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Black Diamond

ATC v. A ATC v. <B>C</B> ATC v. C
ATC v. A ATC v. B ATC v. C
 
ATC-Guide v. A ATC-Guide v. B ATC-Guide v. B
ATC-Guide v. A ATC-Guide v. B ATC-Guide v. C
 
ATC-Alpine Guide ATC-Sport ATC-XP v. A
ATC-Alpine Guide ATC-Sport ATC-XP v. A
 
ATC-XP v. B ATC-XP v. C ATC-XP v. D ATC-XP v. E
ATC-XP v. B ATC-XP v. C ATC-XP v. D ATC-XP v. E

Overview


Air Traffic Controller, Version A
(#676, 856, 1794)

Front Rear Top
Front Rear Top
 
Left Right Bottom
Left Right Bottom

Technical Details

I bought my first two ATCs from Ragged Mountain Equipment in 1994, and acquired two more on eBay: one from Robert Southard in 2007 and one from Stanley E. Thomas in 2012.

Version A is drop forged from 7075-T6 aluminum and then hard anodized. Mine is 57 mm. long, 48 mm. wide, 99 mm. high, and weighs 55 g. The slots are 31 mm. long and 14 mm. wide. The top of the Omega oval carabiner that I use for comparing belay tubes sits 13 mm. below the ends of the slots. Version A has a plastic- covered cable keeper.

One side of the ATC is stamped with the Black Diamond logo and a rigging icon.

Comments

The Air Traffic Controller is one of the following closely-related belay tubes, all called "ATCs" after the original Black Diamond Air Traffic Controller:

Image Device Shell
Style
Keeper
Advanced Base Camp Advanced Rope Controller, Version A Advanced Base Camp
Advanced Rope Controller,
Version A
I 3.7 mm.
Advanced Base Camp Advanced Rope Controller, Version B Advanced Base Camp
Advanced Rope Controller,
Version B
I 4.7 mm.
Advanced Base Camp Advanced Rope Controller Rigid Advanced Base Camp
Advanced Rope Controller,
Rigid
III 4.7 mm.
AustriAlpin, Version A AustriAlpin, Version A I 3.7 mm.
AustriAlpin, Version B AustriAlpin, Version B III 3.7 mm.
Black Diamond Air Traffic Controller, Version A Black Diamond Air
Traffic Controller,
Version A
I 3.7 mm.
Black Diamond Air Traffic Controller, Version B Black Diamond
Air Traffic Controller,
Version B
I 3.1 mm.
Black Diamond Air Traffic Controller, Version C Black Diamond
Air Traffic Controller,
Version C
IV 4.7 mm.
Image Device Shell
Style
Keeper
Brasovia Wedgemount Brasovia Wedgemount II 4.0 mm.
Camp, Version B Camp, Version B II 4.0 mm.
Camp Shell, Version A Camp Shell, Version A I 3.7 mm.
Camp Shell, Version B Camp Shell, Version B II 3.7 mm.
Climb Axe Max-Air Climb X Max-Air II 4.0 mm.
Climbing Technology Double Climbing Technology Double III 3.7 mm.
Cypher Arc, Version A Cypher Arc, Version A I 3.7 mm.
Cypher Arc, Version B Cypher Arc, Version B III 5.2 mm.
Image Device Shell
Style
Keeper
Fusion Fusion I 3.7 mm.
Good Makings Good Makings II 4.0 mm.
GrandWall Wedgemount GrandWall Wedgemount II 4.0 mm.
Singing Rock Singing Rock I 3.7 mm.
Stubai Stubai, Version A I 3.7 mm.
Stubai BC Stubai BC III 3.7 mm.
Zero-G G-Spot Zero-G G-Spot I 3.7 mm.
   

Each of these is 54±3 mm. long, 46±1 mm. wide, and weighs 59±9 g. Their slots are all 32±1 mm. long and 14±1 mm. wide. They all have plastic-covered cable keepers.

The Black Diamond ATC was the first of these to appear, by many years. The basic design evolved and similar devices appeared from others.

The ATC is a lightweight, popular belaying device among climbers. Rigging is simple: insert a bight of rope and clip it with a suitably anchored carabiner, making sure that the rope is not running over the keeper. Two-rope rigging is similar. On thinner ropes, adding another carabiner helps.

My biggest complaint is that none of these give me enough friction when rappelling with a heavy load on fast 9 mm. rope. I also prefer more friction while belaying, unless my partner is particularly lightweight. For these reasons, I prefer using a Trango Jaws or one of its equivalents.

Any of these will overheat badly on long rappels. Overheating is not an issue when belaying, but can be a concern when lowering someone more than a short distance.

There are four different shell styles in use::

  1. There is a small shelf at each end of the shell with a hole passing through it. The keeper cable has a crimp at the ends, which are visible from the top of the device.
  2. There is a small shelf at each end of the shell with a blind hole in the bottom. The keeper cable enters the holes, and is staked in place. The stake dimples are visible at the ends of the device.
  3. There is a bulge at each end of the shell with a blind hole in the bottom. The keeper cable enters the holes, and is staked in place. The stake dimples are visible at the ends of the device.
  4. Like style III, but the shell has a shallow valley above the bulge.

The differences between the styles are cosmetic rather than functional.

None of the keepers-to-shell are strong enough to support body weight, so don't be stupid enough to rely on a keeper to protect you.

There are also several different diameter keeper cables used on these. Cable keepers are a compromise between a cord that stows easily but tends to get tangled in use, and a rigid rod that stands up to the rope running over it (by accident, of course). I prefer a stiff keeper, but any of these are stiff enough to be used without significant problems.

Instructions Instructions

Air Traffic Controller, Version B
(#1632, 2678)

Front Rear Top
Front Rear Top
 
Left Right Bottom
Left Right Bottom

Technical Details

I acquired one Black Diamond Air Traffic Controller, Version B from Zachary Britner in 2009 and another from Nocogear in 2017.

Version B is drop forged from 7075-T6 aluminum and then clear anodized. Mine is 56 mm. long, 47 mm. wide, 99 mm. high, and weighs 50 g. The slots are 32 mm. long and 14 mm. wide. The top of the Omega oval carabiner that I use for comparing belay tubes sits 13 mm. below the ends of the slots. Version B has a plastic- covered cable keeper.

One side of the ATC is marked with the Black Diamond logo and a rigging icon.

Comments

Version B is essentially the same as Version A except it has a thinner cable keeper and is not color anodized.

The Air Traffic Controller is one of the following closely-related belay tubes, all called "ATCs" after the original Black Diamond Air Traffic Controller:

Image Device Shell
Style
Keeper
Advanced Base Camp Advanced Rope Controller, Version A Advanced Base Camp
Advanced Rope Controller,
Version A
I 3.7 mm.
Advanced Base Camp Advanced Rope Controller, Version B Advanced Base Camp
Advanced Rope Controller,
Version B
I 4.7 mm.
Advanced Base Camp Advanced Rope Controller Rigid Advanced Base Camp
Advanced Rope Controller,
Rigid
III 4.7 mm.
AustriAlpin, Version A AustriAlpin, Version A I 3.7 mm.
AustriAlpin, Version B AustriAlpin, Version B III 3.7 mm.
Black Diamond Air Traffic Controller, Version A Black Diamond Air
Traffic Controller,
Version A
I 3.7 mm.
Black Diamond Air Traffic Controller, Version B Black Diamond
Air Traffic Controller,
Version B
I 3.1 mm.
Black Diamond Air Traffic Controller, Version C Black Diamond
Air Traffic Controller,
Version C
IV 4.7 mm.
Image Device Shell
Style
Keeper
Brasovia Wedgemount Brasovia Wedgemount II 4.0 mm.
Camp, Version B Camp, Version B II 4.0 mm.
Camp Shell, Version A Camp Shell, Version A I 3.7 mm.
Camp Shell, Version B Camp Shell, Version B II 3.7 mm.
Climb Axe Max-Air Climb X Max-Air II 4.0 mm.
Climbing Technology Double Climbing Technology Double III 3.7 mm.
Cypher Arc, Version A Cypher Arc, Version A I 3.7 mm.
Cypher Arc, Version B Cypher Arc, Version B III 5.2 mm.
Image Device Shell
Style
Keeper
Fusion Fusion I 3.7 mm.
Good Makings Good Makings II 4.0 mm.
GrandWall Wedgemount GrandWall Wedgemount II 4.0 mm.
Singing Rock Singing Rock I 3.7 mm.
Stubai Stubai, Version A I 3.7 mm.
Stubai BC Stubai BC III 3.7 mm.
Zero-G G-Spot Zero-G G-Spot I 3.7 mm.
   

Each of these is 54±3 mm. long, 46±1 mm. wide, and weighs 59±9 g. Their slots are all 32±1 mm. long and 14±1 mm. wide. They all have plastic-covered cable keepers.

The Black Diamond ATC was the first of these to appear, by many years. The basic design evolved and similar devices appeared from others.

The ATC is a lightweight, popular belaying device among climbers. Rigging is simple: insert a bight of rope and clip it with a suitably anchored carabiner, making sure that the rope is not running over the keeper. Two-rope rigging is similar. On thinner ropes, adding another carabiner helps.

My biggest complaint is that none of these give me enough friction when rappelling with a heavy load on fast 9 mm. rope. I also prefer more friction while belaying, unless my partner is particularly lightweight. For these reasons, I prefer using a Trango Jaws or one of its equivalents.

Any of these will overheat badly on long rappels. Overheating is not an issue when belaying, but can be a concern when lowering someone more than a short distance.

There are four different shell styles in use::

  1. There is a small shelf at each end of the shell with a hole passing through it. The keeper cable has a crimp at the ends, which are visible from the top of the device.
  2. There is a small shelf at each end of the shell with a blind hole in the bottom. The keeper cable enters the holes, and is staked in place. The stake dimples are visible at the ends of the device.
  3. There is a bulge at each end of the shell with a blind hole in the bottom. The keeper cable enters the holes, and is staked in place. The stake dimples are visible at the ends of the device.
  4. Like style III, but the shell has a shallow valley above the bulge.

The differences between the styles are cosmetic rather than functional.

None of the keepers-to-shell are strong enough to support body weight, so don't be stupid enough to rely on a keeper to protect you.

There are also several different diameter keeper cables used on these. Cable keepers are a compromise between a cord that stows easily but tends to get tangled in use, and a rigid rod that stands up to the rope running over it (by accident, of course). I prefer a stiff keeper, but any of these are stiff enough to be used without significant problems.


Air Traffic Controller, Version C
(#1649, 3787)

Front Rear Top
Front Rear Top
 
Left Right Bottom
Left Right Bottom

Technical Details

InstructionsI acquired one ATC Version C from Sheryle Bauer in 2009 and another from Bruce D. Vinkemulder in 2022.

Version C is drop forged from 7075-T6 aluminum and then hard anodized. Mine is 56 mm. long, 47 mm. wide, 98 mm. high, and weighs 60 g. The slots are 31 mm. long and 14 mm. wide. The top of the Omega oval carabiner that I use for comparing belay tubes sits 14  mm. below the ends of the slots. Version B has a plastic- covered cable keeper.

Each side of the ATC is marked with the Black Diamond logo and a rigging icon. One side is also marked with "0702."

Comments

Versions A and C have some small differences in how the cable is attached to the body. The ends of the cable are visible in Version A but not in Version C.

The Air Traffic Controller is one of the following closely-related belay tubes, all called "ATCs" after the original Black Diamond Air Traffic Controller:

Image Device Shell
Style
Keeper
Advanced Base Camp Advanced Rope Controller, Version A Advanced Base Camp
Advanced Rope Controller,
Version A
I 3.7 mm.
Advanced Base Camp Advanced Rope Controller, Version B Advanced Base Camp
Advanced Rope Controller,
Version B
I 4.7 mm.
Advanced Base Camp Advanced Rope Controller Rigid Advanced Base Camp
Advanced Rope Controller,
Rigid
III 4.7 mm.
AustriAlpin, Version A AustriAlpin, Version A I 3.7 mm.
AustriAlpin, Version B AustriAlpin, Version B III 3.7 mm.
Black Diamond Air Traffic Controller, Version A Black Diamond Air
Traffic Controller,
Version A
I 3.7 mm.
Black Diamond Air Traffic Controller, Version B Black Diamond
Air Traffic Controller,
Version B
I 3.1 mm.
Black Diamond Air Traffic Controller, Version C Black Diamond
Air Traffic Controller,
Version C
IV 4.7 mm.
Image Device Shell
Style
Keeper
Brasovia Wedgemount Brasovia Wedgemount II 4.0 mm.
Camp, Version B Camp, Version B II 4.0 mm.
Camp Shell, Version A Camp Shell, Version A I 3.7 mm.
Camp Shell, Version B Camp Shell, Version B II 3.7 mm.
Climb Axe Max-Air Climb X Max-Air II 4.0 mm.
Climbing Technology Double Climbing Technology Double III 3.7 mm.
Cypher Arc, Version A Cypher Arc, Version A I 3.7 mm.
Cypher Arc, Version B Cypher Arc, Version B III 5.2 mm.
Image Device Shell
Style
Keeper
Fusion Fusion I 3.7 mm.
Good Makings Good Makings II 4.0 mm.
GrandWall Wedgemount GrandWall Wedgemount II 4.0 mm.
Singing Rock Singing Rock I 3.7 mm.
Stubai Stubai, Version A I 3.7 mm.
Stubai BC Stubai BC III 3.7 mm.
Zero-G G-Spot Zero-G G-Spot I 3.7 mm.
   

Each of these is 54±3 mm. long, 46±1 mm. wide, and weighs 59±9 g. Their slots are all 32±1 mm. long and 14±1 mm. wide. They all have plastic-covered cable keepers.

The Black Diamond ATC was the first of these to appear, by many years. The basic design evolved and similar devices appeared from others.

The ATC is a lightweight, popular belaying device among climbers. Rigging is simple: insert a bight of rope and clip it with a suitably anchored carabiner, making sure that the rope is not running over the keeper. Two-rope rigging is similar. On thinner ropes, adding another carabiner helps.

My biggest complaint is that none of these give me enough friction when rappelling with a heavy load on fast 9 mm. rope. I also prefer more friction while belaying, unless my partner is particularly lightweight. For these reasons, I prefer using a Trango Jaws or one of its equivalents.

Any of these will overheat badly on long rappels. Overheating is not an issue when belaying, but can be a concern when lowering someone more than a short distance.

There are four different shell styles in use::

  1. There is a small shelf at each end of the shell with a hole passing through it. The keeper cable has a crimp at the ends, which are visible from the top of the device.
  2. There is a small shelf at each end of the shell with a blind hole in the bottom. The keeper cable enters the holes, and is staked in place. The stake dimples are visible at the ends of the device.
  3. There is a bulge at each end of the shell with a blind hole in the bottom. The keeper cable enters the holes, and is staked in place. The stake dimples are visible at the ends of the device.
  4. Like style III, but the shell has a shallow valley above the bulge.

The differences between the styles are cosmetic rather than functional.

None of the keepers-to-shell are strong enough to support body weight, so don't be stupid enough to rely on a keeper to protect you.

There are also several different diameter keeper cables used on these. Cable keepers are a compromise between a cord that stows easily but tends to get tangled in use, and a rigid rod that stands up to the rope running over it (by accident, of course). I prefer a stiff keeper, but any of these are stiff enough to be used without significant problems.


ATC-Alpine Guide
(#2813)

Front Rear Top
Front Rear Top
 
Left Right Bottom
Left Right Bottom

Technical Details

I acquired my Black Diamond ATC-Alpine Guide from backcountry.com in 2021.

The Black Diamond ATC-Alpine Guide is a notched belay tube. It is forged from aluminum alloy and then soft anodized. Mine is 92 mm. long, 35 mm. wide, 101 mm. high, and weighs 73 g. There are two slots with ribbed V-grooves at one end, each 31 mm. long and 12 mm. wide. The top of the Omega oval carabiner that I use for comparing belay tubes sits 24 mm. below the ends of the slots. The ATC-Alpine Guide has a carabiner eye at the end opposite the grooves and a release hole below the grooves. It has a stiff, plastic-covered cable keeper.

Each side of the ATC-Alpine Guide has a climber figure and a hand-holding-a-rope figure. One is printed with "ATC-ALPINE GUIDE" and the other with a book-with-an-"i" icon. "9224" is printed below the release hole, and the Black Diamond logo is printed on the top.

Comments

The ATC-Alpine Guide is a smaller version of the ATC-Guide, Version C. The ATC-Alpine Guide is made for thinner ropes; specifically, 8.5-9 mm. single ropes (i.e., 1), 7.3-9 mm. half ropes (i.e., ½), and 6.9-9.0 mm. twin ropes (i.e., ). EN 892 defines what these terms mean mean.


ATC-Guide, Version A
(#835)

Front Rear Top
Front Rear Top
 
Left Right Bottom
Left Right Bottom

InstructionsTechnical Details

I acquired my Black Diamond ATC-Guide, Version A from Mountain Gear in 2006.

The Black Diamond ATC-Guide is a notched belay tube. It is forged from aluminum alloy and then soft anodized. Mine is 94 mm. long, 42 mm. wide, 102 mm. high, and weighs 98 g. The slots are 36 mm. long and 14 mm. wide. The top of the Omega oval carabiner that I use for comparing belay tubes sits 12 mm. below the ends of the slots.

The ATC Guide has two slots with ribbed V-grooves at one end, a release hole underneath, and a carabiner eye at the end opposite the grooves. It also has a stiff, plastic-covered cable keeper.

Each side of the ATC guide has a climber figure and a hand-holding-a-rope figure. The end of mine is stamped "6038."

Comments

The Black Diamond ATC-Guide is one of the following closely-related belay tubes:

Image Device Side Eye Keeper
Black Diamond ATC-Guide, Version A Black Diamond ATC-Guide, Version A Thin Round 4.7 mm.
Black Diamond ATC-Guide, Version B Black Diamond ATC-Guide, Version B Open Round 4.7 mm.
Black Diamond ATC-Guide, Version C Black Diamond ATC-Guide, Version C Open Pear 4.7 mm.
BlueWater Ranger BlueWater Ranger Round
Hole
Round 3.8 mm.
Climb X Guide Climb X Guide Solid Round 4.7 mm.
Edelweiss Guru Alpin Edelweiss Guru Alpin Solid Round 3.8 mm.
Image Device Side Eye Keeper
Fixe Descender Fixe Descender
(a.k.a. Miku V2)
Open Round 3.8 mm.
Salewa Alpine Tuber Salewa Alpine Tuber Solid Pear 4.0 mm.
Wild Country Pro Guide Wild Country Pro Guide Solid Round 3.8 mm.
Wild Country Pro Guide Lite Wild Country Pro Guide Lite
Version A
Open Round 3.8 mm.
Wild Country Pro Guide Lite Wild Country Pro Guide Lite
Version B
Open Pear 4.0 mm.
 

Each of these is 97±4 mm. long and 41±2 mm. wide, but their weights range from 72 to 100 g., quite a span. Their slots are all 35±1 mm. long and 14±1 mm. wide. They all have plastic-covered cable keepers, with the Black Diamond and Salewa keepers being and stiffer than others.

The Black Diamond ATC-Guide was the first of these to appear, by many years. Version A was an improved version of their Black Diamond ATC-XP. From there, the basic design evolved and similar devices appeared from others.

RiggingThese extend the ATC-XP and equivalents by adding a carabiner hole at the one side and a cord hole beneath the jaws. When belaying a second from above, a guide can clip the device to an anchor sling with a carabiner passed through the carabiner hole, belaying in an autostop mode, much like one might with a Kong Gi–gi. One can release a jammed device by passing a cord through the cord eye and pulling on the cord - possibly by looping it through a carabiner and applying body weight - but don't let go of the braking end of the rope! All in all, I like these devices

Each of these has V-slots to give additional friction for belaying or rappelling. Each side of each groove has three V-shaped slots, giving the grooves "teeth" to grip the rope more effectively. These teeth act to guide the rope deeper into the slot, in much the same manner as the teeth on the Wild Country Hand ascender work. The teeth do not have the narrow angle found on the Trango Jaws or its equivalents, so they do not create the same wedging action. For this reason, I find these less effective than the Jaws family. On the other hand, the teeth on these devices provide a larger bearing area for the rope, which helps reduce localized heating. These are more massive than many belay tubes, but will still overheat on long rappels.

Some of these have a thin sidewall, a hole in the sides, or an opening in the sides and the central rib. When present, these reduce the device's weight, but also reduce the devices' surface area for rejecting heat. They weight savings is small and offset by heavier keepers on the Black Diamond devices.

I do not see any difference between the field performance of the round vs. pear-shaped eyes.

My slight preferences from this set are the Salewa Alpine Tuber and the Wild Country Pro Guide Lite, Version B These are the lightest of the group and have the stiffer keeper; however, they require closer thermal monitoring on rappel.

Rigging


ATC-Guide, Version B
(#1714)

Front Rear Top
Front Rear Top
 
Left Right Bottom
Left Right Bottom

InstructionsTechnical Details

I acquired my Black Diamond ATC-Guide, Version B from Altrec.com in 2011.

Version B is forged from aluminum alloy and then soft anodized. Mine is 94 mm. long, 41 mm. wide, 98 mm. high, and weighs 91 g. The ATC Guide has two slots with ribbed V-grooves at one end, a release hole underneath, and a carabiner eye at the end opposite the grooves. The slots are 35 mm. long and 15 mm. wide. The top of the Omega oval carabiner that I use for comparing belay tubes sits 23 mm. below the ends of the slots. The plastic covered cable keeper is quite stiff, almost rigid.

Each side of the ATC guide has a climber figure and a hand-holding-a-rope figure. The end of mine is stamped "0334A."

Comments

The cutouts on the side panels and central rib of Version B reduce the weight compared to Version A, but the longer keeper wire has the opposite effect, and the net savings is only 7.6 grams.

The Black Diamond ATC-Guide is one of the following closely-related belay tubes:

Image Device Side Eye Keeper
Black Diamond ATC-Guide, Version A Black Diamond ATC-Guide, Version A Thin Round 4.7 mm.
Black Diamond ATC-Guide, Version B Black Diamond ATC-Guide, Version B Open Round 4.7 mm.
Black Diamond ATC-Guide, Version C Black Diamond ATC-Guide, Version C Open Pear 4.7 mm.
BlueWater Ranger BlueWater Ranger Round
Hole
Round 3.8 mm.
Climb X Guide Climb X Guide Solid Round 4.7 mm.
Edelweiss Guru Alpin Edelweiss Guru Alpin Solid Round 3.8 mm.
Image Device Side Eye Keeper
Fixe Descender Fixe Descender
(a.k.a. Miku V2)
Open Round 3.8 mm.
Salewa Alpine Tuber Salewa Alpine Tuber Solid Pear 4.0 mm.
Wild Country Pro Guide Wild Country Pro Guide Solid Round 3.8 mm.
Wild Country Pro Guide Lite Wild Country Pro Guide Lite
Version A
Open Round 3.8 mm.
Wild Country Pro Guide Lite Wild Country Pro Guide Lite
Version B
Open Pear 4.0 mm.
 

Each of these is 97±4 mm. long and 41±2 mm. wide, but their weights range from 72 to 100 g., quite a span. Their slots are all 35±1 mm. long and 14±1 mm. wide. They all have plastic-covered cable keepers, with the Black Diamond and Salewa keepers being and stiffer than others.

The Black Diamond ATC-Guide was the first of these to appear, by many years. Version A was an improved version of their Black Diamond ATC-XP. From there, the basic design evolved and similar devices appeared from others.

RiggingThese extend the ATC-XP and equivalents by adding a carabiner hole at the one side and a cord hole beneath the jaws. When belaying a second from above, a guide can clip the device to an anchor sling with a carabiner passed through the carabiner hole, belaying in an autostop mode, much like one might with a Kong Gi–gi. One can release a jammed device by passing a cord through the cord eye and pulling on the cord - possibly by looping it through a carabiner and applying body weight - but don't let go of the braking end of the rope! All in all, I like these devices

Each of these has V-slots to give additional friction for belaying or rappelling. Each side of each groove has three V-shaped slots, giving the grooves "teeth" to grip the rope more effectively. These teeth act to guide the rope deeper into the slot, in much the same manner as the teeth on the Wild Country Hand ascender work. The teeth do not have the narrow angle found on the Trango Jaws or its equivalents, so they do not create the same wedging action. For this reason, I find these less effective than the Jaws family. On the other hand, the teeth on these devices provide a larger bearing area for the rope, which helps reduce localized heating. These are more massive than many belay tubes, but will still overheat on long rappels.

Some of these have a thin sidewall, a hole in the sides, or an opening in the sides and the central rib. When present, these reduce the device's weight, but also reduce the devices' surface area for rejecting heat. They weight savings is small and offset by heavier keepers on the Black Diamond devices.

I do not see any difference between the field performance of the round vs. pear-shaped eyes.

My slight preferences from this set are the Salewa Alpine Tuber and the Wild Country Pro Guide Lite, Version B These are the lightest of the group and have the stiffer keeper; however, they require closer thermal monitoring on rappel.


ATC-Guide, Version C
(#2814)

Front Rear Top
Front Rear Top
 
Left Right Bottom
Left Right Bottom

Technical Details

I acquired my Black Diamond ATC-Guide, Version C from backcountry.com in 2021.

Version C is forged from aluminum alloy and then soft anodized. Mine is 95 mm. long, 43 mm. wide, 101 mm. high, and weighs 81 g. The ATC Guide has two slots with ribbed V-grooves at one end, a release hole underneath, and a carabiner eye at the end opposite the grooves. The slots are 36 mm. long and 14 mm. wide. The top of the Omega oval carabiner that I use for comparing belay tubes sits 26 mm. below the ends of the slots. The plastic covered cable keeper is quite stiff, almost rigid.

Each side of the ATC-Alpine Guide has a climber figure and a hand-holding-a-rope figure. One is printed with "ATC-GUIDE" and the other with a book-with-an-"i" icon. "0294" is printed below the release hole, and the Black Diamond logo is printed on the top.

Comments

The cutouts on the side panels and central rib of Version C are larger than those on Version B, reduce the weight even more, for an 18% reduction from Version A.

The ATC-Guide is made for 8.9-11 mm. single ropes (i.e., 1), 8.1-11 mm. half ropes (i.e., ½), and 8.1-11 mm. twin ropes (i.e., ). EN 892 defines what these terms mean mean.

The Black Diamond ATC-Guide is one of the following closely-related belay tubes:

Image Device Side Eye Keeper
Black Diamond ATC-Guide, Version A Black Diamond ATC-Guide, Version A Thin Round 4.7 mm.
Black Diamond ATC-Guide, Version B Black Diamond ATC-Guide, Version B Open Round 4.7 mm.
Black Diamond ATC-Guide, Version C Black Diamond ATC-Guide, Version C Open Pear 4.7 mm.
BlueWater Ranger BlueWater Ranger Round
Hole
Round 3.8 mm.
Climb X Guide Climb X Guide Solid Round 4.7 mm.
Edelweiss Guru Alpin Edelweiss Guru Alpin Solid Round 3.8 mm.
Image Device Side Eye Keeper
Fixe Descender Fixe Descender
(a.k.a. Miku V2)
Open Round 3.8 mm.
Salewa Alpine Tuber Salewa Alpine Tuber Solid Pear 4.0 mm.
Wild Country Pro Guide Wild Country Pro Guide Solid Round 3.8 mm.
Wild Country Pro Guide Lite Wild Country Pro Guide Lite
Version A
Open Round 3.8 mm.
Wild Country Pro Guide Lite Wild Country Pro Guide Lite
Version B
Open Pear 4.0 mm.
 

Each of these is 97±4 mm. long and 41±2 mm. wide, but their weights range from 72 to 100 g., quite a span. Their slots are all 35±1 mm. long and 14±1 mm. wide. They all have plastic-covered cable keepers, with the Black Diamond and Salewa keepers being and stiffer than others.

The Black Diamond ATC-Guide was the first of these to appear, by many years. Version A was an improved version of their Black Diamond ATC-XP. From there, the basic design evolved and similar devices appeared from others.

RiggingThese extend the ATC-XP and equivalents by adding a carabiner hole at the one side and a cord hole beneath the jaws. When belaying a second from above, a guide can clip the device to an anchor sling with a carabiner passed through the carabiner hole, belaying in an autostop mode, much like one might with a Kong Gi–gi. One can release a jammed device by passing a cord through the cord eye and pulling on the cord - possibly by looping it through a carabiner and applying body weight - but don't let go of the braking end of the rope! All in all, I like these devices

Each of these has V-slots to give additional friction for belaying or rappelling. Each side of each groove has three V-shaped slots, giving the grooves "teeth" to grip the rope more effectively. These teeth act to guide the rope deeper into the slot, in much the same manner as the teeth on the Wild Country Hand ascender work. The teeth do not have the narrow angle found on the Trango Jaws or its equivalents, so they do not create the same wedging action. For this reason, I find these less effective than the Jaws family. On the other hand, the teeth on these devices provide a larger bearing area for the rope, which helps reduce localized heating. These are more massive than many belay tubes, but will still overheat on long rappels.

Some of these have a thin sidewall, a hole in the sides, or an opening in the sides and the central rib. When present, these reduce the device's weight, but also reduce the devices' surface area for rejecting heat. They weight savings is small and offset by heavier keepers on the Black Diamond devices.

I do not see any difference between the field performance of the round vs. pear-shaped eyes.

My slight preferences from this set are the Salewa Alpine Tuber and the Wild Country Pro Guide Lite, Version B These are the lightest of the group and have the stiffer keeper; however, they require closer thermal monitoring on rappel.


ATC-Sport
(#893)

Front Rear Top
Front Rear Top
 
Left Right Bottom
Left Right Bottom

Technical Details

I acquired my Black Diamond ATC-Sport from Mountain Gear in 2008.

The Black Diamond ATC-Sport is a notched belay tube. It is drop forged from 7075-T6 aluminum. Mine is 57 mm. long, 26 mm. wide, 57 mm. high, and weighs 59 g. The slots are 31 mm. long and 15 mm. wide. The top of the Omega oval carabiner that I use for comparing belay tubes sits 17 mm. below the ends of the slots.

The ATC-Sport has one slot with a ribbed V-groove at one end. It also has a stiff, plastic-covered cable keeper.

One side of the ATC-Sport is marked with a logo, and the other has "7353A" and a rigging diagram.

Comments

The ATC-Sport is a single-rope notched belay tube. I have these similar ones in my collection:

Image Device
Black Diamond ATC-Sport Black Diamond ATC-Sport
Image Device
Ocùn Tuber Single Rope Ocùn Tuber Single
Image Device
Rock Empire Gym Rock Empire Gym

Each of these is 57 mm. long, 25±1 mm. wide, and weigh 56±3 g.

The Rock Empire Gym's name implies that it is designed for gym climbing, and if you restrict the use of these three to use in gyms, they should work fine in the hands of a competent user. In the gym, most of my remaining comments become moot. If you should consider taking any of these into the "real world," read on:

These are all designed for single-rope belaying only. Although this saves a tiny amount of weight, it does not compensate for losing the ability to do double-rope rappels. Weight is not normally a factor when belaying "sport climbs," and the Wild Country VC Pro (for example) has two slots while only adding 6 g.

These each have a V-slots that provide additional friction for belaying or rappelling. Each side of the trailing groove has three V-shaped slots, giving the grooves "teeth" to grip the rope more effectively. The teeth do not have the narrow angle found on the Salewa Tubus, Singing Rock, or Trango Jaws, so they do not create the same wedging action. For this reason, their friction is lower and I find them less effective.

These are rigged rigged like the ATC, with the V-slots on the brake hand end of the rope. Alternately, they may be reversed to disable the V-slots, but the braking friction in a fall will be less.

All of these have thick walls and considerable depth, which helps them stay cooler than they would if they had been designed for minimum weight.

Although there is nothing "wrong" with any of these, they are far too specialized for my taste. They are fine for the gym, but in the field I would rather carry a few more grams and have the capability to do double-rope rappels. I also prefer the additional grip provided by the Trango Jaws and its equivalents.

Instructions

ATC-XP, Version A
(#776)

Front Rear Top
Front Rear Top
 
Left Right Bottom
Left Right Bottom

Technical Details

InstructionsI acquired one Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version A from GearExpress.com in 2003, and a second from Paul Remington in 2021.

The Black Diamond ATC-XP is a notched belay tube. It is drop forged from 7075-T6 aluminum. Mine is 54 mm. long, 45 mm. wide, 109 mm. high, and weighs 87 g. The slots are 31 mm. long and 14 mm. wide. The top of the Omega oval carabiner that I use for comparing belay tubes sits 14 mm. below the ends of the slots.

The ATC-XP has two slots with ribbed V-grooves at one end. It also has a stiff, plastic-covered cable keeper.

Both sides of the ATC-XP have plastic inserts marked with a logo, "BLACK DIAMOND" and "ATC-XP." The top is stamped "3035."

Comments

The Black Diamond ATC-XP is one of the following closely-related notched belay tubes:

Image Device Side Keeper
Alpidex Aiolos Alpidex Aiolos Solid 3.8 mm.
Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version A Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version A Solid
/w Logo
4.7 mm.
Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version B Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version B Solid 4.7 mm.
Image Device Side Keeper
Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version C Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version C Solid 4.7 mm.
Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version D Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version D Solid 4.7 mm.
Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version E Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version E Open 4.7 mm.
Image Device Side Keeper
BlueWater Guardian BlueWater Guardian Round Hole 3.8 mm.
Climb X XP Climb X XP Solid 3.8 mm.
Kailas Kguard Kailas Kguard Solid 3.8 mm.

Each of these is 53±2 mm. long and 46±2 mm. wide. Their weighs range from 64 to 95 g., with variations in the lightening holes (or their absence) accounting for the differences. Their slots are all 32±2 mm. long and 14±1 mm. wide. They all have plastic-covered cable keepers, with the Black Diamond keepers being and stiffer than others.

The Black Diamond ATC-XP was the first of these to appear, by many years. Version A was an improved version of their ATC. From there, the basic design evolved and similar devices appeared from others.

Each of these has V-slots to give additional friction for belaying or rappelling. Each side of each groove has three V-shaped slots, giving the grooves "teeth" to grip the rope more effectively. These teeth act to guide the rope deeper into the slot, in much the same manner as the teeth on the Wild Country Hand ascender work. The teeth do not have the narrow angle found on the Trango Jaws or its equivalents, so they do not create the same wedging action. For this reason, I find these less effective than the Jaws family. On the other hand, the teeth on the ATC-XP provide a larger bearing area for the rope, which helps reduce localized heating. These are more massive than the ATC, but will still overheat on long rappels.

The ATC-XP and equivalents are rigged like the ATC, with the V-slots on the brake hand end of the rope. Alternately, they may be reversed to disable the V-slots.

Some of these have a hole or an opening in the sides and the central rib. When present, these reduce the device's weight, but also reduce the devices' surface area for rejecting heat.

My preference from this set is for the Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version C, which is the lightest of the group and has the stiffer keeper; however, it requires closer thermal monitoring on rappel.

The logo on the side appears to be a thick plastic sticker. It does nothing, and may be removed. Some people tell me that this is there to keep from burning your fingers on a hot ATC - you can easily guess my opinion about that. The ATC-XP has a stiff cable keeper that is heavier than the one on the ATC (4 mm. vs. 3 mm.).


ATC-XP, Version B
(#2811)

Front Rear Top
Front Rear Top
 
Left Right Bottom
Left Right Bottom

Technical Details

I acquired my Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version B from Scott Conger in 2021.

The Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version B is a notched belay tube. It is forged from aluminum alloy. Mine is 54 mm. long, 47 mm. wide, 104 mm. high, and weighs 87 g. The slots are 31 mm. long and 14 mm. wide. The top of the Omega oval carabiner that I use for comparing belay tubes sits 19 mm. below the ends of the slots.

Both sides of this ATC-XP have plastic inserts marked with a logo, "BLACK DIAMOND" and "ATC-XP." The top is stamped "3035."

Comments

Version B replaces the Orange logo with one with a more metallic look.

The Black Diamond ATC-XP is one of the following closely-related notched belay tubes:

Image Device Side Keeper
Alpidex Aiolos Alpidex Aiolos Solid 3.8 mm.
Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version A Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version A Solid
/w Logo
4.7 mm.
Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version B Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version B Solid 4.7 mm.
Image Device Side Keeper
Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version C Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version C Solid 4.7 mm.
Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version D Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version D Solid 4.7 mm.
Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version E Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version E Open 4.7 mm.
Image Device Side Keeper
BlueWater Guardian BlueWater Guardian Round Hole 3.8 mm.
Climb X XP Climb X XP Solid 3.8 mm.
Kailas Kguard Kailas Kguard Solid 3.8 mm.

Each of these is 53±2 mm. long and 46±2 mm. wide. Their weighs range from 64 to 95 g., with variations in the lightening holes (or their absence) accounting for the differences. Their slots are all 32±2 mm. long and 14±1 mm. wide. They all have plastic-covered cable keepers, with the Black Diamond keepers being and stiffer than others.

The Black Diamond ATC-XP was the first of these to appear, by many years. Version A was an improved version of their ATC. From there, the basic design evolved and similar devices appeared from others.

Each of these has V-slots to give additional friction for belaying or rappelling. Each side of each groove has three V-shaped slots, giving the grooves "teeth" to grip the rope more effectively. These teeth act to guide the rope deeper into the slot, in much the same manner as the teeth on the Wild Country Hand ascender work. The teeth do not have the narrow angle found on the Trango Jaws or its equivalents, so they do not create the same wedging action. For this reason, I find these less effective than the Jaws family. On the other hand, the teeth on the ATC-XP provide a larger bearing area for the rope, which helps reduce localized heating. These are more massive than the ATC, but will still overheat on long rappels.

The ATC-XP and equivalents are rigged like the ATC, with the V-slots on the brake hand end of the rope. Alternately, they may be reversed to disable the V-slots.

Some of these have a hole or an opening in the sides and the central rib. When present, these reduce the device's weight, but also reduce the devices' surface area for rejecting heat.

My preference from this set is for the Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version C, which is the lightest of the group and has the stiffer keeper; however, it requires closer thermal monitoring on rappel.


ATC-XP, Version C
(#2803)

Front Rear Top
Front Rear Top
 
Left Right Bottom
Left Right Bottom

Technical Details

I acquired my Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version C from Pauline Pool in 2021.

Version C is a notched belay tube. It is drop forged from 7075-T6 aluminum. Mine is 54 mm. long, 47 mm. wide, 108 mm. high, and weighs 88 g. The slots are 31 mm. long and 14 mm. wide. The top of the Omega oval carabiner that I use for comparing belay tubes sits 19 mm. below the ends of the slots.

Both sides of this ATC-XP have plastic inserts marked with a logo, "BLACK DIAMOND" and "ATC-XP." The top is stamped "7087."

Comments

The cable on Version C is staked in place. The marks are visible in the photos of the left and right sides. Other than the cable attachment, Versions B and C are nearly identical.

The Black Diamond ATC-XP is one of the following closely-related notched belay tubes:

Image Device Side Keeper
Alpidex Aiolos Alpidex Aiolos Solid 3.8 mm.
Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version A Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version A Solid
/w Logo
4.7 mm.
Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version B Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version B Solid 4.7 mm.
Image Device Side Keeper
Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version C Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version C Solid 4.7 mm.
Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version D Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version D Solid 4.7 mm.
Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version E Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version E Open 4.7 mm.
Image Device Side Keeper
BlueWater Guardian BlueWater Guardian Round Hole 3.8 mm.
Climb X XP Climb X XP Solid 3.8 mm.
Kailas Kguard Kailas Kguard Solid 3.8 mm.

Each of these is 53±2 mm. long and 46±2 mm. wide. Their weighs range from 64 to 95 g., with variations in the lightening holes (or their absence) accounting for the differences. Their slots are all 32±2 mm. long and 14±1 mm. wide. They all have plastic-covered cable keepers, with the Black Diamond keepers being and stiffer than others.

The Black Diamond ATC-XP was the first of these to appear, by many years. Version A was an improved version of their ATC. From there, the basic design evolved and similar devices appeared from others.

Each of these has V-slots to give additional friction for belaying or rappelling. Each side of each groove has three V-shaped slots, giving the grooves "teeth" to grip the rope more effectively. These teeth act to guide the rope deeper into the slot, in much the same manner as the teeth on the Wild Country Hand ascender work. The teeth do not have the narrow angle found on the Trango Jaws or its equivalents, so they do not create the same wedging action. For this reason, I find these less effective than the Jaws family. On the other hand, the teeth on the ATC-XP provide a larger bearing area for the rope, which helps reduce localized heating. These are more massive than the ATC, but will still overheat on long rappels.

The ATC-XP and equivalents are rigged like the ATC, with the V-slots on the brake hand end of the rope. Alternately, they may be reversed to disable the V-slots.

Some of these have a hole or an opening in the sides and the central rib. When present, these reduce the device's weight, but also reduce the devices' surface area for rejecting heat.

My preference from this set is for the Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version C, which is the lightest of the group and has the stiffer keeper; however, it requires closer thermal monitoring on rappel.


ATC-XP, Version D
(#1683)

Front Rear Top
Front Rear Top
 
Left Right Bottom
Left Right Bottom

Technical Details

InstructionsI acquired my Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version D from Mountain Gear in 2010. I acquired another with a burned keeper in a set of devices bought from Tom Smith on eBay in 2021.

Version D is a notched belay tube. It is forged from aluminum alloy and unfinished. It has 2 slots with ribbed v-grooves and a plastic-covered cable keeper. Mine is 54 mm. long, 46 mm. wide, 112 mm. high, and weighs 95 g. The slots are 31 mm. long and 15 mm. wide. The top of the Omega oval carabiner that I use for comparing belay tubes sits 20 mm. below the ends of the slots.

One side is printed with the Black Diamond logo and the other with two rigging illustrations and "48791."

Comments

Version D eliminates the plastic logo. It is also known as the "Big Air XP" when sold with a carabiner as a package deal.

Version D is essentially identical to the Kailas Kguard.

The Black Diamond ATC-XP is one of the following closely-related notched belay tubes:

Image Device Side Keeper
Alpidex Aiolos Alpidex Aiolos Solid 3.8 mm.
Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version A Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version A Solid
/w Logo
4.7 mm.
Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version B Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version B Solid 4.7 mm.
Image Device Side Keeper
Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version C Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version C Solid 4.7 mm.
Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version D Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version D Solid 4.7 mm.
Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version E Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version E Open 4.7 mm.
Image Device Side Keeper
BlueWater Guardian BlueWater Guardian Round Hole 3.8 mm.
Climb X XP Climb X XP Solid 3.8 mm.
Kailas Kguard Kailas Kguard Solid 3.8 mm.

Each of these is 53±2 mm. long and 46±2 mm. wide. Their weighs range from 64 to 95 g., with variations in the lightening holes (or their absence) accounting for the differences. Their slots are all 32±2 mm. long and 14±1 mm. wide. They all have plastic-covered cable keepers, with the Black Diamond keepers being and stiffer than others.

The Black Diamond ATC-XP was the first of these to appear, by many years. Version A was an improved version of their ATC. From there, the basic design evolved and similar devices appeared from others.

Each of these has V-slots to give additional friction for belaying or rappelling. Each side of each groove has three V-shaped slots, giving the grooves "teeth" to grip the rope more effectively. These teeth act to guide the rope deeper into the slot, in much the same manner as the teeth on the Wild Country Hand ascender work. The teeth do not have the narrow angle found on the Trango Jaws or its equivalents, so they do not create the same wedging action. For this reason, I find these less effective than the Jaws family. On the other hand, the teeth on the ATC-XP provide a larger bearing area for the rope, which helps reduce localized heating. These are more massive than the ATC, but will still overheat on long rappels.

The ATC-XP and equivalents are rigged like the ATC, with the V-slots on the brake hand end of the rope. Alternately, they may be reversed to disable the V-slots.

Some of these have a hole or an opening in the sides and the central rib. When present, these reduce the device's weight, but also reduce the devices' surface area for rejecting heat.

My preference from this set is for the Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version C, which is the lightest of the group and has the stiffer keeper; however, it requires closer thermal monitoring on rappel.


ATC-XP, Version E
(#1745)

Front Rear Top
Front Rear Top
 
Left Right Bottom
Left Right Bottom

Technical Details

InstructionsI acquired one Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version D from Bob Wilson/everythingflight and a second one from Unique Outfitters, both in 2012.

Version D is a notched belay tube. It is forged from aluminum alloy and soft anodized. Mine is 51 mm. long, 45 mm. wide, 90 mm. high, and weighs 64 g. It has two slots with ribbed v-grooves and a plastic-covered cable keeper. The slots are 31 mm. long and 15 mm. wide. The top of the Omega oval carabiner that I use for comparing belay tubes sits 19 mm. below the ends of the slots.

Each side has a printed climber icon and a hand icon to indicate the correct rigging. One side also has a printed book-with-an-"i" icon partially obscured by an exclamation point inside a triangle. The toothed end is engraved 1326A. The other end has a printed Black Diamond logo.

Comments

Version D has a subtriangular cutout on each side and a smaller cutout on the central rib, making this lighter than the previous versions.

The Black Diamond ATC-XP is one of the following closely-related notched belay tubes:

Image Device Side Keeper
Alpidex Aiolos Alpidex Aiolos Solid 3.8 mm.
Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version A Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version A Solid
/w Logo
4.7 mm.
Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version B Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version B Solid 4.7 mm.
Image Device Side Keeper
Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version C Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version C Solid 4.7 mm.
Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version D Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version D Solid 4.7 mm.
Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version E Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version E Open 4.7 mm.
Image Device Side Keeper
BlueWater Guardian BlueWater Guardian Round Hole 3.8 mm.
Climb X XP Climb X XP Solid 3.8 mm.
Kailas Kguard Kailas Kguard Solid 3.8 mm.

Each of these is 53±2 mm. long and 46±2 mm. wide. Their weighs range from 64 to 95 g., with variations in the lightening holes (or their absence) accounting for the differences. Their slots are all 32±2 mm. long and 14±1 mm. wide. They all have plastic-covered cable keepers, with the Black Diamond keepers being and stiffer than others.

The Black Diamond ATC-XP was the first of these to appear, by many years. Version A was an improved version of their ATC. From there, the basic design evolved and similar devices appeared from others.

Each of these has V-slots to give additional friction for belaying or rappelling. Each side of each groove has three V-shaped slots, giving the grooves "teeth" to grip the rope more effectively. These teeth act to guide the rope deeper into the slot, in much the same manner as the teeth on the Wild Country Hand ascender work. The teeth do not have the narrow angle found on the Trango Jaws or its equivalents, so they do not create the same wedging action. For this reason, I find these less effective than the Jaws family. On the other hand, the teeth on the ATC-XP provide a larger bearing area for the rope, which helps reduce localized heating. These are more massive than the ATC, but will still overheat on long rappels.

The ATC-XP and equivalents are rigged like the ATC, with the V-slots on the brake hand end of the rope. Alternately, they may be reversed to disable the V-slots.

Some of these have a hole or an opening in the sides and the central rib. When present, these reduce the device's weight, but also reduce the devices' surface area for rejecting heat.

My preference from this set is for the Black Diamond ATC-XP, Version C, which is the lightest of the group and has the stiffer keeper; however, it requires closer thermal monitoring on rappel.