It is recommended you check your equipment every time before going out climbing and especially after it hasn’t been used for a while. After all, your life may depend on it. Regular inspection and maintenance will prolong the life of your gear.
When it comes to inspection, having a routine is important. When inspecting your carabiner check the body, including the inside surfaces and spine for any abrasion, excessive wear, sharp edges, deformation or corrosion. It is surprising how easily a nick or burr in a carabiner, such as from being loaded on a square edge bolt, can damage textiles or your rope.
Check the rivet and that the gate works smoothly, springing back to a fully closed position with good nose/gate alignment. There should be no excessive side-to-side play in the gate and if it is a locking carabiner the gate barrel should go through all motions smoothly and without any gritty/rubbing noises. If you are in any doubt it should be taken out of service. Gate action issues may be solved by a thorough clean and lubrication.
To clean carabiners start by washing in water (max 30°C) with a mild detergent and using a soft bristle brush to remove stubborn grime and dirt. Pay particular attention to the body, hinge, nose, gate (open and closed) and the spring chamber.
Rinse with domestic supply water (max 30°C) and dry-off any excess with a lint free cloth. Air dry thoroughly at room temperature. It is very important to hang the carabiner with the gate opening uppermost, so that any water in the spring chamber is able to drain out.
Lubricate the hinge, barrel of the gate, and pusher chamber with one or two drops of lubricant (Duck Oil, Super Lube, 3-in-1). Do not use graphite powder. For wire gate carabiners a drop or two of lubricant is simply required at the hinge.
After using your gear in a marine environment you should always rinse, thoroughly dry and re lubricate your equipment. Your climbing rack should be stored out of direct sunlight or heat, in a well-ventilated space. Avoid leaving it at the bottom of your rucsac or the boot of your car.
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