CGR takes a quick look at the new Alpha Sport and some other draws from DMM
When we designed the Alpha Clip we were determined to produce the most ‘clip friendly’ biner ever made.
Into the CGR office (well OK my desk at home) came a selection of the latest quickdraws from legendary Welsh company DMM. DMM have been instrumental in UK (and indeed worldwide) in climbing protection innovation and their reputation for lightweight and functional kit is well known.
First off the rack is the new Alpha Sport collection, made up of the Alpha Pro and Alpha Clip carabiners coupled with a burly sewn sling. I remember owning a rack of DMM Mamba quickdraws in the 1990’s and I loved them (I have mates who still have some on their racks they rated them so highly) and the Mamba is still in the product range. You can see a distinct likeness and evolutionary pattern there.
In use I found the Alpha Sport quickdraws just brilliant, the carabiners performed in all sport climbing situations from on sighting to redpointing. They came into their own when working routes. The Alpha Pro was big enough to get my hand into when I needed to pull up and the chunky sling was great when my hands were sweaty. Both the Alpha Pro and the Alpha Clip had a ridged spine, the added friction it offered was welcome in the high to reach clips.
The clipping action of the Alpha Clip was superb and it was reassuring when clipping in strenuous positions, it has a nice ergonomic gate action that just worked every time. No sticking or movement of any kind. I bought a rack of the silver and green ones when they came out but wish I had waited for the newer ones to come out as there are some improvements:
The rubber keeper has been re-designed to make it more durable. The silver and green ones have also been updated to the same spec so there is a choice of colours. My personal favourites are the red ones. They now also come with some more bold DMM logos on the sewn sling so you can look like a real pro when looking down at where you’ve come from on your route!
The straight gate has been improved slightly and has narrow grooves. This has helped with stick clipping – but there are still some issues here. I have been using them with a BetaStick and have been having issues here (Kev would say man up dude and don’t use one, but I’m more mortal than him!) but friends with homemade clips sticks haven’t had any issues.
So they are a great sport climbing quickdraw that will serve you well, are robust and look great. The only issue is the weight, at 104g per quickdraw the weight soon stacks up.
SRP: £20.00 (12cm quickdraw)
Still, if weight is an issue you could try the Shadow quickdraw, these performed almost as well as the Alpha Sport. They had the same sewn sling and the same ergonomic bent gate for clipping. They just weren’t as big. But if you’re looking for a lighter weight, all round set of quickdraws that would be suitable for all climbing situations then these would fit the bill.
SRP: £17.00 (12cm quickdraw)
At the budget end we tested an Aero quickdraw too. Again there were no real performance issues, they performed flawlessly. The sewn sling was narrower but the clipping, bent gate was the now familiar ergonomic design. The weight can be further reduced by having Spectre slings and DMM have also pimped up the colour range to help them look more stylish. A great first set of quickdraws that will perform well.
SRP: £15.00 (12cm quickdraw)