Lead Belay Policy Change
Starting December 1st, 2019
Assisted Braking Device (ABD) Policy
Effective December 1st, 2019, Ascent Studio requires the use of assisted braking belay devices for LEAD belaying, and will only allow non-ABD devices (such as an ATC or other similar tube-style device) for top rope belaying.
As the sport of climbing evolves, so do the technology and techniques that help to minimize risk for you and your partner. Many gyms worldwide are adopting the mandatory use of Assisted Braking Devices (ABDs) to reduce risk. ABDs help the belayer to arrest the climber’s fall, feed rope smoothly, and make it easier to lower the climber in a controlled manner.
We recognize that ATCs or other similar belay devices still have a place in climbing, and this is not an attempt to water down climbing. Nor do we believe that ATCs are dangerous. This change is simply an effort to reduce risk in our facility, not to tell you what device you should use in all cases. Please check out the related articles and resources below to further educate yourself on ABDs and the evidence that informs this policy change.
For those who are not familiar with an ABD, we encourage you to explore newer assisted braking devices such as the Black Diamond Pilot, Mammut Smart, or Edelrid Jul2 or Mega Jul, etc, if you'd like to continue to LEAD belay at Ascent. To that end, we will offer FREE 1 hour clinics through November and into December that will cover eight of the most common ABDs on the market. These clinics will be led by one of our instructors to answer any questions you may have and allow hands on practice. Follow this link to learn more about the clinics and to get yourself signed up. Please note: these are not classes to learn how to lead belay or lead climb. And remember, these devices can be used just as easily for top-rope belay, so if you are thinking of starting to lead soon then we encourage you to try out the devices.
To ease the transition for our members (at least through Feb 29th, 2020) we are selling all of the ABDs that we carry at a steep discount. Our arrangements with the vendors do not allow us to make these discounted rates available for all customers, nor are we advertising this outside the gym.
At the end of the day, we hope that Ascent Studio remains a space where the climbing community can share camaraderie and positive experiences. We would be devastated if a life-changing accident happened in our facility that could have been avoided. Requiring ABDs, a move that many climbing gyms across the nation are making, is the next step in making sure everyone returns home safely after a great session at the gym.
*PBUS & ATTENTIVE BELAYING ARE STILL REQUIRED*
Remember, these devices are not considered "auto-locking" nor are they hands-free device. Their efficacy still depends on an attentive belayer who maintains control of the brake strand of the rope. We will still require the PBUS method of belay.
Approved Belay Devices
Below are a list of belay devices that have been approved for use at Ascent Studio
- Petzl GriGri 1, 2, Plus, or Grigri
- Edelrid MegaJul, MegaJul Sport, Jul 2, GigaJul, or Eddy
- Black Diamond ATC Pilot
- Mad Rock Lifeguard
- Trango Vergo or Cinch
- Climb Tech ClickUp, ClickUp +, or AlpineUp
- Mammut Smart or Smart 2.0
- C.A.M.P. Matik
- Wild Country Revo
- Beal Birdie