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".
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?