Belay devices and descenders

Belay Devices

Nowadays, a belay device is a must-have for climbing. In comparison to belaying with a Munter hitch, belay devices are much more comfortable to handle and are gentler on the rope. Plus, many belay devices can be used as descenders as well.

A wide range of belay devices, starting from tubular types and figure-8 descenders to auto-locking devices, can be found in our shop.

Sport climbing with a single rope

Semi-automatic belay

Semi-automatic belay devices feature a blocking support. After a fall, the semi-automatic device blocks the rope and relieves the belayer who can therefore hold the brake rope with less force. However, even if you’re using belay devices, you should always keep your hand on the brake rope.

Especially for long routes, semi-automatic belay devices provide much more comfort. Some classic examples of such belay devices include the Grigri2 from Petzl and the Matik from Camp.


Autotubers are a subcategory of semi-automatic belay devices. They also feature a blocking support, however they rely on the brake hand’s correct positioning.

Autotubers are usually considered to be somewhere between classic tubers and auto-locking devices. However, according to the DAV’s (German Alpine Club) definition, they belong to the category of auto-locking devices and are therefore recommended belay devices.

The following count as autotubers: Smart, Click Up, Ergo and Mega Jul. You can find a wide range of DAV-recommended products in our store.

The tuber: versatile and is great to use

Tubers are another popular choice. Typical examples are the Black Diamond ATC or the Reverso from Petzl. Not only are they great to handle, but their versatility also makes them a great choice. Tubers are best suited for multi-pitch routes and for dynamic belaying.

With the use of two rope channels, most tubers can also be used as descenders. And, depending on their design, they can even be used with half or twin ropes. In addition, tubers are very lightweight, which makes them great for alpine use. There are even some models with additional eyelets available, so you can belay other climbers as well.

Belay Devices

For specialists and amateurs: the figure 8 descender

Once upon a time, the figure 8 descender used to be the go-to belay device. Over the years, safety research has shown that the figure eight has numerous disadvantages when it comes to lead belaying. As a result, it’s no longer recommended for partner belaying. However, it’s still a good option for abseiling and can be used with single, half and twin ropes. Figure eights are usually ring, V- or square shaped. The latter ones help the rope to go through smoothly and provide a higher braking force.

Figure eight descenders are available from numerous manufacturers, such as AustriAlpin, Mammut and Black Diamond.

Belay devices for thin ropes

Nowadays, there are ropes with very small diameters on the market. Although relying on your experience is good, you should choose your belay device carefully. You’ll be able to find the suitable rope diameters for a certain device in its product description.

So many choices

Choosing a belay device may not always be an easy task. The two deciding factors when choosing is both the desired use and your own experience. If you have any questions or need some advice, you can contact our customer service team by phone or email.

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