The ATC Guide Belay Device is already worthy of any climber's arsenal, but Black Diamond made it even better for alpinists and crag-stars alike. It still transcends the tube/auto-blocking category, allowing for a standard belay as well as belaying one or two climbers off anchors. Black Diamond upgraded it with machined windows for a lighter weight, and the larger auto-block release accepts smaller carabiners for a smoother and more dependable operation.
Features: Black Diamond's best-selling belay device built 10% lighter Multiple friction modes designed for both belay and rappel Guide mode allows auto-block top rope belays at anchors Auto-block release hole accepts small carabiners
Was headed to City if Rocks and needed this to replace an older ATC that I wore out, where a sharp edge was forming after many years of use. Worked great. Nice combination of friction and smoothness. Belays were easy, above and below.
This belay device is the gold standard for multipitch climbing. The ergonomics of lead belaying are great, but this device really shines when belaying the follower. The vertical orientation of the "guide mode" hole allows for cleanly stacking the belay line as you pull the slack through the device, as you'll have the choice to orient the device to the left or to the right. This enables the belayer to easily manage either one or two ropes, stacking in a pile or over the lap.
Those climbing and guiding multipitch routes day-in and day-out may wish to consider the Kong Gigi or the Camp Ovo instead of the Black Diamond ATC Guide. These devices create less friction when taking in slack, meaning less shoulder fatigue (and ultimately tendonitis when belaying followers pitch after pitch, day after day. This is only a big deal for a small percentage of climbers. And, if rappelling is involved, you might find yourself bringing an ATC along anyways for the ease of rappelling with this device compared to the Gigi or Ovo.
Black Diamond claims to have reduced the friction of pulling in slack while in "guide mode" for the newest redesign of the ATC Guide, and if that is the case, this device would be the true king of multipitch belaying and rappelling.