PitchSix created the world's first adjustable angle belay glasses. With a small, easy-to-use lever, you can adjust the angle of the prism to follow your climber along the wall.
This image from PitchSix sums up the situation well, when a climber is on overhanging terrain:
Prism angle / Adjustable angle prism
Most belay glasses have the prism set at around 60 degrees, which is great for slabs, and is still a pretty decent balance for vertical walls. The adjustment range of Pitchsix is from 60 degrees to 120 degrees. Now you will probably never need 120 degrees unless you want to check the edge of your forehead / helmet. The bonus is really around 70 to 110 degrees.
The setting makes a particular difference if your climber is on a vertical to steep overhang. Even using traditional belay glasses, the belayer would need to tilt their head to follow a climber who is on a steep overhang.
The adjustment lever itself was very pleasant to use. The lever movement was incredibly smooth, and it doesn't slip when you stop moving the lever.
We noticed a slight distortion of the picture. It was not clear to us whether the lower angle caused feature elongation or whether the higher angles caused compression.
The height of the prism determines the field of view. In some belay glasses, the height of the prism is shorter and this reduces the field of vision.
PitchSix belay goggles strike a nice balance between having a large field of vision and also allowing you to be able to look over or under prisms (depending on where you have them on your nose). The PitchSix prisms themselves are very similar in size to the Metolius Upshot prisms.
Fit with other glasses
PitchSix belay glasses fit over sunglasses and prescription glasses. They look especially good if you're prepared to wear them lower on your nose. I like the straight eyeglass arms a lot more than the arms that bend around the ear - it seems to give more adjustability to where they sit on your head / on your ear.
On first use, we questioned the built-in lanyard, but that turned out to be a non-issue. It easily fits over a helmet and has never been noticed when in use. We really liked the lightness / thinness of the strap comparing it to other brands.
Note: We haven't had enough testing time (thank you COVID) to say if this is a great win or not. We have never used the cord included on our other belay glasses. It will be interesting to see if that makes us want a lunge on the other pairs, or if we end up hating the bulkier lanyard on the other pairs.
EyeSend frames are made from 25% recycled material and the shipping box is printed on 100% recycled corrugated cardboard.
PitchSix worked to minimize the amount of shipping material needed to send the product through the mail. The product box is used as the shipping box. This box is designed to fit the glasses case perfectly, with no additional packing material inside or an additional box outside. The glasses are delivered undamaged during all shipping tests.
USA Made, the frame factory is located in Utah, adjacent to the final product assembly shop and distribution warehouse. Staying nearby reduces the carbon footprint of the final assembly.
PitchSix donates 1% of our annual income to local environmental associations, as confirmed by 1% For The Planet. They also partnered with One Tree Planted to plant a tree for every pair of belay glasses sold.
PitchSix mentions “Awesome Case Design”, but that's the only place I don't totally agree. Glad this is a hard case (70 grams for those who matter). I am also happy that it is lined with a velor interior. I also appreciate the simplicity with which the spare screw and wrench are stored in the case, instead of the left floppy disk for scratching the bezels.
My beef is that the case has a zipper AND a velcro closure. If I can find a clean way to do it, I hope to cut the velcro closure so that I don't have to deal with two openings. It is also unlikely that I will keep the carabiner and D-ring on the case long term, as I have yet to find where I wanted to attach it.
My negatives with the case are a bit of a reach. Of course, I'm not a big fan of the case, but that has nothing to do with the glasses, and the glasses are what matters.
It is difficult for us to compare the value of the price as we received all of our belay glasses free of charge for testing. In our opinion, the price seems to match the features. For PitchSix, the price difference really lies in the adjustable prism, which is (surprisingly?) Rad. The height of the prism is also more generous than some other models, which makes them easier to use. PitchSix definitely has the most intentionally designed belay goggles.
Note: At the time of this review, if you signed up for the PitchSix newsletter on their website, you could get a 15% discount.
If you already have neck problems, belay glasses are a lifesaver. They also allow you to be a more attentive insurer because you don't have to worry about stressing your neck.
Our experience is that the price of belay glasses seems to match their functionality. If your climber frequently climbs overhangs and / or intentional design is high on your agenda, PitchSix goggles seem to be worth the cost. Their prism size is either larger or the same as every other competitor we looked at, providing a great view.
As an accessory, belay glasses can often seem difficult to justify the cost if you don't already feel the pain. In this case, we think belay glasses are the perfect birthday or holiday gift.
Note: At the time of this review, if you signed up for the PitchSix newsletter on their website, you can get a 15% discount.
You can buy directly from Amazon or from the PitchSix website.
Note: PitchSix glasses are normally available through Amazon Prime. During the COVID-19 madness, Amazon gave lower priority to shipping the PitchSix belay glasses.
All package includes
- Adjustable EyeSend belay glasses (neck strap is integrated into the glasses)
- Microfiber cloth
- Hardshell case
- Non-climbing accessory carabiner
- L-key for on-site maintenance
- Additional screw
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Rock climbing is everywhere these days. From the Dawn Wall to your Instagram feed to the new gym going up in town, climbing is no longer the fringe sport it once was. Kids are starting to climb almost before they can walk, and now more than ever, there’s no reason for you not to give it a try as well. However, climbing can be one of those intimidating hobbies to begin. Many ask, “How do I get started ? ” citing fear and feeling overwhelmed with gear and safety as huge barriers to entry. We get it, and so what follows is everything you need to know to get out on the rock'n'roll.
The term “rock climbing” encompasses a great number of techniques, from bouldering to big wall climbing, to mountain climbing and mountaineering. Before you begin, it might be important to first identify what style of climbing you are interested in, or perhaps to ask, “Why do I want to climb ? ” Do you want to summit peaks, boulder at your local gym, or perhaps learn to lead climb at the local crag ? Do you want to make friends, be outdoors, or get in shape ( or all three ) ? Once these questions are answered, you can work out the potential steps you’ll need to take to get there. Below ( in the Sport vs. trad vs. bouldering section ) we attempt to inform this decision by breaking down the various styles of climbing; each has its own specific culture, gear, and learning curve.
Climbing is a complex sport : it’s potentially expensive to get into, difficult to find mentors, and can be dangerous if not done correctly. With the evolution of climbing gyms, however, it’s easier than ever to give climbing a try : just grab a friend and head to the nearest gym, rent a pair of shoes and a harness, and jump on the bouldering wall. However, if and when your progression leads you to climbing on ropes and outside, technical skills become essential to safety. Many choose to learn from friends; however, safety is so important that we recommend enrolling in a formal chic. The easiest and best way to learn the essential skills, which include belaying and tying proper knots, is by taking an introductory course at your local gym. Or, if you’re interested in climbing outside or even more specifically climbing in the mountains, seek out a class either through your gym or a local guide.
The first indoor climbing gym opened in Seattle in 1987. Now just 30 years later, there are 430 gyms across the nation, with over 50 more in construction at the time of writing. Areas like the Denver metropolis have as many as 10 gyms, all stuffed to capacity each day. Whereas climbers used to be a tiny community of mostly adult men with access to the wilderness, the climbing gym revolution has brought climbing to the masses. It’s safe to say that more people now climb indoors than outdoors. The climbing gym has developed its own culture, and climbing inside - “pulling on plastic, ” as climbers often say - is vastly different from climbing outdoors. It is arguably safer, much more convenient to access, and far more social; for these reasons, the gym is an génial place to begin climbing. Gym passes cost anywhere from $6 to $30/day, with monthly memberships being the best option for those who go regularly. Outdoor climbing takes place on boulders, on cliff bands, and in mountains - anywhere where there is solid rock, climbers can be found. Some of the most popular genres of rock to climb include granite, sandstone, limestone, basalt, and conglomerate blends. Each of these kinds of rock'n'roll has its own style of climbing, from overhanging jugs much like gym climbs, to technical slabs, to splitter cracks. Climbing outdoors demands a higher level of spécialité than climbing in the gym, as there are more variables and dangers on real rock. Weather can be a factor, as well as rock'n'roll fall. Climbers will also need to possess a great deal more gear to climb outside, including their own rope and harness, quickdraws or other protection, a personal anchor and locking carabiner, and a helmet. Although many climbers begin in the gym, some learn to climb immediately outside, most commonly with the help of a guide or an instructional course.
Rock climbing is generally broken down into three categories : sport climbing, traditional ( trad ) climbing, and bouldering. Climbers tend to specialize in or prefer one discipline over the others, though many climbers participate in all three. Sport climbing is a style of climbing where the leader attaches quickdraws to pre-existing bolts, looping the rope through the quickdraws for protection while ascending the cliff. Sport climbs are often one-pitch climbs where the leader then comes back to the ground after fixing the rope to the anchor, though in some cases these climbs might continue up larger faces for multiple pitches. As a discipline, sport climbing focuses on difficult movement, endurance, learning to face fears, and risking a fall ( and being caught by the rope, oui ! ). Trad climbing is the most rootsy and historical form of climbing, in which the leader climbs weaknesses in the rock ( generally, cracks ) and places gear in these weaknesses that will hold the rope in the case of a fall. Although trad climbs can be single-pitch routes like the majority of sport climbs, they often ascend features that are more than one rope length and end at a summit ( these are called “multi-pitch climbs” ). Trad climbers generally love long and adventurous days of climbing in wilderness areas, focusing on movement, logistics, technical rope and gear skills, and partnership. Bouldering is perhaps the most modern form of climbing, and certainly the fastest-growing. Boulderers ascend boulders or short cliffs ( generally 20 feet and under ), using pads and spotters at the base for protection instead of ropes. Bouldering is a form of climbing that focuses on difficult movement and problem solving, and is more social than the other disciplines. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention a few other forms of climbing : aid climbing, alpine rock climbing, speed climbing, and deep water soloing. Pick your poison ( or shall we say passion ) : each has its own set of joys and défis !
One of the first things you’ll learn when starting to climb is how to choose a route that suits your ability level. In the gym, climbs generally are labeled with a difficulty rating; outside, climbers use guidebooks and often a phone application called Mountain Project to identify the difficulty of climbs. In the U. S., climbs are rated using the Yosemite Decimal System; in bermuda, 5. 3 is a very beginner climb, and 5. 15 is an expert-level route. These ratings do not denote danger, only difficulty. As a beginner, you’ll most likely be choosing routes 5. sept and under, and often routes that can be top-roped. Top-roping means that the climber establishes an anchor from the top of the climb so that the rope is already in place, rather than leading the route from the bottom. Many routes in the gym are set up with top ropes; outside, climbers can often hike to the top of the cliff or feature to drop a rope down over the climb.
Each discipline of climbing necessitates a different set of gear. For all genres of climbing, however, a beginner will need a pair of climbing shoes. For just starting out in the sport, we recommend finding a comfortable pair of climbing shoes ( don’t be persuaded by the salesperson at your local gear shop to purchase painfully tight shoes ). Delicate footwork will come later in your climbing career; for now you will just be developing an ability to stand on your feet and trust the rubber of your new shoes. All climbers will generally want to carry a chalk bag and chalk as well, which they will either wear around their waist or keep on the ground ( sometimes the case while bouldering ). Climbers dip their hands into chalk to dry off sweat and keep them from slipping off the rock. Boulderers will need the above two pieces of gear, in addition to a bouldering pad ( and friends with bouldering pads ! ). Bouldering pads are placed in the fall zone of a boulder problem, and the more the merrier ( and safer ! ). tera climb on ropes both in a gym or outside, climbers will need a climbing harness. Climbing harnesses come in a range of weights and specifications - some for sport climbing in particular, some with larger gear loops or more padding for trad climbing. Harnesses need to be replaced every few years for safety reasons, so we again recommend purchasing an affordable harness and replacing it when you have a better understanding of your needs. Along with a climbing harness, it is essential to own a belay device and locking carabiner. This equipment will enable you to belay your partner in the gym or outside, and rappel if needed. If climbing outside, a helmet is extremely important in case of rock'n'roll fall. The above-mentioned gear provides the basics for personal gear needed for a day of climbing or bouldering, either in the gym or with an experienced and well-equipped partner. If you are looking to buy gear so that you can be fully self-sufficient ( and not need a partner or a group with shared gear ) you’ll want to also purchase a climbing-specific rope ( 60-70 meters, 9-10mm in diameter, dynamic ), a personal anchor ( PAC ) or daisy chain, extra locking carabiners, cams, nuts, quickdraws, and slings. It is extremely important to buy new gear or to know the history and age of the gear if acquiring used. Both soft materials and metals degrade over time and with wear and should be carefully assessed before using.
We wholeheartedly recommend taking a course taught by professionals before attempting to climb or belay on your own. Climbing is inherently dangerous, though when done correctly can be very safe. After all of the proper skills have been learned, it is still incredibly important to stay on top of safety at every moment. Before leaving the ground, or transitioning from climbing to lowering/rappelling, there are a number of safety checks that must be completed.