Why do people leave oval carabiners at rappel stations? Are they super bomber for that use? —Cracklord via rockandice.com
Oval biners are the dumpy weaklings in the herd, left behind to die because no one wants them. Any other shape of carabiner is lighter and stronger than
the oval, so, ironically, we leave our worst gear, ovals, at the most critical places, such as belay and rappel stations and tow hooks.
Oval carabiners are great for some uses. They rack more pins than D shapes. They work well for constructing carabiner-brake rappels (am I the only one
left who still knows how to make one of these?). And they look smart on a belt loop or accessorized with a water bottle or wad of locker keys.
Maybe I am being a bit too hard on the long-suffering oval. Ovals are plenty strong, or “they” wouldn’t make them, and the CE wouldn’t sign off on them.
I like ovals, however, for a really good reason: no one is apt to steal them. Gear Guy has spoken!
This article was published in Rock and Ice issue 198 (December 2011).