DMM Pivot Review
Cons: No brake assist, more expensive than similar options, pivot function is rarely used
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|Pros||Simple to use, great for belaying the follower, lightweight, feeds slack easily||Great for belaying seconds on multi-pitch climbs, durable, good value||Lightweight, easy to unlock, great for belaying two skinny ropes||Lightweight, smooth, compact||Good friction control when rappelling and lowering, smooth paying out rope|
|Cons||No brake assist, more expensive than similar options, pivot function is rarely used||Heavier than the Reverso||Softer aluminum seems less durable, not ideal with ropes thicker than 9.5mm||Weak lock off||0.2 oucnes heavier than the Verso, you must hold the weight of the climber when they weight the rope|
|Bottom Line||A good alternative to auto-blocking tube devices, with a pivot function to help lower followers||An excellent value for multi pitch climbing, rappels, and double rope ascents||A match made in rock heaven for skinny ropes and climbers counting weight||A lightweight entry level belay device that gives our Best Buy winner a run for the money||A simple design suited for building proper belay technique|
|Rating Categories||DMM Pivot||Black Diamond ATC G...||Petzl Reverso||Petzl Verso||Black Diamond ATC XP|
|Catch and Bite (30%)|
|Lowering and Rappelling (30%)|
|Feeding Slack (20%)|
|Weight and Bulk (10%)|
|Auto Block (10%)|
|Specs||DMM Pivot||Black Diamond ATC G...||Petzl Reverso||Petzl Verso||Black Diamond ATC XP|
|Style||Auto-block tube||Auto-block tube||Auto-block tube||Tube style||Tube style|
|Recommended Rope Diameter||8.7 mm - 11 mm||7.7 mm - 11 mm||7.5 mm - 11 mm||7.5 mm - 11 mm||7.7 mm - 11 mm|
|Weight (oz)||2.5 oz||2.8 oz||2.2 oz||2 oz||2.2 oz|
|Double Rope Rap?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Belay off anchor?||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The DMM Pivot is an autoblocking tube belay device that separates itself from the pack with a pivoting anchor loop that is useful when releasing the auto block, which is performed rarely. It isn't the lightest comparable device and doesn't accommodate modern 8.5mm single ropes.
Catch and Bite
The Pivot does not feature a brake assist but does add some friction when catch a fall in tube mode with aluminum teeth that dig into the brake strand. This adds some friction, but the belayer's attentiveness and technique is still required to catch a fall. If you are climbing anything difficult, we recommend a brake-assisted device, though tube-style lead belay devices are still common on easier multi-pitch and alpine routes. They are also suitable for winter climbing, as snow can interfere with some assisted brake functions on other devices.
Lowering and Rappelling
Tube-style devices are the best devices for smoothly lowering climbers on single-pitch climbs and rappelling, and the Pivot is no exception. It smoothly feeds out rope when weighted, and we couldn't tell the difference between this device and other similar devices in blind tests. It also functions well as a rappel device, accommodating ropes from 8.7mm to 11mm. Compared to the passive and active-assisted braking devices (ABDs), the Pivot is more effective, designed specifically for these purposes.
Again, the Pivot and other tube-style devices feed out slack better than the rest of the competition. There is almost zero resistance when feeding out slack quickly to a leader who is desperately clipping a piece of gear or moving fast over easy terrain. However, easily feeding slack can be a bad thing in the case of a leader fall with an inattentive or compromised belayer, which led to the invention of ABDs in the first place. But if feeding slack easily is your primary concern, tube-style devices like the Pivot should be at the top of your list.
Weight and Bulk
The Pivot is a relatively light and low-bulk device, even for tube-style devices. It weighs squarely in the middle of the range for auto-blocking tube devices and at the extreme low end of the spectrum compared to all ABDs. For alpine and multi-pitch climbers, devices like the Pivot are commonly used when weight or bulk is a concern. There are lighter devices out there, but not by much.
The Pivot features an auto-block configuration, making it suitable for multi-pitch climbing and securely belaying the follower(s) directly off the anchor, which gives the leader time to recover from the pitch, eating and drinking, and re-organizing gear before they either begin leading again when block leading or lead belaying if swinging leads. Pulling slack through the device is easy enough and creates an average amount of friction compared to other tube-style autoblock devices. Compared to some active ABDs, which pull slack through like butter, the Pivot feels relatively high-friction.
The Pivot is a good value and is priced similarly to other devices in the same category and that achieve the same functions, though it isn't the cheapest. It is a good option for users on a budget who are also curious about the pivoting release function, though, in our expert experience, this function isn't worth paying more for.
The DMM Pivot is a good auto-blocking tube device, though it isn't the lightest option, nor is it compatible with the skinniest single ropes on the market. It also incurs a moderate amount of friction when pulling slack through the device in autoblock mode. In our estimation, this device is nothing special, and the pivoting anchor loop is rarely an asset. Still, this is a good belay device that performs in the middle of the pack for auto-blocking belay devices.
— Jeff Dobronyi
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