ATC Climbing

What is ATC Climbing How To Use It In Rock Climbing

Most climbers have used the Air Traffic Controller, a traditional climbing belay gear, at some point. Its name is somewhat of a joke, suggesting that you are the one in charge of directing the traffic—the climbers—as they fall to the ground. It is a belay device that looks like a tube and is made by Black Diamond.

Why is it so important for climbers; Let’s take a closer look! Also, don’t forget to check out our latest post.

What Is ATC Climbing?

The ATC is a belay tool that is used by a person on the ground, the belayer, to control the climber’s rope and catch falls. It allows you to lead and belay on the top rope in both sport and traditional climbing, as well as rappel from a route’s summit. It is advised to utilize the ATC Guide with the brake strand on the side with higher friction. You will generally see an emblem of a hand clutching onto a rope on the high friction side. The rope leading to the climber will be on the usual side.

Usually, an icon of a person climbing will appear. One climber ascends while being fastened to one end of a rope that runs through an anchor point above them (or occasionally below them) and links to another climber, who is often at the bottom. As the first climber ascends the face, the second climber is in charge of feeding the rope out.

Why Do You Need An ATC Belay Device?

The two main applications of the ATC are abseiling or performing a rappel down the route, and belaying a climber to safely stop any potential fall.

By following these easy procedures, one can utilize the ATC gadget for abseiling with a double rope safely and easily:

  • Establish the anchor.
  • Create a tiny bend on each end of the rope by pinching both ends together. Each of the little bends of the rope should be inserted into one of the ATC’s two holes on the side without the plastic loop.
  • Use a locking carabiner to catch both the ropes and the plastic loop, then link it to the belaying loop on your harness once the bends of the rope have been entered and have passed through the ATC.
  • You can stop yourself using this approach by lowering the lower ropes.

How To Use The ATC Gadget To Belay A Partner In A Safe And Easy Manner

  • Take hold of the rope just past the point where it is fastened to the climber, and bend it just a bit.
  • From the side of the belay device without the plastic loop, take hold of the little bend and insert it into one of the dents. The majority of gadgets contain a picture that indicates whether the climber or the remaining rope is where each rope end should go.
  • Once the rope bend has passed through the ATC, grab the rope and the plastic loop with a locking carabiner and fasten it to the belaying loop on your harness.
  • With this method in place, you can belay your climber safely if you use the right procedures. Before attempting to belay someone else, be sure you have thoroughly studied belaying techniques because it is essential for the climber’s safety.

Tube Style/ Tubular Belay Devices

A tube-style or tubular belay device is one that has one, two tubes, or elongated holes. The majority of them include two tubes or slots, allowing you to belay with two ropes or rappel with a doubled rope. The majority of tube-style devices also have teeth for improved rope grip. The tube-style systems also function as manual belay devices, requiring personal interference to stop a fall by grasping the rope.

Different Types Of ATC Devices

1.      Basic ATC

The Basic ATC is a tube-like belay device made of two identical orifices created by splitting an aluminum tube in half, which is linked to a plastic loop on one side. One of the most popular pieces of equipment in adventure sports, specifically climbing, is this simple and basic design, which costs probably around $15. It is one of the cheapest items in a climber’s bag, but it also plays a crucial role in preventing you from falling to the ground.

2.      ATC-XP

The ATC-XP is another variation of the standard ATC. It is essentially the same piece of equipment, except that it includes a teethed indentation to increase rope friction rather than being a symmetric tube. It has the same function as the ATC device and is also suggested for ice climbing, where the increased friction might be crucial because of the ice or water that may be carried up the rope as you ascend.

3.      ATC Guided Devices

The ATC guidance device comes after the first two basic ATC devices. The only difference between it and the ATC-XP is the inclusion of a metal loop on the side opposite the toothed indentations. The ATC-guide is used exactly the same way as a standard belay gear when belaying someone else from the base of a route, which is how single pitch climbing is normally done.

The ATC-guide is useful when you are top-rope belaying a climber as he follows your lead on a multi-pitch situation. If a climber falls, the ATC-guide can be configured to automatically lock capabilities. You accomplish this by using a carabiner and an extra metal loop to secure the ATC-guide device to the anchor. With this you can belay a climber while he is following in top-rope, and in the event of a fall, the rope and the climber’s weight will provide the friction that immediately stops the fall.

Final Thoughts

An Air Traffic Controller (ATC) is one of the most essential top ropes and rock-climbing equipment. When your climber is high on a wall, you utilize a belay to keep them safe. It is also a core part in rappelling and traditional climbing. It’s crucial to remember that the expertise of the person using an ATC belay system determines its safety, so you should be ready at all times. Risks can include unexpected falls or significant weight differences between the belayer and the climber, but as long as your ATC is functioning properly, you don’t have to worry.

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