In this video we discuss the benefits of a plaquette belay device. This is a type of belay device which locks the climber’s rope in position when they fall. Brands include the Reverso from Petzl and the ATC Guide from Black Diamond.
1. While current standard practice says that a plaquette device is not technically hands free, it does allow you a lot of freedom while belaying a second. You can hold the brake strand loosely while you snack, drink water, or organize gear, so long as you are able to quickly take up slack as the climber ascends.
2. The plaquette device does not create a pulley on the anchor, as happens in a redirected belay off the harness. This can potentially lead to higher forces on the anchor in the event of a fall, as it pulls the belayer off their stance. The plaquette isolates the force of the climber, without adding the belayer to that equation if the climber falls.
3. The plaquette keeps the belayer out of the system, making it easier for the belayer to respond in case of an emergency.
For more info on this, see our video on “Direct Belay using an Auto-Block Device.”[hyperlink to video]
We hope you found this video helpful. Feel free to comment below with questions or thoughts!
Please remember, climbing is inherently dangerous. Climb at your own risk.