Staff Picks – Tym’s favourite belay device & climbing shoes


Ok, so it’s my turn to talk about my favourite climbing equipment, and the first thing that came to mind was my belay device. I have used or owned pretty much every belay device there is, and I my favourite is still the first one I ever had. The DMM Bug is simple but effective, it works just as well with new 8mm twin ropes as it does with the 12mm used and abused top ropes you find in climbing centres. I do love simple but effective kit.

We have recently purchased new belay devices for the Boulders instructors, and we decided to go for the Black Diamond ATC-XP. Now I know I’ve just said the Bug is my favourite, which it still is, but the ATC-XP has really caught my attention because it’s excellent for allowing the rope to move freely through the belay device. When teaching kids to belay, we often find they struggle with the rope getting stuck in their device, and the ATC-XP seems to be the best for allowing the rope to run freely and it also has a large opening for threading the rope. We’re going to use them with DMM Aero HMS Karabiner, which in my opinion is the best HMS for anyone learning to climb.

The last thing I have to talk about is my  climbing shoes, which is a very personal subject to climbers. As Simon said in the last Staff Picks, “Fit is by far the most important part of my decision on which shoes to wear, not fashion, brand or style.”

Scarpa Vapour VI have found that Scarpa or La Sportiva fit the shape of my foot very well. I generally find Evolv and 5:10 shoes are a bit baggy, either around the heel or I have to buy a very small pair to get my toes to fill the toe box. I currently own a pair of Scarpa Vapour V’s. They are a slighty more aggressive fit but they hug my foot very well due to their lower profile and slightly narrower shape. They also have a very ridged feel which I find helps when trusting small edges and getting that bomber heel hook. Scarpa are bringing out a new version of the Stix shoe which are back into production after being stopped for a year or so. I can’t wait to get my hands on a pair- I’ve always wanted a pair of slip on shoes and these look amazing. I know fashion isn’t that important but its helps when the shoes that fit look this good.

[Editors note: the new version of the Scarpa Stix is now available on our climbing shoes page]