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What Is The Best Belay Device For Beginners? | EpicTV Climbing Daily, Ep. 571

What Is The Best Belay Device For Beginners? | EpicTV Climbing Daily, Ep. 571

Date
08th September 2015
08th Sep 2015
Video views
32.9K
Comments
5
When you're just starting out climbing, choosing your first belay device can be a tricky task but it's also an extremely important one as learning good belay technique from the outset will help to keep you and your partners safe further down the line. With auto-locking belay devices such as the Grigri now more common than ever, it is tempting to use one of these early on in the belief that it will help eliminate some of the risk as you perfect your belay technique. However, we'd recommend starting out with a simple friction plate design instead as this will not only help you to develop perfect belay technique, but will be applicable no matter what type of climbing you progress into. With that in mind, we've lined up three great options: the Black Diamond ATC Sport belay device, the Petzl Verso belay device and the Black Diamond ATC XP belay device. Check out the video to find out which was our pick for best of the bunch. What Is The Best Belay Device For Beginners? | EpicTV Climbing Daily, Ep. 571

Comments (5)

1 voter thinks this video is Handy
wasi's picture
Hi, why would you want the ATC XP? I d' always suggest the ATC Guide (or something similar from an other company) because of its auto blocking mode to comfortably belay one or two second climbers. todays novice is tomorrows leadclimber : ) Regards Patrick
12th Sep 2015
anton1013's picture
Hi I'm sorry but I have to strongly disagree with this advice. Especially for beginners tube style belay devices are an unnecessary risk. The German alpine club has recently done extensive research on the matter and concluded that way too many people can't handle them correctly. This includes the guy in the video, who repeatedly has his brake hand too close to the device. Beginners who have to learn how to handle a new device anyway might as well get proper instruction on a device with assisted braking and with the MegaJul for instance you don't even have to spend substantially more and you get full alpine functionality as well. Standard tube style devices are rather suited for advanced climbers/belayers when paying out rope more quickly becomes more important. But the transition should be done slowly and carefully as belaying safe with a tube style device is more difficult than most people using them realise, since the friction of the device is comparably low (varies between models) and the process of belaying involves two "safety gaps" whenever you have to actively move the rope up to pay out or take in rope - in these moments the rope is effectively only running around the carabiner and the device has no effect. Paired with a too high brake hand position as in the video, this is dangerous. Furthermore using only a screwgate carabiner with any belay device is not recommended. Stay safe, Antonio
11th Sep 2015
Dave Thexton's picture
Climbing Gear Geek
Hi Anton, It’s really great to hear your thoughts on this and I'm sure other people will have their own opinions. However, I think we are going to stick to our guns this time. Belaying skills learned on a tubular device are transferable to assisted braking devices, but the reverse is not always true. If someone is taught to belay using a Grigri for example, and then find themselves in a situation where they have to belay using a tubular device, they will be unprepared for the extra force required to hold a fall. We are not saying that tubular devices are safer than auto-locking devices; on the whole, we probably think the opposite is true. However, this does not imply that tubular devices are unsafe. Most climbing accidents happen as a result of carelessness or bad technique. It is more important that a novice climber is given a comprehensive instruction on how to belay rather than rely on an assisted braking device to compensate for an incomplete understanding. On a less safety related note, simple tubular devices are cheaper than other type of belay devices. The obvious appeal of this for a beginner climber is that you don't need to make a large investment when you are first getting into the sport. If you are certain that you will be leading multipitch routes soon, then certainly you should buy a device suitable for that but I think this is very rarely the case. Regarding the other points you raised; Cailean, who is belaying in the video, is an exceptionally experienced climber and has been belaying for many years. I have re-watched the video and would personally be happy for him to belay me with the techniques displayed. I am also 100% confident that using a screwgate carabiner with a belaying device is a safe method, it is not the ONLY safe method though or even the safEST method. Hope that helps, Dave P.S. We have similar discussions and hundreds of others on our recently launched Gear Geek discussion forum here: http://www.epictv.com/products/climbing-and-alpinism
21st Sep 2015
Eduardo Ventura's picture
What about the edelrid mega jul?
8th Sep 2015
Dave Thexton's picture
Climbing Gear Geek
Hi Eduardo, The Mega Jul is a really great device! However, the main reason it didn't feature in this video is because it is slightly more complicated than some other devices. The assisted breaking for example, is a great feature, but we think that beginners should learn good belaying technique with a simple tubular device first. If you have any more questions about climbing gear or just climbing in general, please check out our new Gear Geek site: http://www.epictv.com/products/climbing-and-alpinism. Hope that helps, Dave
9th Sep 2015
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