I use guide plates (or autoblocks) a lot, I use them in my own personal climbing and when I am working. They are very useful for a variety of reasons. I can be hands free for a time, to take photos for instance or put some extra clothing on. I can bring two clients up to the belay more efficiently so I have been a real fan of them ever since the ‘magic plate’ days. They have come a long way since and we have reviewed many on the site.
The new offering from DMM has been getting some reactions when I have showed it around at the crag and amongst mates – mainly that ‘it’s just another gimmick’. At a first glance that may seem so but a closer inspection gives away a great innovation.
There are usually two issues with autoblock devices, one your screwgate does not have complete freedom. That is the actual locking part of the carabiner will not go through. This may seem trivial but when you are winter and ice climbing it can be a real pain in the backside faffing around. Well I won’t need to faff any longer as the head is massive and easily takes any screwgate you throw at it.
Secondly, lowering some-one is always a little more tricky that you think it’s going to be. There are some tricks you can use to assist lowering but the DMM Pivot made it a breeze. They have really thought about this weakness – the pivoting head stays in place whilst the slightly elongated head takes most carabiner noses to make levering so much easier. Genius!
Another plus is the fact I can move the head out of the way when I am belaying ‘normally’ (as in an indirect belay). This helped in feeding and taking in rope. The Pivot performed well in all test situations, autoblock, indirect belay, abseiling and ascending. The official weight is 72g and the trusty CGR scales weighed it in at 71g.
The DMM Pivot is a beautifully engineered and made belay device. Hot forged in Wales, the stated weight is The colour schemes are standard DMM Red, Blue and Green and instructions for use are laser etched at the sides. The Pivot is rated for rope diameters of 7.3 to 11mm ropes. I felt it wasn’t so smooth with fatter ropes, but generally the paying out action was fine.
So in conclusion, I feel the DMM Pivot is not a gimmick but a great innovation. If you are using a guide plate a lot you are going to notice these changes and if you think about it, if you are lowing something it’s because there is a problem. When there is a problem you want things to run smoothly, the DMM Pivot will really help.
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