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HMS (munter hitch, belay) carabiners
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Ross P Hemphill
(rbimli) - F

Locale: PNW
HMS (munter hitch, belay) carabiners on 04/20/2011 21:03:29 MDT Print View


I'm looking for feedback on symmetrical, pear-shaped biners. I'll be using these with a fairly light rope, probably no thicker than the Beal Joker at 9.1mm. The main use I currently forsee is glacier crossing and non-so-technical mountaineering, although there's a good chance I'll end up using them for other assorted, probably not-so-technical stuff. (I expect a high ratio of carrying to actively using.) I'll probably try to use a (double?) munter as much as I can "reasonably" get away with. I imagine I'd use a belay/rappel device (Piu 2, Verso?) a fair amount of the time. Yes, I'm pretty new to climbing gear... (I love climbing stuff, but haven't done much roped, and never with light gear.)

I've got my eye on the Camp HMS Nitro or Petzl Attache 3D. According to the websites, the only difference in claimed spec is that the former has a 21mm gate opening, the latter 22mm. So, from that information and the descriptions, the Petzl looks the better option to me. They do look quite similar.

Questions I'm pondering:
-would it be worth getting a less "UL" option, something with a less cutaway cross section for say 10-15g? (non-"3D" Attache is an example)
-how thin of a rope would I need to go for a "super" (double) munter to fit?
-does a double munter significantly reduce twisting and kinking when used loaded? (compared to standard munter)
-should I care about the symmetry? (this eliminates a few UL HMS biners)

Well, that should be enough blather for now! Thanks a bunch for any feedback!

Edited by rbimli on 04/20/2011 21:05:04 MDT.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
munter biner on 04/20/2011 22:03:28 MDT Print View

I can't answer the double munter questions, never had occasion to use on myself.

I do think that the Attache is the best locking carabiner in the history of the world. The locking mech stays smooth and resists binding under years of use in nasty conditions (Fischer Towers!). I'd get that, as a good long term investment.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: munter biner on 04/20/2011 22:55:42 MDT Print View

I second the Attache. It's always been the standard locker amongst most everyone I know.

I wouldn't worry about saving 15 grams on a carabiner unless you're carrying a few dozen or trying to beat Dean Potter up The Nose.

As for the munter, why? If you're wearing a harness and carrying a belay device and locking carabiners, what's the point of not using them?

Unless you're going for a retro vibe....In which case I highly recommend a swami belt to compliment your munter...


On that note, anyone know where I can get me a set of them retro abs?


Edited by xnomanx on 04/20/2011 23:22:44 MDT.

Brian Austin
(footeab) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: munter biner on 04/21/2011 00:58:24 MDT Print View

Why the munter? Have you climbed anything other than vertical rock? Where I agree trying to use the munter is rather complicated, though doable. Anything Alpine requires mostly vast amounts of class 3/4/low 5th quite often requiring the need for simulclimbing and the occasional need to set up a VERY quick belay. The biggest problem is usually TIME related. Fastest setup is the munter, well second fastest as the FASTEST is the hip belay which I regard good up to short sections of pure vertical. I know a guy who went up El Capitan the Nose using nothing but the hip belay. Yes, that is right. He has caught hundreds of falls throughout his climbing career on vertical rock via the hip belay since the 70's. Anyways, back to the issue. By using the Munter you can belay Very fast, aka pulling in the rope or running it out. The only way one can claim to be more efficient is only regarding bringing up a second via the use of a self locking belay device allowing you to eat, drink, and other stuff. This belay device is still BONE slow for normal belaying though.

Regarding your large carabiner choice, I have used several but honestly I know none of their names so I can't help you. Sorry.

Douglas Ray

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Belay Carabiners... on 04/21/2011 20:24:51 MDT Print View

I don't think symmetry matters at all for this sort of 'biner. The three things you will notice are gate opening, basket size (how wide the wide end of the 'biner is), and cross-section. Larger gate opening and basket are nice, although with skinny ropes like you are talking about I think anything on the market called an HMS will be fine. The cross-section will effect the gripping power of both belay devices and munter hitches, with smaller equalling more grip.

I'd say that the Petzle Attache' would have the least grip and be the biggest everywhere else. The camp, Black Diamond Vaporlock, and DMM Sentinel would all work fine. All of these are hot forged. If you just use them for alpine you'll have them forever. If you do a lot of rock climbing and rappel on old dirty ropes they will wear out in a few years, noticeably faster than big fat HMS 'biners. I've been very happy with my vaporlock's for this sort of use.

I've never found the need for a supermunter, I can only see using it in a rescue-lower or rappelling with a really thin bit of accessory or tec cord. I would highly recommend the DMM Bugett for rappelling and belaying with skinny ropes in not-so-technical alpine situations, and some sort of autoblock-type device if you are pitching out anything very steep. The weight is more than offset by the efficiency and energy saved by having easy-to-use tools. The cost will be saved quickly in rope wear, the munter is not kind on ropes.

Braced body belays are the fastest in many situations and are commonly used in guiding. They should be practised if they are to be safe. If you are building an anchor than that will take much longer than loading your rope into a belay device, and with practice that is pretty much as fast as the munter hitch.

Ross P Hemphill
(rbimli) - F

Locale: PNW
oh, choices... on 04/22/2011 01:24:38 MDT Print View

I wanted to thank everybody for their input so far. I'm going to do a bit more research/"thinking" 'fore my next post, which will hopefully come tomorrow. Of course, keep the thoughts coming! :] TTFN...

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Dmm on 04/24/2011 00:29:29 MDT Print View

Dmm sentinal .... I have and use dmm, petzl attache and a whole bunch of others

Sentinal is light, has enough place for a munter or even a monster munter

As to muntera they are quick and easy to set up .... Just keep the biner on yr belay loop , no atc to drop and fumble .... I dont recommend body belays with $$$$ or UL jackets

Andrew Wilson
(andreww) - MLife

Locale: Vosges
Munter hitches on 05/02/2011 02:23:02 MDT Print View

FYI: I climb in France/Germany, and for some reason Germans almost always seem to use Munter hitches, exclusively for seconds/top roping. Fast, safe, and simple. And nobody says Germans in general don't know good technique. I learned with a hip belay. Not the safest in a rescue situation, but the whole point with the quick/efficient style is to avoid such a situation.

Andrew Schriner
(lettheguydance) - F

Locale: Midwest
re: Munter on 05/04/2011 10:53:04 MDT Print View

There's really no question that the Munter is a useful belay technique. As for which biner to use...I say get one that's reasonably light, stop worrying about it, and get outside more. When you start talking about the 30 or so biners that make up the rest of your rack, maybe agonizing over the weight of the biner you choose makes sense. But for now...just get outside, yo!