Snow White, Peter Pan, Cinderella and…

… hairline fractures in aluminium karabiners. If you believe in the former, you probably also believe in the latter.

Time and again I find myself confronted with the pervasive myth of hairline fractures in karabiners as a consequence of aging and/ or being dropped. These cracks, or so the story goes, can only be detected under a microscope.

Arghhhhh! NO, NO, NO!

This is a MYTH. This is not how aluminium karabiners age! Hairline fractures. Do. Not. Exist!

Well actually, let me qualify that: hairline fractures in karabiners can occur, but if this is the case, they were there from the get-go, resulting from faults in production, such as problems in forging or botched heat treatment. The best way to protect yourself against this kind of incident, rather than buying a scanning electron microscope (which might strain your bank account somewhat), is quite simply to avoid buying PPE of unclear provenance and quality, and rather to invest in high-quality equipment from reputable manufacturers.

In such connectors damage can be assessed visually as a part of a routine thorough inspection, checking for mechanical damage to the body or gate and/ or loss of function of the locking mechanism.

So there you go, a simple remedial action allows us to sort that one – and we get to put the hairline fracture in karabiners myth to bed once and for all… along with Bashful, Doc, Dopey, Happy, Sleepy, Sneezy and Grumpy.