/ Belay Device Sticking

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ryanrawlings on 18 May 2012
Went for my first tope rope session after finishing a beginners course at ROKT in Brighouse with Andy Cornfield. Used a Climb X Harness set that I got for £30 from gooutdoors, the harness is really comfortable far better than the ones used on the course but the belay device that looks like a cheap ATC XP copy kept being constantly tight was really hard to pull the rope through unlike the ones we used on the course. I was going to ask Andy for advice but he's gone to Namibia to film a climbing video so thought I would ask here. Should I get a different device/carabiner or is it a technique issue. The device we used on the course was an edelrid that looked like a petzl reverse 3 should I buy one of these? Any help would be much appreciated.
afshapes - on 18 May 2012
In reply to ryanrawlings: make sure you clip the rope and belay the right way , some times the biner can pinch the rope under pressure
wilkie14c - on 18 May 2012
In reply to ryanrawlings:
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
Howardw1968 - on 18 May 2012
In reply to ryanrawlings:
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.
ryanrawlings on 18 May 2012
In reply to Howardw1968: Which way do you have the carabiner in relation to the belay device and the loop on the harness as afshapes is saying it makes a difference maybe I'm doing something wrong there
ryanrawlings on 18 May 2012
In reply to blanchie14c: Yes it's the walls rope tried a few routes and different ropes but always felt the same
henwardian - on 18 May 2012
In reply to ryanrawlings: I'm guessing your "set" included a harness, krab, belay device and maybe a chalk bag. I don't know this specific set but having seen similar sets, they put the cheapest belay device available in to keep the price down. The disadvantage is that it will have a tendency to stick with thick icky (thats a technical term btw ;) ) climbing wall ropes. I'd ask at the wall if they have a bag of belay devices people have left behind, the wall I used to work at had a bag of about a dozen of all different types that the wall had acrued over time, if they have such a collection you can try a variety of devices out and find one that works better for you, then you will know what to buy (centre might be keener to let you try several out if you say you want to buy a replacement for your current one). Everyone has their own favourite device and there are a lot to chose from.
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).
afshapes - on 18 May 2012
In reply to ryanrawlings: I might be wrong ! But say you clip your belay device with the solid end of the biner on the left , the rope next to it then the belay device loop then the screw gate. I think that's when it can pinch, god knows which way it is , I'm trying to describe this from memory ! Does that make sense ?
Jordon Fleming - on 18 May 2012
In reply to ryanrawlings: if its sticking to much turn the belay around and instead of the rope running through the teeth it will run over the back. still works the same but with just less friction and if still no diffrence get something like the original atc and u wont have this probelm at all.
ryanrawlings on 18 May 2012
In reply to afshapes: Yes think that is how I had it on the last belay I did and it was worse like that definitely. My dad got the same kit so not like he has a different one to try. So how would you suggest I set it?
afshapes - on 18 May 2012
In reply to ryanrawlings: make sure you have solid side , belay device loop, rope then screw . I used to have the same problem with my clog flyer until I sussed it. So I now put the rope in the right hand side and clip from left to right ? Confusing myself now !
ryanrawlings on 18 May 2012
In reply to afshapes: makes sense to me I will give it a go when I climb again on tuesday thanks for the help much appreciated
Howardw1968 - on 18 May 2012
In reply to ryanrawlings:
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.
The Ex-Engineer - on 18 May 2012
In reply to ryanrawlings: To be completely honest, if you are top-roping and are struggling to TAKE IN rope (as the climber ascends) it will be due to the technique being used by the belayer. I have yet to come across any standard belay device in nearly 20 years of climbing that doesn't work absolutely fine in that regard with only minor changes in the angle the dead rope needs to be held at when taking in. Although, that is not to say there aren't some devices that I much prefer to others.

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
ryanrawlings on 18 May 2012
In reply to The Ex-Engineer: Thanks for the advice criticism of technique is something I expected when I posted. My technique is the same as that with the borrowed gear on the course so obviously a change in gear means a slight change of technique this makes sense. The problem was taking in so are you suggesting I change the angle of the dead rope and therefore the angle the belay device? I guess if I was to turn too much one way the rope will snag more than if I move it away from the carabiner/belay device does that make sense to what you are trying to suggest to me?
Neil Williams - on 18 May 2012
In reply to The Ex-Engineer:

Wild Country Variable Controller 2s jam up far more than is necessary, IMO. Not really had that problem with any others.

Neil
The Ex-Engineer - on 19 May 2012
In reply to ryanrawlings: Belay devices work as friction multipliers. When there is a large angle between the live rope and the dead rope (i.e. the classic locked off position) a small force on the dead rope can hold a large force on the live rope. When there is a smaller angle, the ratio of forces between the dead and live ropes reduces until when both ropes are parallel the belay device is essentially acting as a pulley.

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.
The Ex-Engineer - on 19 May 2012
In reply to Neil Williams: Good point about the VC.

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.
ryanrawlings on 19 May 2012
In reply to The Ex-Engineer: Makes sense to me. Thanks for your advise I will try on tuesday when I climb next and raise the dead rope a bit more see if it helps. the device we used in the course had a bigger hole than the one I have so What you are saying about friction makes sense I didn't have to raise the rope as much with that one to reduce the friction but with mine having a smaller hole the friction is easier to create. I will let you know how I get on would like to go today but got too much to do otherwise at the minute I'd like to be at the wall constantly as I really want to get this sorted and build up some skills ready for the next step into lead climbing
Skip - on 20 May 2012
In reply to The Ex-Engineer:

what about the Wild Country VC Pro?
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In reply to ryanrawlings: You could always try what we used to do with Stitch Plates after we took the springs off them (because they caught in all your gear), stick an extra krab in between the plate and the belay krab as a spacer. It stops the plate jamming up and I never had a problem holding falls on it.
The Ex-Engineer - on 20 May 2012
In reply to Skip:
> 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.
Birdmanuk - on 23 May 2012
In reply to ryanrawlings: Hi Ryan yes I have come across this and have put down to the rope they use on the indoor walls and they type of belay device. I think the more stretchy the rope is and the long the person sits on the rope. I have found this also for my own lead climbing ropes but not as bad. If you see what I mean.

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.

Ian
ryanrawlings on 24 May 2012
In reply to ryanrawlings: Hi all thanks for the replies. I went again on tuesday and tried the points people suggested about rope positioning and turning the device round for less friction and things did improve slightly but I have decided to order the Edelrid device that I got on so well with on the course so hopefully this will improve my enjoyment further.

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