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Belay Device

Definition of Climbing Equipment Word


Black Diamond belay device used by a rock climber at Shelf Road, Colorado.

A belay device anchors a climbing rope to a belaying climber.

Photograph © Stewart M. Green

Belay Device

A belay device is a metal piece of climbing equipment, which is used in belaying or when one climber secures the rope for the other climber as he ascends.

It is also a rappel device that is used for rappelling or sliding down the rope to reach the ground.

A belay device allows the belaying climber to hold a fall by the active climber with the friction of the rope as it runs through the device. A belay device is an essential piece of gear that every climber must own and use. It is sometimes called a BD.

Belay devices come in several shapes and sizes, including as a plate and a tube. Some belay devices like a GriGri are auto-locking devices.

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