks about the way they put a stance together, but there are a lot of people out there who are quite slapdash about their stances - and they will happily go along with using snapgates on EVERYTHING- with their justification being that you so called experienced guys said it was a great idea!. So what is the point in the discussion then? I still think there is little value in not using locking carabiners (a couple of grams - have less lunch) - hence why I put it down to an EGO thing. Everyone who argues against this picks away at why you wouldn't do the safest possible practice with random justifications or rationalisations. Quoting the worst possible stance you have seen is certainly not a good basis for making this your standard practice. Oh and the speed of making a stance with a snapgate vs a screwgate - PLEASE :drunken:

So we have weight versus EGO - it is as simple as that!~
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Re: What's your stance? Screwgate or clipgate?

Postby supralicious » Fri Jul 08, 2016 7:53 pm

A lot to digest there, and I don't want to derail the thread, but it's an important dicaussion - so, 2 very simple points.

1. The vast majority of climbing accidents are caused by poor judgment and human error. Ie. Poorly placed gear, poor route finding, mis-estimation of ones own abilities, mistying knots, rapping off ropes, etc. To suggest that advocating good judgement as the most important skill in climbing safety is "BS", is patently false.

2. Nobody would suggest that using snap links is safer - that's not the point. The point being argued is that they are perfectly acceptable in almost all cases. Something need not be the 'safest' in order to be acceptable. For example: in almost every situation it is safer to climb on thicker rope than a thinner one (higher fall factor/better abrasion resistance etc). Does that mean that it is unsafe to climb on a 9.4mm rope? Is it bad practice and reckless to climb on anything thinner than 10mm? Of course not. As with the screw gate argument, it's more important to understand the role of the equipment in the system, and excercise good judgment to make a safe decision as to what is acceptable in the given circumstance.

To the OP directly: buy Climbing Anchors by John Long. A brilliant book on the subject that is exhaustive and well written.

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Re: What's your stance? Screwgate or clipgate?

Postby vinceB » Sat Jul 09, 2016 9:15 am

Another option is to dig into the petzl website:

https://www.petzl.com/CA/en/Sport/Insta ... 4Cin2k6_qA

They clearly advocate for 2 locking biners. This being said, if you are using non-locking biners (lack of locking ones on your rack...), you must be sure that the gates are not facing the rock when you build up your stance.

For me, the master has to be a locking one, the 2 biners on the atc have to, your clove hitch must be. So if you're short on locking biners, sacrifice the ones connecting to the stance.

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Re: What's your stance? Screwgate or clipgate?

Postby Old Smelly » Mon Jul 11, 2016 8:13 am

Supralicious I do think you missed the point - one should always use the best possible judgement you have BUT for a not so experienced climber it would be best to stick to best practice as opposed to DELIBERATELY doing things in a COMPROMISED way from the start. Your argument is a bit thin though because thin ropes are designed to be used as thin ropes - your analogy would be better suited to using a half rope as your main climbing rope all the time and arguing that it CAN catch your falls anyway as half ropes often have to take the load onto one rope in a fall situation - in fact it is a good analogy of deliberately using gear in an inappropriate and compromised manner from the start, not so much the case for snapgates but rather for the attitude employed in the approach.

I really actually wanted to make the point that one uses sound judgement at all times but that GOOD PRACTICE is the stance creators friend - particularly if they have not done it a lot. So proposing that someone like that uses snapgate when they could use locking carabiners for the sake of a few grams is actually downright irresponsible.

I realise my comments were inflammatory and I apologise but can any of you honestly say if there is a reason why snapgates would be preferable? (and 2 snapgates do weigh more than a locker - maybe a little bit more versatile but if that is your plan then you are always carrying extra snapgates - no real advantage). Otherwise it must be back to the EGO thing - deliberately doing something in the not so best possible way?

So yes - I agree everything is always dependent on good judgement and experience - and most experience is gained by things going wrong due to bad judgement BUT some experiences are worth avoiding. Climbing is one of those fields where best practice will save your life when your judgement fails...ask some people who have messed up cleaning and been saved by their method. I really don't think any of this is a difficult concept.
Last edited by Old Smelly on Mon Jul 11, 2016 9:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What's your stance? Screwgate or clipgate?

Postby Nic Le Maitre » Mon Jul 11, 2016 8:44 am

Old Smelly wrote:deliberately doing something in the not so best possible way?


Then why are you using screw gates, not the safer alternative, auto-lockers? And why not stronger steel carabiners rather than aluminium ones that could fracture over an edge?

Our argument is that best practice is based on sound judgement of where the risks lie. If you can find me documented evidence of a stance failing because someone used clip gates rather than screwgates then I will adjust my assessment of where the risks lie. Personally, I feel that it is more than safe enough to build a stance using clip gates on each piece of protection and screw-gates on the master point (actually I use auto-lockers on the master point - do you?).

It's far more likely that the rope will come out of a clipgate on a piece of gear, placed while leading away from the stance, during a fall. But we don't use screwgates there either.

Lastly, a well set clove hitch is very unlikely to move, and if it did move onto the gate of a carabiner, the difference in strength between a clip gate and a screwgate during crossloading is negligible anyway.
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Re: What's your stance? Screwgate or clipgate?

Postby PeterHS » Mon Jul 11, 2016 8:50 am

Thanks again for all the comments. They're some really good points made by all. I think it important to ha e these open discussions - and with climbing partners too - as views and experiences differ. I also wonder if logic can ever be applied 100% (thanks Nic!). P

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Re: What's your stance? Screwgate or clipgate?

Postby Chalk » Mon Jul 11, 2016 12:48 pm

Its always fun reading these posts and you cant ague the value of these discussions. The world of absolute wisdom somehow comes undone. There is no always - there is however mindfulness.

If the ultimate goal of climbing is to stay alive, then - applying absolute wisdom would mean staying safely where you are, in the comfort of your overstuffed couch. Anything other than that is a risk (factoring in old age, obesity and heart attacks of course).

If you climb you willingly engage in risk. How much risk you choose is up to you. Do I take a rope? do i take a helmet, do i take chalk? One screwgate or 5? All these are compromises you make in your safety.

You hear people saying I want to do it in the safest possible way. The answer to that is - Dont. What they should say and think is "how much risk can I take on board and what skills have I developed to deal with this risk?

If you have been climbing for 30 years - leave the rope, you probably could climb without it. If you are a new guy (or girl) take the rope, and 5 screwgates. Chances are that you are not climbing so fast that too much gear will slow you down anyway.

Your skill and understanding in using your gear is more valuable than a hand full of gear you have no idea how to use.

So maybe the right answer is - find your risk bracket and work within it. More skills means less gear.

A friend once said to me "if Accounting is like war, Auditors are the guys who come and bayonet the survivors" and the opinion of friends is often the same. I think Accident Investigators can be added to that...

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Re: What's your stance? Screwgate or clipgate?

Postby Nic Le Maitre » Mon Jul 11, 2016 1:18 pm

Well put!

Logical extensions of arguments when taken to extremes generally fall apart on reasonableness grounds. Or Godwin's law happens...
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Re: What's your stance? Screwgate or clipgate?

Postby Old Smelly » Wed Jul 13, 2016 8:42 am

sometimes it takes me a bit of time to cogitate on what has been said...like this...

"Lastly, a well set clove hitch is very unlikely to move, and if it did move onto the gate of a carabiner, the difference in strength between a clip gate and a screwgate during crossloading is negligible anyway."

What a dumbass comment when you realise that a clipgate will probably open...whereas a locker won't!

Some people come across with such an attitude that we cease to look at what they are saying with a critical eye. I do respect Nic's viewpoint but this attitude still seems to be to try and blot out the common sense of what I stated before:

For the beginner using locking carabiners on all the points of a stance is a logical safe option - with little value to be gained by NOT using them - so I ask you again:

Can any of you honestly say if there is a reason why snapgates would be preferable?

or as I said before:

Personally I do not get the drive to use anything else other than locking biners on a stance and must put it down to some weird ego trip once again...

Why should the argument that using snapgates deliberately to attach to your gear at every stance be received as the NORM when in truth this is not the best possible practice and should not be advocated as such? It defies logic to argue this as the NORM when there is so little advantage to it?

I for one cannot find that one should deliberately use this method based on the fact that every situation requires a reasoned assessment. That one uses snapgates backed to back when one has to is where one looks at the situation and "makes-do" - which is not quite the same as arguing it as the norm.

To me this is a case where "good practice" should not be passed over by saying "every situation is unique" - as this is not what the discussion is about - it is about what one does as a norm - and advocating that one uses a snapgate without any real advantage to it is mindless. When one has to deviate from "good practice" due to a "situation" then I can see the need to assess and adjust.

No doubt a well seated clovehitch on a locked carabiner at almost the same mass will do the job nicely and carry with it that little bit of extra security with no risk of being cross loaded when things get pulled or shifted - with no real down side. Why would you do it any other way?

Oh and all of this is based on "SOD's Law" - which is much more widely accepted!
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Re: What's your stance? Screwgate or clipgate?

Postby mokganjetsi » Wed Jul 13, 2016 9:41 am

Old Smelly wrote:Why should the argument that using snapgates deliberately to attach to your gear at every stance be received as the NORM when in truth this is not the best possible practice and should not be advocated as such?


I have been climbing trad for 7-years and never ever saw a leader use screw-gates on the gear at a stance (neither do I). In fact, the first time I ever encountered somebody arguing strongly for this is on this thread. So, like it or not, clearly clip-gates are the norm; one that could be challenged but I'm honestly not convinced to go screwgate.

Old Smelly wrote:Can any of you honestly say if there is a reason why snapgates would be preferable?

Less weight & less clutter (btw, if you go all screw-gates you'll need 8 on the rack; not 4 - need to cover two stances.)
Quicker set-up at the stance.
Screwgate offers marginal improvement in safety at stance; a proper stance well thought-out & logically constructed with clip-gates is adequately safe imho.

I think Chalk hit it on the head re the issue of risk - no risk means no climbing. Understand the risks; decide how much you can take; manage it well. For instance, on a traverse / slanting route where a fall could result in sideways pull, construct the stance so that gates are on opposite side of pull. or if there is a big concern, use two clip-gates with gates facing in opposing directions.

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Re: What's your stance? Screwgate or clipgate?

Postby Nic Le Maitre » Wed Jul 13, 2016 9:58 am

Old Smelly wrote: you are the guy who sees his clove hitch slide onto the wire gate of his snapgate and take the whole load of the fall because the stance is suddenly pulled weird!


Old Smelly wrote:realise that a clipgate will probably open...whereas a locker won't!


Dude, read your own posts before posting... First it was about cross-loading and relative strength, now its about the gate being forced open. And please, do show me how a clove hitch forces a gate open.

Old Smelly wrote:What a dumbass comment


Thank you for that erudite deconstruction of my argument. Play the ball, insults really don't help.

We're not arguing that clipgates are the safest way to climb, we're arguing that the risks that they create are manageable and in fact negligible when compared to the risks inherent in climbing. Adding screwgates to the stance makes it marginally safer where as adding screwgates to the pieces of pro you place on lead would actually make it much safer as then there would be no chance of the rope coming out during gate flutter; but you don't do that do you?

Your argument that your way is the best way is false in so far as it is not the safest, best way. If you want the safest, best way you should be using steel autolocking carabiners everywhere. That's safer than screwgates and clipgates. Use maillons and steel cables with shock absorbers, that'd be even safer. In fact if you want the best practice, don't climb at all as the others have said.
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Re: What's your stance? Screwgate or clipgate?

Postby Hector » Wed Jul 13, 2016 10:54 am

I feel we can learn a lot from OS. Please do tell your normal process for leading a trad pitch and setting up a stance. I'd love to know what other "best practices" I'm missing.

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Re: What's your stance? Screwgate or clipgate?

Postby Old Smelly » Wed Jul 13, 2016 11:20 am

This is pointless...it's like you guys are illiterate...or just being obtuse....

NO Mok - "Less weight and less clutter" - I have already made the point that there is little weight saving and that therefore this argument is weak. And yes that means you would need to carry enough biners for your stances but you would have to anyway - so DUH! - no argument there.

So you don't use lockers - also no point - the argument was what should a beginner do - and YES if he is asking then he wants to know what is best. So no argument there. Same for you Hector - you take your own risks - but that is irrelevant to this discussion.

Nic - the point was that if you slide a clove hitch on to a snapgate at the gate and crossload it, it will most likely open at that point - try it!

As for the random argument that then we must all use steel auto lockers - see my previous point about the comparison being between aluminium snapgates and aluminium lockers - a matter of grammes - nothing else was posed - so your point is totally off the mark and absurd. As is the argument that all climbing must either carry the same risk or you must not bother at all.

At this point I must say that my original observation still holds - no appreciable advantage to using snapgates SO it must be an EGO thing - and no amount of obfuscation will detract from this.
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Re: What's your stance? Screwgate or clipgate?

Postby Hector » Wed Jul 13, 2016 11:35 am

Help me out here OS - I'm genuinely curious: talk us through how you lead a pitch and build a stance. Don't keep your wisdom to yourself! We can all learn something vital here.

Old Smelly
Posts: 476
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2008 1:21 pm

Re: What's your stance? Screwgate or clipgate?

Postby Old Smelly » Wed Jul 13, 2016 11:50 am

Oh I would never suggest that I could teach you anything Hector...far be it from me! You have such a wondrous track record!

I am still entitled to my own opinion though...and the point stands - no real advantage to using snap gates - so why deliberately do it?
Really, its not that bad...I think it's my shoes...


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