What’s an auto belay?
Traditionally, top rope climbing involves two people – the climber and the belayer. As the climber ascends the wall, the belayer takes up slack in the rope through a belay device. With a brake hand on the rope at all times, the belayer controls the descent of the climber and is also responsible for applying a braking technique in the event of a fall.
An auto belay is an automatic belay device that eliminates the need for a human belayer. In the case of the TRUBLUE Auto Belay, we use a patented self-regulating braking system, which is enabled by non-contacting magnetic braking technology. The auto belay takes up the slack as a climber ascends and controls the descent when the climber reaches the top or in the event of a fall. Rather than requiring one human belayer per climber, auto belay devices allows multiple climbers on the wall with one person as a supervisor.
Why use an auto belay?
Bottom line, incorporating auto belays into your facility helps you increase revenue while reducing costs and risk.
- Attract single climbers: With an auto belay, climbers don’t need to rely on having a partner every time they visit your facility. Single climbers can come in whenever their schedule allows, giving them the opportunity to visit your facility more frequently.
- Reduce barriers to entry: Climbing can be intimidating for beginners, and climbing wall operators can attract more new participants by minimizing the barriers to entry. Auto belays eliminate the need for belayer training and testing, allowing new participants to just clip in and climb. This also makes auto belay devices perfect for venues that attract infrequent climbers, like amusement parks and resorts.
- Provide a unique endurance training tool: Using an auto belay device gives single climbers the ability to climb up and down routes continuously without the need to take turns with their climbing partner. The result is an endurance workout much more intense that in traditional indoor climbing.
- Increase programming while decreasing staff costs: Having modular auto belays allows you to hold more classes, birthday parties, clinics and other group programming while keeping staff costs to a minimum. Simply move the auto belay devices to the areas where they are most needed for your programming schedule and fewer staff members will be needed to belay or supervise your climbers.
- Minimize your facility risk: The biggest risk in running a climbing facility are falls related to belayer human error. Auto belay devices eliminate the human error factor from the equation, reducing your risk.
View a short video about how the Boulder Rock Club uses auto belays in their facility:
Need more information? View this webinar presented by the Adventure Rock team. Adventure Rock Climbing Gym is a 12,000 square foot climbing gym with 26 auto belays. They drank the “auto belay Kool-Aid” when they discovered the potential of auto belays to capture and retain members, as well as cut staff costs and manage risk.
The goal of this 90 minute webinar is to discuss the pros and cons of auto belays for climbing facilities.