Auto-Locking Carabiner

Screw gates have been the locking carabiner standard since their inception in the late 1890’s. Auto-lockers entered the climbing scene in the 1970’s but due to their increased weight and somewhat complex operation they have primarily been used by more safety-conscious climbers.

Fortunately, auto-locking carabiner design has seen unprecedented change in the last few years. New designs have made them lighter, cheaper, easier to use, and much more accessible to all climbers.



What is an “Auto-Locking” Carabiner

A carabiner that ensures safety by locking itself shut after it’s been opened.

Until recently auto-locking carabiners have required a series of debatably frustrating twists and pulls to open the gate, and when you release the gate it automatically closes and locks. The actions required to create the safety benefit are the same actions that make these “twist lock” carabiners more challenging to use.

The standard twist lock (most auto-locking carabiners)

The more traditional twist lock design consists of two main types:

  1. The standard twist lock (the auto-locking carabiner in the video above) requires 2-operations (2-stage) and opens with a twist followed by pressure on the gate. Other common names include 2AL, quicklock, Triact-Lock, and 2Lock.
  2. The other, more complicated, twist lock type is a 3-operation (3-stage) locker, requiring a pull, a twist, and then pressure on the gate to open. These are also referred to as triple lock, 3Lock, Locksafe, or Auto 3.




Climbing gyms that provide pre-rigged GriGri’s (a belay device with assisted braking) will often come equipped with a 3-stage auto-locking carabiner, with the intention of adding as much safety as possible into the system.

Unique auto-locking carabiners

Ok, so we’ve heard the complaints of normal auto-locking carabiners: too cumbersome to use, and too heavy. But today, there are auto-lockers that are faster, safer, and lighter than the equivalent screw gate carabiner.

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