To give slack, your brake-side hand pushes the rope towards the device, creating slack; your other hand pulls the rope through the device. Universal technique for correct use of a belay device. Thatâs why weâve taken the time to create a comprehensive guide to belay devices, so you can pick one quickly and easily and get on the wall in no time! This knot can also be used to rappel in case of an emergency. More advanced tubular devices have grooves on the braking end to help it bite down on the rope, therefore creating more friction to slow a fall. If you pick up a plate, make sure it has two slots to allow the use of two ropes for rappelling.  X Research source Start by making a loop, or bight, about three feet (one meter) from the end of the rope. Anatomy Of An ATC. The best belay device for beginners is the one you feel safe and confident using. Not one I would recommend today, but the body belay was all the rage before modern belay devices were invented in the early 1970s. E-books are payable by donation. The belay tube is the most popular and common belay/rappel device used today. Best to pay attention, read all instructions, and practice using the device in a safe environment like an indoor gym. This arrangement creates a lot of friction when both sides of the rope are pulled in opposition. They’re also difficult to use on wet or icy ropes. The range of belay devices has grown exponentially in the last few years, which means there’s plenty to choose from. Work with a professional to confirm your ability to perform these techniques safely and independently before attempting them unsupervised. Self-braking belay devices, like the Petzl GriGri, are excellent choices for single pitch routes and for sport climbing. There are four basic belay/rappel devices: The belay plate, evolving from an early Austrian device (Sticht plate) that was simply a flat aluminum plate with a slot in it, is easy to use for belaying but can be a pain when rappelling. To rappel, a bight or loop of climbing rope is passed through the big hole, passed around the small hold, and snugged between the holes. Others include the Beal Birdie , Edelrid Mega Jul , Mammut Smart , Climbing Technology Click Up , and the Black Diamond Pilot . If you plan on climbing in Europe anytime soon, then picking up a figure eight could be a cool way to get in with the locals, as long as youâre proficient with its use before heading out to the crag! Most professional climbers recommend tying in the climber with a Figure 8 Follow Through knot. This device is still popular in Europe, though today it is mostly used for rappelling. The greatest advantage to these advanced tubular devices is that they can be used on multi-pitch climbs to bring up your second on a âdirect belay,â where you attach the device itself to your anchor instead of yourself, and therefore can be almost hands-free while belaying from the top.