Reviews - Belay Device: Black Diamond ATC Sport - Heason Events

Belay Device: Black Diamond ATC Sport

7th Jun 2009

The ATC (Air Traffic Controller for those who don’t remember its original name) is one of my favourite of the basic belay devices. I've used them on and off over the years and rate them for their simplicity, smooth operation, light weight, and ease of operation. There's very little that can go wrong with them as they have no moving parts. They're also machined very well as you'd expect from BD. The ATC Pro introduced a little complexity to the old favourite, presenting an asymmetrical model with a ridged edge to give more purchase on the rope, and in doing so put an end to the one niggling issue with the old design - that of uncontrolled lowering in the event of a large fall or significantly heavier leader than second. The downside was that an asymmetrical design means that it's possible to thread the rope/s in two different ways. Not to matter though, and even in the event of threading them 'incorrectly' so that the ridges are on the wrong side, means that the device defaults to it's original design and works commendably as already discussed.

Black Diamond ATC Sport


The ATC Sport is really a very basic step - they've simply sliced the ATC-Pro in half, making it an easy choice when sport climbing. It's by far the lightest single rope belay device I've seen to date, more suited to dynamic belaying than camming devices such as the GriGri and Faders Sum, and significantly cheaper too at £13.99. What it won't do is allow hands off belaying (not something to be recommended to anybody but seasoned sport climbers anyway), and perhaps more crucially, it won't allow abseiling on twin ropes. Otherwise this is a great piece of lightweight, good value, kit to add to your rack.


Here's what BD have to say about it:

Black Diamond ATC Sport is a single-rope, sport-cragging belay device, the ATC-Sport is built using the rest of the ATC family’s time-tested design. This simple, lightweight, hot-forged device can handle a rope from 7.7-11 mm, and is designed with regular and high-friction modes for excellent versatility and holding/stopping power.


Reviewed by Matt Heason on behalf of planetFear