The Boa - ideal winter carabiner

Rocio Siemens is a freelance mountaineering instructor based in North Wales and has recently been accepted on to the British Mountain Guide scheme. She regularly puts our kit through its paces in the course of her work and climbing for herself. Rocio sent us a short piece outlining why her Boa biners are so handy in winter:

"With the first whiff of winter in the air, I am now starting to put together my winter work rack. Taking stock of what survived from last season’s working exploits, I am mindfully checking each piece for damage.

One of my favourite bits of kit to use with clients on Scottish climbs is a DMM Boa HMS Screwgate carabiner.  At 12cm long, it is their largest sized screwgate and I have always found the pronounced pear shape to be ideal for handling with thick gloves. The wide head and gate opening (24 mm) of the Boa makes it very friendly to use for tying-in with clove hitches and perfect for centralising anchor points.

I prefer the screwgate version to their locksafe or quicklock versions, simply because it forces you to take time to undo the gate. This gives you time to check that you’re undoing the right screwgate. The size makes them useful in a work situation, as it is easier to spot if a client is undoing the wrong one. I have found that at the beginning of the week, giving clients their own set of three Boas marked with tape plus an 8-foot sling to match the colour of the tape tends to work really well. They are visually reminded which Boas they’re tied into. I make sure I choose coloured tape and slings that won’t confuse colour-blind clients!

The flexibility of having so many HMS carabiners means that you can take them off your clients when you need them and you won’t have to worry about fat frozen ropes getting jammed on narrow heads when belaying. We’re dealing with Scottish winter conditions after all!

The 30kN Boa is even stronger (for only an extra 8 g) than the Boa. It is guaranteed to 16kN with an open gate - useful in case the locking system freezes up - and given a 30kN gate closed rating. The minor axis strength is at 12kN (increased from 10kN), a handy safety feature, since cross loading when belaying is not uncommon with novices."