So just questioning some advice I received once:

When in guide mode when belaying a second from above, is it ok to take the locking carabineer and attach it to your belay loop? The primary benefit is that you can then release the break with your body weight. The downside is you potentially release the break with your body weight. To be clear, the device is still vertical, as it should be in guide mode, the locking carabiner is just through your belay loop.

2 Answers 2


I would definitely discourage this. Accidentially releasing the device is dangerous and can lead to fatal incidents. Moreover, releasing the device is rarely needed to my experience. Therefore this does not make the risk any more acceptable.

An engaged ATC in guidemode can easily be released by hooking a carabiner into the little hole at the front and pulling back and up. Note that any kind of releasing should be done with extreme care and - when belaying 2 seconding climbers - only when the other climber has secured themselves

Note: There are multiple ways to release the device. The way I described is a fast version. Many instructional videos recommend to pull this up by a sling with redirection and the official manual even suggests to backup the release with a munter hitch as shown in the attached picture

https://eu.blackdiamondequipment.com/on/demandware.static/-/Sites-bdel/default/dwc035a6a1/instructions/S16_Instructions/M10798_B_ATCGuide_IS-WEB.pdf Releasing according to BD manual


This is very dangerous, the plastic retaining loop is not load bearing and it can be absent or broken, even if it holds your weight you can cause an uncontrollable fall in your second by simply tripping and tension on this carbiner can prevent the autoblocking function from operating at all

Consider also that auto-blocking devices are usually most critical in situations where the belayer is injured, possibly unconscious or deceased. For example due to rock-fall or a medical incident.

Specifically, during a lowering activity it is OK and sometimes recommended or necessary to leverage your body weight.

As @Manziel shows the proper way to rig the lowering system of a direct-belay device using the carabiner to redirect the force , in certain situations, it may be very hard to release the device by pulling on release sling without major leverage, in which case you can consider clipping the lowering loop to your harness to provide body leverage.

You can certainly do a redirected belay, imagine very uneven top-rope

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(source: mojagear.com)

In some situations, a direct belay may be used.

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(source: neilhopkins.us)

But your combined solution is a death trap since the guide is hard clipped to the anchor through the forged loop, an overconstrained system.

  • I hadn't even considered the force loading of the plastic loop, thanks! Commented Dec 1, 2019 at 21:56

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