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Black Diamond ATC Guide Belay Device
  • Black Diamond ATC Guide Belay Device
  • Black Diamond ATC Guide Belay Device

ATC Guide


My vote: None ( 5.2 avg )


Our most versatile belay/rappel device, the Black Diamond ATC-Guide is now 10% lighter and features improved handling in guide mode. With an oval-ized anchor-hole, the device now feeds rope and allows you to pull rope more easily. Multiple friction modes provide the optimal amount of stopping power when lowering or rappelling, and the device's guide mode lets you belay one or two seconding climbers off an anchor.

  • Multiple friction modes for belay and rappel
  • Updated construction makes the device 10% lighter with improved rope handling.
  • Auto-block release hole accepts small carabiners
  • Durable cable holds its shape and resists getting caught up

Retail price

US$ 34.95

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Device Type

Device Type


The most commonly used belay type also called an “ATC” or “tuber.” Other than a distinction between other belay device types, “Tube” is a rarely used term, most climbers just assume you're talking about this style when they refer to your "belay device."

Tube belay device example

Figure 8

Mostly used in rescue, canyoneering, tactical, work safety, or by old school climbers and rappellers. One reason they went out of popularity with recreational climbers is because they tend to create twists in the rope.

Figure 8 belay device example

Brake Assist

These devices assist in stopping the rope when a climber falls or hangs on the rope.

Brake Assist belay device example

Often referred to as “auto-blocking” but that’s not the official terminology because no belay device should be assumed to work automatically by itself, even if it feels like it does (or does most the time).


When simplicity is a must, or you started climbing before Tubers were the norm. Bonus: They tend to be very light weight.

Plate belay device example


For rappelling, not for belaying a lead climber or top-roping.

Descender example
Weight (g)

Weight (g)

In grams, the weight, as stated by the manufacturer/brand.

80 g
Belay Brake Assist

Belay Brake Assist

This is when the belay device significantly reduces the amount of holding power the belayer must exert to stop a fall and hold a climber.

This is also called "assisted-braking" as the device must hold a significant amount of the climber’s weight; this term does not include friction-adding "teeth" found on some tube style belay devices.

Confusingly referred to as “auto-blocking” or “auto-locking” these terms wrongly imply the device will always, automatically, stop a fall or hold a climber even if the belayer/rappeller is hands-free. These devices are not meant to be used without a hand on the braking side of the rope; the belayers/rapppeller brake hand should always be on the brake rope.

Worth Considering

Most of the mechanical brake assist devices only hold a single strand of rope and are not capable of double-strand rappelling (the most common method of rappel).

Rope Options 1 or 2 ropes
Guide Mode

Guide Mode

This is when you belay directly off the anchor instead of your harness. Guide mode is helpful if you climb outdoors a lot because it reduces the holding power required from the belayer. When your partner falls or rests, the weight of the climber is held mostly by the anchor and the belay device.

Tubers and Plates

When belaying in "guide mode," the tubers and plates turn auto-blocking. During a fall, the climbing rope pinches the slack rope, completely stopping the movement of either rope. A common guide mode setup shown below.

A double rope tubular device guide mode example

Mechanical Brake Assist Devices

There is no difference in the functionality of the device. A brake-hand should always be on the rope to ensure the climber is caught in the case of a fall. A common guide mode setup shown below.

A single rope mechanical brake assist guide mode example

Where guide mode is used

  • multi-pitch sport or trad climbs
  • single-pitch where you need to bring up a follower (say for a walk-off)

Learn More

Up to 2 followers


Teeth are only seen on tube devices. They add friction that helps grip the rope for more belaying control.

This is helpful for belaying heavier climbers. Teeth are becoming standard on new tube devices.

The belay device teeth are shown in the red circle

Worth Considering

Teeth do wear out. You can limit wear by rappelling on the side without teeth (if you don’t need the extra friction). Once they’re worn, you’ll still have a usable belay device, just less friction.

Rope Range (mm)

Rope Range (mm)

The range of rope diameters, in millimeters, that the manufacturer/brand specifies can safely be used.

This is the best case scenario and does not necessarily take into consideration that certified ropes have a tolerance of +/- .3 mm.

Recently, manufacturers have started to add an "optimized" rope range -- this is the range that will result in the nicest handling of the belay device.

8.1 mm  - 11.0 mm ­­­


The main climbing gear certifications are CE and UIAA--and normally the UIAA creates the rules that the CE body also supports. When possible, we try to list all the certifications the product carries.

To sell a climbing product in Europe, the device must be CE certified. There are no official requirements to sell climbing gear in the US. The UIAA certification is a voluntary process.

Learn More

Rock and Ice Certifications Guide
( 5 avg )
( 6 avg )

Smooth Operator !

Stands to abuse
Feeds rope smoothly
Heavier than similar models
I’ve used it a bunch

This is an absolute workhorse. Using a thicker rope (9.9) find it feeds rope easier when belaying from above and rappelling compared to the reverso. It also stand to abuse better. Yes it weighs more than the reverso but for the added comfort when belaying and the durability i prefer this one.

The release whole is also larger than the newer reverso.

( 4 avg )

Simple, effective, hard to lower

Simple to use/learn
Pain in the rear to lower a climber
I’ve used it a ton

This belay device works really well for most tasks, belaying from the ground, top, rappelling, etc. The only issue is that it is much harder to lower a climber from the top when compared to other options.

It requires that you have a dyneema sling at the end of the pitch, which means you have to bring an extra one or hope you don't place a lot of nuts/ wander. It works pretty well, just could be better.

( 5 avg )

Can't go wrong with it. Easy decision to pick.

Zero to no learning curve. Wide range of rope size
Tad heavy

If you can't decide on which a basic tube stype device just add this to your cart and check out.  There's ton of pro reviews on this deivice and they're all accurate.  Solid device that seems to like a varity of ropes and biners.

If you can't decide on which a basic tube stype device just add this to your cart and check out.  There's ton of pro reviews on this deivice and they're all accurate.  Solid device that seems to like a varity of ropes and biners.

WeighMyRack Gear Review in-depth technical review

Just about every climber who climbs outside eventually needs to own a tube style device, either for rappelling or cleaning. Which one climbers own is driven by things like ease of use, cheapness and availability. For that there is little reason to step past the brand that every climber knows, Black Diamond. Their hold on the North American climbing market can be at least partially drawn to the ATC line, and as it has moved past household name to the likes of the Kleenex of belay devices, we’re guessing that it will be on this list in some form for a long time to come.

Outdoor Gear Lab Gear Review rating 4/5

The performance difference between the ATC Guide and Petzl Reverso is closer than we could have imagined. Both devices are smooth and reliable when belaying a leader or rappelling. They're also reasonably priced and durable. The differences amounted ultimately to only weight and auto-block resistance. Although the Reverso is lighter, over the lifespan of either device, we believe the ATC Guide's lower auto-block friction will save most users some energy. For this reason, we've named the ATC Guide our Top Pick for Multi-Pitch climbing.

ATC Alpine Guide & New ATC Guide Belay Device
How to Choose your First Belay Device