/ Mammut Smart Belay Device

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Woodseats'er - on 12 Jan 2014
Does anyone have any experience, or views on this device ?
SteveoS - on 12 Jan 2014
In reply to ade sheffield:

Used it when Mammut visited the local wall, didn't like it.
crayefish - on 12 Jan 2014
In reply to ade sheffield:

Tried it when a friend brought it to the wall last week. Wasn't a fan... difficult to pay out rope and wasn't as smooth to lower as my atc. Though probably takes a while to get used to it.
ianstevens - on 12 Jan 2014
In reply to ade sheffield:

I've got one, really nice and easy to use. Whilst obviously it assists with braking, if you're belaying properly you don't really need that anyway.
Woodseats'er - on 12 Jan 2014
In reply to ianstevens:

I learnt many years ago with 'active' belay devices, Sticht/ belay plates, but I've seen several near misses at local walls recently, just thinking that this device may help,although still needs an attentive belayer!
crayefish - on 13 Jan 2014
In reply to ade sheffield:

Personally I dislike belay aids such as this and the grigri. I think one should have a faultless technique rather than rely on aids. Plus they can make you a little lazy. Why not improve your technique instead? Just my opinion though and sure others' will differ.
Woodseats'er - on 13 Jan 2014
In reply to crayefish:

Thanks for that......... my technique's quite reasonable, according to my (climbing) partners over the years - ;-)
More a general point, I've seen some sloppy belaying, and anything that helps.....(The mind is like a parachute, put to best use when open)
Quite into the Reverso at the moment myself- but recently bought a Mammut Smart just to see how it handles, but yes, improving technique is indeed always important- a sort of self audit spiral.
Not everybody does this though do they ????
valjean - on 13 Jan 2014
In reply to ade sheffield:

ived used one since the year it came out and like it
would replace it with another one (or similar) when the time comes to retire it. also tried the elderi megajul, gave that to a friend, did not like as much
rallymania - on 13 Jan 2014
In reply to ade sheffield:

the best belay aid i've used is a pair of belay glasses

<offers cents worth> if you actively watch your partner, you're more likely able to give them the rope attention they need, what ever belay plate you use.

i've used a mammut smart, took a couple of goes to feel comfortable, but if the rope is too thick then it'll be horrible to use! In addition to that, if you (trad) climb out doors with 2 halfs there's little value in buying one that i can see.

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Robert Durran - on 13 Jan 2014
In reply to crayefish:

> Personally I dislike belay aids such as this and the grigri. I think one should have a faultless technique rather than rely on aids.

I take it you use a waist belay.

Theis new generation of belay devices quite simply make accidents through momentary lapses of concentration (which can happen to anyone) far less likely. They are all good.
ChrisBrooke - on 13 Jan 2014
In reply to ade sheffield:
I bought one for my wife for when we sport climb together. It makes it much easier for her to hold my weight and to lower me smoothly without holding on for grim death, and gives me a lot more confidence in leading. They're sticky at the fatter end of its rope tolerance but pretty smooth <10mm. i like using it too, but only on sport as i wouldn't really take it out tradding.
Post edited at 09:11
puppythedog on 13 Jan 2014
In reply to ade sheffield:

Several friends have them an dI now recommend them to people with great pleasure. I don't have one becuase I already have a GriGri, if I didn't or it needed replacing I would get one. Once used to paying out it's no problem at all to pay out quickly.

Regarding the fact that it is no good for trad so you might just as well not get one: I have more than one belay device to cover the more than one situation I climb in.

The 'you should have good technique argument' falls flat for me, why not have excellent technique and some redundancy? If you are likely to ensure good technique then you will regardless of which device you use and if not well the same.
Robert Durran - on 13 Jan 2014
In reply to ChrisBrooke:

> It makes it much easier for her to hold my weight and to lower me smoothly without holding on for grim death.

Exactly. If you have to hold on for grim death just to hold or lower someone rather than actually hold a fall, then your combination of rope and belay device is downright dangerous. These new belay devices are the answer.
crayefish - on 13 Jan 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I take it you use a waist belay.

> Theis new generation of belay devices quite simply make accidents through momentary lapses of concentration (which can happen to anyone) far less likely. They are all good.

A lapse of concentration shouldn't allow accidents to happen when top roping indoors (lead requires enough attention for you not to get distracted I think - your partner would certainly shout if they need rope etc). The only way an accident can happen is if you don't have one hand braking the rope. Not a tough call... when top roping you should be able to not look at your partner once, have two conversations with people next to you, scratch your bum and still belay safely! Not that I'm advocating this, but we all do it sometimes on easy/warm up climbs. And with modern grooved plates (eg atc xp) there is no issue with someone small holding a fall. I'm over 90kg and regularly climb with with people under 60kg. They just do a little ballet if I lob :)
Robert Durran - on 13 Jan 2014
In reply to crayefish:

> A lapse of concentration shouldn't allow accidents to happen when top roping indoors.

Nonsense. Of course it can.

> Lead requires enough attention for you not to get distracted.

You are really missing the point.

> The only way an accident can happen is if you don't have one hand braking the rope.

Nonsense.

> And with modern grooved plates (eg atc xp) there is no issue with someone small holding a fall.

Unless there is a momentary lapse of concentration which is the whole point.

You come across as dangerously complacent.

crayefish - on 13 Jan 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Nonsense. Of course it can.

> You are really missing the point.

> Nonsense.

> Unless there is a momentary lapse of concentration which is the whole point.

> You come across as dangerously complacent.

What other sort of common accident might occur other than an issue stopping the braking rope during a fall? (Not inclu someone's hair stuck in the belay plate etc! Lol)

To be honest I'd not consider myself to be complacent. I have taught a few climbers to belay and neither them or myself have come close to any form of slip up (ok so not hugely long in the grand scheme of things admittedly). I'd be far more worried about someone who feels they need to rely on a belay aid!
Robert Durran - on 13 Jan 2014
In reply to crayefish:
> What other sort of common accident might occur other than an issue stopping the braking rope during a fall?

Obviously that is the main one and is far less likely to happen due to a lapse of concentration with one of these new belay devices.

The other one that really bothers me is a lighter belayer being pulled up and into the wall, possibly leading to loss of control - easy to see how this could happen. These belay devices, once initially locked (and they do so very easily/forgivingly) remain locked if the controlling hand is taken off or knocked off the rope.

> To be honest I'd not consider myself to be complacent.

Maybe I was being a bit harsh, but having witnessed several nasty accidents which almost certainly would not have happened with an assisted belay device, I simply see no reason not to embrace them.
Post edited at 10:14
GridNorth - on 13 Jan 2014
In reply to ade sheffield:

I've owned and used one for several years and IMO they are the best single rope, assisted belay device out there. They are cheaper, less bulky, lighter and less prone to misuse than a GriGri. They take a little getting used to, as does a GriGri, can be difficult to use with thick ropes, as can a GriGri. I have never had a problem feeding out rope. These days I'm getting so that I prefer my belayer to use an assisted device particularly indoors where it is easy to become distracted and would not be surprised if one day walls insist on their use as many walls in America already do.
Robert Durran - on 13 Jan 2014
In reply to GridNorth:

> These days I'm getting so that I prefer my belayer to use an assisted device particularly indoors where it is easy to become distracted.

Me too. I always offer to lend my Click-Up to my belayer. I feel significantly less confident climbing when they decline to use it!
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puppythedog on 13 Jan 2014
In reply to GridNorth:

I recently responded to a climber dropped from the top of an indoor wall who luckily only broke his back. the fall was predictable and avoidable. There can be no doubt that the belayer was not doing a good enough job, that said the belayer had cought his partner hundreds and hundreds of times both expected and surprise falls. This one time a confluece of little details made the difference and now his mate is shorter and has wonky hips. If he had been using a Mammut Smart (and he now does) I do not beleieve this would have happened.

Perfect technique and attention will stop anyone hitting teh deck, indoor walls are not condusive to perfect technique, people chat with you, someone else falls making you jump and then look around or any number of things. If everyone drove perfectly no-one would need locking seat belts but they're a good idea.

I would much rather be belayed on an assisted locking device than not, but then i like a little redundancy built into the life saving risk management we employ in climbing.
Hi,

The Mammut Smart belongs to that category of assisted braking belay devices that use the carabiner as active part in the braking and locking mechanism of the device. This is something to consider as these devices do wear out the carabiner quite a lot more than, for example, an ATC or a Gri Gri that doesn't use the carabiner at all. They also not work with all HMS's. No big deal really, just something to bear in mind.

I personally like and use the Click Up, which works pretty much by the same principle. I believe the old Yo-Yo by CAMP works in the same way too.

Generally speaking I note (e.g. crag/pub talk), that the biggest criticism towards the Smart is that it doesn't look good... oh well... The Smart works absolutely fine. I personally prefer these belay devices that still require the same level of attention you would need when using a tube, than the Cinch, the Eddy and the Gri Gri (I don't know of any other) that can easily lead to bad practices. Paying out slack with the Smart (and the Click Up for that matter) is just as natural as with any tube belay device providing you feed in rope into the device, it doesn't matter whether you're right or left handed, finally it's a lot harder to use them incorrectly. The Smart, compared to the Click Up has a "rope guide", that is, the handle itself that helps a little avoiding twisting the rope when lowering off, something these devices are all affected by to an extent, but also very much preventable with little attention. I personally can't see anything wrong with the Smart. In fact, I have a Gri Gri 2 as well which I use when belaying someone in top rope or when I'm climbing with a Gri Gri fundamentalist. Actually the former is a valid point for the the Gri Gri, I must say. The latter...

Finally, I agree with the belay glasses being the best belay aid. And of course knowing how to use whatever belay device of choice avoiding bad practices is also paramount. Let's not forget that belay accidents are (almost?) always caused by human error.

Ciao!

Nic
crayefish - on 13 Jan 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

> The other one that really bothers me is a lighter belayer being pulled up and into the wall, possibly leading to loss of control - easy to see how this could happen. These belay devices, once initially locked (and they do so very easily/forgivingly) remain locked if the controlling hand is taken off or knocked off the rope.

That is a very good point and certainly a possible scenario. But then if there is enough weight disparity between the two climbers the lighter should tie into floor loops when belaying.

Neil Williams - on 13 Jan 2014
In reply to crayefish:

Generally being pulled up a bit isn't an issue provided the belayer expects it and is ready for it, but being pulled up such that either the friction is not enough to stop it until the climber hits the floor (top rope) or being pulled up until they hit the first clip leading to possible gear failure (lead) is the point that it's really dangerous.

Neil
GridNorth - on 13 Jan 2014
In reply to Nicola Ciancaglini:

I recently was given some CU belay glasses as a birthday present by my son and I have to say I am very impressed. I hadn't realised until I started using them that apart from saving you from neck ache they encourage you to pay more attention to the leader. Because of that I have no hesitation loaning them to my belayer again particularly indoors.
crayefish - on 13 Jan 2014
In reply to Neil Williams:

Agreed. For top roping I find I'd need a really light belayer to require tying down but with leading obviously the 'minimum weight' is higher before I'll want them in.
Robert Durran - on 13 Jan 2014
In reply to crayefish:

> But then if there is enough weight disparity between the two climbers the lighter should tie into floor loops when belaying.

Most walls don't have any.

crayefish - on 13 Jan 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

Really? Wow that is a surprise; the Westway has one on every route. That is something they should certainly implement (I am sure if they were requested enough they'd be fitted). I have seen a few 120+ kg climbers being belayed by their 50kg girlfriends who most certainly need these!
alooker - on 13 Jan 2014
In reply to ade sheffield:

I like it a lot (mammut smart alpine) - although for specific uses. I like using it for trad multi pitch and alpine type routes. It gives me a semi auto locking belay device which is light and can be used for singles/doubles/twins.

It also acts as a guide plate for bringing up seconds and abseil are really quick as I choose not to use a prussic etc when I ab with it.

One thing worth noting is that the carabiner you use it with makes a big difference to how much it locks off. Goes without saying to keep your hand on the rope always though.

For indoors I use an atc mostly, works with the thick wall ropes, brand new slick skinny singles and the wiry chalk traps that pass as lead ropes sometimes!
BnB - on 13 Jan 2014
In reply to alooker:
Smart Alpine is fine if both your halves are the same width, potentially lethal if not, according to Mammut. I'd have bought one myself if it weren't for that warning. Not a problem in the larger size in conjunction with a single rope, mind.
Post edited at 12:48
alooker - on 13 Jan 2014
In reply to BnB:

yes, good point!
GridNorth - on 13 Jan 2014
In reply to BnB:

I'm tempted by the Edelrid mega Jule for double rope trad but I'll wait for the next generation when hopefully they will have sorted out the teething problems with the wire coming away.
Neil Williams - on 13 Jan 2014
In reply to crayefish:

Most walls that don't have them do have weight bags which can be used for the same purpose. It's unusual for a wall to have neither.

What I have done where none were available or were too light is linked the belayer to another person sitting on the floor with a sling. Just holding onto the back of the belayer's harness can also work.

Neil
Christheclimber - on 13 Jan 2014
In reply to ade sheffield:

I've been using one for the last two months. It is really good once you get used to it. I have stopped using my Grigri as I now prefer the Mammut Smart.
BnB - on 13 Jan 2014
In reply to GridNorth:

I had one of the first generation and was getting along extremely well with it until it leapt down a fissure at Slipstones!! No problems with the wire loop.
Kai - on 13 Jan 2014
In reply to ade sheffield:

Haven't used the Smart, but have used the Smart Alpine (both sizes.)

It's a little big and bulky, and had the tendency to lock up when belaying the leader. I also had the issue of the ropes occasionally working their way under the divider and getting stuck a bit.

Don't use mine any more.
origamib - on 14 Jan 2014
In reply to crayefish:
> I'm over 90kg and regularly climb with with people under 60kg. They just do a little ballet if I lob :)

After recent experience I've found that 'doing a little ballet' is an easy way to smack your head into the climbing wall... I won't name where, but just the other day I was at the climbing center with my dad (who weighs a fair bit more then me with his beer belly), when an instructor who was paying attention to his class decides to walk right under my dad while I'm lowering him, I stopped him very quickly to stop him crushing this instructors head with his arse, and it just so happened I was doing 'the ballet' and I went flying into the wall. I'm not saying it was his fault because may be we both should have been paying more attention, but I guess I just wasn't expecting an experienced climber to walk right under someone when they were only metres from the floor!

I think from now on I'm going to try and avoid this!

Another point I'd like to mention, I have the mammut smart belay device as well and I bought it purely for the fact that every week I have a new belayer, and I'm never quite sure what their skill is. Any body who climbs with a club will know this feeling! I feel alot more secure, and willing to push myself if I I have at least an added amount of security from the belay device too... If I had a regular partner I would happily switch to a normal belay device
Post edited at 12:34
Neil Williams - on 14 Jan 2014
In reply to origamib:
Er, try putting your feet out when you fly up? (Or if you're unhappy use a ground anchor, belay bag or twist in the rope - though most centres don't like the latter for obvious reasons...)

Being the thick end of 17.5 stone, it is near enough impossible for most people to make me "do the ballet" (!) top-roping, but for leading it can happen. I learnt the hard way the first time I caught a lead fall (and I didn't let go!) and slammed hard into the wall knee-first. The blood mark is still there! :)

You just need to expect it and go with it provided the weight difference is not so great that you'd just carry on going until the climber reached the floor.

Neil
Post edited at 13:19
Neil Williams - on 14 Jan 2014
In reply to origamib:

Personally I'd rather anyone belaying me used a device they were familiar with and used normally, not a completely different one I lent them and they'd never used before.

Neil
Robert Durran - on 14 Jan 2014
In reply to Neil Williams:

> Personally I'd rather anyone belaying me used a device they were familiar with and used normally, not a completely different one I lent them and they'd never used before.

But the good thing about the Smart and the Click-Up is that they basically work just like a normal belay device except are far safer, so it is easy and safe to switch (unlike that completely baffling grigri contraption).

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Neil Williams - on 14 Jan 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

True. A Grigri would be downright dangerous in the hands of someone not used to it, the problem not being taking in but lowering.

Neil
rgold - on 14 Jan 2014
In reply to Neil Williams:
> (In reply to origamib)
>
> Personally I'd rather anyone belaying me used a device they were familiar with and used normally, not a completely different one I lent them and they'd never used before.
>
> Neil

The Click-Up and Alpine Up work exactly the same way as a tube-style device for both taking in and paying out, so there is really no problem with unfamiliarity there. Lowering is trickier because you can release too much friction, a problem shared by the Grigri, which is, however, worse in this regard. The important new thing to learn (and it is easy) is how to quickly unlock the device if you accidentally lock it while paying out slack for clipping.

The Smart and the two Edelrid Juls work the same as a tube-style device for taking in but in general require the brake hand to also lever the device away from the belayer's body in order to pump slack to the leader for clipping. This makes them inferior to the Alpine Up for half-rope handling, but they are cheaper and lighter and the Jul is a lot less bulky.

I regularly give an Alpine Up to belayers who are experienced with tubes but have never used the device, and after a minute or two spent showing them how to rapidly reverse accidental locking, have never had any issues with the belay. But this is not the same as handing the device, any device, to an inexperienced belayer, who might invent all kinds of ways to screw things up.

None of these assisted lockers can or should be trusted to catch falls automatically. What they do is add extra braking power, and so make it less likely that a belayer will lose control for some reason.

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