Gear Spotlight: Beal Dynaloop

Gear Spotlight: Beal Dynaloop

May 8, 2022 fmg-adminGear Reviews Rock Climbing

It’s 2022. Climbing is more popular than ever before, and the increased number of users has ushered in a secondary revolution – innovation by equipment manufacturers has led to more specialized equipment intended to increase the margin of safety for us all. A quick Google search reveals how many new types of belay devices have been introduced in the last 5 years, from the ATC Pilot to the Revo to the Gri Gri+. All these devices are meant to add that extra layer of security so that we don’t hit the ground when we fall.  More on that in a separate post! 

I want to talk about another realm of materials innovation: soft goods.

 While ascending, we clove hitch ourselves to the anchor, reasons being:

A. We’re already attached to the rope with a figure 8 knot; 

B. We can enjoy the properties of that dynamic rope; and 

C. It’s easily adjustable to keep tension on that critical connection point.

Descent makes things tricky; we need the rope ends free to thread through rappel anchors. 

Historically, climbers have used a static tether when descending, whether it’s a designated PAS or a 120cm sling to connect themselves to the anchor/extend their rappel device.  Many of you will know the infamous DMM video that shows violent testing of slings used as a lanyard. There was a significant wow factor to it, as they were breaking 22kN slings with small falls – falls that are possible to easily replicate out on the rock.  There are some limitations, of course. We absorb force with our body, the harness, etc. That being said, taking a factor 2 fall (falling 2x the length of whatever tether we are attached with) would hurt, at best. Who can say what damage to our bodies that could have?  

 We lose those excellent dynamic and adjustable properties of the rope when we commit to static material. (Not the end of the world, and I’ve used those slings for years without incident, but I need to be thoughtful where I position myself in relation to the anchor).  

Using a Beal Dynaloop to extend a rappel device

Several brands have introduced easily adjustable dynamic tethers to the market, the most common being the Petzl Connect Adjust. It comes in several variations, and all are excellent for their intended purpose, being an easily adjustable & dynamic tether. (I have one. I use it often while rock climbing) More info on that here.   Nothing is perfect, and it has often been critiqued with being too heavy and only good for a single purpose. (It’s one of the first things I ditch when it’s time to be thoughtful about weight and bulk). 

Those are valid concerns, and for the crowd that loves to have all their gear have multiple uses, I’d like to introduce the Beal Dynaloop.  It combines the best parts of rope, slings, and tethers into one multipurpose tool. It comes in multiple lengths, but I’ve found the 120cm version to be the most useful. I use it for anchors on the way up, and I can use it for my rappel extension and tether on the way down on Looking Glass Rock, Cannon Mountain, or alpine rock in the Cascades. I’ll bring it along on a route where I’d leave my Connect Adjust at home.  It’s no more bulky than a dedicated tether system, functions as a simple and strong anchor, and has the dynamic properties that I’ve grown to prefer when connecting myself to an anchor.  I can use it anytime I’ve used a 120cm sling, plus a few spots where I don’t (slinging a rock horn, for example).

Some technical info:

Beal made this out of 8.3mm dynamic rope. The kernmantle construction keeps the load bearing portion protected from abrasion and UV degradation; which is neat(especially for higher altitude brutal sunlight). A 22kN strength rating keeps it at the industry standard and plenty strong for any part of a climbing system.  Here’s the best part: it’s less than 20 bucks! I bought mine from Black Dome Mountain Sports in Asheville, NC.  No pro deal, no discount. Straight off the shelf. Compare that to the $50 connect adjust, and it’s a no brainer.  

Nobody gets a kickback when you buy one of these, and Beal doesn’t know who I am (nor do they care, I imagine). I recommend the Beal dynamic sling for anyone who attaches themselves to an anchor – new climbers getting their first kit, the experienced multi-pitch climber who is updating their anchor rack, or the crusty trad climber who just used their last slings from the 90’s to pull their buddy’s Tacoma from a ditch (don’t use this loop for that, even though it’d probably work).

If you’ve had the opportunity to try this new tool, drop me a note and let me know your thoughts!

Dan Riethmuller, AMGA Apprentice Rock Guide and Certified Ice Instructor

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