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TRUBLUE Announces First-Ever “Catch-and-Hold” Auto Belay

The new TRUBLUE iQ+ will catch climbers after a fall instead of automatically lowering them to the ground.

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Auto-belay company TRUBLUE just announced its newest line of auto-belays, the iQ Series. 

The iQ Series will incorporate never before seen “catch-and-hold” technology, allowing climbers to maintain their position on the wall after a fall, instead of immediately being lowered to the ground.

So, how does it work?

The TRUBLUE iQ+ features an activation touchpad at the bottom of the route. After clipping in, you press the touchpad before climbing. This will activate the catch-and-hold technology. Then, when you fall anywhere on the route the auto-belay will catch you, holding you in place for up to 30 seconds. 

During this 30 second period, you can begin climbing again at any time. If you reach the top of the route, you’ll press another touchpad to tell the auto-belay to lower you. If during the post-fall holding period you don’t begin climbing again, you will be lowered like normal after the 30 seconds are up.

All iQ+ auto-belays will also function as normal auto-belays (without the catch-and-hold feature) if the activation touchpad at the bottom of the route isn’t pressed.

It goes without saying that this new advancement in auto-belay technology is huge for the indoor climbing scene. Auto-belays have grown increasingly popular in recent years, and they’re great for fast laps or warm-ups/cool-downs. That said, the one insurmountable drawback (until now) is that traditional auto-belays are essentially useless if you’re projecting a hard route, since you must start from the base of the wall any time you bungle a move. With the iQ+, that problem has been solved. Climbers can now project climbs at or above their usual send-grade without worrying about starting from square one after each and every fall. 

The iQ+, releasing in 2022, will act as an upgrade to TRUBLUE’s other new auto-belay, the iQ, which begins shipping this month. The baseline iQ model does not feature catch-and-hold technology but is an improved version of the original TRUBLUE auto-belay (which has been discontinued, according to the company’s website).

Compared to the original TRUBLUE, the new TRUBLUE iQ is lighter (33 lbs instead of 42.5 lbs) and features improved webbing and a built-in back bumper. The iQ+ will have everything the iQ has, but will be a bit heavier, at 41.8 lbs. Both the iQ and the iQ+ were designed to be modulated via Internet connection, and any iQ models can be upgraded to iQ+ upon release. 

Kevin Jorgeson was reportedly involved in the iQ Series’ development. “Psyched for this! Been in the works for ages and gonna be a game changer!” Jorgeson wrote on Instagram after reposting the announcement video, which was filmed at The Spot climbing gym’s Louisville, KY location.

The TRUBLUE iQ retails for $2,499, the same price as the original TRUBLUE, but the price of the upcoming iQ+ has not yet been announced. Learn more on the TRUBLUE website.