ATC stands for Air Traffic Controller, but this is not the same as the kind that you might find at the airport! When you have started acquiring your climbing gear, you will start to notice this specific piece of equipment popping up again and again.
These belay devices will help to slow down a fall if you become detached from the rock face. The Air Traffic Controller name is a joke name, as it will help you, the craft, as you are traveling through the air (albeit at very high speeds).
The belay device is designed to be used with an anchor system. It can also be used on top rope or even webbing. This is a great piece of kit when you are learning how to climb safely.
So What Is ATC Climbing?
When you are climbing, you are actually flying through the air. Yes, we know that sounds ridiculous, but it is true. So what do you need to fly through the air safely? Well, you need to use a belay device.
Belaying is basically a method of slowing down a fall. If you are climbing alone then you should always carry a belay device. There are many types of belay devices available. Let’s explore these below.
Belay Device Types
Aircraft Belay Device
An aircraft belay device is a type of belay device specifically designed for climbers. They are usually made out of aluminum and have a handle, so they can be easily carried around. They are lightweight and easy to attach to an anchor point. They are often sold by climbing shops as part of their climbing kit.
Rescue Belay Device
Rescuers use these devices to stop them from falling after being caught in a rescue situation. This device has a handle that allows the rescuer to hold onto it while trying to save themselves. This is a good option for people who are new to using belay devices.
Fixed Belay Device
Fixed belays are fixed to the wall or cliff face. You will see these on some walls where there is no other way to get to the top. Fixed belays are useful because they allow you to climb without having to worry about setting up an anchor point first.
However, they may be difficult to remove once you reach the top. There are many types of fixed belay devices available. You can choose between ones that clip into place or ones that screw into the wall.
Clip-In Fixed Belay Devices
Clip-in fixed belay devices are ideal for beginners. If you are just getting started with climbing then you should consider buying one of these. They are cheap and easy to set up. However, they can sometimes come loose during a fall.
Screw-In Fixed Belay Device
Screw-in fixed belay systems are more expensive than clip-in fixed belay systems. They tend to last longer and are easier to install. They are also more secure. But they can be hard to remove if you want to move away from the rock face.
Climber’s Belay Device
Climbers belay devices are generally used by experienced climbers. They are heavier and stronger than the other two options and are also more expensive. However, they are much safer to use and mainly used by professional climbers.
How To Use A Belay Device
To use a belay device correctly, you must follow a few simple steps.
Attach the belay device to your harness. Check that the belay device does not interfere with any other parts of your harness. Once you are ready, attach the belay device to the anchor point.
Once you are finished attaching the belay device, make sure that it is locked in place. You should check and double-check this before you start climbing. You should also check the belay device stays securely in place when you are moving around.
When you are done climbing, release the belay device. We would recommend that you do this once you are at ground level.
How To use An ATC Device
It is important to know how to use an ATC device correctly so that it will work properly.
First, you need to connect the ATC device to the rope. The ATC device comes with a carabiner that you must insert through the loop of the rope.
Make sure that the rope goes over the carabiner and not under it. This will ensure that the rope cannot slip off the carabiner.
Next, you need to put the locking mechanism into the correct position. There are three positions: open, closed, and auto.
The open position means that the locking mechanism is unlocked. This allows you to pull the rope out of the ATC device.
The closed position means that the locking mechanism is locked. This prevents the rope from slipping out of the ATC.
The third position is the auto mode. It automatically locks and unlocks the locking mechanism as you pull on the rope.
You can switch between the three modes using the button on the side of the ATC device or by pulling the rope.
How To Set Up An Anchor Point For Your First Climb
Before you go climbing, you need to find some good anchors.
Anchors are usually placed at strategic points on the rock face. These include cracks, ledges, and bolts.
There are several ways to set up an anchor. Here are a few examples:
- Use a bolt or nut and washer. Attach the bolt or nut to the wall using a sling. Then tie a knot at the end of the sling and attach the knot to the wall.
- Use a camming device. Camming devices are often used to create friction when tying knots.
- Use a quickdraw. Quickdraws are small pieces of metal that have been bent into hooks. They are attached to the wall using a screw.
- Use a figure eight. Figure eights are loops of webbing that are tied together and then attached to the wall.
- Using these methods, you can easily create a secure anchor.
How To Tie Knots
Tying knots is one of the most basic skills needed to climb. When learning to tie knots, it is best to practice them on something soft like carpet or foam.
Tie knots come in many shapes and sizes. Some knots are easier to learn than others.
Here are a few common knots:
- Square knot – Use two half hitches to form a square knot.
- Half hitch – Use one overhand knot to form a half hitch.
- Clove Hitch – Use a clove hitch to make a loop.
- Prusik Knot – Use a prusik knot to make a bight.
- Bowline – Use a bowline to make a loop.
- Double fisherman’s knot – Use two half hitches to form a double fisherman’s knot.
- Figure 8 – Use a figure eight to make a loop. You can also use a figure eight to make an adjustable ring.
- Double Half-Hitch – Use two half-hitched knots to make a double half-hitch.
When starting your first climb, you should start with the easiest knots.
For example, if you are new to climbing, start with a square knot. Once you feel comfortable with this knot, move onto a half hitch.
Once you know how to tie each knot, try practicing them on a piece of rope or cord.
If you get stuck while trying to tie a knot, take a break and come back later. The more you practice, the better you will become.
How To Find A Good Instructor
When you are climbing, you can’t simply rely on an ATC device to prevent you from falling. You should want to become proficient at climbing, so you don’t fall at all. If you want to improve your climbing skills, you need to find a good instructor.
A good instructor will help you develop your technique and teach you about safety.
They will also show you what gear to bring and how to use it properly.
In addition to teaching you the basics of climbing, instructors will be able to answer any questions you may have.
They can also give you tips on how to improve your climbing skills.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is An ATC Safe To Use When Climbing?
An ATC is safe to use when you are climbing, however, it should not be used as something that will completely break your fall if you become detached from a cliff. They are only really used to slow you down when you are falling.
When Should I Use An ATC?
You should always wear an ATC when climbing. However, you shouldn’t use an ATC every time you climb. It depends on where you are climbing and the type of rock you are climbing on.
The safest place to use an ATC would be on a sports route. This means that there is no real danger of falling off the cliff.
How Do I Know Which Type Of Anchor To Use?
There are three types of anchors available; fixed, removable, and dynamic. Fixed anchors are permanent. They are usually placed by climbers before they begin their climb.
Removable anchors are temporary. They are typically placed after the climber begins their climb. Dynamic anchors are both temporary and permanent. You can remove them and place them elsewhere as you are climbing. They are usually installed during the climb itself.
What Are The Different Types Of Clips Available For Attaching Gear To Ropes?
There are many types of clips available for attaching gear to ropes.
Some clips are designed for specific purposes and are made in various sizes. Some clips are small enough to fit through tiny spaces. Other clips are large enough to hold heavy loads.
What’s The Difference Between A Square Knot And A Half Hitch?
A square knot is used to create a loop. It has four strands going into one strand coming out. However, a half hitch is used to create a single strand loop. It has two strands going into one strand going out.
Our Final Say
We hope that our guide to ATCs has helped explain how they can be used and when you should use them. Improper use of an ATC can lead to serious injury, so make sure you are taking them on the correct route.