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Via Ferrata Kit - Can I use Climbing Carabiners?

Via Ferrata Kit - Whats the difference between it and normal climbing kit?

The Carabiners on custom built Via Ferrata sets all have to be Type K carabiners (EN 12275), but what does that actually mean in a practical sense and how do they differ from the carabiners I use for climbing/scrambling?

Carabiner Strength wise; Loading on the Major Axis has to a minimum of 25kN. Other types have to be min 20kn (except the Oval which is 18kN)

Gate open strength has a minimum of 8kN. HMS types are 6kN, Ovals 5kN and Type T and A shapes 7kN.

Loading on the Minor Axis has to be minimum of 7kN which is the same for the other types.

To active UIAA status then there is an extra strength test that has to be achieved. Strength over an Edge is 8kN. No other carabiner types are tested over an edge.

Other Carabiner details; K Type carabiners shall have an autolocking device. Minimum Gate opening is 21mm, other types is 15mm.

Examples of K Type Carabiners; Petzl Vertigo Wire Lock Black Diamond Iron Cruiser

Climbing Technology K-Classic

The Lanyards themselves; The Type "Y" has the two lanyards joined together ABOVE the energy absorber. If the climber was clipped to the wire/anchor with either or both of the lanyards and the climber fell then the absorber/dissapator will do its job. Example would be the Petzl Scorpio Vertigo.

Petzl Scorpio Vertigo

Another method has the lanyards passing through an energy absorber in one peice of material (Usually Dynamic Rope). Example would be the Kong KISA with a single rope. The Kong KISA needs to be rigged correctly as shown in the image below. As you can see in the image the the two lanyards are connected together above the KISA and then a single strand passes through the KISA. during a slip then the rope moves through the KISA and absorbs the energy of the fall. I have seen a KISA rigged incorrectly where the lanyard is a single rope threaded through the KISA with a carabiner at both ends of the rope with one lanyard coming out of one end of the KISA and one coming out of the bottom. If a fall occurs when both connectors are clipped to the wire cable, there will be no energy absorbing in the system. This could be very painful or worse. Rig a KISA like the image below.

Kong KISA as the Energy Absorber

The UIAA stated that only the Type "Y" lanyard should be used (UIAA 128).

Dynamic Testing; An 80kg mass (The same that is uses for Type B ropes, slings, carabiners etc) is allowed to fall 5m (Connected just above the dissapator) and the Peak force on the lanyard is to be less than or equal to 6kN.

Static Testing: 1.2kN load applied with out slipping of the absorber followed by a 9kN load applied with out the lanyard breaking.

Knots are not allowed to be tied in via ferrata slings and will void the warrently (EN 958)


Should you want to read all the European Notifications and UIAA Spec. Look up

EN - 958 / UIAA - 128: Energy Absorbing Sysyems for Via Ferrata

EN - 12275:2013 / : Mountaineering Equipment - Connectors - Safety requirements & test methods

UIAA - 121 - Connectors

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