LAB HOME
TECHNIQUES

Advice

GEAR

Products tested
 

EXPO

Search

Expeditions

360° Panoramas

People

Post

Weblink
Ice
Freni per l'assicurazione in arrampicata
      Introduction
      Self-arresting devices
   Devices which do not self-arrest
These belay devices require the rope to be pulled back to stop the fall - without swift action by the belayer the fall will not be stopped. When clipped directly to the harness, the belaying tends to be slightly dynamic, not only because the belayer is pulled forwards, but also because the rope slides through the plate. These devices are suitable not only for single pitches, but also for multi-pitch routes and in an alpine environment.

These devices accept two ropes both for belaying and abseiling, but since they do not lock automatically, a prussic loop is recommended beneath them when abseiling. Clipping these devices directly to an anchor to bring the second up to a stance is not recommended as it becomes very difficult to pull the rope back - this is extremely dangerous.
Many different models are available, but at present the best are plates or tubes.

ATC (Black Diamond)
This is an efficient and lightweight belay tube.

ATC Black Diamond
top rope ***
at the crag ***
multi-pitch sports routes ****
traditional routes ****
ice climbing ****
abseil ****
advantages
- can be used both at the crag or on mountain routes with either one or two ropes
- simple to use, doesn't jam
- lightweight
- not expensive
- performs well on abseils, as the ropes are kept separate and don't get kinked
disadvantages
- does not lock automatically
- be careful when abseiling with thin ropes, as there is less friction
Variable Controller (Wild Country)
This efficient belay tube has a particular design which works extemely well on abseils.

Variable Controller
top rope ***
at the crag ***
multi-pitch sports routes ****
traditional routes ****
ice climbing ****
abseil ****
disadvantages
- does not lock automatically
advantages
- can be used both at the crag or on mountain routes with either one or two ropes
- simple to use, doesn't jam
- lightweight
- not expensive
- performs well on abseils, as the ropes are kept separate and don't get kinked


note:
the particular asymmetrical form allows more friction to be produced by inverting the tube. This can be extremely useful with narrow ropes, or in situations in which greater control is needed e.g. abseiling down an frozen waterfall with thick gloves on.

Sticht plate (with a spring)
Manufactured by many companies, there is very little difference between them
Sticht plate
top rope **
at the crag **
multi-pitch sports routes ***
traditional routes ***
ice climbing ***
abseil ***
disadvantages
- does not lock automatically
- a cord is needed to connect the Sticht plate to the carabiner to stop it from being
  dropped accidentally. The cord can be inconvenient as it often becomes tangled
- compared to the "tubes" reviewed above, it is harder to pay out rope to the leader

advantages
- can be used both at the crag or on mountain routes with either one or two ropes
- simple to use
- lightweight
- cheap
- can be used for abseiling (the ropes are kept separate and don't get kinked


note:
Old versions without a spring or with only one hole still exist: these are best avoided.
Figure of Eight
Manufactured by many companies, there is very little difference between them.
These are probably the most well-known and common devices. Every company has at least one model, and they can be used in a great variety of ways, depending on which ropes are used and how much friction is needed. The most frequent ways of using the Figure of Eight have been examined here, firstly the normal position and secondly with the rope passed through the hole and then clipped directly into the carabiner (fast position).

Otto con passaggio veloce
top rope **
at the crag **
multi-pitch sports routes *
traditional routes *
ice climbing *
abseil **
advantages
- can be used both at the crag or on mountain
- can be used in a variety of different ways
- cheap


note:
so as to not accidentally lose the Figure of Eight when on a route, keep it clipped to the big hole, pass the rope through as normal, and then clip the carabiner into the small hole. The rope holds it in place and stops it from falling down.
Otto passato normale
disadvantages
- does not lock automatically (the rope can be locked off once the fall has been held)
- belaying with two ropes is difficult and not recommended
- when used fort abseiling, the ropes do not remain separate and get kinked
- difficult to pay out rope quickly when used in the normal position
- although when used in the fast position the rope can be paid out quickly, far less friction is produced making it much harder to hold a fall. In addition, the Figure of Eight can often sit wrongly on the carabiner, making it very difficult to handle. Gloves should be used to avoid friction burns. In any case, this particular use is potentially dangerous and not recommended

| Home | News | Special | Lab | Mountaininfo | Expo | Rock | Expeditions | Ice | Snow | Trekking | Info | Newsletter

|Italian version|

Sends comments and suggestions to Planetmountain.composta

Copyright© Mountain Network s.r.l.