BD ATC-Guide autolock belay device

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BD ATC-Guide autolock belay device

Post by stephan » Thu Jan 25, 2007 1:24 pm

Can anyone comment on this device? Is it as fantastic as it sounds?

It can be set to auto-lock when belaying, and according to BD it can also [b]be set up to belay whilst still under load from the fallen climber[/b] (which cannot be done with the Petzl Reverso).


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Post by JonoJ » Thu Jan 25, 2007 1:45 pm

Haven't used one myself, but Mark from RAM raves about it and reckons it's the best belay device he's had his chalked-up grubby mitts on! - a great trad device!!

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Post by willemeulen » Thu Jan 25, 2007 2:19 pm

I'm quite sure it does exactly the same as the Reverso from petzl. The only difference is that it's probably more straight forward (with the reverso it takes a bit of practice to figure out how the autoblock works). But I guess it will be heavier than the reverso.


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Post by stephan » Thu Jan 25, 2007 2:54 pm

The ATC-Guide does not work exactly the same as the Reverso!

The extra little iron loop on the \"high-friction mode\" side of the device has been designed so that accessory cord can be fixed to it. According to the manual, if you rig your belay correctly then you will be able to change the angle at which you operate the belay device. (I think you will only be able to do this on hanging-belay i.e. multi-pitch belay.)

In theory it makes perfect sense, since the device \"auto-locks\" because of the angle at which the climbing end of the rope stops the free end from slipping through the device (hope this makes sense). So then, if you are able to change the angle of the belay device, whilst under load from the fallen climber, you should still be able to lower/belay the climber.

If you have climbed with a Reverso, you will know it is impossible to operate if it has auto-locked, because of the fallen climber, and the climber is unable to get his weight off the rope.

This is the reason for my post. Does this device work in practise?

Last edited by stephan on Thu Jan 25, 2007 3:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Mark » Thu Jan 25, 2007 3:08 pm

I had someone on the autoblock setup on a reverso and he couldnt make it up, it was weighted and he was hanging on the rope with no way of getting his weight off - here is a handy tip

On the reverso the rope autoblocks around a carabiner (the 'biner that normally fastens to your harness) put a sling through the biner and pull (you need a sling because it is difficult to pull the biner hard enough without getting a proper grip on it), as the biner comes free of the reverso the rope begins to slide. Its a bit hairy because it can start to slide fast, but if you release the biner again (by not pulling hard on the sling :roll: ) then it locks off again, its best to keep the free end of the rope running through your hand while you are pulling on the sling just in case things start happening to fast.

Its not the smoothest way of lowering someone but it works

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Post by DaveD » Fri Jan 26, 2007 2:34 pm

According to the Petzel instructions the way to lower a hanging climber with a reverso is to put a sling into the \"main\" biner, as mentioned above, but thread it through another biner above the locked device. then stand in it, using your body weight to unloc the device. BUT BEFORE DOING THIS, secure the dead end of the rope to yourself using a \"Munter Hitch\" of other belay device, and control the lowering with this device/knot. This avouds the dodgy lower mentioned above.

This is all very complicated, but can get you out of a tight squeeze.

I assume the BD ATC relieses in much the same way, but is a lot less complicated since you can used the little extra loop thing.

I like my Reverso for trad and multi pitches, even with it's shortcommings, although for sport climbing the Gri Gri is the shizzer.

Both these devices can only be used in auto lock mode if you are belaying from above. As far as I understand niether of them can be attached to a weighted rope.

I am sure Ram Mountaneering could give you more details.
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Post by stephan » Mon Jan 29, 2007 8:28 am

DaveD wrote:Both these devices can only be used in auto lock mode if you are belaying from above. As far as I understand niether of them can be attached to a weighted rope.
I seem to recall that I belayed once from the bottom, using the Reverso in auto-lock mode. It was at a normal sport route, and the climber was on a toprope. It worked well, and the rope didn’t slip. Just have to make sure your rope is inserted correctly.

I do not know however if this will work when belaying a lead climber from the bottom. Maybe someone else can give us a better insight into this matter.

The most important rule is still to make sure that you always have an alert belayer who knows what he is doing!

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Post by DaveD » Mon Jan 29, 2007 9:23 am

Interesting, I will try that.
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Post by ant » Wed Jan 31, 2007 8:17 pm

I have been using the ATC Guide for about 3 weeks now - both literally guiding and with my buddies.
I have never been particularly drawn to the Reverso, nor used one however I can vouch for the ATC. Without much dexterity one can still adjust the second rope while the first is locked, and releasing under load is very easy and controlled. It isn't clumsy at all in the traditional configuartion (unlike the reverso) and the variable resistance (optional whether to load the rope over the cleets) is a good function to have.
My mates in the molecular science department tell me that it is heavier - um ya well whatever...
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In my opinion

Post by Drifter » Thu Mar 01, 2007 1:07 pm

The Sum is the safest belay device however it is expensive, I don't know if it will come down in price. The Gregory is also fine. I use to belay with an ATC device now I prefer to use a locking belay device. Is it not true though in Trad climbing it is better to use an ATC belay device because a locking belay device such as a sum or gregory locks and puts more strain on the trad gear than an ATC belay device? Locking devices are fine for sports climbing but not for trad climbing.

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Post by fanta » Fri Mar 02, 2007 8:26 am

I have had the opportunity to work with both belay devices extensively, and believe me when I say that the guide beats the reverso HANDS DOWN!!! Especially for trad ropes (I had the reversino for a while too and found it too small for 9mm ropes!)

Difference between the two
Abseiling: I rapped on a 11mm static and a 8.6mm dynamic (two separate raps). With the guide there is virtually NO DIFFERENCE which is not the case with the blimin reverso where thin trad ropes fly through at a rate of knots. Now don’t come telling me about the reversino coz that’s for ice climbing ropes...

Secondly on rapping: my reverso got WORN out after a year and a half of climbing and rapping. The rope runs over the thin metal plate at the top of the belay device wearing it away. A friend from the states has also told me about some1 rapping on a wet and sandy rope. They actually noticed the top of the device getting eaten up the sandpaper effect.

Belaying a leader:
Not too much difference here but the guide does have a smoother action, which comes from its narrowing jaws, in the beginning I thought this was just a sales pitch... but hell it makes a difference!!

Auto block (for the second):
This is where the guide kicksass... one size fits all! Because of the tapering jaws in the guide the ropes are channelled down on top of each other causing them to bite in that same position. The reverso does not have the tapered jaws so thinner ropes tend to pinch down next too each other especially with big boys like me at the end of the rope. When this happens it can be rather difficult to unlock the device by tipping the bottom up because the ropes get really jammed.

However it is and can be just as simple to unlock both the devices when they are weighted!!! BUT when unlock the reverso you have to pull the biner that the ropes go around. When you do this it comes away from the belay device thereby giving you a belay device that has less friction to lower the second. This often causes \"pasting\" this is when the second creams his pants form the sudden plummet you gave him because you did not put the friction hitch in place.
Unlocking the guide on the extra tiny \"accessory cord\" loop on the bottom is safer because you don’t screw around with the amount friction the device gives you, all you doing is pulling the bottom rope away from the underneath the top rope. This is so much smoother, well only if you keep hold of the dead end of the rope.

Does any of that make sense to anybody???

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Post by Chalk » Mon Mar 05, 2007 11:20 am

I’ll second the above! I recently got one and – well all I can say is its fantastic!!

An interesting alternative to lowering a second on the Guide (and I discovered this by chance on the weekend). I had my daisychain clipped into the Biner that the ropes ran over on the guide, and simply by tugging at this I was able to lower my second who was hanging with all her weight on the ropes. It simply changes the angle sufficiently to allow the ropes to flow.

Personally I also feel a little happier hanging the Guide from the metal loop as opposed to from the cable on my harness as this tended to get my old ATC snagged on abseils.

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Post by madcrazyhaha » Sun Apr 08, 2007 8:53 pm

got one at Boven this weekend. It's a great change from the atc-xp! Man, what an awesome Belay Device. It feels far more solid and just nicer to handle!
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Post by Justin » Wed Jun 06, 2007 11:41 am

A friend and I were practising rescue techniques yesterday...
We practised with both the ATC Guide and Reverso.

Both devices worked in much the similar fashion, however we found the Reverso was easier to release / lower a person.

Reverso - Simply put a sling / biner through the retainer to release / lower the 2nd climber - see also the pictures below (for a similar method)

ATC Guide - You need to feed a piece of cord (no bigger than 5mm) through the small metal loop

Image source:
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A TRE obviates all the problems of both devices

Post by SNORT » Mon May 19, 2008 8:33 am

Been using a Tre for 3 or 4 years now. It has no match when doing overhanging and side-ways rappels, ordinary trad belaying, and belaying two people following. Releasing and lowering one climber while locking off the other is simple. It is durable and worth double it's weight. It is as easy to use belaying directly from one's waist or through an anchor system above.

Both the ATC guide and Reverso inherently requires anchors conveniently situated above the belayer and cionsiderable experience to use. And any device that requires a Munter hitch to release is already a problem. I hate following on a reverso because as the belayer takes up the rope and it pulls tight you cannot then, for eaxample take out gear, step down, shake out and then do the move after that. It's way too static. And inefficient.

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Re: BD ATC-Guide autolock belay device

Post by Larry Thomas » Thu Mar 19, 2009 9:14 am

Now that the Petzl Reverso3 is out and about, can anyone give me an opinion on which one is the better buy, ATC Guide or Reverso3?

I am looking for a belay device that will do Sport and Trad.

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Re: BD ATC-Guide autolock belay device

Post by Justin » Thu Feb 05, 2015 12:32 pm

DMM Pivot Belay Device (not sure if they are in the country yet!?)

1 of 3 new belay devices for 2015, the DMM Pivot takes a uniquely simple approach to solving a problem that has plagued "guide mode" belay devices since they were invented. By integrating a hinge into the Pivot, DMM makes it possible to lower a following climber safely and easily. No more backup prusiks or other shenanigans to slow you down. Simple and effective just the way we like our gear. However, the Pivot is not the only device to address this problem. SMC released the Spire device with their own twist.

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Re: BD ATC-Guide autolock belay device

Post by JonoJ » Thu Feb 05, 2015 3:12 pm

Hey all

We (Outward Ventures) are going to be stocking the new range of DMM Belay devices, and will certainly be letting everyone know as soon as they are available to the retail market in SA.

They all look incredible, and we are rather darn excited about them!

Keep you eyes on ... 697?ref=hl, or for news and release dates.


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Re: BD ATC-Guide autolock belay device

Post by ironclimb » Thu Feb 05, 2015 3:58 pm

I have the Black Diamond ATC Guide and recently we headed up with both the Reverso and the Guide (belay with one, leader takes one for the next pitch). Honestly I found them to be the same. They both autoblocked, it's only really onloading the weight that's slightly different, but still felt like the same concept. The nice thing about the Guide is that the sling is part of the device. It ended up being quicker to unload the weight, whereas with the Reverso, you need to find and grad a biner to the job, then switching leads you'd have to pack it away again (not that that's really an issue :) ).

Haven't used them enough to really know which is better. All in all, they were both really great to use. The autolock helps you to quickly work on some tangled rope and switching leads is super quick!

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Re: BD ATC-Guide autolock belay device

Post by Old Smelly » Fri Feb 06, 2015 11:35 am

Great news that the new DMM Belay Devices are coming to SA - super keen!

Can You please get the CHIMERA biners as well - the Alpha Trad and Alpha light never came to SA, but it looks like the CHIMERA will be a winner! For some cheap gear is preferred to great gear but I believe that the advantages of superior equipment and their reliability over time pays for itself.
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Re: BD ATC-Guide autolock belay device

Post by SuperM » Fri Feb 06, 2015 3:30 pm

I use the ATC Guide and I find it uncomplicated and great for belaying in guide/autoblock mode

I use 2 x 9.1 ROCA Dominators and works like a charm

I like Justin's diagram for lowering a climber with the Italian Hitch and Sling combo as you have a back up

The following is an accident report off Rock & Ice, pretty scary how quickly things can go wrong, always back up

“Instead of the second climber going in direct to the anchors and switching to a more practical lowering system,” Kessler says, “[The leader] decided to practice lowering using the ATC Guide in guide mode. He threaded a thin sling through the release hole of the device and redirected the sling through a carabiner attached to the anchor. Tension released slowly, but when the device finally opened all the way, the rope zipped through.
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