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By Kevin Burns
Apr 12, 2010
How realistic is it that a non-wire gate quickdraw will open during a fall because of gate flutter? I know everyone gives that example of a solid beaner gate clicking when you hit it against your hand but how realistic is this ?

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By John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Apr 12, 2010
gate flutter wont actually 'open' the gate of a biner (btw- beaner is a racial slur...) in and of itself.

in regular sport climbing scenarios where the draw is hanging free of obstructions and you're falling normally, its nothing to worry about.

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By Jim Amidon
Apr 12, 2010
J TREE
It's realistic......

It happened to me and the Caribiner (PC) broke....

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By Price
From SLC, UT
Apr 12, 2010
I know I can be sarcastic, but I'm sincerely interested in this.

Jim can you describe the scenario in which you took your fall/broke a carabiner? What brand of carabiner was it if I may ask?

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By Brian in SLC
Apr 12, 2010
Climbing in Smuggler's Notch
John Wilder wrote:
gate flutter wont actually 'open' the gate of a biner in and of itself.


Hmmm....

I think the scenario that would be bad is that at the moment of impact, if a carabiner gate had chattered (fluttered), the carabiner would possibly "see" a gate open type situation. And, the strength of a carabiner as you well know is much much reduced "gate open".

What are the chances? Pretty minimal, I'd think. But, apparently has happened and was responsible for carabiner failure.

Wire gates make too much sense for some stuff...perhaps.

Cheers!

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By bheller
From SL UT
Apr 12, 2010
A good friend of mine took a nasty fall of 150 feet from the top of an aid route. Something like 14 pieces of gear were left securely placed in the crack
, but gate flutter had allowed the rope to exit all his bimers as he fell!He was caught by an offset brass nut 15 feet above the ledge that would have taken his life... don't use anything buy wire gates.

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By Price
From SLC, UT
Apr 12, 2010
bheller wrote:
A good friend of mine took a nasty fall of 150 feet from the top of an aid route. Something like 14 pieces of gear were left securely placed in the crack , but gate flutter had allowed the rope to exit all his bimers as he fell!He was caught by an offset brass nut 15 feet above the ledge that would have taken his life... don't use anything buy wire gates.


So ... the rope actually unclipped? No carabiner breakage? I could possibly (like one in a million) see this if every piece was back-clipped somehow. Seems incredibly unlikely.

(disclaimer: Life on planet Earth is equally if not more unlikely, as is human intelligence. I suppose that such a scenario, however improbable is possible.)

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By Price
From SLC, UT
Apr 12, 2010
or did I possibly miss your sarcasm?

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By Dana Bartlett
From CT
Apr 12, 2010
I used to have printed copies of the monographs that documented (via high-speed photography) gate flutter; threw them away many years ago. I don't recall the circumstances/conditions that can cause it to happen, but I distinctly remember that it can happen.

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By john strand
From southern colo
Apr 12, 2010
I love sarcasm but BITD John bouchard at Wild Things did a lot of testing on this matter along with some groups in france. I'm not sure if any of the data is still out there, but it was shocking footage to see in slo mo.

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By Joseph Crotty
From Broomfield, CO
Apr 12, 2010
Maltese cross.
Price wrote:
I know I can be sarcastic, but I'm sincerely interested in this. Jim can you describe the scenario in which you took your fall/broke a carabiner? What brand of carabiner was it if I may ask?


I'll leave it to Jim to fill in the blanks on what he feels like responding to regarding specifics. I caught Jim on the fall and you can rest assured it was gate flutter that caused the carabiner break.

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By Kevin Burns
Apr 12, 2010
Jim Amidon wrote:
It's realistic...... It happened to me and the Caribiner (PC) broke....


Wow. Can I assume you were using solid gates ?

How many biners broke ?

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By mark felber
From Wheat Ridge, CO
Apr 13, 2010
Quite a few years ago I had a rope unclip itself from the carabiner during a lead fall, fortunately it was the placement below the top gear placement. I placed a sideways stopper, clipped in a fairly stiff quickdraw, and continued up a ways before placing another piece. I came off shortly after placing that piece, and when I came to a stop I realized that the piece below the one that held me was not clipped into the rope. This was a fairly low angle climb for the grade (Dr. Feelgood, Glacier Point Apron, Yosemite National Park). I can only conclude that the carabiner got smacked against the rock as I came off, and the momentum developed by the gate as the carabiner hit the rock held the gate open long enough for the rope to make it's way out of the carabiner. The combination of a sideways stopper placement and a stiff sport climbing quickdraw seems to have been the culprit. The carabiner was held at 90 to the rock, and as the rope whipped through the biner it smacked the biner against the rock hard enough to open the gate and let the rope unclip itself.

Lessons learned:
1. If something can go wrong, it will (you knew that already, right?).
2. Don't use stiff sport climbing draws with sideways stopper placements. In fact, don't use stiff, sport climbing draws on any low angle climbs.
3. Use wire gates to clip the rope, the gates are not heavy enough to develop a lot of momentum and stay open long enough for the rope to escape the carabiner.

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By slim
Administrator
Apr 13, 2010
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.
i read a report several years ago about a biner breaking during a traversing slab fall. the conclusion/theory was that as the biner scraped across the slab, it caused the gate to vibrate and become loaded in a gate-open configuration.

also, first hand i witnessed a guy fall twice in a row and have the rope come out of his carabiner. i was literally 5 feet above at a belay, lookng down the crack, and saw that he clipped correctly. he fell, somehow the gate opened and the rope came out. he looked up and said "did that just happen? was i backclipped?". i responded that it did indeed happen, but that he definitely wasn't backclipped. he climbed back up, clipped again, fell, and the same thing happened. he down-aided the route.

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By bheller
From SL UT
Apr 13, 2010
My above comment was not sarcasm, but fact. He hadn't backcliped any pieces, it was all gate flutter. Also, in regards to a biner skidding across a slab. And opening due to vibration, its possible as well. Perhaps more common and quite dangerous in this situation is when a biners gate nose protrudes enough from its notch that while slidding on a rock slab it catches on a nubby protrusion and opens, thereby weakening your biner. Make sure this cannot happen with the biners you use.

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By Kevin Burns
Apr 13, 2010
slim wrote:
i was literally 5 feet above at a belay, lookng down the crack, and saw that he clipped correctly. he fell, somehow the gate opened and the rope came out.


Solid or wiregate ?

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By slim
Administrator
Apr 14, 2010
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.
solid gate, looked like a typical offset D, maybe a BD, petzl spirit, or something similar.

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By 20 kN
Administrator
From Hawaii
Apr 25, 2010
bheller wrote:
A good friend of mine took a nasty fall of 150 feet from the top of an aid route. Something like 14 pieces of gear were left securely placed in the crack , but gate flutter had allowed the rope to exit all his biners as he fell!He was caught by an offset brass nut 15 feet above the ledge that would have taken his life... don't use anything buy wire gates.

So your saying that 14 seperate biners opened and the rope just popped out from gate flutter? I am going to call bullshit on that one. The chances of that happening is too low to even measure.

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By coryred797
From Yonkers, NY
Apr 26, 2010
Mark Durford wrote:
So your saying that 14 seperate biners opened and the rope just popped out from gate flutter? I am going to call bullshit on that one. The chances of that happening is on the magnitude of one and a trillion. Hell, the chances of two biners failing from gate flutter is on the order of 1:500,000.


I agree. 14 pieces of gear all failing due to flutter is about as likley as Jessica Biel coming up to me and asking me out and then me winning the lottery the next day. There is no way in hell that happened. Maybe and thats even a far reach, I can see this happening if he was back clipped on every piece of pro, but the chance of that even happening and all 14 being unclipped is insane.

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By Eric Hardester
From Provo, Utah
Apr 30, 2014
Belaying Chupacabra at The Wild in Rock Canyon.
Here is some high speed imaging of gate flutter that my buddy and I took earlier this week. Wanted to see for ourselves, and I have access to some high speed cameras, so we just took a couple videos. This shows us hitting it against a block of wood, but we did try it against our hands as well, the usual demonstration. Wire gate opens then too, just not as much as the solid gate. The two in the video are new (solid in Dec 13', wire in April 14').



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By awimmer
Apr 30, 2014
Here is some high speed imaging of gate flutter that my buddy and I took earlier this week. Wanted to see for ourselves, and I have access to some high speed cameras, so we just took a couple videos. This shows us hitting it against a block of wood, but we did try it against our hands as well, the usual demonstration. Wire gate opens then too, just not as much as the solid gate. The two in the video are new (solid in Dec 13', wire in April 14').
>

What does the wire gate one do when held from the top of the biner. Ie, same position the carabiner was held in the solid gate video?

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By pjheinz83
From Southeast Pennsylvania
Apr 30, 2014
Groove Tube - Tonsai, Thailand
^ I'd imagine it did the same thing. I don't think this is real scientific based on the different postions of the biners - or the lack of any measurement to show the amount of downward force being used. Just showing that gates will open regardless.

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By Healyje
Apr 30, 2014
girl40
None of this is 'gate flutter' per se which was a term applied to what may or may not have happened as the horizontal bar tacks in Wild Things Air Voyagers (an early form of screamer) tore.



If the rope came off of 14 solid pieces (hard to believe) it was definitely not 'gate flutter', but rather something consistently bad about clipping/slinging/biner orientation.

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By Eric Hardester
From Provo, Utah
Apr 30, 2014
Belaying Chupacabra at The Wild in Rock Canyon.
Awimmer and pjheinz83, yeah we weren't too scientific about it, just wanted to see it in slow motion. We did it with a couple biners, and held them all differently (just because we weren't paying attention to that), but they all opened. We've thought of taking a more scientific approach in the next few months and measuring the impact force, impact point, angle of impact etc.

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By Ryan Kempf
From Boulder, CO
Apr 30, 2014
Ryan on the Sharks Fin wishing he was on Mt. Whiteny.
Gate Flutter? I experienced that in junior high and high school but never in climbing. Just keep at it boys, they'l hold your rope.

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By awimmer
Apr 30, 2014
Eric Hardester wrote:
Awimmer and pjheinz83, yeah we weren't too scientific about it, just wanted to see it in slow motion. We did it with a couple biners, and held them all differently (just because we weren't paying attention to that), but they all opened. We've thought of taking a more scientific approach in the next few months and measuring the impact force, impact point, angle of impact etc.


I'd be interested to see the results of that testing when you get around to it, but regardless, it's good to see what wire/solid gates do in slowmo. Thanks for posting the video.

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