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Lead Belaying at Hardrock

Lead Belaying Changes at Hardrock

What's the change?

Black Diamond ATC Pilot

As of November 15th 2018, the Black Diamond ATC Pilot is the only belay device permitted for Lead Belaying at both Hardrock venues.

Why the change?

We're always striving to improve how we do things. New developments in belay device technology have led us to review our policies. We've spent considerable time researching and testing devices, prior to making the change.

Here are some of the factors we considered:

    • Lead belay devices largely fall into 3 categories: 'Tube' style (Unassisted), Assisted Braking (Passive) and Assisted Braking (Active). See below for examples of each of these:
Belay device types

    • The German Alpine Club conducted research into belayer errors1 and found some fascinating insights, namely;
        - The type of device utilised correlated to both how many errors were made, and the severity of those errors.
        - By a significant margin, users of Passive Assisted Braking devices had both the lowest frequency and lowest severity of errors.
    • Given this, we looked further into Passive Assisted Braking devices and found that in our setting, the Black Diamond ATC Pilot device performed optimally in all areas when tested.
      Specifically it:
        - Utilises conventional technique
          Meaning that the adjustment for the many belayers familiar with Tube Style devices is minimal. 
        - Engenders correct usage
          The device operates well if you use it as intended. I.e. it is easy to use correctly. In contrast, some other devices are more difficult to operate in practice, which encourages incorrect usage.

How do I use the BD ATC Pilot?

We have videos available in venue both summarising how to use the device and also highlighting the key differences from 'tube' style devices.
We also have the device instruction manual available and a test area/rope to practice with prior to using it the first time.

How does this impact me?

From November 15th 2018, all lead belayers must now use a BD ATC Pilot.
We have plenty of loan devices available to borrow, free of charge. We require an ID (drivers licence) to be left as a deposit when borrowing a device.

Any Questions?