Residual strength of carabineers and rope snaps after use in tree climbing

2005 | Dr. Brian Kane

Tree climbers increasingly use carabiners and apply them in situations for which they are not designed. Because failure of carabiners can result in serious injury or death, this study tested how well carabiners endure the stress to which climbers subject them. This study distributed carabiners of four types (all manufactured by Petzl) to climbers in Massachusetts and New York, USA, and collected them a year later. Collected carabiners were then broken in a universal testing machine that measured the maximum load, as well as surface roughness. No carabiners broke below their rated strength. The used carabiners were, with one exception, as strong as new carabiners. Surface roughness was a weak, but significant, predictor of strength. Findings are discussed in light of climber safety and the importance of conducting long-term studies.

Year: 2005

Funding Duration: 3-5 years

Grant Program: Hyland Johns Grant

Grant Title: Residual Strength of Carabiners and Rope Snaps after Use in Tree Climbing

Researcher: Brian Kane

Key words: Climbing safety; rope techniques; climbing equipment; carabiners

Peer Reviewed Publications:

  • Kane, B. and H. D. P. Ryan. 2009. Residual strength of carabiners used by tree climbers. Arboriculture & Urban Forestry. 35:75-79. View the Publication >

General Audience/Trade Publications: none

Presentations: none

For more information on this project, contact the researcher via TREE Fund at