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Edelrid Ohm- is it worth owning and have you used it on gear routes before

Original Post
l rs · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 405

This weekend I saw a skinny person belaying a more robust climber. The pair clipped this fancy device, that I later learned was an Ohm, into their first piece. Since I'm just tiny thing and some of my partners are not, I was wondering if this is a piece other mismatched partners use often and if anyone recommends/swears by it.

Lena chita · · OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 746

Many threads about it already, such as this:
Long OHM thread

You are not supposed to use it on gear routes, but on sport routes it works wonderfully. I've had it for 1.5 years, bought it before it was officially available in the US. I wouldn't be able to belay my husband without it, so yes, I do swear by it and highly recommend it.

Jake Jones · · Richmond, VA · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 1,749

There are several other threads about it, but I'll answer in this one too.  If you're the heavier climber, IMO the only plus to this thing is not falling way further than you expect to, and not having to worry about your belayer if you whip- which, admittedly, are pretty good pros.  However, I did notice some cons as well.  First and most obvious for me, is that if you're the heavier climber and are used to getting soft catches, this device works almost too well.  They purport that some rope slips through the device so there is some dynamic belay, but I found this not to be true after dozens of uses, and ropes as small as 9.4 mm.  The other cons are positioning of the device.  If the first bolt is near a low roof and the second is in the roof, the device can have feeding issues, you can adjust for it by pulling slack slowly, but if you need to quickly yard some slack out and clip because you're in a desperate stance, the device has the potential to shortrope you.  That's pretty specific, but it's happened to me a couple times.  

I ended up getting rid of it because of repeated "harder" catches, and because the belayer I primarily bought the device for I no longer climb with.  But yeah, if you're the lighter belayer, and whips from heavier climbers scare the hell out of you (which is totally reasonable), then it's a good device.  

Jeffrey K · · Seattle, WA · Joined Apr 2018 · Points: 0

Okay, I might get some flak for this but I wanted to share a note of caution on the Ohm. I am very aware this was a case of user error but this seemed worth bringing up as I found the manual that comes with it kind of goofy and the instructions on the internet seem to be basically; put rope in, clip it on the bolt. Not quite that simple and it's important people understand the device will fail 100% if used incorrectly.

I used it for the first time this week and experienced two things.

1) A first bolt fall on the Ohm that was caught super easily and with zero risk of decking despite a belayer that is 60-70 pounds lighter than me. Awesome!

2) The device coming entirely open and dropping the rope. Oops.

So about 2.

Things I know for certain (or at least as close as I can be without video evidence); the rope was threaded through in the correct direction and the device was locked. As my first time using it, I checked both multiple times. I also know the device opened and dropped the rope sometime after I clipped my 3rd bolt and before I clipped my 4th bolt.

Context; the first bolt was at the end of an overhang. Now, I knew from the manual not to use the device if there was an overhang between the 1st and 2nd bolt but here the overhang ended at the first bolt. There is a bit of movement right to the 2nd bolt and then left to the 3rd and 4th bolts. On casual inspection it didn't APPEAR there would be any snagging issues here. My belayer warned me the device was twisted after I clipped the 2nd bolt, but I continued climbing as I was safely clipped at the 2nd and had passed the crux.

What I believe happened; I plan to go back and look at this climb to better confirm but the device somehow ended up twisting, which caused the Ohm's own ring to catch and disengage the lock. This can be duplicated at home, if you twist the "perma-bolt" attached to the Ohm a certain way when closed and locked it WILL disengage the lock.

I will definitely look at the climb and try to confirm what happened. I realize it was user error but I wanted to share as a word of caution; it's not quite as simple as a quick draw, really test it before hitting the rock, but seems to work fantastically if you use it correctly.

Jim Urbec · · sevierville, TN · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 46

My girlfriend and I used it for a few months, she has since shrugged off using it having gained more experience in managing lead falls in the gym.

We had a couple instances where the ohm almost exponentially amplified a little rope drag.  The Belayer flicking/slapping the rope to get the device to disengage can be difficult once its engaged, especially if they are not directly under the device.  If I'm pushing my limit and there is a high fall potential I have sometimes clipped the first bolt to the left or right of my actual line to add a bit of drag

Will Handy · · Denver, CO · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 0

It adds rope drag and sometimes binds up at the worst possible time... but it also makes otherwise impossible belayer/climber weight combinations totally fine. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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