Salus Climbing Communicator

For his final year project at Dundee University, Malcolm Russell designed a novel new communication device for climbers. Called the Salus, this wireless device uses colored lights to convey climbing commands between you and your partner for those hard to hear multi-pitch or alpine climbs. 

Looking to contribute to the evolution of the sport, Malcolm knew that the relationship you have with your climbing partner is extremely important. One of the critical success factors in any good relationship is of course clear communication, so Malcolm researched a way to make that easier. 

The Salus climbing communication device uses colored lights to represent basic commands. Each unit features four buttons: red, yellow, green and an acknowledgement button. You can decide with your partner what command each color will represent such as red for the leader to communicate "safe", yellow to tell the second they are "on belay", and green to tell the second to "climb on". 

Salus climbing communication device

When the lead climber presses a colored button, a signal is sent to the second climber's paired device and illuminates the corresponding button. The second can then reply by pressing the acknowledge button, indicating communication is received and understood. 

I have been on many multi-pitch climbs where either weather, such as wind and snow, or the long distance between me and my climbing partner make it very difficult to communicate. I would love to try the Salus as a backup or accompaniment to shouting back and forth with my partner, though not to get lazy and make the Salus my only form of communication.

No word yet on actual commercial availability for the Salus climbing communication device. 

How about you climbers? Do you think the Salus is a great idea?

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  1. Might be cool! I do feel, however, that it is when things go beyond the standard sequence of communication that good communication becomes important. Such as “I cant find an anchor”, “I got offroute, I´m downclimbing” or “can you pack up the belay and simulclimb?”. Of course, I guess this device could potentially provide those messages.

  2. Hi John,

    I totally agree that good verbal communication between climbing partners should come first. I think I would use this device as more of an adjunct or backup instead of my only tool.

    Thanks for the comment and have a great weekend!


  3. That would be awesome! My girlfriend is 80% deaf and we love multipitch, so you can imagine the challenge of asking for slack or a take with almost full line out and howling winds! Voice activated would be super cool, I can dream right?

  4. Hi Greg- so cool that you and your girlfriend still multipitch despite the challenges! Hopefully the Salus will become a real product sometime soon.

    Happy climbing!

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