The Alpha Sport is a high-end sport-climbing offering from DMM. They're a UK-based climbing company that doesn't seem to have a ton of market share in the US, but that's a shame since they make a fantastic product. We loved the clipping action, and the notch in the bent gate seemed to eat our rope up every time with no misfires. The bar 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 3 resellers Pros: Great clipping, wide sling for easy grabbing, keylocking gates don't snag
Cons: Heavy, expensive
Manufacturer: DMM Climbing
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The DMM Alpha Sport comes with dual keylocking 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 $27, 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. This helps you find the sweet sot for clipping every time, and it pops into the carabiner with ease.
Ease of Unclipping
The Alpha Sport was also a cinch to unclip. The keylocking bar gate and the shape of the carabiner help it pop off the bolt without catching when stripping a route.
This quickdraw weighs 3.8 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 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 handled well. They're full-sized, have external rubber keepers, and never seems 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 were 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 but much better than the BD LiveWire. That sling is even wider but has a rubber piece stitched onto it that digs into your palm if you grab it the wrong way. If you're a perpetual draw-grabber (no judgment here!), you'll want to take a look at the Alpha Sport.
This is the best draw for hanging on your project in our estimation. Not only were the easy to use, but we loved clipping. They are a little less well-known in North America, but DMM makes some great climbing gear, and the Alpha Sport doesn't disappoint.
The Alpha retails for $27, making it the second most expensive model that we tested after the Edelrid Bulletproof ($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 a draw, and there are other options out there for only $11! However, those $11 models won't work as well on harder sport routes, which is where the Alpha Sport excels.
We really liked 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