Last Updated on: 31st March 2023, 10:56 am
So you’ve got some quickdraws, the quintessential piece of sport climbing gear. Which way should the carabiners on those suckers face? Should they both be facing the same way, or should they face opposite directions? In other words, what should the carabiner gate orientation be? Good questions!
My two cents
In short, I believe that it’s mostly a matter of personal preference. Most other climbers I’ve met and climbed with have a similar opinion. The first quickdraws I bought when I was a teenager had opposing gates, and so I “grew up” climbing on and becoming used to that orientation. They’ve worked great for me. Some of the partners I’ve climbed with have quickdraws with carabiners facing the same direction, and others have offset draws. Though my quickdraws have carabiners that face opposite directions, I’ve used friends’ carabiners-face-the-same-way draws dozens of times and never had any problem clipping them. The reverse is also true (i.e., friends using my quickdraws and having no problem).
What the manufacturers do
But enough about me. What do quickdraw manufacturers recommend? To find out, I did some searching to see how the biners on quickdraws from various manufacturers are positioned. Below are the results.
- Black Diamond – Same direction
- CAMP – Same direction
- Climb X – Opposite directions
- Cypher – Same direction
- DMM – Both. The Mamba and Shadow face in opposite directions, while the Alpha faces the same direction.
- Edelrid – Opposite directions
- Fixe – Same direction
- Grivel – Both. It seems that currently their quickdraws all face the same direction, but they used to face opposite directions.
- Mad Rock – Both. Their Concorde draws have carabiners that face in the same direction, but the gates on their other models (Super Tech Keylock, Super Light, Ultra Light) face opposite directions.
- Metolius – Same direction
- Omega Pacific – Opposite directions
- Petzl – Same direction
- Trango – Same direction
- Wild Country – Same direction
[Those are all of the brands that I could think of off the top of my head. Let me know if there are any that I missed.]
So as you can see, it’s kind of a toss up. Some brands face the carabiners the same way. Others oppose them. Others do both. But it seems most companies configure their quickdraws with the carabiners facing in the same direction, and this is also the trend I’ve seen among climbers in recent years. This could be due to the real or perceived danger associated with orienting the quickdraws to face opposite directions, as discussed below.
Opposed gates—A safety hazard?
There has been some talk online about the supposed danger that opposed-gate quickdraws pose. It is described here, though the reasoning is a bit hard to follow.
Whether this is a valid concern or not, you can never be too careful.
Another reason to orient the biners in the same direction is that it can make it slightly easier to configure the draw correctly with regards to direction of travel in order to prevent accidental unclipping in the event of a fall. To prevent this accidental unclipping, you want to make sure that the gate of the bottom carabiner is facing away from the direction of travel, and it is arguably a little bit easier to figure that out in the heat of the moment when both carabiners on the quickdraw face the same direction.
For these two reasons, I recommend that you face the carabiners on your quickdraws in the same direction.
What others have to say
Here are some links for further reading:
- Quickdraws – Karabiner gate orientation? at Chockstone.org
- How to Properly Orient a Carabiner Gate at Rock & Ice
- quickdraw carabiner orientation? at RockClimbing.com
- Quick Draw position? at RockClimbing.com
Have an opinion on the matter? Sound off in the comments below!