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A brief comparison between Belay Specs and CU Belay Glasses
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By George Bracksieck
Feb 2, 2013
Phill T wrote: "Been using a pair of the CU glasses, they are awesome. The only issue that I've recently found is rockfall. If your climber rips something off the wall or drops something on you, its really hard to dodge it. you see it coming through the glasses fine, but no one has practiced dodging shit through a prism. the time it takes to actually look up and reacquire the rock...yeah its awkward. wear your helmet! Not a deal breaker for me, but just be aware."

While I agree that it may be harder to dodge falling objects, I was taught to duck under cover, or step up next to the rock and maintain a narrow profile. If you look up, you may get smashed in the face, instead on top of your helmet. BTW, my wife and I love our belay glasses.

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By John Aalam
Feb 2, 2013
Andy Laakmann wrote:
My wife and I love our belay glasses. I wish they existed 20 years ago. And I bet in 15 years, when 90% of climbers are wearing them, we'll all look back and laugh at the "dark ages" before belay glasses ;)


What's interesting is that these types of glasses have been around for decades and only until recently have we thought to use them for belaying.

Check out this Popular Mechanics article from 1960 where this guy had made "belay glasses" for reading his newspaper in crowded public transport.

www.belaggles.com

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By Sean H
From San Francisco, CA
Feb 7, 2013
Da Bugs
Belay Specs wrote:
I can't speak for other companies but Belay Specs are priced based on our costs and standard industry mark ups. As to your second question, Belay Specs are made in Salt Lake City, Utah by me. While we source our prisms from China, everything else is domestic as far as I know. Our cases come from a company on the east coast and we use Sterling cord. We source stickers and advertisement cards from American printers. We have our frames cut locally out of American stainless steel. I bend the frames with hand-powered sheet brakes and custom bending fixtures. After prepping the frame and prisms, the prisms are bonded to the frames by hand using fixtures to align everything. It's difficult to make inexpensive, high quality products in America and still pay the workers a living wage, especially when the products aren't mass produced by large corporations.


Don't dignify cheapskates with such a response. I highly doubt you're going to become rich off those things.

Anyone complaining they want a pair of specialty glasses made for rock climbing belaying purposes only, at the cost of a shitty pair of knock off sunglasses at Walmart, is not worth your time.

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By CritConrad
From Bend, OR
Feb 18, 2013
I used these today while belaying my friend on his project. He got basically one move away from the anchor and came off, going for the subsequent 25 footer. I noticed that with the belay glasses (probably only my second time using them) I kinda lost track of him falling while i was trying to make sure and give him a soft catch. Needless to say it was too much to pay attention to and a soft catch was not had :(

I would recommend using these things on easier routes with a fairly secure leader while getting used to them. Cause they def. take some getting used to, but I will buy some for sure!

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By John Aalam
Feb 18, 2013
CritConrad wrote:
I used these today while belaying my friend on his project. He got basically one move away from the anchor and came off, going for the subsequent 25 footer. I noticed that with the belay glasses (probably only my second time using them) I kinda lost track of him falling while i was trying to make sure and give him a soft catch. Needless to say it was too much to pay attention to and a soft catch was not had :( I would recommend using these things on easier routes with a fairly secure leader while getting used to them. Cause they def. take some getting used to, but I will buy some for sure!


I'd have to agree. Belaggles and other belay glasses change visual perspective so its best to take time getting used to using them. I've seen some people pick it up right away and develop their own technique and others can't get their bearings straight until they use them a few times.

I think its the same case with autolock belay devices. Some people get the hang of them right away but others can't stop short-roping their climbers until they actually go through the motions and stop spazzing!

In the end its a question of "does the added benefit justify the learning curve?" :-)

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By Michael Maraiah
Mar 15, 2013
Belay Glasses
All this talk about the justification of the costing of belay glasses.

Mike's Belay Glasses- $39.95 can be had now at: belayglass.com

Your choice...

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By George Bracksieck
Mar 15, 2013
Got Belay Specs recently. The nose piece makes them very comfortable to wear, even with prescription glasses, and help to keep them in position. The temples ("arms") make them easy to put on with one hand. The larger prisms provide a wider field of view. I prefer these to the CUs had previously been using.

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By squiddo
From Mountain View, CA
Mar 28, 2013
A fine day at Reeds- Ejesta!
Might need to check a pair of these out. Cool indeed

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By Paul P
From RSA
Apr 5, 2013
avatar
How long did Belay Specs take to ship? I ordered two weeks ago and haven't received anything. I've tried emailing on the two email addresses available and don't get a reply...

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By beccs
Apr 5, 2013
I ordered a pair of belay specs for the hubby recently. A couple days after I ordered I got an email from them that told me they had shipped. About a week after that they showed up at my door.

In total I probably got my spec about 2 weeks after ordering. Keep in mind that this was also shipping to Canada, I would suspect it would take a lot less time to have them shipped in the USA.

And on that note, if someone was looking for belay glasses in Canada - Belay Specs ships via USPS which doesn't charge the brokerage fees that someone like UPS charges. I also didn't get chaged with duties or anything of that sort either, just straight shipping.

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By Belay Specs
Apr 5, 2013
Typically we ship out by next day. In the US we ship Priority which takes 2-3 days. Canadian orders typically take 2-3 weeks depending where they are going. Canadian orders have the option of First Class or Priority. From what I've been told they take about the same time but Priority costs more and has tracking.

We try to respond quickly to email if we can but I've been in Indian Creek for the last few days.

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By Paul P
From RSA
Apr 8, 2013
avatar
Thanks for the update, Belay Specs. Looking forward to no more neck strain! :)

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By Stich
From Colorado Springs, Colorado
Apr 8, 2013
Coffee after freezing our asses off near James Pea...
I tried these a few weekends ago and unless I don't move a lot they tend to make me motion sick. So if and when I develop neck issues, I may get some. But for now they really aren't for me.

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By shadetee
May 10, 2014
Michael Maraiah wrote:
All this talk about the justification of the costing of belay glasses. Mike's Belay Glasses- $39.95 can be had now at: belayglass.com Your choice...


I have and will continue to discourage ANYONE from purchasing this style of belay glasses. THEY ARE A RISK TO YOUR SAFETY! The design blocks out your peripheral vision and you are completely blind to ground level conditions. Rope snagged on a rock or shrub; an uncontrolled dog or child running by; or in the gym some idiot starting a route under your climber.

I've been using belayspecs for 1.5yrs now. I saw a guy with CUs at the gym, and I went about investigating. Found this thread and opted to try belayspecs. In my own direct comparison, I did prefer the CUs. A more polished look, a little lighter, both functionally great. I would be willing to pay $10 more for CUs, but at the current price difference I still recommend belayspecs.

I also strongly believe the flexible steel frames to be the ideal construction. It responds very well to impacts; having taken a few climbers to the head during falls. Belaggles feel pretty durable and could probably stand up to most hits; though maybe leave a minor bruise on the side of your face. Mike's glasses look like they would snap like a twig on such a collision.

I expect CUs and belayspecs to survive beyond the climbing life of most of their owners; making them great investments. Having worn corrective glasses for over 20 years, I would not expect any arm-hinge design to last as long.

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By brucy
May 11, 2014
I'd like to make some points on the investment in belay glasses based on experience.

I had been using CU's for 2 years til the prisms took such a beating from rocks hitting them, being dropped on the way to putting them away in their case, loaning them out to people who didn't know to use the keeper cord, whatever. Eventually, the prisms got to the point where there was so many scratches and chips that interfered with vision- I simply wore them out. At $160 a pop, well, I didn't much like the arithmetic. True, the temples lasted just fine, tho that's not what really wears on belay glasses.

2.5 years ago I decided to try Mike's because, quite frankly, they were so much less money. Also, they were the only other glasses out there then. Here's what I found then and since. All belay glasses require looking around the prisms, and, to some extent, around the frames and arms. It's a skill that you learn when you get your CU's, Belay Specs, Belaggles, or Mike's- this isn't guesswork here, I've used them all. Blind to ground level conditions? I haven't had any problems with that at all, you just tilt your head a little and look underneath- duh.

Another thing I've found. The more you spend for belay glasses- I agree- the lighter the package seems (mostly because the prisms are smaller) and the added bonus of being able to wear other glasses on top of them if you need- I don't so this is a nonstarter for me. The Mike's I've used have been thru the wars. The prisms are starting to get chipped, but not yet to the point that I can't see using them another year or so (maybe it's the sheer size of the prisms, I don't know). The hinges and arms have been blasted, and yes "impacted", and show no problems. So I don't know what "actual" experience others have had with them, but this has been mine.

Something else to note. I climb an average of some 240 days a year; virtually every climb, the glasses are used. That's an awful lot of pitches and use.
So, my point seems to be is this, if you expect that the service life of belay glasses will outlive the climbing life of their owner's- I've got another think for you on this point. Based on experience and that of my friends, I really wouldn't expect to get more then 3-4 years worth of use from any glasses.

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By chuffnugget
From Bolder, CO
May 11, 2014
^+1, i ve used mikes for over a year several times a week.

Great value so I'm not stressing over their safety at the crag like an uncased ifon or a baby. I'd be a wreck with $120 glass.

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By Malcolm Daly
From Boulder, CO
May 11, 2014
The best thing about belay glasses is that they keep the belayer's focus on the climber. Go to any climbing gym or crag where they're in use and look at the belayers. The ones wearing belay glasses are focused on the climber and the others, well, they may be focused on just about anything.

Belay glasses could be the best belay safety device ever.

Climb safe,
Mal

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By Belay Specs
May 11, 2014
I hear comments about the about peripheral vision often when talking with climbers and customers about their experience with Belay Specs and other brands of belay glasses. Personally, I think the more peripheral vision you have the better but obviously some people are able to make do with slightly less.

brucy brings up a good point about the durability of prismatic belay glasses. With enough use and abuse, the prisms can get damaged to the point where they loose functionality. As brucy alludes to, some damage to the prism can be tolerated and the glasses still function well. We recognized the vulnerability of the prisms early on and designed our frames to try to prevent the prisms from being the first thing to hit if they were dropped. I think other designs attempt to do the same as the risk is pretty obvious. Unlike other brands however, we do have a prism replacement program. For $20, we'll replace the prisms, reform the frame if necessary, replace worn out temple and nose padding and ship them back to you. We would rather repair a product than have it thrown into a landfill and replaced with a new pair. We've done less than half a dozen repairs since we started selling Belay Specs which gives you an idea of the durability.

Malcom - I was talking with a local gear shop owner and he made a related comment. He used to have lots of people talking to him while he belayed at the gym being a well known person in the community. Since he stared wearing Belay Specs, people don't talk to him nearly as often because they can't see his eyes and don't feel engaged in the conversation. I do agree that belay glasses can greatly increase the attention payed by the belayer to the climber.

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By topher donahue
May 11, 2014
These are a good addition to climbing equipment, and I agree with Malcolm that they make climbing, especially in distracting environments, safer. Someone needs to make these with a shaded, or flip down shade on the upper part of the prism to cut the sunlight from the bright sky above a shaded cliff.

Everyone should have a pair - even if you think you're a master belayer who doesn't need to watch the leader's every move to give a good belay, they're also great to wear upside down while makin' love...

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By chuffnugget
From Bolder, CO
May 11, 2014
Kinky!

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By Malcolm Daly
From Boulder, CO
May 12, 2014
Topher, awesome!

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By Belay Specs
May 12, 2014
topher donahue wrote:
These are a good addition to climbing equipment, and I agree with Malcolm that they make climbing, especially in distracting environments, safer. Someone needs to make these with a shaded, or flip down shade on the upper part of the prism to cut the sunlight from the bright sky above a shaded cliff. Everyone should have a pair - even if you think you're a master belayer who doesn't need to watch the leader's every move to give a good belay, they're also great to wear upside down while makin' love...


Topher - A movable shade would add complication, cost and weight to a design plus moving parts are often a point of failure, one of the reason we went with a single piece frame. Why not just wear a visor/hat/brimmed helmet with your belay glasses? We designed Belay Specs to be worn with prescription or sun glasses, so that gives you another option. We've got some pictures on the front page of our website. It looks a bit weird but it works well. Not sure I'd want to wear them while making love, too much moving around

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