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Mammut smart, I'm sold!


Original Post
canyonclimber · · Casper WY · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 52

I picked up and used the new Mammut Smart belay device this week and love it! For cragging I'm convinced it is better, faster, and safer than a GriGri for those that use a device other than an ATC.
The part I like the most is that while pulling rope out to the leader it will catch a fall at any point. This is a safer device for beginner belayers vs. the GriGri because paying out rope in a hurry is more intuitive. I've seen climbers dropped by people holding down the cam on the GriGri in a panic. This device takes this potential life-threating part of belaying out of the equation because of the automatic lock off. Also this thing is cheap @ $20. This device will still not replace an ATC for multipitch climbing. I am posting this to draw attention to a new belay device that will hopfully keep newer climbers with limited belay experience safer as well as experienced climbers that want a cheap easy to use cragging device. My girlfriend will be belaying me with this device from now on!

Shawn Mitchell · · Broomfield · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 250
canyonclimber wrote: I picked up and used the new Mammut Smart belay device this week and love it!
Thanks for the word.

canyonclimber wrote:This device will still not replace an ATC for multipitch climbing.
Why not?
Jason Killgore · · boulder, co · Joined Sep 2008 · Points: 165

I'd agree. It is certainly as good or better than a grigri for belaying leaders and topropes. It seems a bit finicky on lowers, but eventually you figure it out. It is not so good for multipitch because you can't rappel with it, although if you dont mind an improvised rappel solution (or carrying a light weight tube style), I'd imagine it would work fine there also.

Matthew Fienup · · Ventura, CA · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 7,266

Thanks for the info about the Mammut Smart. I am excited to try one out.

I do want to add that I have had great success belaying a lead with both the Gri-Gri and (especially) the Cinch. The Cinch is simply wonderful for belaying a lead. Petzl released revised instructions for belaying a lead with the Gri-Gri, and these have made the Gri-Gri much more user friendly for this application.

Belaying a lead with the Cinch & Gri-Gri

Casey Lems · · Lakewood, CO · Joined May 2009 · Points: 30
canyonclimber wrote: I picked up and used the new Mammut Smart belay device this week and love it! For cragging I'm convinced it is better, faster, and safer than a GriGri for those that use a device other than an ATC. The part I like the most is that while pulling rope out to the leader it will catch a fall at any point. This is a safer device for beginner belayers vs. the GriGri because paying out rope in a hurry is more intuitive. I've seen climbers dropped by people holding down the cam on the GriGri in a panic. This device takes this potential life-threating part of belaying out of the equation because of the automatic lock off. Also this thing is cheap @ $20. This device will still not replace an ATC for multipitch climbing. I am posting this to draw attention to a new belay device that will hopfully keep newer climbers with limited belay experience safer as well as experienced climbers that want a cheap easy to use cragging device. My girlfriend will be belaying me with this device from now on!
I'd be very curious to know how you are avoiding short roping leaders with this device. I haven't been able to practice with it as much as I'd like (because I don't trust myself with it outside on lead belay and haven't been to the gym much). Every time I try to belay a lead, I end up short roping, especially during clips. To me, this is unacceptable and the only way to avoid it seems to hold the device upright on the biner (making your non-brake hand feed all the rope).

I want to like the device because it's simple and lightweight. But I just can't seem to get it to work well.

Any tips/tricks would be very much appreciated :)
canyonclimber · · Casper WY · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 52

Casey Lems, I found that pulling up on the thumb release hard while pulling out the rope needed with the non brake hand, much like the Petzl released revised instructions method. I found this very fast, but only with sub 10 mil ropes. I used it while belaying a lead on a 10.5 mil(max dia. for this device) and it was hard to pull rope out fast and felt like pulling a truck. One main reason I like this device is while pulling rope out fast as described the brake hand never comes off the rope for a quick catch if the leader falls at that point. Again this device works best for smaller ropes that most seem to carry these days.

Jason Killgore · · boulder, co · Joined Sep 2008 · Points: 165

i've had no problems feeding very fast on ropes up to fuzzy old 10.2s. I just pull out with the thumb catch, but not hard.

Casey Lems · · Lakewood, CO · Joined May 2009 · Points: 30
canyonclimber wrote: I found that pulling up on the thumb release hard while pulling out the rope needed with the non brake hand, much like the Petzl released revised instructions method. I found this very fast, but only with sub 10 mil ropes.
That's basically what I was trying as well. Maybe I just need a bit more practice to make it work for me. It's good to know of someone who is making good use of the device. Thanks for the info :)
Kalil Oldham · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Aug 2006 · Points: 55

Has anyone tried to used the assisted braking function on this device to ascend the rope (e.g., in a climber pick-off scenario)? I tried this weekend and got quite a bit of slippage through the device as I moved my prusik up. Seems like it locks off with no pressure on the ground, but not on the ascent ... thoughts?

Jonathan Ward · · San Francisco · Joined May 2010 · Points: 70

I don't like using the Mammut instructions for feeding out rope. I find it is much easier and more intuitive to belay with it like it is a normal tubular belay device (e.g. an ATC).

I don't use the thumb catch except for lowering. I keep my brake hand on the brake strand at all time and simultaneously feed rope with my brake hand and pull rope through the device with my other hand. I can feed rope much faster this way than any other method.

Jay Z · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2010 · Points: 0

you cant use the normal mammut smart belay for rappeling howevere mammut has since released another smart belay device called the smart alpine belay...this basically combines 2 of the single smart belays into one belay device so that it has all the features and benifits of the original smart but now has the capability to be used for rappels and with twin ropes in alpine conditions.....by far my favorite device... ive been dropped one too many times by careless gri gri users to want anything to do with gri gri's

JesseT · · Portland, OR · Joined May 2011 · Points: 110
Jay Z wrote:...ive been dropped one too many times by careless gri gri users to want anything to do with gri gri's
I know this comes up on these forums all the time, but you can't put the blame for a careless belayer on the device. It's like saying you don't want to have anything to do with BMW's because every BMW owner you've seen drives like a maniac.

I've had the smart alpine for a few weeks and overall I like it. I find that feeding out slack fast for clips can be little bit doggy (on my 10.3 non-dry), and I'm not a huge fan of rappelling with it (I find it to be a little counter-intuitive, probably just need more practice), but I love the catch it gives (esp when belaying a heavier climber) and lowering only takes about 10 minutes to get used to. In autoblock mode it's really easy to release a weighted rope and feeds very smoothly.

tl;dr There's some room for improvement, but it's an assisted-braking device that takes 2 strands, and most of my complaints would probably be alleviated by using a thinner dry-treated rope (upper nines-10mm).
Dana Bartlett · · CO · Joined Nov 2003 · Points: 890

It seems as if the best way to rapidly pay out slack to the leader is to lift the "trigger" of the Smart up. When that is done, the rope strands will be parallel and running smoothly through rope - which is what you want. When the rope is in that position and the leader falls, will the Smart lock or would you need to move the brake hand down as you would with a tube-style device?

Matt N · · Santa Barbara, CA · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 287
Dana wrote:It seems as if the best way to rapidly pay out slack to the leader is to lift the "trigger" of the Smart up. When that is done, the rope strands will be parallel and running smoothly through rope - which is what you want. When the rope is in that position and the leader falls, will the Smart lock or would you need to move the brake hand down as you would with a tube-style device?
That is the only way I can feed slack quickly for a clip without it catching up on a 10.0 rope. Someone needs to test it in a gym (on TR?) and see if it still catches in this position. It depends if the fall will pull the rope enough to pinch it and override the trigger lift...

Cons for me are shortroping a leader and that others haven't figured out how to lower smoothly with it. I can lower slow and smooth when using the device. (original Smart)
rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 525

I have the Smart Alpine, in the small size adapted to thin ropes---mine are 8.5mm Mammut Genesis.

I'm far from convinced so far. Double ropes require paying out one strand and taking in the other, and this seems pretty awkward with the Smart. Pumping slack for leader clips is definitely harder than with my Reverso 3.

A problem that is close to a deal-breaker is that the Smart kinks my ropes terribly on rappel. There is no way I could use it for multiple raps. This means carrying another gadget for rappelling.

I mentioned the kinking isse in another thread (on this site, I think) and some people responded they hadn't had this problem. All I can say that it is very severe and very noticeable with my ropes.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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