Use locking carabiner for tether?

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Use locking carabiner for tether?

Postby will.quast » Jan 29, 2014 5:55 pm

What is the standard practice for attaching your pack tether to yourself while on rope? It seems that a locking biner or maillon is safer for the people below you than a non-locking biner. But, I have also heard that locking your pack to your body is a drowning hazard. Has that ever happened? Or is that just someones random thought?
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Re: Use locking carabiner for tether?

Postby Scott McCrea » Jan 29, 2014 6:34 pm

I use a non-locker. Never had an issue. I would imagine that locking and unlocking every time I un/tether my pack would be a huge PITA.
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Re: Use locking carabiner for tether?

Postby William Tucker » Jan 29, 2014 7:04 pm

I use a non-locker and think a locker is over-the-top (special circumstances notwithstanding). I would not worry about "safer for the people below" based on how my pack was attached as long as the attachment is secure enough for the circumstances. There are far greater risks for the people below when anyone is moving around above. They should be out of the fall zone or under cover for a whole host of reasons and your pack is one of the least of those. If you think you might have a need to quickly untether your pack, use a non-locker; or, use whatever the circumstances warrant. It doesn't seem like an important point to me either way.
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Re: Use locking carabiner for tether?

Postby Extremeophile » Jan 29, 2014 7:40 pm

I use a locker - standard practice :big grin: . I'm not sure what the potential drowning scenario entails, but maybe it would be better to not have a tether at all in this situation.
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Re: Use locking carabiner for tether?

Postby caver.adam » Jan 30, 2014 12:14 am

Mixed thoughts. First, avoid using one in a drowning situation. Second, I've had people drop stuff on me while using a locking biner. They have the same problem when you intentionally open them...
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Re: Use locking carabiner for tether?

Postby firemedic1015 » Jan 30, 2014 12:55 am

I use a non locker, no issues so far.
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Re: Use locking carabiner for tether?

Postby Chads93GT » Jan 30, 2014 1:27 am

will.quast wrote:What is the standard practice for attaching your pack tether to yourself while on rope? It seems that a locking biner or maillon is safer for the people below you than a non-locking biner. But, I have also heard that locking your pack to your body is a drowning hazard. Has that ever happened? Or is that just someones random thought?


I almost drowned myself getting tangled in my tether on my swaygo while trying to get to a friend who just drowned in 1" air. I got tangled up, had to back out, unclip, then I was able to get him. Shit happens. Anything is possible. He lived.
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Re: Use locking carabiner for tether?

Postby driggs » Jan 30, 2014 7:49 am

Get a low-profile keylock locking carabiner. You only need to lock it when you feel it's a safety issue, like when you're climbing rope on certain pitches that are long, inaccessible at the bottom, have friends on rope below you, etc. If you're simply tethering it behind you in a crawl or slogging up a few short nuisance pitches, don't lock it. Best of both worlds.

Do you do long trips to remote parts of serious caves? If so, you probably carry things in your pack that would ruin your day if destroyed or lost. Would you be pissed if someone flailing on rope dropped their 30lb pack above you? Return the favor and ensure you won't be that guy. Bonus: now you've got a spare locking 'biner in case you need it for rigging or replacing a part of your vertical system.
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Re: Use locking carabiner for tether?

Postby NZcaver » Jan 30, 2014 12:59 pm

What David said. Low profile keylock screw locker, also a good choice for cowstails. Lock it when you need to, leave it unlocked when you don't. Best of both worlds.

That said, I still tether my Swaygo with an old beat-up non locker attached to the webbing at the top of the pack and I've never had issues. It's been my tether carabiner on a succession of packs for about 20 years. At least it's rated. When I finally retire it one day, I might have it pull tested just for kicks.
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Re: Use locking carabiner for tether?

Postby Carl Amundson » Jan 30, 2014 2:41 pm

Let me add myself to the group that also uses low profile locking biners on my tether. The Metolius Bravo is a great small locker. I use a long tether so I can keep my pack tethered while it is on my back.
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Re: Use locking carabiner for tether?

Postby Stridergdm » Jan 30, 2014 9:55 pm

I wouldn't bother with locking. I can't really imagine many circumstances where the locking would make much of a safety difference, but would annoy me.

But that's me.
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Re: Use locking carabiner for tether?

Postby Shane S » Jan 31, 2014 12:42 am

I use a the non locking that comes with the swaygo. It's not a life support device and anyone under you should be out of rock fall zone as a rock is much more likley.
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Re: Use locking carabiner for tether?

Postby NZcaver » Jan 31, 2014 8:34 am

I should clarify my previous comment. My logic behind recommending a low profile, rated locking carabiner for the pack tether wasn't specifically for locking the pack to the harness. It was for locking when you find you need to use the carabiner for something else in a pinch, like rigging a rebelay or constructing a haul system to move a injured colleague. Just maybe.
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Re: Use locking carabiner for tether?

Postby Scott McCrea » Jan 31, 2014 8:51 am

Keep in mind, if you pull a biner from your pack for an emergency or rigging, you'll probably need to replace it with something. Zip ties could suffice. Or stick an extra keychain biner in your pack.
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Re: Use locking carabiner for tether?

Postby msm0711 » Jan 31, 2014 8:54 am

NZcaver wrote:I should clarify my previous comment. My logic behind recommending a low profile, rated locking carabiner for the pack tether wasn't specifically for locking the pack to the harness. It was for locking when you find you need to use the carabiner for something else in a pinch, like rigging a rebelay or constructing a haul system to move a injured colleague. Just maybe.




I'm all about multi-function and use a locker on a daisy chain belt for my pack tether when descending. The daisy unwraps from my waist while one end is knotted to my main moon mallion, and the locker snags my bag as it hangs beneath me. Though I rarely have issues snagging on the daisy, it has come in handy for securing at different lengths to bolts and allows the ability to chain other items as needed.
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