Mammut Smart Alpine| $45 mammut.ch.com ★★★
According to Mammut, the Smart Alpine is the first “braking-force support” device that can be used with single, twin and half ropes. Braking-force support is another way of saying: not quite self-locking, but almost. In fact, you can load the device for three different modes of braking: the braking-force support mode for belaying and rappelling, a self-locking mode for belaying seconds from above, and a mode with less braking action for times when you need less friction.
After a short time sussing the nuances, I found that rope work felt intuitive and I appreciated the holding power of the braking force support mode—comparable to devices like the Grigri. I had no trouble dealing slack, rigging raps or belaying seconds with the device in its auto-locking mode. On the downside, if you decide to use the auto-locking mode, you might have to tie a cord through a hole in the Smart Alpine handle in order to gain leverage to unlock the device. This means you’ll have to carry a cord up to 7mm or forgo the self-locking option.
- Secure device for belaying leaders with a self-locking option for belaying seconds.
- Two rappelling modes give you a choice between lots of breaking power (for example, when single line rappelling down a really steep wall) or less (like when double-rope rapping down slabs).
- Two sizes: 7.5 – 9.5mm for half and twin ropes, and 8.9 – 10.5mm for single ropes.
- 4.7 ounces