These days, when virtually everything you buy seems to have been designed in the US and made in the Far East it's refreshing to come across an innovative product that is truly home grown. The clip stick is not exactly an original idea but the BetaStick takes the concept to the next level of design and functionality. The cunning head design provides a secure seat for the clipping end of virtually any quickdraw. A section of wire holds the carabiner in place and releases the gate when the stick is pulled away from whatever you are clipping. The Beta Stick comes in 4 to 5 telescopic sections (depending on the model). You will probably be able to clip 90% of bolts with not more than 3 sections extended but for those really ridiculous first bolt placements the 4th section will give you between a 2.75 (9-foot) and 4.5m (18-foot) reach, depending on which pole you choose. The only thing to watch for is that the 4th section is a little flimsy; don't lean on it too hard! More recently Beta has added the “10 foot Technical” pole to their range. This is an avalanche probe style stick, designed to be more compact and lighter, whilst still offering a big clip reach - ideal for the globe trotting sport climber. So, great for clipping out of reach bolts, but most climbers will find BetaStick's other feature even more useful. The twin prongs of the head have been carefully drilled at just the right angle to accept a Metolius M16 style Bouldering Brush (1 brush is included with each stick). Perfect for brushing up those out of reach holds at the crag or in the climbing wall. What's more the holes are snug enough to prevent any brush movement and alleviate the need for extra tape. Of course we have all climbed perfectly well without the BetaStick until now. But, faced with increasingly polished starts and a less macho attitude to 'making that first clip', there is every chance that you will start to see more and more BetaStick's propped up at the bottom of sport crags or strapped to the side of bouldering mats on the way to The Plantation.