A guide to using the ATC guide.
Review by: hosh, 2007-05-07
So I've been a die-hard Reverso fan for years, it was the only device that I'd use. When the ATC Guide came out, I figured that it was just a cheap knock off and that I'd be much happier with my trusty old Reverso. Besides, I don't like change.
I picked up the Guide on a recommendation from a friend, and was skeptical at first. It looked like it would be heavy. Well, it is. The Reverso checks in at 81 grams while the Guide checks in at a 102. For those of you who struggle with math, that's a difference of 21 grams. Which isn't really that much. So I guess it's really not that heavy after all.
I had also heard that the Guide doesn't fare well with the fatter cords, and since I've got a 10.2 and a 10.5 (that's more like a 10.7 now), I thought that I'd end up getting frustrated with it. This hasn't happened yet. The only trouble I've had is while rappelling on my thicker rope, though this is easily remedied by flipping the device around or letting the rope feed quicker by holding it at a sharper angle (higher up).
The guide mode on this device isn't really that special, as other devices perform the same task just as well (for example, my trusty Reverso). The device locks up dependably and takes in rope easily. I set up a simple haul the other day to raise a partner through a section that she was having trouble with, and it worked great. I was admiring BD's foresight in making the guide loop large enough to let the locking gate of the locker through. But then I thought about it, and there's never a need for this feature and the Reverso does this just fine as well...
The only real advantages that the Guide has over the other devices on the market is that it's easier to release the rope when belaying from the top of a climb and it has a bit more friction. But it's still a chore to release (and I'd just as soon avoid it and tell my second to deal). And the friction problem is solvable in other ways, this is just more convenient.
I guess all things considered, I like the guide just fine and it has replaced my Reverso. But this is only because I already paid for it so I might as well use it and it does have more friction so it's a more dependable catch when belaying. I have had some rope slippage in my Reverso, and this has never been a problem with the Guide.
Should you get this device?
Yes if your present device is not the ATC XP and you are having trouble with rope slippage. This thing holds on tight.
Yes if you're looking to get an auto-blocking device and don't already have one.
NO if you've already got a Reverso or a B-52. It's not a bad device, but it doesn't stand that tall above its peers. It's better in some areas, for sure, but nothing too impressive. I'd give it a 3.5 if I could, so we'll have to settle for a 3 instead.