Last month, I published my review of the Coros Vertix 2. The watch is a terrific tracking tool for all kinds of outdoor adventures and sporting pursuits. However, it’s the climbing-specific features—developed alongside legendary rock climber Tommy Caldwell—that really make the Vertix 2 unique. In fact, in my opinion, it’s the best GPS watch for tracking rock climbing and bouldering.
Before I started using the Vertix 2, I was initially unsure about climbing with a watch on my wrist. However, after extensive testing on everything ranging from crimpy sport routes to slabby trad, I found that wearing the watch on your wrist is usually fine. Before attempting any technical crack-climbing routes, however, I’d still recommend taking the watch off, as you’ll need a watch-free wrist when using hand jams.
Coros Vertix 2 second-gen carabiner
That’s where the Coros Vertix 2 carabiner comes in; it enables you to clip the Vertix 2 to your harness so that you can still track climbs and technical scrambles without wearing the watch on your wrist.
Of course, in this case, the watch won’t be able to directly record any biometric data, unless you pair it with an external heart rate chest strap. And, some motion sensing data—such as cadence, jump rope counts or strength training reps—will be inaccurate. However, from my testing, GPS tracking continues to work flawlessly. And, other climbing-specific data points, such as lead-fall height, are correctly captured too.
Coros Vertix 2 carabiner: Design & build
Crafted from aluminium and polyamide, the second-gen Coros Vertix 2 carabiner is lighter, slimmer, and overall neater than the original model, without sacrificing strength. At just 40g, the carabiner is only 1.5x heavier than the standard silicon watchband—so you’ll barely notice it on your harness.
With a 12mm gate opening, it’ll clip to the fattest of gear loops. However, I prefer to use the haul loop on my harness, as this keeps the Vertix 2 out of the way of my climbing rack. When you’re not wearing a harness, you can instead clip the carabiner to a belt loop when bouldering, or a backpack strap when scrambling. In any case, the red polyamide body adds a touch of flare and shields the optical sensors from scratches.
The digital dial and buttons, however, remain uncovered so that you can easily navigate through menus, maps and data screens. A little extra protection around the side of the watch would have been appreciated—to guard the fibre body from swinging cams, nuts and hexes. But, the Vertix 2 is a very durable watch anyway, with the titanium bezel able to shrug off most knocks and scrapes.
Using the Coros Vertix 2 carabiner
Attaching the Vertix 2 to the carabiner is simple. First, fit the bottom pin of the watch into the corresponding slot of the carabiner. Then push the sliding button on the back of the carabiner to release the catch, and clip the watch’s top pin into place. Releasing the sliding button will then re-engage the catch and secure the Vertix 2 in place.
The catch is under quite a high spring tension and the button is orientated in such a way that accidental release is unlikely. However, for added safety, you can engage the lock switch. This is clearly marked with a white strip in its locked state for added peace-of-mind. The watch body can be fitted either way up and, with a bit of practice, could probably be done one-handed. Either way, once it’s locked in, there’s no movement at all.
The carabiner itself has a locking gate, with a knurled texture that makes it easy to operate while wearing gloves. There’s no red band to highlight when the carabiner is unlocked, so be sure to double check. However, the screw action is smooth and the screw stop prevents accidentally overtightening. with a bit of practice, you could probably attach and detach the Vertix 2 from the carabiner one-handed.
Overall, the second-gen Coros Vertix 2 carabiner is a nice upgrade from the original model. It’s well engineered, lightweight, and easy to operate. Whether clipped to a harness, belt loop, or backpack strap, the carabiner holds the Vertix 2 securely in place and adds some extra protection to the back of the watch.
The fact that Coros has even made the carabiner in the first place is pretty cool. It shows that the brand is prioritising the ability to track rock climbing, mountaineering, and technical scrambling, rather than this just being an afterthought.
It’s important to note though, that the carabiner is not UIAA-certified climbing safety equipment, and therefore should only be used to carry the Coros Vertix 2. With that in mind, the £69 (UK) / $79 (US) price tag may seem a bit punchy. However, it makes sense when you consider that this is a very specialised piece of equipment and has only been manufactured in a small batch.
You could, of course, choose to buckle the watch strap to your harness instead. This does the job for those that only need to carry the Vertix 2 off-wrist occasionally. However, in my opinion, the carabiner is definitely worth considering if you’re a regular rock climber or mountaineer. While I still wear the Vertix 2 on my wrist for most climbs, it’s great to have another option when I’m pushing my grade or if need a watch-free wrist for hand jams.