Setting aside that I’m often accused of using my GriGri “backward,” I will concede that I’ve been in the “whatever locker is fine” camp with belay biners. But if you’re a frequent cragger, you really need an anti-cross-loading carabiner—one that keeps the biner oriented vertically off your belay loop such that your device sits properly and the load comes onto the carabiner’s major axis to prevent breakage in a violent fall.
Metolius has updated their original, screw-gate anti-cross-loading locker, the Gatekeeper, with an auto-locking sleeve. The original biner is green and weighs 2.46 ounces; the new one is blue and weighs 2.8 . Both are hot forged and given a sleek, anodized finish. I tested the auto-locking version in the gym and cragging on the Front Range of Colorado, both for belaying and rappelling. In terms of reliability and handling, myself and partners were impressed.
The gate has a “triple-action auto-locking sleeve,” which translates to three steps to open: sliding the sleeve up, twisting it counterclockwise, and then crimping the gate. The action was smooth and easily accomplished with one hand, such as when managing a backpack, tools, draws and drill while setting up to equip a new sport climb. And boy does that gate close snappily upon release—watch those fingernails!
But it’s belaying that matters the most, and the Gatekeeper reliably kept itself and my device oriented properly when the rope was weighted. Metolius has nailed form and function with the extended-pear shape, giving enough room to accommodate thick, old-school belay loops on the bottom, while keeping plenty of space up top so you can clip in larger devices like the original GriGri. The spine, which Metolius bills as “widened,” has a T-beam contour that was easy to grab, with or without gloves. The price is competitive at $19.95, and with Metolius’s emphasis on durability, the Gatekeeper will last you for years to come.
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