What is a belay device?
Belay devices are an essential piece of equipment for rock climbing, as they allow the belayer to hold the rope in place or to let it out slowly as the climber ascends. There are many different types of belay devices, but they all work by creating friction on the rope, which helps to hold the rope in place and reduces the risk of falls.
Tubular belay devices, also known as “tube” belay devices, are the most common type of belay device. These devices are shaped like a tube and have a slot through which the rope is fed. When the belayer applies pressure to the brake side of the rope, the device creates friction on the rope, which helps to hold it in place.
Assisted-braking belay devices, also known as “auto-blocking” or “self-braking” belay devices, are designed to provide additional braking power when the belayer is holding a fallen climber. These devices have a specialized camming mechanism that bites down on the rope when the rope is moving through the device too quickly, which helps to hold the rope in place and reduce the risk of falls.
Plate-style belay devices are another common type of belay device. These devices are flat and have a series of grooves or slots through which the rope is fed. Plate-style belay devices work by creating friction on the rope as it is pulled through the device. Some plate-style belay devices also have assisted-braking capabilities.
Regardless of the type of belay device being used, it is important for the belayer to be properly trained and to follow all safety guidelines when belaying.