On average when climbing you will need at least 2 locking carabiners when sport climbing. If you are climbing trad then you will need anywhere between 4-6 to ensure you are prepared for any situation.
Sport Climbing – The reason you only need 2 locking carabiners is because its unlikely you will be creating an anchor as all routes already have lower offs and bolts. This means the only use for the carabiners are for belaying or can be used to bail off a route by leaving the carabiner in a bolt.
If you are trad climbing it can get a little more complex and it’s usually better to find yourself with a carabiner too many rather than too few. A typical trad rack will have anywhere between 2-6 locking carabiners which will be used for a mixture of tasks such as belay, anchors, runners, and last of all that important backup.
How Long Will My Set of Carabiners Last?
The life time of a carabiner is around 10-15 years but its dependant on alot of different factors. This is assuming the carabiners are stored correctly and properly cleaned and maintained. If you fail to look after your carabiner its likely to only last you 4-6 years.
Maintenance and cleaning are the most important factors in order to give you gear a longer shelf life. Most carabiners are prone to attracting all sorts of gunk and oils while climbing and these will degrade the carabiner and reduce its lifespan if not cleaned off.
Do Carabiners Rust?
Pretty much all climbing carabiners are made from aluminium which means they dont contain any iron or steel so are unable to rust. Aluminium is actually known for its ability to resist corrosion. While it does have great resistance properties aluminum can still corrode from various sources but the main one climbers have to worry about is sea salt.
A lot of routes in Europe especially tend to be in coastal areas or cliffs which leaves your gear exposed to the salt carried in the air. After climbing in an area with a large concentration of salt its important to clean all your metal gear to prevent corrosion.