The Origin and History of Belay Devices

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Messages 61 - 80 of total 123 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
McHale's Navy

Trad climber
Panorama City, California & living in Seattle
Mar 15, 2013 - 04:04pm PT
Steve, here's a pic of a Clog. I used this quite a bit in 77 and probably 75, but I can't nail down when I bought it or where.
Credit: McHale's Navy
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Mar 15, 2013 - 04:05pm PT
Jim T mentions the big Clog fig 8 and McHale's has a photo of it just above this. Here's what the best dressed Brit was wearing in the Dolomites in 1972.

Credit: jaaan

If you take a close look you'll see a bent wire fig 8 attached to his Whillans harness, rope running through it ready to rap or belay (I think...). No idea who made those... Jim?

Credit: jaaan

Edit: Actually I lie, it's not a Whillans, it's a waist belt of some sort:

Credit: jaaan



Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 15, 2013 - 04:27pm PT
Hey Dan,

Is the clip hole on your Clog 8 big enough to belay through it with a full diameter (11mm) rope?

I am trying to determine if belay duty was part of the design intent other than using it in reverse rappel mode as a brake.
McHale's Navy

Trad climber
Panorama City, California & living in Seattle
Mar 15, 2013 - 04:39pm PT
I don't think it was meant for that. It's difficult to put even a 10.8 loop through that hole. That's much easier to do with the CMI. The rope drags on itself even after it's through the Clog loop. It could be used for that in a pinch though.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 15, 2013 - 04:42pm PT
Thanks Dan!

Somebody out there must have one of the original run of rectangular machined Sticht plates to show.
philo

Trad climber
Is that light the end of the tunnel or a train?
Mar 15, 2013 - 05:57pm PT
Things have come a long ways.

photo not found
Missing photo ID#230257
The Simond Toucan.
carlos gallego

Ice climber
Spain
Mar 15, 2013 - 07:23pm PT
Credit: carlos gallego
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Mar 16, 2013 - 03:09pm PT
Hey Carlos, that's just like my mate's fig 8.

Credit: jaaan
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Mar 16, 2013 - 03:57pm PT
The Stitch Plate should still be on anyone's rack. You can literally do anything with that little sucker. Belay, rap, lower out, bail.

They have far better control than any of the tubular belay devices, which won't lock off if you need to.

Seriously. They are that useful and they weigh nothing.

Figure 8's always sucked. Anyone who uses them is a moron.

The caribiner brake should also still be taught, although it is hard to do with weird shapes or wire gates.
carlos gallego

Ice climber
Spain
Mar 16, 2013 - 04:03pm PT
Hello, jaaan... yes I saw your photo and remembered my steel figure of eigth.

...another ones...

Credit: carlos gallego





BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Mar 16, 2013 - 04:22pm PT
Figure 8 is too big and serves no good function. They tend to tangle ropes.

I'm telling you that I've done things with a stitch plate that now takes five devices to do.

Just a piece of metal with an oval cut into it. I've heard that you can use a chain link, but why?

Somebody bring them back and spread the word.

Notice that the figure 8 photos all look unused.
carlos gallego

Ice climber
Spain
Mar 16, 2013 - 04:46pm PT
Hello, BASE104... you are right.
These pieces are of past times... I do not use them since many... many years ago, I just insert photo to see the "collection".
Nowadays there are other devices and, as you say, a plate should be in any rack... even as emergency kit only.
Of course there are modern devices to choose... depending of the climb to take.
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Mar 16, 2013 - 06:18pm PT
You know Base, I've heard lots of folk say that 8s twist the rope, on this side of the pond too. I've never had that experience - or at least they haven't twisted my ropes more than other devices. For years in the 80s and 90s they were used as belay devices in 'rapid mode'. That is with the rope pulled through the big hole then simply clipped through the biner. Thinking back now from the safety of the Grigri I wonder how we ever survived!
wivanoff

Trad climber
CT
Mar 16, 2013 - 08:08pm PT
The Stitch Plate should still be on anyone's rack. You can literally do anything with that little sucker. Belay, rap, lower out, bail.

They have far better control than any of the tubular belay devices, which won't lock off if you need to.

And they (non-spring version) are MUCH smoother with two oval carabiners opposite & opposed instead of one screwgate.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Mar 16, 2013 - 08:26pm PT
The 8 is bulky and limited. Using the small hole to belay sucks, too.

The stitch plate, correctly without the spring as mentioned above, is way better than anything other than things such as the gri-gri. It is a hell of a lot cheaper, but not for sport climbing belays, I admit.

On trad or walls or alpine, you can do anything with those things. Does anyone make them anymore? They really are just as useful as knowing how to tie a prussick knot.
drljefe

climber
El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
Mar 16, 2013 - 08:30pm PT
tie a what?
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Mar 17, 2013 - 08:48am PT
In about 1983 or 4 I can remember climbing a route in the Verdon called RÍve de Fer. As we were rapping down it to the start, there was a French guide coming up it with two clients. I watched his belaying technique with horror. He's simply passed his two ropes through a biner clipped to the belay and was just pulling the rope through it, his clients both climbing at the same time. Right on cue one of his clients fell off. He clamped the ropes below the biner tight with both hands and stopped the fall without too much difficulty, but of course until the person who'd fallen had regained the rock he couldn't do much for the other client who was still climbing... not ideal!

I bought the first of the 'magic plate' belay devices, the NewAlp Magic Plate in I'd say about 1990-ish. It was fantastic as I could belay two seconds at the same time (if I wanted to) and have hands free if I needed it to do other essentials, such as eating, reading the guidebook etc. If one of the seconds fell off I could still belay the other. The only downside was that these things were crap for rapping and you couldn't really belay a leader with it, and you couldn't really give slack with it very easily. This meant that I carried a belay plate (a DMM Betterbrake) as well. So when the Reverso appeared not too long back that could do all these things, I bought one immediately. However after a time the sheer effort of pulling rope through it in 'guide' mode made me abandon it in favour once more of the Magic Plate and Betterbrake.

Credit: jaaan

For sport climbing I always use a Grigri (having abandoned the euro-death-rapid-eight). Having managed to forget to put it in my pack a few times recently I've taken to always carrying an old Sticht plate in the bottom of the pack as an emergency. It's a bit worn but works fine.

Credit: jaaan
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Mar 17, 2013 - 09:13am PT
I have used biner break belays. Also there used to be a brake bar that could be put on the old smooth Ovals.

And yes 8s are just plain turds for standard belay's or rapping. I have used stitch plates but not enough that I ever got a liking for them. Too catchy for me. My personal favorite device has been the later square Lowe tubers. So easy to adjust proper friction and feed on everything from ice floss ropes to static.

Question though. In a pinch if I dropped or forgot a device or deliberately did not take one for weight bulk reasons. I much prefer a munter hitch for belaying or rapping versus a biner break. There are even ways to get bit more friction if needed on rappel by an extra spine wrap below the munter.

Any particular reason to learn the biner break? Vs a Munter? Am I overlooking something?
mellpat

Big Wall climber
Sweden
Mar 22, 2013 - 05:54am PT
A picture of my original Sticht plate, the plate being obtained from Sporthaus Schuster in or about 1969.
The text on it reads "Sticht Seilbremse DBPa / SALEWA made in West Germany". DBPa is short for "patent pending in West Germany".
Credit: mellpat
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 22, 2013 - 11:12am PT
Melpat- Thanks for posting that early plate and background.

Could you show a shot of the back and side even though there is no markings present.

I suspect that yours was cast or die forged rather than machined but I would like to confirm that. There will be a casting mark at the midline if this plate was made that way

A machined version still likely predates the one shown and we might get lucky enough to see one if this thread persists long enough. Then again at 1969 with patent pending this may be the first production model.
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