About this Site

Contact Me

This is the personal collection, musings and work-in-progress of Sam Johnson.

I welcome any questions/comments/suggestions through this contact form.

About the Author

A few brief highlights of my experience in the vertical world:

Carabiner Collection Criteria

I have chosen to shape this personal collection with a few criteria given the availability of various carabiner models.

My primary interest and expertise is in tree climbing, which uses locking carabiners almost exclusively. As such, I primarily focus on the acquisition of locking carabiners, but non-lockers have been produced in far greater numbers, for much longer.

Non-lockers tend to highlight changes or dead-ends of carabiner design and seem to keep showing up in my collection... plus I'm not one to toss aside a carabiner even if it's a little boring.

I am regularly surprised how a seemingly plain carabiner will end up revealing something interesting once I learn a bit more about it - and often this tidbit of info is uncovered while researching another carabiner.

I have outlined 5 overlapping and interrelated themes which represent my interest in collecting a carabiner and help steer my research efforts. Listed below in order of importance are these themes, along with a few examples:

Mechanically Unique or Interesting

My core interest and the core focus of the collection - by definition mostly secured/locking carabiners.

BD Magnetron - magnetic locking mechanism
CMC Manual Lock - spring assisted locking mechanism
DMM Durolock - quad-action autolocker using two nested locking sleeves
Grivel Tau T - single sprung multi-gate carabiner

Design, Engineering, & Manufacturing

A look into the minds of the makers.

Climb High Oval - Milled nose and recessed pins instead of modern forging and rivets
DMM Mamba - Hot-forged body
JC - split spine for increased rope bearing surface from smaller stock material
CAMP STEELKAR - dangerously wide gate causes accidental opening (poor design)

Discipline Demonstration

Highlights a particular use unique or core to a particular rope discipline. The tools look similar, but reveal differences in domain hazards and user needs.

YOKE N-256G - ANSI rated gate for working at height
Petzl Vertigo - light security but fast to operate for via ferrata

Iconic or Industry Standard

They may be common, but were an early example of "getting it right" or the culmination of years of small changes in the industry.

Petzl Attache - Iconic HMS
Petzl Spirit - a premium keylock quickdraw carabiner and for many years, the standard to beat

Part of a Historical Pattern

A complete range of carabiner designs from a particular company highlights how the company or climbing industry has changed over the years.

Black Diamond's compact screwgates:

Disclaimer, Information Quality & Future Plans

Climbing is Inherently Dangerous & Humans are Only Human.

Yup, this is a personal page and project, which I maintain for fun as a hobby. Again, how carabiners are used or misused can cause serious injury or death. The site certainly contains factual errors - please do not rely on information on this site to make choices about personal safety.


A basic overview of my process adding an item to this digital catalog (as of Dec 2023). The process has changed in the 18 months I've had the site up, which has led to some inconsistancies between carabiner pages. The focus has always been about getting the information digitized, without fretting too much about the perfect way to do it - this is my indoor hobby and a way to relax, and hopefully something I can continue to do for a long time.

Data is stored in Google sheets or as .tsv files:


  1. Assign an accession number (unique ID) & attach via hangtag
  2. Describe basic identifying characteristics
  3. Record aquisition information and other information related to the intake process.
  4. Compare to items already in the collection - if unique, move to cataloging. If not, consider whether to replace existing specimen in accordance with my collections policy.


  1. Detailed cataloging - measuring dimensions, recording markings and completing description fields using a controlled vocabulary.
  2. Briefly research my existing archives using this detailed information


  1. Once I have 10-20 cataloged carabiners, I set up a photo station to shoot these photos. See below for details on the photos I take and why.
  2. Process photos - crop, resize, upload to site.
  3. Move carabiners to storage (racked on daisy chains, then chains grouped)
  4. Update carabiner records re:photos.

Update Site

  1. Generate new pages from carabiner data - category pages, individual pages, group pages and brand pages (using Python).
  2. Manually edit main site pages (Home, Updates).
  3. Push changes to site (usually takes 15-20min to go live).


These days I try to shoot 7 angles of the carabiners for the following reasons:

left profile
right profile
overall views of carabiner type, shape, markings
gate opennose shape and latch mechanism
gate faceany gate-face features and general idea of the width of the carabiner, nose guard, etc.
gate face: obliqueview of the interior spine, as well as better definition of features on the side of the gate.
spinespine markings or textures, overall width
spine: obliquemostly reveals the gate interior: gate shield, coverage from any locking mechanism, interior hinge area

If it would reveal more information, I try to repeat these shots if the carabiner has movable parts such as screw locks or side-gates. Thus, for the most recent additions, I am taking 13 photos of a typical screwgate.

Overall, I have plenty of room for improvement with these photos. Many spine and gate orientation photos are somewhat blurry and need to be reshot (especially the older ones) I think they can still be instructive as-is, so I'll leave them up for now. One day I'll set up a proper lightbox and dedicated studio space. Right now, I'm focused on getting the information up in a somewhat accessible manner. If you are looking to answer a specific question about a particular item, let me know and I can reshoot it for you.

You may also spot some cat hair from Orion or Cricket.

Carabiner Information

Carabiner information in parentheses () is placeholder info, and I'm researching the correct/original info. This is most commonly found in carabiner names and version numbers.

My apologies for any errors, if you see one or can point me to relevant information please reach out. Opinions are my own, from the perspective of a tree climber, rock climber and ropes course professional.

I also need to read more industry papers to help refine some of the terminology I use to describe design aspects, as well as classification criteria for those terms.

Other Fixes and Future Plans

Lastly, I plan on working to improve table sorting and filtering, but it's functional for now, especially when combined with a browser's native Find-on-Page function.

If you want access to the raw tabular data for some reason, that can be arranged.