DMM Alpha Sport Quickdraw Review
Cons: Heavy, expensive
Manufacturer: DMM Climbing
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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 length sling that we tested (12cm) weighs 3.9 ounces, and it also comes in 18cm and 25cm length slings. This high performance draw is 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 some of the other high end draws that we compared it to, but noticeably heavier than the Petzl 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.
One of uur lead testers had been using a full set of Petzl Spirit Express for a period of four years, while her main climbing partner had 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 way that other high end draws are designed — with grabbing in mind! If you're a perpetual draw-grabber (no judgment here!), you'll want to take a look at the Alpha Sport.
The Alpha is right up there with the most expensive draws that we've tested for this review. 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 Petzl Spirits are a few dollars less per draw and offer equal if not slightly better performance, while there are other options out there for less than half the price of these! 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.
— Cam McKenzie Ring