This bit of basic good practice can save you many seconds of fumbling frustration. While working with clients, it is apparent that this tip isn’t as well known as perhaps one might expect. Those seconds can quickly add up but certainly the wasted time can lead to delay. Maybe it means that the bad weather catches you. Or maybe you don’t reach your car to get back home in time. In a worst case, maybe the delay is the first part of a chain of events that lead to an accident.
It’s so easy. The tip? For the right orientation, turn your karabiner around.
When using a single karabiner (often a screwgate), first clip it into the object that you are connecting it to. This is often a harness, sling or piece of gear. Then turn it 180 degrees so that the gate faces away from whatever you clipped it into. This means that whatever you clip next (more often than not your rope) is so much easier to clip because the gate opening is more accessible. If the first object you clipped is orientated horizontally, then clip the karabiner downwards into it. This means that after the 180 degree turn the gate opening is also facing upwards. This is a double-win for making the next stage even easier. What’s more, depending on the design and shape of the karabiner, this helps many pear-shaped and HMS-shaped karabiners (often used with belay devices) sit much more securely and reduce the chance of cross-loading.