Edelrid OHM & usage

Hi everybody. Just a quick update on the OHM.    (quick as it can be lol. Sorry for the long read)

So as a heavy climber, I have actually used / climbed with the OHM. As the climber, pulling rope thru the OHM to the draws , no different than thru a quick draw (0 added resistance).

As we were doing some testing with it, I have a few observations:.........(This was in a gym, not outside btw)

- As per the manual...the OHM can be pre fixed on the wall at the first anchor,  and left in the open position to receive the rope during the ascent, then closed. I tried to load & close it with 1 hand in this manner, and found it cumbersome. If I was on a really hard route with a sketchy clip position, it probably would not work out so well.
Also, I am right handed, so it wasn't too bad for me, if I had to close it with my left hand, I really don't know if I could have done it....More updates to come on that.

- So option 2....we pre-loaded the OHM on the ground, and then simply placed the OHM at the anchor exactly as if you were placing a draw. Pretty easy and efficient. And since the OHM does have 2 orientations that are involved: think..direction of rope travel ( yes...it can be loaded backwards) & OHM placement (basically you can back clip it) we stayed with the pre load method.

- we tried to different placement methods in regards to the anchors....thru the actual anchor...and thru the permadraw screwlink attached to the anchor. so here is what I found:
1. going straight to anchor (over the top of a permadraw)...no issues. easy and quick
2. going into the screwlink...not so good. As a lot of gyms use tape etc to ensure the screw on the link does not get loose, it was difficult to get the quicklink into it.
-additionally, by going into the screw link, the device sits a bit twisted. no big deal really, but it does allow more chance of a "back clip" due to the orientation....hope that makes sense.
-we did not want to take a chance to damage the "tape" the gym used on the screwlink due to placement.

***** Something to consider with the OHM, since it is basically (bear with me here, hope my description makes sense) a directional quick draw,  we tried to incorporated good draw placement practices, and actually switched the quick link orientation in the sling so that the gate faced away from the second bolt prior to the ascent.

**** an easy way to recognize if the OHM is positioned properly on the first draw.....the point goes the the wall, flat side to the climber.  If you have a good look at the device this should make sense.

We had 2 different experienced belayers catching for me. My wife was 1 of the belayers ( I out weigh her by about 70 lbs), and an experienced climber / belayer ( I out weigh him by roughly 50lbs). We ran our tests with & without the OHM, so that the belayers could...  a) get used to catching my weight.....b) experience the difference with the device in the system.

The belayers still came off the ground during the all of the catches, however it was a much less violent...(yanked to the first draw kinda liftoff) and more controlled with the OHM in the system. Keep in mind the above weights as we were on the mid /upper side of the OHM's limit.

The OHM will not compensate for poor belay technique,such as too much rope in the system, complacent brake technique etc. However, it does reduce the chances of decking because of the weight difference. We have found so far...and this is just an estimate at this point, the belayers were lifted to approximately 1/4  - 1/3 the distance to the first draw from the ground as opposed to going right up to the draw....(hope that makes sense). 

**** As per the manual, Edelrid recommends that the belayer is positioned 1 meter away from the wall + 1 meter over from the 1st draw depending on the OHM's resting position to wall's grade/ slope ....( the pictures in the manual are pretty good to understand). We tried a bit further away and actually a bit closer....but we have not made a real determination yet as to the benefits/ drawbacks, and it is part of the learning curve. 
And as most of you guys know, when you are leading belaying, you tend to move around a fair bit (sorry for the blanket type statement).

My wife & I primarily climb indoors (our kids are competition climbers & train 8 months of the year), so we recognize the challenges the gyms are facing with a new device....(and please understand I am not speaking for the gyms in any way.)
- Staff training, gym patrol recognition,"certification" for users etc, liability insurance & waiver changes etc,.... so we recommend people talk to their home gym prior to buying an OHM (if that is where you intend to use it). Simply strolling in and thinking you are good to go because you already have a "lead tag" at a particular facility may lead to some serious disappointment.
The gyms are a business, and such carry the liability and exposure to injury claims. And we respect their decision process and policies.
Edelrid does have GYM posters designed that will be similar to the Gri Gri operation posters that you see in some of the gyms. They are working on getting them printed and out to the gyms.

And also please note: the OHM is only to be used in a combination of: light belayer / heavy climber. Not the other way round. Go the other way and I suspect there will be some serious hard catches involved for the lighter climber....(we are not too interested in trying it that way to find out LOL)

As we....Sharon and I get more experience with the OHM, we will do our best to give more insight. For an experienced lighter belayer, learning to catch with the OHM in the system, shouldn't take much adjustment & will certainly make it more enjoyable for them...(think elimination of weighted vests etc). Hope this helps.

I am just trying to provide insight on the device, as I have actually used it as a climber.

If you have any more questions, please let me know. I will do my best to answer, and if I don't know, I will get an answer from Edelrid.

Please take the time to thoroughly read the user manual if you intend to use the OHM. My personal perspective is that the climber is responsible to ensure the OHM is loaded properly and placed accordingly, however the belayer should understand the device and be able to recognize loading/ placement errors. As we I have witnessed many times, complacency will lead to people getting hurt.

Cheers Nick. 

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