New Belay Policy for All Locations

New Belay Policy for All Locations

  • Posted by kaleigh
  • On November 11, 2019
  • Comments

STARTING ON DECEMBER 1, 2019, THE FRONT WILL REQUIRE ALL BELAYERS TO USE ASSISTED BRAKING DEVICES.​

IMPORTANT DATES

November 13, 2019 – our Top Rope Orientations and Top Rope tests will be ABD only.  

In preparation for the transition, all ABDs in our store will be 20% off through December 31 and we will have plenty of ABDs available to rent. 

December 1, 2019 – we will start enforcing the ABD only policy.    

ABD CLINICS

Salt Lake City: November 26 and December 18 from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.  

OgdenDecember 11 from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. 

During these dates and times, various brands will be in the gym to provide devices for you to demo. They’ll also be able to answer any technical questions.

BELAY HISTORY

Rock climbing has evolved, and so has our gear, practices and systems. Though, the basic principles of responsibly venturing into the vertical world have not changed. When we’re not free soloing, we’re tied to a rope, clipping into gear on the wall and being belayed by a buddy below to help protect a fall.

The earliest belayers in climbing used the most primitive technique: The belayer held the rope tightly and did not let go under any circumstance. Eventually, friction was added to this system. By wrapping the rope around features in the terrain or the belayer’s body, enough friction was provided to hold larger loads and bigger falls.

Friction in belaying can be increased and decreased, creating a “belay cycle.” Increased friction is valuable when holding a load; decreased friction is valuable when trying to move rope through the system, like when lowering a partner.

Since friction was added to belaying, major evolutions to the practice have occurred thanks to increases in knowledge and technology. First, carabiners were introduced, which allowed for the use of hitches, such as the Munter. After World War II, technological advancements like nylon ropes and other equipment allowed climbers to experiment with new belay tools.

Next came Figure 8 devices. Primarily designed for rappelling, these devices can also be used for belaying. Though, it has a small braking effect, which does not make it ideal as a belay device.

Then came the more popular tube style devices, such as Black Diamond’s ATC. In this type of device, the rope is inserted into the opening by bending it through the top and clipping it into a carabiner, which prevents the rope from slipping out of the belay device. The ATC and other tube style devices were a significant leap ahead of the classic hip belay but represent just one point in the continued evolution for sport climbing.

ENTER ASSISTED BRAKING DEVICES

Though not fail-safe, Assisted Braking Devices (ABDs) work by preventing the rope from passing through the belay device using a camming mechanism or geometry, which adds an extra braking function when belaying with them correctly. We think this is a welcome function for an important part of the belay system, particularly as the sport of climbing grows to the masses.

ACCEPTABLE BELAY DEVICES AT THE FRONT

Because of an ABD’s ability (when properly used) to assist in “catching” a climber, they’ve become widely used in the climbing industry. We think they are the only choice for use in our facilities.

Please remember, ABDs are not foolproof and can fail to function properly, often due to user error. Even if a belayer considers themselves the World’s Best Belayer, climbers should always follow their ABD manufacturer’s instructions for use and The Front’s belay test protocols.

See below for more information on some of the ABDs we offer in our retail shop:

Beal Birdie | Black Diamond ATC-Pilot | Edelrid MegaJul, Jul2, MegaJul Sport | Trango Vergo | Petzl GriGri, GriGri+