The Most Influential Gear of All Time: Black Diamond Hotwire Wiregate Carabiner

1995

A modern wiregate 'biner

A modern wiregate 'biner     Photo: Black Diamond

On top of being one of backcountry skiing’s most accomplished athletes, Andrew McLean has contributed immensely to climbing gear technology. New on the job at Black Diamond in the mid-90s, he drew knowledge from his experience as a sailor, where wire clips were standard equipment, and proposed a similar design for climbing carabiners. Despite initial resistance within the company—the new design was a radical step from standard gate ‘biners—McClean managed to prove that his design was not only lighter and easier to produce, but also better resisted opening upon impact with rock. There was another advantage too: wiregates didn’t freeze in cold, wet conditions, making them the obvious choice for ice climbers.

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