High on the Swiss Arete of Mount Sill in the Sierra Nevada, complicated multi-pitch anchors are made more manageable by using the right locking carabiner.
The Attache is the carabiner that we most frequently grabbed to clip onto the harness, thanks to its simple and clean design and solid performance, no matter the application. Petzl carabiners are well designed, and from their standard setting Spirit Quickdraws to their locking carabiner line we like the attention given to such a seemingly small piece of our climbing kit. The size of the Attache allows it to be easily manipulated by both gloved and ungloved hands. We used the Attache during days of ice climbing and alpine rock and snow climbing and appreciated that it was big enough not to fumble like some other lightweight options. The spring tension in the gate is less than some other HMS style competitors in this review, like the Mad Rock Ultra-Tech HMS, and we like that it feels easier to open but still snaps closed reliably and effectively.
Thanks to its classic HMS/pear shape, this contender is adept at holding clove hitches and Munter hitches, important considerations if looking at locking carabiners that can perform well on multi-pitch climbs or on alpine routes where a Munter hitch may be a more efficient belay than a standard tube style device or a plaquette (auto-blocking belay device).
This locking carabiner uses I-beam construction along the whole perimeter, even around the basket. The inner, rope-bearing surface is wider than the outside, which allows for a smoother feed when dealing with ropes under tension, and less friction than a smaller I-beam shape like found on the Edelrid Pure Screw, but all I-beam shapes give more friction than their rounder stock counterparts, like the Omega Pacific ISO Standard Locking D.
This friction is more noticeable when belaying with thick ropes in auto-block mode, such as belaying a second with a Petzl Reverso or a combination of the two. The benefit to using an I-beam construction locker when belaying auto-block, or guide mode, is that that it gives you an easy means to give slack to a weighted rope by ratcheting the carabiner back and forth.
Check out this tutorial to learn more about this method.
Ease of Locking and Unlocking
The construction of this locking carabiner is top notch; the quality is apparent when clipping and locking the carabiner. The milling job is quite good and there is very little play between the screw lock and the gate. It is easy to screw the gate open and shut with and without gloves. We used the Attache rock climbing, alpine climbing in snow and ice, and ski mountaineering, and were impressed that it did not easily get jammed up with snow, ice or grit, likely due to the tighter fit of the screw lock.
The biggest issue we have with the current iteration of the Attache is an issue that has been echoed by many other users in countless other reviews. The screw lock easily rattles open when the gate is locked in an upwards direction and the carabiner not rotated. Gravity is a powerful force, and even with the more secure feeling screw locks as on the Omega Pacific ISO Standard Locking D, vibrations can open locked screwgate carabiners if left untended. The best way to counteract this is to rotate the carabiner so you screw in a downward direction; gravity will do its part and keep the screwgate locked. But climbing situations are not always that simple, and there were many instances , such as belaying a second on a multi-pitch, when we looked down and saw the red stripe on the Attache begin to appear, more than once while belaying a second on a multi-pitch alpine climb. Hopefully Petzl addresses this in future editions of the Attache, for now users should remember that they need to be vigilant about tending their lockers, or make sure they are oriented in the correct direction.
Belaying with a plaquette device, with the BD Positron and Petzl Attache lockers.
With the Attache Locking Carabiner, Petzl has struck a perfect balance between size and weight. Among the larger carabiners in our test, the Attache is also one of the lightest, outdone only by the Edelrid Pure Screw. Since there is no major functionality tradeoff for its light weight, and because the Attache locker is a full-sized HMS carabiner that can hold hitches readily, it is one of the most versatile lockers in our review, at home at the gym, the crag, or an airy alpine face. It is a full-sized locker, though, and since you only need a minimum of 2-3 HMS or pear-shaped lockers per team member in a typical multi-pitching situation, you could round out the rest of your kit with smaller more compact lockers like the Edelrid Pure or Black Diamond Positron . These little lockers take up less space on the harness, in the pack, and in the case of the Edelrid Pure, can be up to three-quarters of the weight of their full-size counterparts. Those not venturing as far away from the trailhead may choose a locking carabiner to do the same tasks and gain more durability, such as found in the Black Diamond RockLock Screwgate.
On long glacial approaches like found in the North Cascades, lightweight construction is more important than overall durability.
The gate clearance available is enough to easily clip large bulky knots, rope strands for setting up a rappel, or big master points on anchors made out of thicker gauge materials. The Black Diamond RockLock Screwgate has a slightly larger gate opening, but it is also larger and heavier than the Attache. While some scenarios may benefit from having such a large opening locking carabiner, we feel that the Attache offers a good balance between overall size and gate clearance. We liked that we got a large clearance for such a light weight as well, since we were more likely to bring lightweight carabiners into the mountains with us. Having a wide opening was useful when clipping ourselves into big nests of slings at fixed anchors on alpine routes, putting a skier on belay with snowy ropes, or backing up a crevasse rescue system with multiple bight knots into one carabiner.
This is a good carabiner to use when clove hitching yourself in at multi pitch anchors.
Gate Hang Up
This locking carabiner uses a keylock nose, like almost all other locking carabiners reviewed here. The snag-free nose design helps keep the gate from hanging up on bolt hangers, thin strands of cordalette, and the wire keeper loops on belay/rappel devices, among other things. The Attache's clean nose allowed us to easily clip into weighted master points and anchor shelves, with much less fuss than keyed nose carabiners like the Omega Pacific ISO Standard Locking D.
The Petzl Attache is a favorite among alpine climbers. Here it is shown functioning well in a crevasse rescue system.
This award winning Editors' Choice locking carabiner is a tried and true HMS shape that will perform well in a range of applications. This is a carabiner that will work well on the rack of any climber, hiker, skier, or canyoneer. In short, if you find yourself needing a locking carabiner, the Attache is a good choice. Many users will find that the durability issues outlined above can be easily overlooked in favor of the Attache's light weight and performance, though if you are looking for a locker that will see a lot of friction and abrasion, a locking carabiner with a more solid stock might be more suitable.
The Attache is a mid-ranged locking carabiner in our review. At $16, it is one of the more expensive carabiners that use tradition screwgate closures and do not have any specific belay function like the Wild Country Ascent Lite Belay. It is still worth paying extra for such a functional locking carabiner, considering that you only need a few of the larger HMS/pear-shaped lockers and can fill out the rest of your locker kit with smaller, less expesive models like the Edelrid Pure Screw, which is $6 less per locking carabiner.
The Petzl Attache has been one of the most popular locking carabiners on the market for a long while, and it will continue to be so, thanks to its light weight, versatility and performance in most all tasks it was used in. It is a perfect choice for users looking to retain all the functionality that they expect from a full-sized locker, but at a fraction of the weight for those endeavors where shaving every ounce is critical, as well as for the everyday climber who wants a quality locking carabiner for their safety systems.