Belay devices amplify the friction of the braking hand by passing the rope through an opening and wrapping it around a post. The opening guarantees a minimum of wrap, or bend, in the rope to produce enough friction on the post. The post is a locking carabiner or part of the device itself. The opening must be large enough to allow the device to touch the carabiner.
To stop a fall, the belayer pulls back on the free end of the rope to create a separation of at least 90 degrees between the rope entering the device and the rope leaving it. Nothing must be in the way of your braking hand or elbow carrying out this critical task, and it must not require an unnatural body twist or motion. The simplest way to learn to do this conveniently in all situations is to clip the device into a locking carabiner on your harness (currently the most popular belay method in the United States) rather than directly to the anchor. In this section on belay devices, we will stick to a description of their use when attached to the climber's harness.
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