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Testing the Edelrid Ohm

Just a quick forward to say that Daisy and myself were testing the new Edelrid Ohm during our lunch break at the Castle and although wearing staff T-shirts, any views shared here are my personal views and independent of that the Castle may hold.

The Ohm was finally released and in the shop, last week. Having a massive (and underestimate in the video) 35Kg difference between us Daisy and myself went to test it out.  We started with a few test falls on Daisy’s and my own preferred belay devices, Mammut Smart and Petzl GriGri2 respectively.  We then did a few test falls to see if there was any marked or noticeable difference between having and not having the Ohm in place.

My Initial impression of the device was that it is heavy, it’s a big extra lump of metal to have to carry around.  Loading the rope into the device pre-clipping was straight forward, but clipping the device to the first bolt (Edelrid’s method ‘A’ in the handbook) the correct way around would be something habit would get you used to, but took some thinking about the first time around. However, to have the device in place at the first bolt and then load the rope, to me, felt more natural and easier to get right (as long as you’re hanging off a jug).

Climbing with it didn’t prove any different to without it. It never short-roped (even when really snatching the rope up), felt like it was slowing me down, or creating rope drag. All positive points.

Now the real test: the falls. The Edelrid demo video (Watch It Here), showed the belayer, doing very static catches and being flung three or four meters up without the Ohm and only being stopped by the by slamming into the first quickdraw. Then with the Ohm in place, landing neatly on the wall only a meter or two off the floor. We had a similar weight difference but admittedly not quite as great but had nowhere near the same drastic results.

In our testing, I climbed to the eighth but only clipping the seventh draw (similar to the video), and dropping from the same feet and hand holds each time. Daisy was given enough time to be able to prepare for each catch as well. Daisy being much lighter than other climbers has never really had to give ‘dynamic catches’ as the difference in the weight has always been enough to lift her, but she normally stays soft and is used to getting her feet in front of her to land on the wall safely.

We went through and tested out the devices.  The GriGri and the Smart both reacted as expected, similar to each other but the with GriGri giving a slight more aggressive catch.  We then tested the Ohm with the GriGri and had Daisy start off by catching in her normal method. The first one we did gave me a super hard catch (the audio didn’t come out from my phones records, but I yelped).  So after that, she jumped into the falls, for the sake of my back.  This softened the fall, although the fall distances didn’t change much as a result of it.  The second to last video clip is probably the most useful, this is the side by side of with and without Ohm in place.  As you will notice, the difference is nowhere near as great as in Edelrid’s own video,  but there is a notable difference, of a foot or so. So clearly doing something.

In the last clip, I really tested the Ohm’s strength: I climbed to the top missing the last quick draw and top anchor and took a whipper.  The Ohm appeared to absorb some of the force as Daisy was stopped a foot short of the first draw. If the Ohm wasn’t in place, this would have resulted in Daisy hitting the first draw.

Daisy was super keen to get the Ohm before we had a chance to test it. Asking her how she felt after we’d finished playing, she didn’t feel like the Ohm did much for her. She didn’t find the device greatly reduced the amount of pull on her during a catch, nor did she feel any more reassured about catching much heavier climbers. Although we found some difference. we didn’t find it more useful, that a dynamic catch and an alert belayer could do without it, and struggled to understand the RRP of £110, other than a really expensive comfort blanket for nervous belayers, or climbers alike.