By Andrew Liszewski
I’m convinced that 80% of the world’s carabiner production is used by first year college students. But if you’re just using one to hold your dorm room key, student I.D. and meal card, a locking mechanism isn’t necessary. For the remaining 20% which are used to keep mountain climbers securely attached to their safety lines, being able to easily and securely lock and unlock them is an important feature. And that’s what prompted Black Diamond to engineer their new Magnetron auto-locking Carabiner.
On either side of the carabiner’s brightly colored locking ‘arms’ you’ll find a strong magnet that’s attracted to a steel insert, keeping the locking mechanism closed until you depress both sides to open it. And once opened, the opposing magnets actually have the same polarity so they repel each other, keeping the arms held open until the carabiner is closed again. (If my description is making things sound more confusing than they really are, just watch this promotional video from Black Diamond which eventually shows how the new system works.)
Don’t run out to your local outdoor shop just yet to pick one up though. They won’t be available until July 2012 at the earliest, presumably to allow for ample safety testing first.