First braking devices receive Safety Label


Petzl’s GriGri2 and four pieces of equipment from Black Diamond have become the first braking devices to be certified by the UIAA and can now bear the UIAA Safety Label – the only certification for braking devices worldwide.

The Black Diamond devices are: ATC, ATC-Guide, ATC-XP, ATC-Sport.

The UIAA Safety Commission has pushed back the date when the standard takes effect; it is now July 1, 2011.

The decision to push back the date was taken due to minor modifications to the standard at a meeting of the commission in Italy last year.

The braking device standard defines the basic expectations that climbers may have concerning the device strength and slippage of rope through the device. The requirements set forth in the standard are based on the forces that can develop during fall arrest with the use of dynamic ropes. Requirements vary according to device classification, which includes manual devices (for example, tuber devices and figure-8s), locking assist devices (Gri-Gri® ) and devices with a panic function (Eddy®). All classifications require a strength test to demonstrate that neither the device nor the rope are compromised during braking, and both the locking assist and panic function devices must also be tested for rope slippage.

The UIAA Safety Commission works to minimise accidents in mountaineering and climbing by developing and revising technical safety standards for equipment. It also offers guidelines for individuals on how to maintain equipment and avoid accidents.

Jean-Franck Charlet, Safety Commission president, calls the UIAA Safety Label “the worldwide reference for mountaineering and climbing safety equipment”. More than 50 manufacturers worldwide, representing 1,900 products, have been approved to use a UIAA Safety Label.

Organizations that require the UIAA safety label for climbing equipment, either directly or by adoption, can use the UIAA certified equipment web search function to determine which belay/rappel devices have valid safety labels.

Other belay/rappel devices are in the process of being tested for compliance with this standard.

(Technical details and other input provided by Dave Custer, Vice President of the UIAA Safety Commission)