New Belay Device Policy

Effective August 1st, 2020, Eagle Climbing + Fitness will require the use of Assisted Braking Devices (ABDs) for all top rope and lead belaying.

Why?

At Eagle Climbing + Fitness, your safety is our number one priority.

As the sport of rock climbing continues to evolve, so does the technology, technique, and gear used to minimize the inherent risks for you and your partner.

The art of belaying has changed dramatically over the course of a few decades. Climbers used to rely on hip belays or the Munter Hitch before belay devices entered the scene. Early belay devices like the figure-8 plate were soon replaced by the popular tube style belay devices like the Black Diamond ATC. The ATC and other tube style devices were a significant leap ahead of the classic hip belay, but represent just one point in the continued evolution of rock climbing technology.

ABDs like the Petzl Grigri, the Edelrid Jul and Mega Jul, the Black Diamond Pilot, and other similar devices erupted onto the retail market. Though not fail-safe, ABDs function by preventing the rope from passing through the belay device using geometry or camming units. This change adds an extra braking function when used correctly for belaying. Because of an ABD’s ability (when used properly) to assist in “catching” a climber, they’ve become widely used in the climbing industry.

We recognize that ATCs and other tube style devices still have a place in climbing, this change is simply an effort to reduce risk in our facility. If you already use an ABD, you will be unaffected by this change. For those using tube style devices, we will offer complimentary clinics and ABD gear demos as well as discounts on ABD purchases in our retail shop to help you make a smooth transition.

Again, your safety is our first priority, and we would be absolutely devastated if a life changing accident happened in our facility that could have been prevented. We feel it is our duty to reduce these incidents to the best of our ability. Offering education and requiring ABDs, a move many climbing gyms across the nation and throughout the world are making to improve safety in their facilities, is the next step in making sure everyone returns home safely after a great session at the gym.

Please be aware that ABDs are NOT considered auto-locking or foolproof. Attentive belaying and using the PBUS (Pull-Brake-Under-Slide) belay method is always required at Eagle Climbing + Fitness.

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Approved Belay Devices

The following belay devices have been approved for use at Eagle Climbing + Fitness.

  • Edelrid Jul2, MegaJul, GigaJul, MegaJul Sport, or Eddy
  • Petzl Grigri
  • Black Diamond Pilot
  • Trango Vergo or Cinch
  • Mammut Smart
  • Beal Birdie
  • Climbing Tech Click Up
  • Madrock Lifeguard
  • CAMP Matik
  • Wild Country Revo

Any other device that is considered an Assisted Braking Device will be up to the discretion of the staff on duty.

The following ABDs are available for purchase in our Retail Shop. Now through the end of August, all ABDs are 20% off!

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a tube-style device and an assisted braking belay device?

Assisted braking devices are classified as either mechanical or geometric and aid in belaying by providing extra stopping force via the geometry of the device or a camming mechanism that grabs the rope in the event of a fall or the belayer losing control of the brake strand of the rope.  Some examples of assisted brake devices are the Edelrid Mega Jul and Jul2, Petzl GriGri, and Black Diamond Pilot. They should still be treated like a classic ATC with the belayer always maintaining control of the brake strand of the rope.

Tubular belay devices do not provide a backup in the event of a fall or the belayer losing control of the brake strand and work via the belayer holding their hand in a downward position to apply friction between the rope and the device.  Some examples are the Petzl Reverso and Black Diamond ATC.

I’ve never used an assisted brake belay device before.  Can I get some help?

Absolutely! While much of the belay process itself is not different from a tube style device, feeding slack or lowering the climber is slightly different with ABDs, and even from one ABD to another. To help with this transition we are offering several FREE Intro to Assisted Braking Devices clinics that will help you learn the ins and outs of belaying on an assisted braking device.

Will I need to retake my belay tests?

If you have already passed your top rope and/or lead belay tests with one of our staff, then you will not need to retake your tests. That said, there is nothing wrong with asking to be retested or simply asking the staff to watch you belay to get some reassurance from our staff that you are using a new device properly.

I currently use an ATC; what do I need to do so I can belay as of August 1st?

If you are already comfortable with an assisted braking belay device, we ask that you switch to using that device exclusively in our facility. If you need help transitioning to an assisted braking device and need a few pointers to safely switch devices, come chat with the front desk for an orientation.

If you know nothing about assisted braking devices and need further instruction, please take our free Intro to Assisted Brake Belay Devices clinics.

Will you have assisted braking belay devices for use if I don’t own one?

Yes, we will have free rentals of Jul2s, MegaJuls, and GriGris on a first come, first served basis.  We will also be discounting all assisted braking belay devices we sell by 20% through the end of August.

I use an assisted braking device that isn’t on your list, can I use it?
Perhaps! Please come ask our desk staff. If we are unfamiliar with the device we may not be able to give you an immediate answer. If that’s the case we’ll let you use one of our ABD devices (Jul2 or GriGri) for free, and are happy to give you instruction in their proper use if needed.

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