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Anchor Labs ‘gumball’ carabiner advances climbing tech with clip-friendly product

Why it matters to you

The Gumball Clip simplifies lead climbing with easier and safer clipping capabilities.

Carabiner evolution has suffered from some tunnel vision, with the element of weight coming to serve as the primary development force. Anchor Labs aims to shake up the climbing world with the Gumball Clip, a new carabiner that serves a different function — more efficient clipping while lead climbing. 

One of the most challenging barriers in the realm of rock climbing involves advancing to lead climbing. Leaving the safety of a top rope behind is terrifying enough, but learning to pull up rope with one hand while dangling from a hold on the other and effectively clipping it through a dynamic, gated oval slot is a demanding feat.

Some of the most dangerous falls occur when climbers fumble at the clip, plummeting the distance between their last clip in addition to the length of rope pulled up in expectation of clipping. Many amateur climbers are dismayed at the thought of lead climbing and never progress beyond top-roping.

Anchor Labs was launched by a group of climbers out of the University of Minnesota. They aim to revolutionize the climbing world with “training wheels” for lead climbers, and the Gumball Clip serves this exact purpose. The product is constructed of forged aluminum, boasts a simple curved wire gate, and has an unusual smooth ball at the rope entry point. The combined curved gate shape and sliding ball function contributes to increased clipping ease and offers a massive decrease in usual equipment error, highlighted commonly by stubborn biner gates.

This innovation is being provided with safety assurance equal to existing systems, including CE certification. The carabiner is rated to 20kN when closed and 7kN when opened or on its minor axis.

The Gumball Clip has been a year in production and is listed to retail for $18 on Anchor Lab’s prominent Kickstarter campaign page, or $25 for an entire quickdraw, including shipping. The quickdraw can be purchased on the Kickstarter campaign page for $23. The product is set for initial shipment this summer.