The classic Black Diamond ATC has evolved over the years; first the ATC-XP was born and recently the ATC-Guide was added to the family. The ATC-Guide is essentially an ATC-XP with two additional loops (one large, one small) forged into it so that it can be used in an auto-locking mode when belaying a second from above.
The auto-locking feature is the same as provided by the Petzl Reverso, Petzl Reversino and Magic Plate and most often used by guides to belay two clients simultaneously as they second. If one client falls the device will lock up but leave the second client’s rope still running free. The problem has always been releasing the devices once loaded with a client’s weight.
The ATC-Guide has a small loop forged into the front of the device that allows a sling to be threaded through to release the device once it’s under load. It was actually possible to lower a second to the ground this way but very careful control is required.
Full instructions are available from the the Black Diamond website here...
At over 100g the ATC-Guide is heavier than most (possibly all other) tube-style belay devices on the market but it does have a reassuring quality and feel to it. I’d recommend this device to anyone working professionally but suggest the extra weight is worth it for most recreational climbers.
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