/ Belay Device Sticking
Did you use the walls provided rope? some of these are really thick and have slipping shealfs so could cause the belay to feel tight. I had an ATC XP for years and never suffered this in normal climbing
I have the same kit and find the same thing when I'm belaying my 2.5 stone daughter but not with an adult, I've used it half a dozen times now and seems fine. I tend to use it in low friction mode with her.
If you can't try a couple of other types by borrowing from friends or the climbing centre, I'd say a black diamond ATC should serve you well for indoor climbing or sport climbing (only issues could occur when using very thin ropes as the friction would be reduced a fair bit).
I use it like afshapes says for Seren doest matter which side the screwgate on the krab is but I found the finish on the krab had a greater friction than say a belaymaster not sure why.
If you are struggling to PAY OUT rope as you are lowering the climber, that is a different issue. That is generally due to the rope and device not being particularly well matched (i.e. very thick furry climbing wall ropes) or belaying a lighter than average climber. The only real option is generally the obvious one of turning any asymmetric belay devices round the other way and seeing if that improves things.
I generally wouldn't be in any rush to buy another belay device. I'd give it another 2-3 of sessions. If you still aren't getting on with it then, try and see if you can borrow some other devices to double check that it really is the device and not just teething problems with learning a new skill.
However, if you want to completely ignore my advice I've got 3 different belay devices currently for sale on the site here :-) http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=505996
Wild Country Variable Controller 2s jam up far more than is necessary, IMO. Not really had that problem with any others.
When you belay you continually alternate from the locked off position (close to 180 degrees between dead & live ropes) to a feeding position (smaller angle between dead & live ropes) where you can take in or feed out rope. That feeding position varies slightly between belay devices.
For example, with an old fashioned Sticht plate you need to have less than 30 degrees between the dead and live ropes in order to feed any rope. Conversely with an ATC you may only need to reduce the angle to close to 90 degrees before you can start to feed. It also depends considerably on the rope but most modern devices are fairly 'slick' so you don't need to reduce the angle massively.
In practice what varies therefore is how high you need to lift the hand on the dead rope relative to the belay device before you start to pull rope through and then how high the trajectory of that hand then needs to be. If a device is sticking you are possibly not raising your hand quite far enough to reduce the angle and hence the friction.
However, there are half a dozen other things that people can do whist belaying that can result in it not working as smoothly as it should, so that may not necessarily be the problem.
Anyway, hope that make some sense.
Out of all the common belay devices I've used, the original Wild Country VC is probably the one I've liked least. I found them ok for top-roping and rather good for abseils but hated them for lead belaying. I agree with you, they did have a real tendency to jam. Old school belay devices like a Sticht plate are at least predictable - you know they will jam unless you pay attention. The worst thing about the VC was that it was unpredictable. I could never work out why it would jam sometime but not others.
what about the Wild Country VC Pro?
Not 100% sure I've used one. By all accounts it was not as good as the BD ATC XP.
However I have used the VC Pro II and aside from it being rather substantial, I found it absolutely fine with the grooves working well and providing extra friction with the new rope I was using at the time.
For instance I was helping out replacing some of the top rope at my local wall and they have change to beal ropes and they are a lot more stretchy they the old ones and people have said they can jam up.
My BD ATC does it a little.
My VC Pro does quite a lot but again itís probably down to the angles the rope is put into achieve the friction to hold people.
Hope this makes sense.
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