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Black Diamond ATC-XP
  • Black Diamond ATC-XP
  • Black Diamond ATC-XP
  • Black Diamond ATC-XP 2012
  • Black Diamond ATC-XP 2012
  • Black Diamond ATC-XP 2012


Black Diamond


My vote: None ( 4.8 avg )


Now 30% lighter than the original thanks to an updated construction and machined windows through the body, the Black Diamond ATC-XP Belay Device is a durable, versatile belay device that features multiple friction modes to handle nearly any situation or rope diameter.

High-friction mode offers 3 times greater hold and stopping power than regular friction mode
Machined windows through device for weight savings
Durable cable holds its shape and resists getting caught up between ropes

Retail price

US$ 21.95

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Device Type

Device Type


The most commonly used belay type also called an “ATC” or “tuber.” Other than a distinction between other belay device types, “Tube” is a rarely used term, most climbers just assume you're talking about this style when they refer to your "belay device."

Tube belay device example

Figure 8

Mostly used in rescue, canyoneering, tactical, work safety, or by old school climbers and rappellers. One reason they went out of popularity with recreational climbers is because they tend to create twists in the rope.

Figure 8 belay device example

Brake Assist

These devices assist in stopping the rope when a climber falls or hangs on the rope.

Brake Assist belay device example

Often referred to as “auto-blocking” but that’s not the official terminology because no belay device should be assumed to work automatically by itself, even if it feels like it does (or does most the time).


When simplicity is a must, or you started climbing before Tubers were the norm. Bonus: They tend to be very light weight.

Plate belay device example


For rappelling, not for belaying a lead climber or top-roping.

Descender example
Weight (g)

Weight (g)

In grams, the weight, as stated by the manufacturer/brand.

64 g
Guide Mode

Guide Mode

This is when you belay directly off the anchor instead of your harness. Guide mode is helpful if you climb outdoors a lot because it reduces the holding power required from the belayer. When your partner falls or rests, the weight of the climber is held mostly by the anchor and the belay device.

Tubers and Plates

When belaying in "guide mode," the tubers and plates turn auto-blocking. During a fall, the climbing rope pinches the slack rope, completely stopping the movement of either rope. A common guide mode setup shown below.

A double rope tubular device guide mode example

Mechanical Brake Assist Devices

There is no difference in the functionality of the device. A brake-hand should always be on the rope to ensure the climber is caught in the case of a fall. A common guide mode setup shown below.

A single rope mechanical brake assist guide mode example

Where guide mode is used

  • multi-pitch sport or trad climbs
  • single-pitch where you need to bring up a follower (say for a walk-off)

Learn More

No guide mode


Teeth are only seen on tube devices. They add friction that helps grip the rope for more belaying control.

This is helpful for belaying heavier climbers. Teeth are becoming standard on new tube devices.

The belay device teeth are shown in the red circle

Worth Considering

Teeth do wear out. You can limit wear by rappelling on the side without teeth (if you don’t need the extra friction). Once they’re worn, you’ll still have a usable belay device, just less friction.

Belay Brake Assist

Belay Brake Assist

This is when the belay device significantly reduces the amount of holding power the belayer must exert to stop a fall and hold a climber.

This is also called "assisted-braking" as the device must hold a significant amount of the climber’s weight; this term does not include friction-adding "teeth" found on some tube style belay devices.

Confusingly referred to as “auto-blocking” or “auto-locking” these terms wrongly imply the device will always, automatically, stop a fall or hold a climber even if the belayer/rappeller is hands-free. These devices are not meant to be used without a hand on the braking side of the rope; the belayers/rapppeller brake hand should always be on the brake rope.

Worth Considering

Most of the mechanical brake assist devices only hold a single strand of rope and are not capable of double-strand rappelling (the most common method of rappel).

Rope Range (mm)

Rope Range (mm)

The range of rope diameters, in millimeters, that the manufacturer/brand specifies can safely be used.

This is the best case scenario and does not necessarily take into consideration that certified ropes have a tolerance of +/- .3 mm.

Recently, manufacturers have started to add an "optimized" rope range -- this is the range that will result in the nicest handling of the belay device.

7.7 mm - 11.0 mm ­­­


The main climbing gear certifications are CE and UIAA--and normally the UIAA creates the rules that the CE body also supports. When possible, we try to list all the certifications the product carries.

To sell a climbing product in Europe, the device must be CE certified. There are no official requirements to sell climbing gear in the US. The UIAA certification is a voluntary process.

Learn More

Rock and Ice Certifications Guide
ATC Belay Devices

Introducing Black Diamond ATC belay devices.

( 5.1 avg )
( 5 avg )


Light and the teeth give it extra grab power when I am belaying someone bigger then me.
Not that good for abseiling as it does not have a lot of mass.
I’ve used it a bunch

I would recommend this for someone who does not need an extravagant belay device and is not planning to climb multi pitch any time soon. Best suited as a beginner device beat for someone with a partner bigger then them.

I would recommend this for someone who does not need an extravagant belay device and is not planning to climb multi pitch any time soon. Best suited as a beginner device beat for someone with a partner bigger then them.

( 5.2 avg )


easy to use

Good little ATC, and the option to increase rope drag with the ribbed part is a perk, though sometimes it makes for a slow lower.

Good little ATC, and the option to increase rope drag with the ribbed part is a perk, though sometimes it makes for a slow lower.

Outdoor Gear Lab Gear Review rating 4.2/5

The ATC XP is our favorite basic tube belay device. It's light and durable and the two friction modes it has increase its versatility for different rope or friction situations. We like it most for new climbers still ingraining proper belay techniques or for experienced folks looking for a simple, reliable device that can do everything pretty well. There are cheaper devices available but we believe the $21.95 MSRP is justified. It's also frequently on sale, so consider checking the "Where's the best price?" links at the top of this page to find a good deal.

Climbing Gear Review rating A

Summary: Looking for a cush ride and a smooth catch? The ATC XP is our device of choice — its deep, curved jaws caught falls with aplomb and provided excellent variable friction for free-hanging rappels, all without causing hang-ups when we were feeding out rope for frantic clips. While you can use this device in its low-friction mode, we didn’t have much need for it — the high-friction mode sufficed for all situations. The XP’s thick walls and gently curved rope-bearing radius also made it one of the most rope-friendly devices in the test.
Pros: Very versatile.
Cons: None.

Climbing Gear Review

“If you’re anything like me, then you take more gear then needed,” our belay device tester said one day. “I mean, who doesn’t want Buddha’s own rack of double cams, draws, and slings?” With that approach, odds are you’re going to have the right piece, but you might as well carry a boat anchor, too. That is where tools like the newly redesigned Black Diamond ATC-XP come in handy. With cut-outs in the side walls and subtle changes to the shape, the new ATCXP is 30 percent lighter (now 2.3 oz.) than the original, shaving weight while not compromising safety. It also doesn’t heat up as fast, and thus will remain relatively touchable after 200- foot raps. Our tester felt it also handled thick ropes (up to 11mm) better than the old version, while still performing flawlessly with a dental floss 8.9mm and even skinnier half ropes.