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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2009
We have always used run of the mill ATCs. We got this because I'm heavy (over 200lbs) and my special lady is light (around 130). I feel less guilty when I hang dog because now when I look back, she's smiling up at me.

We have been talking about lead climbing for weeks and she wanted a grigri because she sees 90% of girls who lead belay at our gym use them. Our teacher-to-be encourages learning on an ATC because they promote better habits. This belay device was the compromise. My special lady says it's much easier to belay me and I can see that she feels confident about learning to lead belay now that she has this added stopping power.

Out of curiosity, I belayed her with this device in High Friction mode. It took a lighter tough to stop her falls and lowering her was smooth.

Good tool.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on March 26, 2008
I have years of experience belaying climbers, and hands down this is my favorite device. It's a little heavier than other ATC's, but it works great and is one of the smoothest when belaying someone bigger/heavier than you. This device can be a little more expensive than others, but due to it's increased comfort whilst belaying, it is well worth it.

HOWEVER, you should never accept or buy a piece of climbing equipment that is not brand spanking new. I don't care what others say, only brand new equipment is acceptable. NOT factory seconds. If you're some poor climber living at Camp 4, then sure, you've got to use what you can, but for the average person out there, do not settle for anything less than brand new. Can't stress this enough.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
I love this atc. My wife and I have used several difference models and this was by far her favorite. For anyone that has a large weight difference with your belay partner this is highly recommended. Even after taking a fall she was all smiles and raved about how much easier it made belaying for me.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon February 20, 2012
This ATC has been updated by Black Diamond to have two side cutouts for a 30% weight reduction. The one pictured is the old version. Which you receive is of little consequence, the original unit wasn't particularly heavy.

Among the four ATCs from Black Diamond, this one is the best for new climbers. Unlike the standard symmetrical ATC, it has friction teeth on one side that aid in holding and lowering heavier climbers. If you want to belay a lighter climber, you can flip it around for less friction. Unlike the minimalist ATC Sport, it has a second opening for belaying more than one climber. You'll never encounter that indoors, but if you've any intention of moving outdoors, it's a feature worth having.

The ATC Guide is even more versatile, but in ways not of consequence for most climbers. If you need that one, you already know it. Everyone else can save the cost difference, with one exception: the Guide does have somewhat more friction than the ATC-XP and will be preferable if your partner outweighs you by a factor of 1.5 or more, or if you plan to use sub-9.5mm ropes.

Another option with an extra margin of safety is an assisted-locking belay device. The two most common are Petzl's GriGri and the Trango Cinch, which have locking cams that halt the rope when it pulls out at a certain speed. A cheaper and lighter alternative is Mammut's Smart Belay Device. Any of them will make it more difficult for an inattentive or unskilled belayer to drop a climber. It's also next to impossible to get the webbing of your brake hand stuck in the first two, as I've seen twice occur with sudden falls to ATCs in the last three months. For my part, I bought an assisted-locker to belay lead climbers on routes that could have them fall outside my field of view, a situation for which an ATC would rely heavily on your reflexes.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 11, 2013
I've belayed with this device (the ATC-XP) and the standard ATC, and while there's nothing wrong with the standard ATC, I like the ATC-XP for the additional braking power it provides.

(For those who've never used one, the end of the rope that does NOT have the person attached to it can be fed through the grooved side of the ATC-XP, and it's that grooved side that makes this device different from the normal ATC. Basically, the grooved side provides more / sharper friction points, allowing you to slow someone's descent or break someone's fall a tiny bit easier.)

Oh... and for anyone who's looking for a carabiner to pair this up with, I'm using this in conjunction with a Petzl Attache carabiner, and I find it to be a great combination. At first, I used it with the Petzl William carabiner, but I found the William to give a little TOO much wiggle room (as it's freaking gigantic), while the Attache keeps everything nice and close to me, allowing me to feel more in control while belaying.

Wear-wise, I've been using it for about a month (climbing 3 times per week... so probably a dozen 1.5-2.5 hour sessions, total), and it's holding up well. I've managed to give it some light scuffs and whatnot, but that's really superficial.

One last thing: I didn't buy this on Amazon. I was freaked out by the person who mentioned "factory seconds" or something, and I wanted to make absolutely sure that I got a brand new one... so I went to the store myself, and picked one out.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon June 12, 2009
I purchased this belay device even though I already own the Black Diamond APC Belay Device. While the APC is a great model that belays smoothly, I wanted something with a little extra bite for those times when I'm lead climbing and my girlfriend is belaying.

Well, it works great! With the ribbed side facing your brake hand, the rope stops instantly with little effort on your part. If you're looking for smoother rope flow, you can flip the device so that the ribbed side is away from your brake hand. In this position it acts similar to the ATC.

Personally, I think it's worth the extra couple of bucks to get this model over the ATC, although they're both great devices.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2013
This is perfect when I'm belaying someone 80+lbs heavier than me. The groves add a lot of traction and help me belay with ease regardless of size differences between me and my climbing partner. Just don't get your hand caught while belaying, you'll never get yourself out of those grooves! (Not that I'm speaking from experience...)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2013
The Black Diamond ATC-XP is a great belay device! My climbing buddy weighs 100lbs more than I do, and I never have a hard time belaying him with this ATC. When I take a date climbing, they typically don't like coming down really fast, and this ATC let's them down snail slow. It's also nice for taking people repelling the first time, because they don't come down real fast. Great product, sturdy build, and love the color. If you don't like the speed, just flip the thing arround, so you aren't using the grooves. Great device.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 7, 2014
I've been climbing (trad) for over 30 years, and have had many different belay devices. This one really works well, as far as feeding rope out quickly and providing a good/easy catch. Rappelling works fine as well.
I can already tell it is going to wear out quickly though. As soon as the "teeth" area smoothes out some, some of the above mentioned features will go away. They didn't have to make it so light. 10 grams heavier would probably make it last twice as long, and not get as hot when you rappel.
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on December 30, 2011
When learning how to belay I was taught with a Trango Pyramid- I will never use that device again. From the beginning a friend had an ATC and I always knew that was the better belay device and when I started to buy my own gear I knew it was the one I wanted. When I started shopping around and found this device for the same price as the regular ATC I couldn't not get it and am glad I did. At 170lbs I'm not exactly a small guy, but when my 100lb girlfriend belays me her and I both appreciate the high friction mode the device offers.
I always rappel in low friction, and when using high friction, the only thing I would mention is that it isn't always the smoothest lowering for belay or rappel. Other then that, a great belay tool.
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