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Belay Device and Rope

In the history of climbing, belay devices have undergone a turbulent evolution from mind bogling hip belays to fully automated (rope) locking mechanical devices. This article is dedicated to the ATC belay device which is currently the most common used all around belay and rappel device for rock climbers in the world. It’s simple lightweight design, multi-functionality and maximum brake strength make it a necessity on every climber’s rack.
variety of belay devices Even within the familiy of ATC-type devices, there are different versions with added functionality. However, the basic idea of a mechanical brake device remains the same throughout all models from oldschool “Sticht” plate device to modern ATC. Check out the main ones:

1. Locking carabiner

A locking carabiner is the ATC’s best friend and cannot live without it! It is highly recommended to use a smooth rounded pear shaped locker. This guarantees better rope handling and less wear and tear on the rope. Especially when rappelling, a bigger (pear shaped) carabiner is useful since there is more surface for the rope to glide over. The locking carabiner has to be clipped to the “Belay Loop” so that the “Belay Rope” is facing away from the belayer. The handling of the rope and safety is much increaed if the “Belay Rope” faces away. When clipping to the device make sure that rope loop an device loop are both clipped (as shown in picture)

2. ATC Belay Device

Originally a brand name, the “ATC” has now replaced the generic term “tubular belay device”. Check our article on ATC bleay devices.

3. + 4. “Climber’s Rope” and “Belay Rope”

After the rope is fiddled through the device, there are two “ropes” exiting off of one opening of the belay device. The one rope that leads to the climber is called the “Climber’s Rope”. The other rope that leads to a pile of extra rope on the ground (or eventually back to the belayer) is called “Belay Rope”. Check our article on belaying to learn about the Inn’s and Out’s of belaying
The Rope will only be in locking mode as long as the “Belay Rope” is being held below the device. In this position, the rope gets mechanically kinked off and therefore cannot pass through anymore = rope is locked in the device

Happy customers

Highly recommend Fabi! He is super organized, friendly and safe. He was on time, prepared with everything we needed, fully explained everything we needed to know and made sure we felt safe during every step. He’s super encouraging and really knows what he is doing!
Anna T.
What an amazing experience! We took the beginners class, and so happy we did, Fabi was very knowledgeable, breaking instructions down step by step making it easier and fun to learn! After learning all the important safety steps we got to climbing right away, with fabi right there giving us pointers on the best route to take. I left class feeling more confident in my abilities to climb. Fabi has such a chill, friendly, and encouraging way of teaching, it felt like we were learning with a friend. I highly reccomend. Thank you for sharing your knowledge Fabi!
Kailyn F.
Had such an incredible time doing my first trad rock climbing multi pitch! Coach Jakob was extremely professional and taught my friend and I so much. We went up over 2,000 feet and got to the top of a stunning mountain in Idyllwild. He was informative and we felt completely safe the entire time. It was a fun and beautiful adventure. We would highly recommend Jakob and Chillino Rock Climbing Group for your upcoming adventures!
Valerie H.
My partner and I just finished an intro climbing class with Chillino and it was fantastic! Our guide was Fabi and he was knowledgeable, friendly, encouraging and always put safety first. A great introduction to outdoor climbing with an emphasis on learning basics the right way and having fun, whatever your skill level. We started with an overview of equipment, a short hike in Mission Hills and a thorough training on using the equipment. We had the chance to do several lines at our own pace. All were a good challenge! Overall, a great class and highly recommend 🙂
Grace M.
Absolutely incredible experience! I hardly have any experience as a climber and Fabian did a great job at showing me the basics and making sure I knew how to safely and adequately climb. There was plenty of time for me to get my hands dirty and the location was beautiful! The team that came along was very positive and encouraging! Would definitely recommend Fabian's climbing options!
Tiffany C.