Saturday, January 24, 2015

Petzl Spirit Screw-Lock Review & the Perfect Anchor/Belay System

Within the last year, Petzl introduced the Spirit screw-lock carabiner based on the well-received non-locking Spirit carabiner. At 45 g, it is one of the lightest locking carabiners on the market.  To achieve this impressive strength to weight ratio, it is designed with an H cross section and made out of aluminum, while still rated to 23 kN on it's major axis. It also has the key-lock feature to help with clipping and minimize rope snagging. Finally, the carabiner is easy to lock and unlock with just a slight flick of the finger. In fact this is my only issue with the carabiner as it seems like it will occasionally unlock itself.  Fortunately there is a bright red indicator that reminds the user when it is unlocked.

The carabiner is very compact and small, but not so small that it is difficult to maneuver. In fact, Petzl designed it to be used at belay stations as it's small size helps keep anchors tidy and neat. I have been using it as one of my anchor and belay station carabiners and really like the addition of this piece of equipment to my system.

I've tested the Spirit screw-lock out while sport climbing, trad climbing and on snow and ice. I've had no issues with it icing up or getting frozen. With gloves on, I have found it a little challenging to get my clove hitch on it and so sometimes I will substitute an Attache for my clipping point and I will use the Spirit screw-lock to clip my reverso to the anchor in auto-lock mode. Finally, I use the Am-D carabiner as my other locker in auto-lock mode as the carabiner is designed on a rounded frame so as to minimize friction and reduce the work associated with belaying the second climber. This is the best anchor/belay system I have ever used and it minimizes weight while also maintaining dexterity and reducing friction. 

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