One unfailing axiom of climbing long routes, whether big walls or alpine pushes, is that you always seem to need one more locking carabiner. And ideally, the locker will be a keylock. Eliminating the notch in a carabiner, though it may seem insignificant, makes it much easier to remove a previously weighted clove hitch, work with tripled-up slings, and avoid other time-wasting frustrations. And as far as notch-less lockers are concerned, the Photon Screw Gate is simply the best.
At a scant 42 grams, the Photon weighs the same as many of the lightest wire gate carabiners of a decade ago. But with an aggressive knurling on the locking mechanism, and a true full-size gate opening, it is easy to manipulate in cold temps with gloves on or in situations when smaller lockers prove to be a complete pain.
Linking up routes in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison proved an ideal setting for the Photon Screw Gate. We'd packed a minimal rack and chose only smaller and lightweight lockers to compliment our Nano biners. With the constant need to build anchors, haul a bag, or clip a must-not-fail piece of gear, we had thrown a few extra Photon Screw Gates on our harnesses. Adding the extra weight is not where we went wrong. We didnt add enough and still ended up running out a few times! They are so light we never noticed we had them until we needed them, but we were super psyched every time we clipped them. Next time, we plan to take at least one more each.
**Blake Herrington is a CAMP sponsored athlete who tests the gear on alpine routes from the Pacific Northwest to Patagonia, then provides feedback for improvements or endorsements. This is one of many pieces of CAMP gear that have passed his test. Learn more about Blake by visiting the athletes section at CAMP-USA.com.
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