An answer to a related post mentions that:

It's worth pointing out that these are assisted and not auto belay devices, you can't just not pay attention and expect them to work.

Does this mean that there are "auto" belay devices one can use instead of GriGri to increase the level of safety? Obviously I know there are huge auto-belay machines in rock climbing gyms, but is there a portable device one can use outdoors?

  • I'm slightly curious (and it will show my bias) on what motivates you to ask two separate questions in which you actively look to defer any responsibility for extremely critical tasks to machines. Belaying, you are literally putting someone else's safety in your hands and you'd rather let a machine do it? Personally, knowing this, I'd never accept to be a rope-partner with you. – Gabriel C. Dec 16 '19 at 15:52
  • 2
    @GabrielC the key to being a professional is to understand why a certain rule is in place. If you know the exact physics behind what you're doing, you're less likely to make a mistake. Simply saying "you're not a good rope partner" whenever challenged about existing assumptions is a good way to end the discussion, but it doesn't help people learn. – JonathanReez Dec 16 '19 at 18:19
  • 1
    @GabrielC to give another example, I've always thought buckling up during flight is silly until I've learned more about how turbulences worked and realized how easy it is to break your skull if the plane jerks unexpectedly during flight. Now I stay buckled whenever seated, even when the seatbelt sign is off. – JonathanReez Dec 16 '19 at 18:21
  • 1
    @GabrielC. and when your safe, responsible rope-partner gets knocked unconscious? – endolith Dec 17 '19 at 3:49
  • 1
    @GabrielC. There will be a difference if you fall while your grigri belayer is unconscious vs falling while your tube belayer is unconscious. – endolith Dec 17 '19 at 22:10

In general: No.

While some devices use mechanisms that can be different from the Grigri (in some cases radically different, such as the Wild Country Revo), all current sports climbing devices require the user to keep a hand on the braking strand of the rope. Some provide more room for user error than others, but the basic principle stays the same.

Additionally, "real" auto-belays in gyms are only for top-roping. To my knowledge, no fully automatic belay device for lead climbing exists. (Apart from special devices designed for solo lead climbing, such as the discontinued Silent Partner.)

|improve this answer|||||
  • Technical rescue devices like Petzl I'D or CMC MPD or even CMC Clutch come close, but not for lead climbing. – crasic Dec 19 '19 at 1:05
  • The ID is not that good for belaying. It has an idiot proofing feature that locks if you insert the rope backwards. It's quite touchy and will jam unless you feed the rope though very evenly. – papirtiger Dec 19 '19 at 12:22
  • 1
    It's always a good idea to follow the manufacturer's instructions and keep you hand on the dead end of the rope, but it's worthwhile considering that the standard UIAA testing for assisted belay devices is comprised of hands-free fall tests only (see standards UIAA 129-V09, page 12, or EN 15151-1, also page 12). – QuantumBrick Dec 25 '19 at 17:17

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.