7

The Reverso 4, ATC Guide, and others all have a keeper wire loop for carrying. However, the wire seems unnecessary -- one could simply cut it off and carry the device using the large hanging eye or rope eye.

Is the keeper wire necessary or is this a bad idea?

  • 8
    If you were to cut anything on your belay device be very careful not to leave anything sharp on it for obvious reasons. – aaaaargZombies Nov 19 '15 at 16:51
  • Hi Chris! Neither of those links seem to lead where you intended them to. The first goes to the Petzl site but I didn't find anything saying Reverso 4. The ATC guide leads to the Black Diamond Equipment site but is a missing page. I wanted to let you know in case both of what you referred to are on the same sites but in a different place! – Sue Saddest Farewell TGO GL Aug 13 at 0:25
  • @Sue they worked 4 years ago, lol – Chris Mendez Aug 13 at 17:06
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Take off the wire cable and you're pretty much left with an old school belay plate:

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The original belay device was simply a munter hitch on a "Karabiner", or "Halbmastwurfsicherung" (often abbreviated HMS) as it was originally called, but munter hitches are hard on ropes, which was the reason belay plates ("Sticht plates" after their inventor Fritz Sticht) were eventually developed.

But the plates had issues with binding and jamming up, which is why the tube style belay device became so popular when it first hit the climbing scene, it worked like a belay plate, but with a much smoother action.

enter image description here

The devices we have now are the product of years of trial and error trying to develop the best system possible. The cable wire is not necessary, but you'll notice right away how useful it is once you do take it off, all of a sudden you're going to find yourself fumbling around with your ATC as you try to feed the rope through it.

You can still buy belay plates by the way, they work great for guide belaying from above, but if you're going to belay from your belt, you're going to want the cable wire there to keep the device in place, especially if that's what you learned with.

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If you're a widgeteer and simply want to explore other types of belay devices, there are plenty out there to sample:

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    That collection makes me think climbing gear design must be like fishing gear - its designed to get its first and usually only catch in the shop. – user5330 Nov 19 '15 at 4:10
  • Most of those designs are copyrighted, so each manufacture has to tweek the design slightly to prevent infringment @mattnz – user2766 Nov 19 '15 at 8:49
  • Could you provide the trade name for all those devices? Some of these are fascinating and bizarre. – Erik Nov 25 '15 at 21:52
  • @Erik agreed, I'm interested in several – Chris Mendez Nov 26 '15 at 0:40
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So what does the keeper wire do?

  • Makes it easier to attach the device to your harness when not using.
  • Prevents the belay device working its way up the rope when giving slack.
  • Keeps the delay device in the optimal position for use.

one could simply cut it off and carry the device using the large hanging eye or rope eye.

Why?! What does this gain you apart form making the thing harder to use?

Is the keeper wire necessary

There is no safety reason for the wire retainer.

is this a bad idea?

Yes: what do you gain? (practically zero). What do you lose? (see above).

7

When I'm setting up for a belay, I first clip the belay device to my belay loop using the keeper wire, then feed the rope through, then open the carabiner and put it through the rope. This is a pretty dependable way of doing the process without dropping the belay device, which could be a bad thing. If you removed the keeper wire, you'd have to keep one hand gripping the belay device at all times while fumbling with the other hand to complete the setup. I think you'd be much more likely to drop your belay device.

  • 2
    As someone who once dropped a belay device (on a sports climb), I can really recommend that method! However, I'm not sure whether that really answers the OP's question of whether the wire is strictly necessary... – anderas Nov 19 '15 at 10:35

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