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The Wild Country Pro Guide Lite Belay Device mountain cragging in North Wales
UKC Gear, Jun 2014
© Tim Neill This new device from WC is a “guiding” version of their popular VC Pro 2 device. “Guiding” being the description of the auto locking style of belaying, popular for safeguarding two following climbers simultaneously. This style of plate isn’t just the domain of instructors and guides but any climber embracing the full repertoire of climbing environments and requiring a “do it all” device.
The main attractions of this device are its no frills simple design and its low bulk….a far cry from the original Reverso. Although the unit is also pretty lightweight the device seems to be wearing well. As over the last month and a half it’s been in use probably every day with a mixture of guiding and personal climbing…so plenty of dragging wet gritty work ropes through it, being scuffed up against the rock thrashing around in some of N Wales’ finest chimneys as well as abseiling down sandy static abseil ropes in Pembroke and fielding plenty of lobs with a nice soft catch. My experiences of plenty of other similar devices has been much less positive as most other similar lightweight devices have developed a very sharp edge to the “live” side of the rope slot in this same time span with a similar amount of use…hardly good value!
The Pro Guide Lite also seems to securely manage the range of rope diameters that are stated on the side of the device…7.7mm and up. This is great news for any ice climbers, alpinists, trad rock climbers and instructors using fat “centre” ropes, who want a single device to work effectively and safely in all those domains.
As a normal belay plate it works as well as it should for a modern device…ie slick to pay out, allowing for a reasonable dynamic soft catch yet providing enough friction for reassuring control of the rope by an attentive belayer. And to do this well over such a range of ropes is a major plus.
Using the device with two seconds on the Freney Pillar of Mont Blanc
UKC Gear, Jun 2014
© Tim Neill
One design flaw of the device is the diameter of the eye that is clipped to the anchor during direct/locking mode. Unfortunately it seems that it’s too narrow to pass the barrel of any locking karabiner through it and definitely not the Synergy Locking karabiner that Wild Country recommend. This is an important consideration when orientating the karabiner to stay shut via the “gravity fed” concept. The only alternative is to rotate the karabiner back through the anchor every time which is a faff more often than not if the anchor is a weighted equalised sling or cordelette. This further becomes a pain when you’re retrieving the device from an anchor that 3 of you are hanging on unfortunately. Anyone converting to this device from the Reverso 2,3 or Black Diamond Guide will pick up on this fairly quick.
Hopefully Wild Country will address this simple alteration with the Pro Guide Lite 2. This will no doubt put the device at the top of the pecking order in the multi use market nailing all the requirements of a “do it all” device for the adventure climber.
What Wild Country Say:
Our new advanced belay tool demonstrates engineering excellence. This remarkably lightweight device has been trimmed of all excess.
Available in a set with the Synergy Lite.
Features: Hyper lightweight design, Guide mode, Karabiner release function, Efficient breaking slots
More Info: Wild Country Website
UKC Articles and Gear Reviews by Tim Neill: