A5 Grade VI (signed)

Grade VI (signed)

Name:A5 Grade VI (signed)
Nose:notch & pin
Nose Guard:none
Gate Shield:none
Weight:60.8 g
Dimensions:Length: 104.10 mm
Width: 56.30 mm
Depth (basket end): 11.10 mm
Depth (runner end): 11.08 mm
Gate Opening: 19.16 mm
Strength Ratings:Major Axis: 4000 lb
Other Markings:(a5-logo) GRADE VI (left-arrow)4000lb(right-arrow)
Marker (signature): John Middendorf
Msrp:4.75 (1990)
Collection Criteria:★ Personal Favorite
★ Historically Interesting or Iconic
Summary:SMC whitelabel produced carabiner for A5 (and signed by John Middendorf)
Description & Commentary:

This is a basic oval produced by SMC for A5 Adventures, big wall climber & gear designer John Middendorf's climbing equipment company.

The design has a protruding nose, a definite step forward in oval carabiner design, but common since the 1970's when it was first developed. A few benefits of this feature:

  • Adds strength to the gate side of the carabiner - more significant of an issue for the centrally loaded Oval designs than D shapes.
  • Visually indicates gate orientation - more of an issue with ovals and symmetric D's than asymmetric D shaped carabiners.
  • Easier clipping - the nose will more easily catch a rope, sling or piton eye (a feature regularly touted when carabiners first started sporting this design).
  • Reduces the chance accidental gate opening by coming in direct contact with the rock or other object.

This example was generously donated to the collection by John - his signature is clearly visible, even if slightly worn in transit from Australia to California. In correspondance with John, he shared that the carabiners "cost $2 each in 1987 with a quantity of 5000."

The the markings are fairly detailed - a clear logo, serifed font with clear changes in stroke width. Interestingly, the 1990 A5 catalog (#3) lists strength as both 4000lbs and 2000kg.

Acknowledgements:Part of the collection thanks to the generous donation of John Middendorf.
Clippings:Catalog & Magazine Clippings