A belay device is a friction based device that allows the belayer control over the rope. The belay is a small and modest looking device but it is essential. The belay allows the belayer to give out rope, take in and stop the rope from feeding when a climber falls.
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These are the standard belay devices you see. The rope is pushed through the hole and a carabiner then holds the ropes in place.
In the image you can see two holes. As spoken about in the pervious article, when we climb multipitch trad we often use two ropes. This allows two ropes to be fed through the belay.
Assisted Breaking Devices
These devices will lock down on the rope one a climber falls. Some do this using a camming mechanism while others do so by simply orientating in a manner that pinches the rope.
The most common assisted braking device is the Grigri by Petzl. This device has a camming device that is released using a handle. It is important to note that these are assisted, meaning that you must still always have your hands on the rope at all times.
The guide plate is used by the leader. It acts as a standard belay plate but then can be used as an assisted braking device when belaying the second.
Clich Here: How To Belay In Guide Mode
The HMS carabiner paired with an Italian hitch not can also be used as a belay. It should be noted though that this is only used in two situations. It is mainly used in alpine and scrabelling conditions where the aim is to move fast.
Another situation is if you drop your belay while on the route.