Fire breathing hybrid or wildly imaginative – the new lightweight carabiner from Welsh dragons DMM is a hit with CGR.
The Chimera is our flagship lightweight clean nose carabiner, with dimensions that strike a precise balance between weight saving and useability.
We are fans of DMM, we like the fact that they are always innovating and trying to improve what is essentially a utility – the carabiner. Over the years DMM have been shaving the weight down from their carabiner range and have come up trumps with the new Chimera.
We’ve been testing several over the summer and found them to be brilliant for Alpine adventures and lightweight trad. I’ve been using the DMM Thors for quite a while now, I also have a couple of Spectre 2 quickdraws on there as well. The Chimera have the same action, nice and smooth and DMM have cleaned up the nose and still been able to retain the wire gate. The gate has been tapered cleverly to fit under the nose hood.
What’s really nice is the way they have managed to keep the gate open strength at 9kN, which shouldn’t happen that much now as one of the main reasons a gate is open is because the nose has snagged on something, such as the wire on your wires.
DMM has also reduced the width of the Dyneema sling on the Chimera to 8mm which they are calling Dynatec. This looks a little thin and makes the Chimera pretty difficult to grab if you are planning to use them for sport climbing. They are not, however, designed for that; they are designed for Alpine and trad where weight can be an issue. There are no stated weights for the quickdraws yet so the trusty CGR scales weighed a 12cm quickdraw in at 67g, which is stupidly light and 14g lighter than my same size Thor and just 2g heavier than the Phantom (the Chimera is more useable size than the Phantom).
The biners come in the usual DMM colour coding with a silver biner clipping to the protection and a gunmetal one clipping into the rope. The sling has a great looking, burly capture which keeps it firmly in place, so gone is the old inner capture and this looks much better. The stitching on the sling is also placed to help give the bottom of the quickdraw some rigidity. All very nicely done. The sling colour coding is similar to the rest of the range – DMM now use grey for the 18cm quickdraw – a change from the blue which I have. So Gold is 12cm, Grey is 18cm and Red 25cm. My standard rack includes 6 x 12, 4 x 18 and 2 x 25cms and that is what I advise clients when they ask and if I’m going really light then I don’t take the 12cm ones.
We tested them on our annual Alps trip this year and used them on Koubal, a bolted alpine rock route on the Petite Floria in Les Aiguilles Rouge. They were perfect for that style of route – with a strenuous 1 hour walk in up steep scree and then a perfectly bolted route the weight saving became noticeable (especially on my aging knees!).
So, the DMM Chimera is a great new biner that is perfect for Alpine routes and if you are doing a lot of mountain trad they will be useful too. The size of the biner easily accommodated our double ropes, even using them as a twin rope for mountain sport, so they are useable. Although, I won’t be using them for winter as that is faffy enough without trying to open such a small biner with gloves on!
So hopefully the DMM Chimera has been named as a wildly imaginative take on the lightweight carabiner rather than a hybrid make up of different parts! They are a great addition to the range and destined to become popular – will I change them for my Thors? Definitely for personal use but for use on client days probably not as I want something a little bigger and easier for them to use. I will, however will immediately be buying a set of the colour coded ones as a compliment to my Dragon Cams!
SRP: single carabiner £10.00, 12cm quickdraw “20.00, 18cm quickdraw, £20.50, 25cm quickdraw £21.00,
Trad pack (1 x 12, 3 x 18, 1 x 25cm) £95.00
Available from various retailers.
Dave Sarkar has tested and reviewed climbing, mountaineering and outdoor equipment for almost 10 years. He works as a qualified MIA both in the UK and Internationally: working full time as a mountaineering instructor and expedition leader for his company Wild Spaces. When he isn’t working in the mountains he’s playing in the mountains and enjoys all aspects climbing and mountain sports whether bouldering at his local crag or ice climbing; as long as he’s going upwards he’s happy!