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Rock Empire

Guard Guard II Gym
Guard Guard II Gym

Overview


Guard
(#1770)

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

Technical Details

I acquired my Rock Empire Guard from Climbing Terekpl in 2012.

The Rock Empire Guard is a belay tube. Mine is 55 mm. long, 46 mm. wide, 100 mm. high, and weighs 56 g. It is forged from aluminum alloy and soft anodized. It has two hourglass slots and a plastic-covered cable keeper. The slots are 36 mm. long and 16 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.

One side is printed with "Rock Empire®" and "N022/10."

Comments

The following closely-related belay tubes include the Rock Empire Guard as an example:

Image Device Keeper High-end
Notch
Anpen Anpen Cable U
Brasovia Lightweight Brasovia Lightweight Cable U
Climb Axe Max Climb Axe Max Cable U
Climb X, Version A Climb X, Version A Cable U
Clog Flyer, Version A Clog Flyer, Version A Rod V
Clog Flyer, Version B Clog Flyer, Version B Rod V
Image Device Keeper High-end
Notch
Ellis Brigham Climb Ellis Brigham Climb Rod V
GrandWall GrandWall Cable U
Kailas Kailas Cable U
Kong Chuy Kong Chuy Cable U
KTD KTD Rod V
Mad Rock Max Air Mad Rock Max Air Cable U
Image Device Keeper High-end
Notch
Ocùn Tuber, Version A Ocùn Tuber, Version A Cable U
Ocùn Tuber, Version B Ocùn Tuber, Version B Cable U
Rock Empire Guard Rock Empire Guard Cable U
Simond Tubik Simond Tubik Cable U
 
 

Each of these is 55±1 mm. long and 47±1 mm. wide, and has a weight in the 54±3 g. range. Their slots are all 35±1 mm. long and 16 mm. wide. The main differences are that most have cable keepers and U-shaped notches on both ends, but some have rod keepers and V-shaped notches on the high end.

These have several distinctive features, but overall, perform like most devices of this type. The rope slots are hour-glass shaped, but this does not appear to affect their performance. They are slightly asymmetrical with a high and a low end, giving two distinct riggings. One would expect a difference in friction for the two riggings, with more friction if the braking line runs over the shorter end; however, I do not notice much difference.

Most of these have shallow U-notches at both ends. The Clog Flyer, Ellis Brigham Climb and KTD have V-notches at the high end, so I call these notched belay tubes. The V-notches are not as tall and acute as those on the Trango Jaws and its equivalents, so they do not provide as much braking. The U-notches on the others are are too shallow to noticeably amplify braking.

I prefer the ones with the rigid rod keeper. For the others, the plastic-coated cable keeper is moderately flexible, but stiff enough that it tends to stay out from under the rope.


Guard II
(#1771)

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

Technical Details

I acquired my Rock Empire Guard II from Climbing Terekpl in 2012. I acquired another from Premiere Consignment, LLC on eBay in 2018.

The Rock Empire Guard II is a notched belay tube. It is forged from aluminum alloy and soft anodized. Mine is 87 mm. long, 45 mm. wide, 98 mm. high, and weighs 62 g. The Guard II has two hourglass slots with ribbed V-grooves at one end. The slots are 35 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 Guard II has a release hole at one end, underneath the v-grooves, and a horizontal carabiner eye at the end opposite the slots. It also has a plastic-covered cable keeper.

One side has a printed Rock Empire logo. The other side is printed with "GUARD II," a rigging illustration, "N067/11," and "ø7.8-11mm."

Comments

The Rock Empire Guard II also has several distinctive features, but overall, performs like most devices of this type. The rope slots are hour-glass shaped, but this does not appear to affect their performance. Like the Guard, the Guard II is slightly asymmetrical, giving two distinct riggings. The plastic-coated cable keeper is moderately flexible, but stiff enough that it tends to stay out from under the rope.

The Camnal is nearly identical, except the Camnal has lightening holes and does not have lateral indents on the exterior.


Guard SB
(#3826)

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

Technical Details

Ondřej Belica of Climbing CZ sro sent me this Rock Empire Guard SB in 2022.

The Guard SB is a notched belay tube. It is forged from aluminum alloy and soft anodized. Mine is 90 mm. long, 42 mm. wide, 91 mm. high, and weighs 72 g. The slots are 34 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.

The Guard SB has a 6 mm. diameter tubular wear pin on the end of the slots opposite the v-notches.

The Guard SB has a release hole at one end, underneath the v-grooves, and a horizontal carabiner eye at the end opposite the grooves. It has a plastic-covered cable keeper.

One side has a printed X-shaped logo and "Rock Empire." The other side is printed with "N011/18" in fine print. This side has a sticker printed with "Guard SB," "EN15151-2," "Ø8,7–11 mm," and a rigging illustration.

Comments

The Rock Empire Guard SB performs much like most devices of this type. The wear pin is unique, and may help the Guard SB last longer, but wear is not normally an issue for climbers who, on average, have much cleaner ropes than cavers. The plastic-coated cable keeper is moderately flexible, but stiff enough that it tends to stay out from under the rope.


Gym
(#2689)

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

Technical Details

I acquired my Rock Empire Gym from Falling Rocks in 2017.

The Rock Empire Gym is a notched belay tube. It is forged from aluminum alloy and soft anodized. Mine is 58 mm. long, 25 mm. wide, 103 mm. high, and weighs 53 g. The slot is31 mm. long and 15 mm. wide. The top of the Omega oval carabiner that I use for comparing belay tubes sits 26 mm. below the ends of the slot.

One side has a printed Rock Empire logo. The other side is printed with "N033/13," a rigging illustration, "Gym," and "ø8.9-11mm."

Comments

The Rock Empire Gym 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.