The new edition of the BMC's belaying and abseiling leaflet has some important changes.
Once upon a time there was the humble sticht plate, which at the time represented a revolutionary step forward from the waist belay. Nowadays, the plethora of belay devices on offer can confuse even the most experienced of climbers.
Mirroring the developments in rope and belay device design, the BMC's belaying leaflet has gone through quite a few changes over the years. The new edition focuses on the factors that users should consider when it comes to choosing a device.
One big change is a switch in terminology to describe all belay devices as either 'manual devices' or 'assisted braking devices'. This wording has arisen out of progress being made by CEN (the European Committee for Standarisation) who are seeking to develop a standard for belay devices. Long standing BMC volunteer Neville McMillan, who recently received a BMC volunteer award, was involved with those developments for many years, with new BMC volunteer Rob Foster continuing this work.
Terminology such as 'auto locking' is misleading when it comes to the way in which many devices work, and manufacturers like Petzl are using the term assisted braking to describe their devices.
The new edition of the belaying and abseiling leaflet also places a greater emphasis on issues to consider when choosing both rope and belay device, as each are of equal importance. Specifically, belay device design, rope design & diameter, characteristics of climber and belayer and the style of climbing are each considered in detail.
The information about abseiling has not changed, but is included in the leaflet as considerations of both belay device and rope are just as important as with belaying.
The new edition has been jointly produced by the BMC Training and Youth and BMC Technical Committees. It is available as a pdf download or free from our online shop.
See how to abseil on BMC TV:
See how to belay at the top of a climb on BMC TV:
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