TRUBLUE Unveils New Catch-and-Hold Auto Belays

TRUBLUE iQ+ catch-and-hold touchpad
TRUBLUE’s new iQ+ auto belay in action, with a touchpad for activating the unique catch-and-hold technology. (Image courtesy of Head Rush)

Head Rush Technologies, the manufacturer of the popular TRUBLUE auto belays, recently announced an upgrade to its line of auto belay products that has been turning heads in the industry. Named the TRULBLUE iQ and iQ+, the iQ+ device, in particular, features brand-new catch-and-hold technology.

Whereas previous auto belays automatically lower climbers to the ground after a fall, the new iQ+ device―when activated―maintains the position of climbers. “When you fall, TRUBLUE iQ+ will catch-and-hold you for up to 30 seconds, during which you can continue climbing at any time,” reads the product description on TRUBLUE’s website. The concept―similar to a “take” in roped climbing―is intended to allow climbers to more easily project routes with an auto belay and is being advertised alongside the hashtag #ClimbtheCrux.

“When developing a new auto belay, we didn’t just want to make it lighter, more durable and improve the climbing experience. Rather, we wanted to take auto belaying to the next level,” says Rich Reynolds, VP of Engineering at Head Rush.

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The first-of-its-kind auto belay feature can be turned on and off and is activated through touchpads at the bottom and top of the climbing route. At the bottom of the wall, climbers press an “on” button to turn on the catch-and-hold; at the top, they press an “off” button to be lowered to the ground without pause. And when the technology is not activated, the iQ+ functions like a normal auto belay device.

In the works for over two years, the catch-and-hold technology isn’t the only upgrade to the TRUBLUEs. The new iQ series comes with a suite of bells and whistles, including a built-in back bumper and built-in connectivity for future feature releases―in addition to the same magnetic braking technology used in all TRUBLUEs.

The iQ (without catch-and-hold) releases this month and the iQ+ (with catch-and-hold) in 2022, and it will be possible to upgrade iQ devices to iQ+ for a fee, once available. The original TRUBLUEs, for their part, are being discontinued and will be sold to depletion. According to the TRUBLUE announcement, Head Rush “will continue to service first-generation models and offer replacement parts.”

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