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Belay nazi says - "No ATC for you!"

Original Post
amarius · · Nowhere, OK · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 20

Well, not really, but close. Of course, I beg eternal forgiveness if this has been posted:
Gyms Change Belay Policies to Make ABD the Requirement

Summary - starting December 1st The Front Climbing Club in Utah, and Ascent Studio in Fort Collins, Colorado  are switching to ABDs. Front for both TR and lead, Ascent for lead.

One paragraph caught my attention -

When reached for comment, Jon Lachelt, owner of Ascent Studio, told CBJ that his gym has always been strict about its belay standards—requiring all belayers to use the PBUS (Pull, Break, Under, Slide) method. Yet, in the past, the gym still had three ground falls from height due to belayer error during lead climbing, all of which would have likely been avoided with the use of an ABD. [Editor’s Note: none of those incidents resulted in injury, which Lachelt attributes to Ascent Studio’s inSpire system flooring]. 
Gumby the White · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2019 · Points: 55
amarius wrote: Well, not really, but close. Of course, I beg eternal forgiveness if this has been posted:
Gyms Change Belay Policies to Make ABD the Requirement

Summary - starting December 1st The Front Climbing Club in Utah, and Ascent Studio in Fort Collins, Colorado  are switching to ABDs. Front for both TR and lead, Ascent for lead.

One paragraph caught my attention -

All the more reason for practice decking....

Magpie79 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2011 · Points: 0

Yep, the deadly ATC is to blame for all the ground falls. It couldn't possibly be too much slack low on the route, incompetence, or general stupidity/inattention

bagel bagels · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2019 · Points: 0

How will I display my superiority now?

Gumby King · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 25
Gumby the White wrote:

All the more reason for practice decking....

Another wise Gumby!

Chris Blatchley · · Sammamish, WA · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 6

meanwhile, at my gym, you have to take the lead test with an atc, and if you have a grigri etc you have to demonstrate technique for that separately.

so, test at the lowest common denominator, or raise it. i'm not really sure which way is better but i don't even own an atc so...

SeƱor Arroz · · LA, CA · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 10

Talk to the lawyers.

Next thing you know the tennis club will require you to wear non-marking shoes.

Dylan Pike · · Sandy, UT · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 197
amarius wrote: Well, not really, but close. Of course, I beg eternal forgiveness if this has been posted:
Gyms Change Belay Policies to Make ABD the Requirement

Summary - starting December 1st The Front Climbing Club in Utah, and Ascent Studio in Fort Collins, Colorado  are switching to ABDs. Front for both TR and lead, Ascent for lead.

One paragraph caught my attention -

At least the Front is selling all of their ABDs at a reasonable discount to all gym members.

Its their facility and they get to make the rules.

I do believe that proper instruction with an ATC helps create good belay habits, but unfortunately, gyms have to apply policies which attempt to hold back the forces of natural selection.
Albert B · · On the road · Joined Apr 2018 · Points: 10

Climbing is now $20 more expensive at Front! The horror /s.  An easy risk management solution for a natural hazard of climbing when your business is organized around introducing new people or inexperienced people to climbing.

Han Kim · · Seattle, WA · Joined Mar 2018 · Points: 0

I mean, it makes perfect sense. They have recorded incidents where people nearly got hurt. Mandating ABD seems almost obvious.

Now are ATCs unsafe when used correctly? Absolutely not. That's that what the gym's saying. What the gym is saying is that there's always going to be misuse/mistakes, and that they would like to stay open and avoid lawsuits or spikes in insurance payments.

Luc-514 · · Montreal, QC · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 10,232

All the accidents at my popular indoor gym have been with the use of a non blocking belay device like the ATC. The grigri is not required but if you do use it, it must be done as per Petzl's instructions.

Bill Lawry · · Albuquerque, NM · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,696

If required ... grit your teeth, open your wallet, and get a revo. Then keep your ATC belay habits, and PBUS all you want. :)

PNW Choss · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2019 · Points: 0

Pretty sad people still try to act like an ATC is not an archaic pos only suitable for rappel. Change is scary am I right.  Using updated and improved technologies is bad am I right. All you ATC lovers drive cars instead of horse and buggy I assume. Also when you have to insure YOUR climbing gym tell the insurance company you only allow hop belays or stitch plates see how it goes. And tell those kids to get off your lawn.

Bill Lawry · · Albuquerque, NM · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,696

Going from horse-n-buggy to car was welcome. But I lost it when they said my car had to be street legal. ;)

Carolina · · Front Range NC · Joined Nov 2010 · Points: 60

Who is still climbing at the gym?

shredward · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 0
Bill Lawry wrote: If required ... grit your teeth, open your wallet, and get a revo. Then keep your ATC belay habits, and PBUS all you want. :)

Not attacking your opinion, but does anyone actually like these things?  It seems like they kinda went away after alot of hype and subsequent recalls.  I dont think I have ever seen one in the wild, indoors or outside.

Bill Lawry · · Albuquerque, NM · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,696
shredward wrote:

Not attacking your opinion, but does anyone actually like these things?  It seems like they kinda went away after alot of hype and subsequent recalls.  I dont think I have ever seen one in the wild, indoors or outside.

No worries. I had to "grit my teeth" myself for more than one reason when ABDs became required for lead belays at my gym.

In percentages, I suspect few actually like the revo even if an ABD fan.   They feel kind of race-y to me ... like I don't want  to trust they will auto brake if my partner falls.  And that seems to keep my belay habits well tuned.

Disclaimer:  I hardly ever climb with partners who are hanging a lot.
Magpie79 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2011 · Points: 0
PNW Choss wrote: Pretty sad people still try to act like an ATC is not an archaic pos only suitable for rappel. Change is scary am I right.  Using updated and improved technologies is bad am I right. All you ATC lovers drive cars instead of horse and buggy I assume. Also when you have to insure YOUR climbing gym tell the insurance company you only allow hop belays or stitch plates see how it goes. And tell those kids to get off your lawn.

You're not wrong. The ATC is archaic, and I much prefer to use and be belayed on an ABD. There are times when an ABD will make the difference between decking and not decking.  I also get the insurance thing. The problem is that too many people assume that requiring an ABD will reduce accidents, and it will, in some circumstances. But like I said before, if there is too much slack in the system, or the belayer is not paying attention, an ABD will not override gravity.


A belay test is just a snapshot of how someone belays. How many people go back to their lazy belay practices after passing the test? Maybe the gym needs to have staff circulating and correcting bad belay practices if they want to prevent more accidents (as long as it doesn't increase the membership rates).

Kill your lawn! It's not sustainable, and it cuts into your time to climb (pun intended).
Stagg54 Taggart · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2006 · Points: 10

Stupid! But what can you do. You can't fight the machine and all the dumb noobs who are too dumb to figure out an ATC.  It ain't rocket science. People used them for decades and they worked just fine until gear companies came along and convinced everyone that they needed to buy these expensive GriGris to solve a problem that doesn't really exist.  Gotta love 'Merika and capitalism.

bagel bagels · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2019 · Points: 0
Stagg54 Taggart wrote: Stupid! But what can you do. You can't fight the machine and all the dumb noobs who are too dumb to figure out an ATC.  It ain't rocket science. People used them for decades and they worked just fine until gear companies came along and convinced everyone that they needed to buy these expensive GriGris to solve a problem that doesn't really exist.  Gotta love 'Merika and capitalism.

I can’t tell who’s trolling anymore. Gonna need a second opinion on this quote.

Magpie79 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2011 · Points: 0
Carolina wrote: Who is still climbing at the gym?

It's wet, snowing, dark, you have limited time, and the ice is not in yet. Climb plastic, or become a raving lunatic. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

General Climbing
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