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My Favorite Belay Devices 2023

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My Favorite Belay Devices 2023

Every climber needs a belay device. Its responsibility is to keep the climber safe and the belayer in control. So having a suitable belay device is critical for all rock climbers. But it’s more complex than simply purchasing any belay device. Each has its attributes making it better…or worse, depending on the circumstances. So I will give my synopsis for the best belay devices of 2023.

It is common lingo to refer to ALL tube-style belay devices as an ATC. But in fact, the actual ATC is the name given to that style device produced by the company Black Diamond Equipment. The Black Diamond ATC-Guide is a classic belay device for belaying and rappelling. The ridged plate adds more friction control over a traditional ATC. And this device continues to get better! The Black Diamond ATC-Guide can also be used for multi-pitch belaying. The extra loop on the belay device’s body allows for it to be suspended directly from the climbing anchor. This is a must-have feature for all rock climbing guides but is excellent for recreational climbers too. The main downside is that when belaying from below, it doesn’t have a braking-assisted feature. If this is important to you, keep reading this article to learn more about it.

This belay device, manufactured by Edelrid in Germany, is less commonly seen in the United States. Still, its unique design provides features that will interest all climbers. It appears to look like the Black Diamond ATC-Guide but with some extra design elements. But these extra elements also provide significant improvements. While belaying a climber from below, the Edelrid Mega Jul has a braking-assisted function for extra security. It can also be used as a multi-pitch belay device. And it can even act as its backup when used as a rappel device due to its braking-assisted function. The only downside is the learning curve to getting used to using it. The braking feature works very well! But this can be a nuisance for those not well practiced in its use. But I can guarantee if you take the time to practice, you’ll be adding this to your climbing gear rack!

This list isn’t complete without mentioning the Petzl GriGri. This assisted braking belay device has been around since the 90s and worked so well that it’s arguably the most prominent device on the climbing market. The griGri is the smoothest operator out of this list, with excellent braking power. Like the other options, it’s also great for multi-pitch belaying. But without a second rope tube, it’s not functional as a rappel device without advanced training. But many will carry the GriGri and another tube-style belay device because they love using the GriGri for belaying so much!

There is nothing wrong with trying out new devices throughout your rock climbing career. Many climbers will start with one belay device and may own all three soon! The Black Diamond ATC-Guide is a great option for affordability. The Edelrid Mega Jul has the most versatility. And the Petzl GriGri has the smoothest operation. And remember to seek proper instruction on each device used. Follow my Instagram tech tip page, or hire a Denver Climbing Company guide. I’ll see you at the crag!

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