With rock climbing gear we are living in the days of refinement, over pure innovation. Most of the gear is quite similar to what was being used 15 to 20 years ago, but its just simply lighter, and easier to use.
Retail: starting at $25.95
This is certainly the case with quickdraws, they are simple and there’s not much you can do with them. In the last few years, companies have trimmed them down with light biners and even lighter dog bones (the nylon that connects the two biners). Sure they are light but how necessary is it for quickdraws to be ultralight? Personally, I’d rather have draws that clip and handle well, that might weigh a little bit more.
Which is why I’m a huge fan of the DMM Alpha Sport Draw. These quickdraws seem to be created for ease of use and a luxurious clip. “They clip themselves”, a climber partner of mine said after using mine. The dog bone is also a healthy size (26mm) for picking it off your harness and clipping in, or at a last resort grabbing the draw at a bolt to clip in and avoid taking the whipper.
The Alpha’s come in three different sizes: 12cm, 18cm, and 25cm. I prefer the “normal” 12cm size for day-to-day sport climbing, but surely the longer sizes would come in handy on overhanging projects, or on a trad climb. Each draw is equipped with an Alpha clip and Alpha pro biner, the “pro” to clip into the bolt, and the “clip” for the rope. The “clip” is the biner you really notice the refinement in: the bent gate with the flared out barrel shape is what really makes it feel like it clips itself. On the opposite spine of the biner is a kinked and groove pattern.
Bottom line: This is my favorite on my rack of quickdraws and the first ones I reach for when I’m cruxing out on a clip. I like how it handles, and it doesn’t have a flimsy feel like so many of the lighter, refined draws out there these days. You definitely pay for it, with a retail price starting at $25.95 (for the 12cm version), but it’s surely worth the extra cash for the ease of clip.
In the vertical world, quality gear is as important as good weather or the right partner. At the Climbing Zine, we review gear that we put to the test in our personal climbing pursuits, over months of use. If we like it we’ll tell you, and if we don’t we’ll tell you. That’s our policy…If you have gear for us to consider for a review please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About us: The Climbing Zine was started in 2010 by Al Smith III and Luke Mehall. It continues to the day with the mission of representing the true essence of climbing. Our crown jewel is our printed version, but we also do the interweb thing, and Kindle. You can now subscribe to The Climbing Zine as well!