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.
To call the Air Harness an alpine-only piece of equipment is like calling good beer a dinner-time only beverage. Sure a frosty mug of your local micro goes well with an après-climb meal but it is so much more versatile than that! I've been wearing an Air harness for years on everything from cragging to glacier slogs and steep new alpine rock routes. Despite the profusion of lightweight harnesses lately, the hyperlight Air is still the go-to piece for most of my climbing.
On a 2009 trip into Alaska's Mendenhall Towers, our primary goal was to establish new rock climbs. To do so, we were also going to be covering snow and mixed terrain. All of this was followed by a 2-day ski and hike back out to civilization. Whether I was at a hanging belay between steep splitters or skiing down crevassed terrain roped up with my partner, the 8.5 ounces of the Air harness was easy to forget but kept all my gear exactly where I needed it. CAMP's signature no-twist belay loop and pre-threaded buckles make the harness quick to put on and extra secure for long belay sessions and those never-ending rappel descents. And it's so light and comfortable that I've even been known to forget I'm wearing it, leaving it around my waist in pursuit of a certain favorite post-climb beverage.
**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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