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Inny or Outy – the long debate

Inny or Outy – the long debate

This is the century long debate in rock climbing.  When you go climbing, do you have your gates facing in or out??  Are you an Inny or an Outy?!?


There is only one right way, and here I will explain why.


The long-standing debate about whether you should have the gates of your climbing equipment hanging off your harness with the gates facing in or out.  Let me tell you, there is only one way which is correct.  That is the gates facing out, everything else is wrong.  Here is why.


When the carabiner, on which you have racked your nuts (or tri-cams or any other protection for that matter), are facing inwards (inny), it is much easier to accidentally lift a wire with your index finger, then dropping the wire as you unclip the carabiner from the harness.  It is much harder to do with the gates facing outwards.


One of the problems with being an Inny, dropping gear when unclipping


This is especially so when winter climbing, i.e. when you have gloves on, you have less dexterity and feeling, increasing the probability of losing something.


No dropping of gear when being an Outy


Also, when you think about the movement of your arm, when the gates facing outwards, it is a more natural movement to when the gates face inwards.  Hence, gates facing outwards is the correct way when we think about out body’s biomechanical movement.


Another advantage of the gates facing outwards is that it is easier to rerack nuts on the carabiner.


Re-racking nuts as an Outy


With the gates facing inwards, it is easier to get your clothing caught on the carabiners.  Another way to easily lose your gear.  Also, when the gates are facing inwards, when unclipping, the nose can get caught on the gear loop, and the snagging can waste energy, especially when you are that crux move, where efficiency counts.


Another good reason to have the gates facing outwards, probably the best one of them all, is that it looks cooler, than the gates facing inwards.  And we all know the first rules about being out in the mountains is….  You have to look cool.


There is an exception to the rule.  When I go climbing in winter or do big walling I may have a bandolier or a sling around the chest to carry and organise some bits of gear.  Here I have the carabiners facing inwards. This is only because of its position, and makes it easier to unclip, because of the positioning of the wrist.  That is the only time I have the gates facing inwards.


The best way of clipping gear onto a bandolier.  The only time to have the carabiners facing inwards



The only time being an outy is wrong


The pros and cons

Gates out – Pros 

less likely to become tangled in clothing

less likely to drop nuts

works better with body’s biomechanical movements

Looks cooler

Easier to rerack nuts on the carabiners, when re-leading


Gates out – Cons 



Gates in – Pros 

None, apart from when using a bandolier


Gates in – Cons 

Tangled in clothing

More likely to drop nuts

Awkward movement to unclip, working against body’s natural movement

Does not look cool


You also have the people who are undecided, and go for the random racking of gear, gates facing in and out.  These people tend to be very confused about life, and must be avoided at all times.

If you are interested, we run courses specifically to convert you from Inny to Outy.  Please contact us on info@riseandsummit.co.uk