Abstract The reaction kinetics of the various species of mobile defects in irradiated materials are crucially dependent on the dimensionality of their migration. Sink strengths for one-dimensionally (1D) gliding interstitial loops undergoing occasional direction changes have been described analytically and confirmed by kinetic Monte Carlo (KMC) simulations. Here we report on KMC simulations investigating a different transition from 1D to 3D diffusion of 1D gliding loops for which their 1D migration is interrupted by occasional 2D migration due to conservative climb by dislocation core diffusion within a plane transverse to their 1D glide direction. Their transition from 1D to 3D kinetics is significantly different from that due to direction changes. The KMC results are compared to an analytical description of this diffusion mode in the form of a master curve relating the 1D normalized sink strength to the frequency of disturbance of 1D migration.