Figure 8 (belay device)

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A figure-eight descender

The figure 8 belay device is a piece of metal (usually an aluminum alloy) in the shape of an 8 with one large end and one small end.

Usage[edit]

High friction rope position
Low friction rope position

This device utilities a large surface area in contact with a climbing rope to provide sufficient friction along with proper technique to be used as a belay device or for rappelling. A figure 8 (sometimes just referred to as an 8) is used in conjunction with a climbing harness and locking carabiner to keep a climber safe and control their descent or one's own descent (when rappelling)

Pros[edit]

Figure 8s offer a very smooth controlled descent when rappelling and lowering climbers.[1] They can be used with nearly any diameter climbing rope and don't get as hot as other friction devices because of their ability to dissipate heat efficiently.[2] The figure eight can also be used with a doubled rope, which is also possible with a rack but not a bobbin.

Cons[edit]

The figure eight cannot be removed from the rope without detaching the device from the harness, and so could be accidentally dropped, particularly when tackling a rebelay. They also twist the rope which is a particular problem where a rebelay prevents the rope untwisting. They do not provide a convenient means to temporarily lock the descent at a rebelay.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cox, Steven M. and Kris Fulsaas, ed., ed. (2003-09). Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills (7 ed.). Seattle: The Mountaineers. ISBN 0-89886-828-9.
  2. ^ "Belay Devices: How to Choose". Rei.com. 2013-06-20. Retrieved 2013-10-24.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Cox, Steven M. and Kris Fulsaas, ed., ed. (2003–09). Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills (7 ed.). Seattle: The Mountaineers. ISBN 0-89886-828-9.

External links[edit]