The Alpha Sport is a high-end sport-climbing quickdraw made by DMM. We love its clipping action, and the notch in the bent gate seems to eat our rope up every time with no misfires. The solid gates are keylocking and easy to unclip, the sling is wide and easy to grab, and the full-sized carabiners have great handling. They are on the heavy end and also expensive, likely because they are made in the UK and then imported here. The Petzl Spirit Express are lighter, scored even higher overall, and have a slightly smaller price tag. But, if you can get your hands on these for a good price, or just like the look and feel of them, they are an excellent option for most sport climbers.
DMM Alpha Sport Quickdraw Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Great clipping, wide sling for easy grabbing, keylocking gates don't snag
Cons: Heavy, expensive
Manufacturer: DMM Climbing
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|Pros||Great clipping, wide sling for easy grabbing, keylocking gates don't snag||Snappy clipping action, wide sling is easy to grab, light for a sport quickdraw||Easy to clip, deep basket, cool "hood wire" around the notch for snag-free unclipping||Easy to clip, durable construction, large size works well with gloves||Lightweight, customizable to four versions, MonoFil Keylock nose and gate very easy to unclip|
|Cons||Heavy, expensive||Expensive, still a little heavy for trad climbing||Heavy, expensive||Heavy, dogbone is on the thin side and not easy to grab||Small biners not as functional as larger ones, sling not the comfiest for grabbing, pricey|
|Bottom Line||A fantastic option for sport climbing.||The best overall draw for sport specific climbers.||A great quickdraw for sport climbers who prefer wiregates on the clipping end but don't want it to snag on anything.||A great all-around draw for those with large hands or who wear gloves.||A versatile quickdraw that uses an innovative gate and nose design for easy unclipping|
|Rating Categories||DMM Alpha Sport Quickdraw||Petzl Spirit Express||LiveWire||Petzl Djinn Axess||Petzl Ange Finesse|
|Ease Of Clipping (25%)|
|Ease Of Unclipping (25%)|
|Ease Of Handling (15%)|
|Ease Of Grabbing (15%)|
|Specs||DMM Alpha Sport...||Petzl Spirit Express||LiveWire||Petzl Djinn Axess||Petzl Ange Finesse|
|Weight (ounces)||3.9 oz||3.2 oz||4 oz||4 oz||2.6 oz|
|Gate opening bottom carabiner (mm)||25 mm||25 mm||24 mm||27 mm||26 mm|
|Width of sling (mm)||25 mm||25 mm||27 mm||16 mm||25mm|
|Manufacturer Warranty||1 year||3 year||1 year||3 year||3 year|
|Non-snagging Top Biner||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Non-snagging Bottom Biner||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Unique features||Dual keylock carabiners, wide sling||Sling is wider at the bottom to facilitate grabbing, stiff sling||Large and ergonomic carabiners good for larger hands, hood over bottom wiregate to prevent snags||Large carabiners good for big hands or gloves, easy to clip||MonoFil Keylock gate, comes in four options with different length slings and carabiner sizes.|
|Available sling lengths||12 cm, 18 cm, 25 cm||12 cm, 17 cm||12 cm||12 cm, 17 cm||10 cm, 17 cm|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The DMM Alpha Sport comes with dual key locking hot-forged carabiners. The bottom carabiner has an ultra-bent gate with a distinct notch for easy clipping. The smaller sized sling that we tested (12cm) weighs 3.8 ounces, and it also comes in 18 and 25cm sling lengths. This draw retails for $28, making it one of the more expensive options in our review.
Ease of Clipping
The gate on the bottom carabiner has a unique shape to it. It's "extra" bent, with almost a notch for the rope to fit onto. When you put the rope against this bent gate, the weight allows it to simply fall right through into the basket, making it one of the easiest carabiners to clip that we tested. This helps you find the sweet spot for clipping every time, and it pops into the carabiner with ease. The top carabiner also features a keylocking that makes it easy to clip to bolts.
Ease of Unclipping
The Alpha Sport is also a cinch to unclip. The keylocking solid gate and the shape of the carabiner help it pop off the bolt without catching when stripping a route. The large carabiners are a cinch to grab due to hot-forged ridges on the outside of the spine that provide extra grip, and the wide gate opening easily allows for removing the rope.
This quickdraw weighs 3.9 ounces in the shorter 12 cm sling that we tested. That makes it about on par with the Petzl Djinn Axess and BD LiveWire, but noticeably heavier than the Spirits (3.3 ounces), particularly when climbing with a full set of each. That makes these better suited for redpoint burns where the draws are already hanging, rather than onsight attempts.
Our lead tester has been using a full set of Petzl Spirit Express for the last four years, while her main climbing partner has a set of DMM Alpha Sports. While they each like the two rather similarly, she's noticed that her friend typically grabs the Spirits over her own draws when it's time for a hard onsight. Every ounce counts!
Ease of Handling
In addition to everything else we like about these draws, they also handle well. They're full-sized, have external rubber keepers, and never seem to do anything weird on our harness, like bunch up or cross clip. We've used the 12 cm and 18 cm lengths and like them both equally. They are also available in a 25 cm sling, though that is a less useful length — better to double up two for the occasional times that you might want a longer draw.
Ease of Grabbing
Since they are easy to grab, the DMM earned high scores in this metric. The 25mm wide sling fits perfectly in the palm of most adult-sized hands. This was similar to the Petzl Spirit and the BD LiveWire. If you're a perpetual draw-grabber (no judgment here!), you'll want to take a look at the Alpha Sport.
This is one of the best draws for hanging on your project in our estimation. Not only are they easy to use, but we love how easy they are to clip and unclip. While they aren't commonly seen on harnesses in North America, DMM makes some great climbing gear, and the Alpha Sport doesn't disappoint. Due to their considerable weight and bulk, this is not a draw that we would choose to alpine climb with, or even take on long trad climbs.
The Alpha retails for $28, making it the second most expensive model that we tested after the Edelrid Bulletproof Quickdraw ($29). We appreciate that it is a quality product and high-performing, but the price tag can be hard to handle, particularly if you're buying a dozen or so. The Spirits are a few dollars less per draw, and there are other options out there for as low as $11.50! However, those draws won't work as well on harder sport routes, which is where the Alpha Sport excels.
We really like the DMM Alpha Sport and can't say enough good things about this quickdraw. They clip and unclip exceptionally well, and are an excellent option for harder sport climbs. Now if only they didn't cost so much…
— Cam McKenzie Ring