2008 Gear Guide: Belay Devices


 

Photos courtesy of Heidi Wirtz.
I found myself at a Swiss crag with a guided climbing group. The group leader briefly demonstrated the use of a münter hitch for belaying and sent the first timers to fend for themselves. I watched as they torqued and pigtailed the ropes into a spaghetti'ed mess of münter madness. Still good in a pinch, this venerable knot has nothing on today's simple, bomber belay devices.
For the modern-climber's purposes, there are three major types of belay device: full-manual, self-braking, and mechanical-assist, each with its own inherent benefits and weaknesses.

Full-Manual
This category includes plates, tubes, or any belay device requiring direct belayer action to arrest a fall. They're versatile, lightweight, and afford-able, and create friction on a rope by bending it at two points. They're also good for trad climbing, when it's best not to shock-load the pro, as they give slightly during a catch. Available dual-friction designs can improve handling on thin or icy ropes. As "full-manual" implies, unhand the rope for an instant, and your partner could deck.

Self-Braking
These belay devices are similar to full-manual options, but can also be configured to allow a belayer to bring up the second(s) directly off the anchor point in "self-braking" mode (i.e., the belayer can catch a fall without a fully manual lockoff; still a bit of a misnomer, as belayer attention and control are required at all times with all belay devices). These are pricier than full-manual devices, but well worth it for multi-pitch rock or ice.

Mechanical-Assist
Mechanical-assists use intrinsic moving parts to help grab the rope when weighted. These devices can catch a fall even if the belayer is momentarily distracted or incapacitated. (Great for hangdog sessions, they also hold weight with little or no effort.) Mechanical-assist devices have become de rigueur for many gym, sport, and even trad climbers, but they do have some weaknesses: none currently allow for double-rope rapping or belaying, they're heavier than tubes or plates, and they cost more. However, they're well worth it if they suit your needs.

 

See Climbing’s "New and Notable" Belay DeviceSee belay device tables sorted by COMPANYSee belay device tables sorted by PRICESee belay device tables sorted by WEIGHTSee belay device's page 1(A - E)See belay device's page 2 (F - O)See belay device's page 3 (P - W)

 

 

See Climbing’s "New and Notable" Belay DeviceSee belay device tables sorted by COMPANYSee belay device tables sorted by PRICESee belay device tables sorted by WEIGHTSee belay device's page 1(A - E)See belay device's page 2 (F - O)See belay device's page 3 (P - W)

 

 

See Climbing’s "New and Notable" Belay DeviceSee belay device tables sorted by COMPANYSee belay device tables sorted by PRICESee belay device tables sorted by WEIGHTSee belay device's page 1(A - E)See belay device's page 2 (F - O)See belay device's page 3 (P - W)

 

Sorted BY COMPANY
Company Product Type Price Weight New # Ropes Rope Range
ABC ARC T 15.95 2.12oz 2 9-11mm
Black Diamond Equipment ATC Sport T 16.95 2.12oz * 1 7-11mm
C.A.M.P. Ovo Belay Plate P 7.95 2.04oz 2 Single 10mm+; Double 8-10mm
DMM V Twin T 24.5 3.14oz * 2 8-10.5mm
Edelrid Eddy MA 159 12.35oz 1 9-11mm
Faders Sum MA 89.95 9.17oz 1 9.1-10.5mm
Kong Ghost AB 27.95 2.2oz 2 Single 10.5mm; Double 7.5mm
Mad Rock Paradox T 12.95 2.4oz 2 9.2mm-10mm
Metolius Climbing BRD (Belay Rappel Device) T 19.95 2.89oz 2 8-11mm
Omega Pacific SBGII (Super Belay Gadget II) T 18.95 2.72oz 2 8-10.8mm
Petzl Reverso3 AB 29.95 2.72oz * 2 Single 8.9mm+; Double 7.5+
Simond Toucan AB 29.99 3.52oz 2 7.5-11mm
Singing Rock Hornet T 24.95 2.01oz 2 9-10.5mm
Trango Cinch MA 69.95 6.42oz 1 9.4-11mm
Wild Country VC Pro 2 T 14.95 2.79oz * 2 Single 9mm+; Double 7.7mm

Key
Device type
T = Tube-style full-manual
P = Plate-style full-manual
MA = Mechanical-assist
SB = Self-braking

 

See Climbing’s "New and Notable" Belay DeviceSee belay device tables sorted by COMPANYSee belay device tables sorted by PRICESee belay device tables sorted by WEIGHTSee belay device's page 1(A - E)See belay device's page 2 (F - O)See belay device's page 3 (P - W)

 

Sorted BY PRICE
Company Product Type Price Weight New # Ropes Rope Range
C.A.M.P. Ovo Belay Plate P 7.95 2.04oz 2 Single 10mm+; Double 8-10mm
Mad Rock Paradox T 12.95 2.4oz 2 9.2mm-10mm
Wild Country VC Pro 2 T 14.95 2.79oz * 2 Single 9mm+; Double 7.7mm
ABC ARC T 15.95 2.12oz 2 9-11mm
Black Diamond Equipment ATC Sport T 16.95 2.12oz * 1 7-11mm
Omega Pacific SBGII (Super Belay Gadget II) T 18.95 2.72oz 2 8-10.8mm
Metolius Climbing BRD (Belay Rappel Device) T 19.95 2.89oz 2 8-11mm
DMM V Twin T 24.5 3.14oz * 2 8-10.5mm
Singing Rock Hornet T 24.95 2.01oz 2 9-10.5mm
Kong Ghost SB 27.95 2.2oz 2 Single 10.5mm; Double 7.5mm
Petzl Reverso3 SB 29.95 2.72oz * 2 Single 8.9mm+; Double 7.5+
Simond Toucan SB 29.99 3.52oz 2 7.5-11mm
Trango Cinch MA 69.95 6.42oz 1 9.4-11mm
Faders Sum MA 89.95 9.17oz 1 9.1-10.5mm
Edelrid Eddy MA 159 12.35oz 1 9-11mm

Key
Device type
T = Tube-style full-manual
P = Plate-style full-manual
MA = Mechanical-assist
SB = Self-braking

 

See Climbing’s "New and Notable" Belay DeviceSee belay device tables sorted by COMPANYSee belay device tables sorted by PRICESee belay device tables sorted by WEIGHTSee belay device's page 1(A - E)See belay device's page 2 (F - O)See belay device's page 3 (P - W)

 

Sorted BY WEIGHT
Company Product Type Price Weight New # Ropes Rope Range
Singing Rock Hornet T 24.95 2.01oz 2 9-10.5mm
C.A.M.P. Ovo Belay Plate P 7.95 2.04oz 2 Single 10mm+; Double 8-10mm
ABC ARC T 15.95 2.12oz 2 9-11mm
Black Diamond Equipment ATC Sport T 16.95 2.12oz * 1 7-11mm
Kong Ghost SB 27.95 2.2oz 2 Single 10.5mm; Double 7.5mm
Mad Rock Paradox T 12.95 2.4oz 2 9.2mm-10mm
Omega Pacific SBGII (Super Belay Gadget II) T 18.95 2.72oz 2 8-10.8mm
Petzl Reverso3 SB 29.95 2.72oz * 2 Single 8.9mm+; Double 7.5+
Wild Country VC Pro 2 T 14.95 2.79oz * 2 Single 9mm+; Double 7.7mm
Metolius Climbing BRD (Belay Rappel Device) T 19.95 2.89oz 2 8-11mm
DMM V Twin T 24.5 3.14oz * 2 8-10.5mm
Simond Toucan SB 29.99 3.52oz 2 7.5-11mm
Trango Cinch MA 69.95 6.42oz 1 9.4-11mm
Faders Sum MA 89.95 9.17oz 1 9.1-10.5mm
Edelrid Eddy MA 159 12.35oz 1 9-11mm

Key
Device type
T = Tube-style full-manual
P = Plate-style full-manual
MA = Mechanical-assist
SB = Self-braking

 

See Climbing’s "New and Notable" Belay DeviceSee belay device tables sorted by COMPANYSee belay device tables sorted by PRICESee belay device tables sorted by WEIGHTSee belay device's page 1(A - E)See belay device's page 2 (F - O)See belay device's page 3 (P - W)

 

 

See Climbing’s "New and Notable" Belay DeviceSee belay device tables sorted by COMPANYSee belay device tables sorted by PRICESee belay device tables sorted by WEIGHTSee belay device's page 1(A - E)See belay device's page 2 (F - O)See belay device's page 3 (P - W)

 

 

See Climbing’s "New and Notable" Belay DeviceSee belay device tables sorted by COMPANYSee belay device tables sorted by PRICESee belay device tables sorted by WEIGHTSee belay device's page 1(A - E)See belay device's page 2 (F - O)See belay device's page 3 (P - W)

 

 



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