DMM Pivot - First Impressions

So after much waiting and anticipation the DMM Pivot made it into the store last week, prior to that we had seen a sample but merely moved the pivoting part and umm'd and ah'd over how well put together it seemed.

Last night I had my first chance to take one out into the wild and see how it behaved. Let's start to say that I'm impressed. Heading to Portishead Quarry with it's bolted abseil stations it was to be nice and easy to set up guide mode at the anchors; not having one of DMM's recommend Rhino 'biners handy, I used a larger Boa which worked perfectly well, despite not having the horn to resist rotation, it sat in place nicely and worked exactly as required as would most HMS 'biner. Being plum lines on the slabs we'd opted to using a single 9.5mm line rather than the usual Trad skinny halves, bringing up a second was still a breeze with the rope running through the device nice and easily, locking up hands free in guide mode securely.

The big selling point of the Pivot is it's ability to lower seconds easily, now initially I think both of us here muttered that we couldn't think of a time when we had ever lowered a second and weren't entirely sure how useful it would be. Well I have to say after the ease of lowering my second last night, I'm sold! With a spare snap gate or quickdraw clipped into the lowering hole and a cursory hand on the dead rope it was a dream to pivot the device back and allow the rope to feed through, with the added safety margin of Guide mode meaning if something catrastrophic were to happen and you were to let go of everything in the system it locks up and holds the second securely. Equally as a lead belaying device it holds the rope in a wide sweeping loop making it a dream to feed out with but super secure when required.

I look forward to seeing how it performs with skinnier ropes, I imagine it might be even easier and smoother to lower with them but for the moment will reserve judgment.

All in all, With secure easy to set up belays on single pitch routes e.g. bolted belays at Portishead, trees at Shorn Cliff etc. the Pivot is fantastic. Avoiding the faff of setting up two (or three) climbers to abseil is great, simply lower your second(s) and then you've got the whole belay stance to yourself to organise your abseil, no more climbing all over each other.

Whilst I love my Mammut Smart Alpine device I think the Pivot might be the device which stays on my rack, but time will tell. If you want to see the Pivot in action, come down to the shop for a demonstration.

- Pete -

Richard Hall April 30, 2015 3 tags (show)