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Belaying Very light climber


Original Post
ChrisSwicord · · Carrollton, GA · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 15

When belaying a very light partner with an atc, is it safe to use the smooth side as the brake side rather than the side with the teeth? Seems like it would make lowering much easier.

Malcolm Daly · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 380

Try it, with a backup, and let us know how it works. Remember the original tube-style belay device, the Tuber, had no v-slots. Neither did the Pyramid or the BD ATC or the DMM Bug or the WC Vario or the old Sticht Plates. They all worked...
Mal

Lena chita · · OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 1,070

You should be just fine. But if you are not sure how it would feel, have a backup the first time you try.

FWIW, I still have the ATC without any teeth in either side, the old style. I have belayed my daughter when she was 4yo with it (our gym only allowed ATCs for the longest time). I also belated people who weighted over 200 lb with the same ATC. Before there were ATCs with teeth on one side, everyone got belayed with the same one. 

Katia M · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2018 · Points: 0

How light are we talking?  How much lighter than you?  Why would turning around an ATC (I assume we're talking about an ATC-XP, ATC-guide, etc.?) to use it the style of a "regular" ATC be a problem? Devices like the XP, etc. are designed to be used either way, based on situation and preference-- it is right in the user manual (see the first paragraph under "Instructions for use" and figure A).  

(Which made an interesting situation the time someone at the gym approached my friend and let him know he was using his XP "wrong" because he was using the smooth side rather than the toothed side... the belay was going just fine...)

Old lady H · · Boise, ID · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 1,064
Lena chita wrote: You should be just fine. But if you are not sure how it would feel, have a backup the first time you try.

FWIW, I still have the ATC without any teeth in either side, the old style. I have belayed my daughter when she was 4yo with it (our gym only allowed ATCs for the longest time). I also belated people who weighted over 200 lb with the same ATC. Before there were ATCs with teeth on one side, everyone got belayed with the same one. 

I really don't think you should be bragging, even if the people you "belated" were 2000 pounds. Sheesh....

Greg D · · Here · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 878

It is 100% fine for many situations, even desirable in some.

It really is not rocket science. More friction desired. Teeth. Less friction desired. No teeth. 

Let’s discuss for another 20 pages anyway. 

Lena chita · · OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 1,070
Old lady H wrote:

I really don't think you should be bragging, even if the people you "belated" were 2000 pounds. Sheesh....

Hahaha! Phone autocorrect made a funny! Usually it just makes nonsense. 

rockklimber · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 0
ChrisSwicord wrote: When belaying a very light partner with an atc, is it safe to use the smooth side as the brake side rather than the side with the teeth? Seems like it would make lowering much easier.

Yes, its safe and will make lowering easier.  

ChrisSwicord · · Carrollton, GA · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 15

Thanks for everyone’s input, I gave this a try at the gym today. Worked great!

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Beginning Climbers
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