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ATC Guide
Gear Review

ATC Guide


Page Type: Gear Review

Object Title: ATC Guide

Manufacturer: Black Diamond

Your Opinion: 
 - 19 Votes


Page By: Steve Larson

Created/Edited: Jan 22, 2007 / Mar 20, 2007

Object ID: 1857

Hits: 9955 


Product Description

The next logical evolutionary step for BD's excellent ATC belay/rappel device. The Guide version adds an eye that allows the device to be used in autolock mode, which is awesome for bringing up the second. There is also a small eyelet that can be used to attach a sling to wrench the thing out of autolock if that should become necessary. It's high friction mode offers twice the friction of the regular mode--a plus when using thin ropes or belaying a heavy climber. It accepts a wide range of rope diameters, so unlike the competing Reverso, one size fits all (at least with today's ropes).

Key Features

  • Weight: 3.6 oz
  • Rope capacity: 7.7mm - 11mm
  • High friction and regular friction modes
  • Cost: USD$25.95 (2007 MSRP)


Viewing: 1-17 of 17

Steve LarsonBest device I've owned

Voted 5/5

I used to be a fan of the Reverso, because I found it so convenient to be able to bring up the second in autolock mode. The ATC-XP Guide fixes two of my main complaints against the Reverso: low friction, and the need to use a smaller version of the product with small diameter ropes. I love it! Proof of it's capability with smaller ropes: I was easily able to catch a looong lead fall on an 8.1mm double rope. I don't think it slipped an inch, though I was dragged a few feet.
Posted Jan 22, 2007 5:44 am

rhyangDo-all device

Voted 5/5

I've only owned this thing for about 6 or 7 months, but I've used it for trad (both as a leader and follower) and ice climbing (also as leader & follower) with a variety of rope sizes from 8.1 to 11mm. It has a lot of friction with ropes over 10.5.

I used to use a reversino or ATC XP for skinny ropes like my 8.1's and probably still will for alpine stuff to save a bit of weight. Embarassingly I also own a reverso and regular ATC as well. The reverso I will probably bring on 'alpine' trips where I'm using a thicker rope. The ATC will stay with my gym gear. The ATC XP will be a spare/loaner device. For all other purposes I'll just bring the ATC Guide.
Posted Jan 23, 2007 2:29 am


Voted 5/5

Used it a few times with double ropes as fleader and following and also in the climbing gym with a thick top rope. I am confident of this device
Posted Jan 23, 2007 11:22 am


Voted 5/5

Sweet device.. quite heavy, but durable (over 50 rappels and at least that many climbs on mine so far and little wear). Good friction on my 8mm ropes as advertised. Since the Reverso is scary with 8mm ropes, the weight can be justified for having just 1 device - otherwise one would need to carry an ATC + GiGi to have the same capabilities of bringing up a second. BTW, small note, it's called "ATC Guide", no XP in the name.
Posted Jan 24, 2007 12:48 am

Steve LarsonRe: Sweet

Voted 5/5

Yup, you are right about the name, though I could have sworn when it first came out it had the "XP" in it. Age. Memory loss.
Posted Mar 20, 2007 9:13 pm

neodaythe one and only

Voted 5/5

belay device you will need.

buy one, use it for a long time, and enjoy life because fat or skinny it is all good.
Posted Jan 24, 2007 6:56 pm


Voted 5/5

Great tool ! I have used atc-guide on at least 68 ice climbs, during snow and sleet and was still able to belay and repell under those conditions with single & double rope systems and never lost friction as needed. I own a few belay tools but atc-guide is excellant.
Posted Mar 14, 2007 1:01 am

AltitudeSicknessKiller Device

Voted 5/5

After using the XP for awhile, the Guide device eats it's lunch. I can use it for anything. Lots of friction. Love the lock off feature. Practice with it to be comfortable with it. Solid, reliable and proven design
Posted Jan 3, 2008 5:51 pm

BartVery good

Voted 5/5

After using the Petzl Reverso for a couple of years I was looking for something with smoother rope handling. The reverso is a fine belay device but with older, thicker ropes it could be a real hassle to feed it through the device. Conversely with very thin ropes the Reverso was not safe to use.
The ATC Guide is compatible with modern day thin ropes and the grooves give it extra grip when required. The device can also be used upside down for a little less friction. As with the reverso it is very useful for belaying seconds as it has an auto-locking function. The little eye on the bottom of the device is useful for unblocking the device if a second has fallen and needs to be fed some rope. Put a bit of webbing or prusikcord through it, run it through a higher placed karabiner and put your weight in it to tilt the device upwards and unblock it. Take care to place a backup belay knot behind the ATC so your second doesn't fall to the ground!
Only disadvantage of this device is its weight, but the pros definately outweigh the cons.
Posted Jan 12, 2008 11:41 am

fossanamajor improvement over the atc

Voted 5/5

I had to resort to using my old ATC last weekend b/c I forgot my Guide in my desk drawer at work. The difference was dramatic when it came to lowering my friend from above. I've used the Guide for the last year+ with everything from a 10.5 to a half rope and having the extra friction option is optimal.
Posted Jan 29, 2008 2:13 pm

mrauthentic616rm2BD hit home.

Voted 5/5

Great belay. Owned an xp and decided to upgrade after a friend got one and i saw it in action. The lock off feature is great.
Posted May 1, 2008 6:21 pm

stephoWay better than ATC

Voted 5/5

Since I am only 14 and often climb with people who are a lot bigger it was always interesting to belay with the normal ATC. The guide provides much more friction and looks indestructible. It is heavier but I don't care since belay devices are so light anyways.
Posted Mar 27, 2009 7:50 pm

asaking11Solid Belay Device

Voted 5/5

I love the guide. This belay device is super solid, and overall is really awesome.
Posted Jun 17, 2009 6:21 am

Chogorithe one

Voted 5/5

this is the one for me.
Posted Feb 11, 2010 1:49 pm

AutoxfilSolid do-it-all

Hasn't voted

This device is great for just about anything. I see a lot of people using Guide Mode incorrectly - RTFM, please.

My only gripe is that while the extra friction is wonderful for working with really skinny ropes, even in low-friction mode thicker doubles (8.5-8.8mm) can be tough to feed smoothly - I would like to see if a Reverso 3 is better.

The extra ounce over a Reverso might be a factor on UL alpine adventures as well, but for heavy use the ATC sure looks more durable. I can't imagine ever wearing this lump out.
Posted Apr 29, 2010 10:38 am

Brian CVery fine

Voted 4/5

This is a very nice device for thinner ropes. Does not work well with thick ropes. I think that the new Reverso 3 works better and is an improvement from this. That said it is still a quality tool to have.
Posted Jun 20, 2010 2:26 pm

Andrew Rankinegreat belay device

Hasn't voted

This device is awesome! I have a regular ATC, and I never use it now. It is cheaper than the reverso guide from petzl too.
Posted Jan 7, 2012 5:06 pm

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