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Mixed reads on Madrock Safeguard

jcassell207

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Oct 26, 2021
Messages
43
Im sure this has been talked about NUMEROUS times however, it’s very mixed on reviews.

I am looking to get into a repel set up this year for my saddle and I was about to pull the trigger on the Madrock Safeguard (the black one)….

Is this what i need for a one stick concept? I understand i also need my rope and pull line. I just don’t want to waste the money if this isn’t what i need. i am in the fire department and have done a decent amount of repelling, so i’m very familiar with controlling my decent….

Any input is greatly appreciated my friends. Stay safe and shoot straight
 

LoadedLimbs

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@jcassell207 - The Madrock Safeguard is well-liked by folks who want the most minimalist, lightest weight belay device for rappelling. Be aware that it is not the smoothest device and some people have difficulty getting their descent started (until they have some time and experience using the device). If you put a higher priority on "reliable and easy" start to your descent, and on "smooth, not jerky" operation, a better option is the Petzl GriGri+ belay device, but at the expense of slightly more weight and bulk. (You can find the GriGri+ on sale at the moment on Moosejaw.com for $104 with free shipping, if reliable and smooth operation are your priority.)
 

jcassell207

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Oct 26, 2021
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43
@jcassell207 - The Madrock Safeguard is well-liked by folks who want the most minimalist, lightest weight belay device for rappelling. Be aware that it is not the smoothest device and some people have difficulty getting their descent started (until they have some time and experience using the device). If you put a higher priority on "reliable and easy" start to your descent, and on "smooth, not jerky" operation, a better option is the Petzl GriGri+ belay device, but at the expense of slightly more weight and bulk. (You can find the GriGri+ on sale at the moment on Moosejaw.com for $104 with free shipping, if reliable and smooth operation are your priority.)
Are people using these as the tether as well in the tree? Or just specific to coming out of the tree?

I built my saddle and did the whole lineman belt for climbing, then have the tree tether with a ropeman on my tether and lineman for easy adjustment
 

Jimdude

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I use and love the madrock safeguard. I am as smooth as can be with it. “After about 5 uses”. It’s great for one sticking because when you climb up and it’s unweighted, it doesn’t usually move. It is possible but I haven’t had it happen yet and I probably have a good 30 hunts with it. I haven’t had any negative experiences with it at all. Just practice at ground level. Stand and lean out and lower your butt to the ground a few times before you go from higher up.
 

LoadedLimbs

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Are people using these as the tether as well in the tree? Or just specific to coming out of the tree?

I built my saddle and did the whole lineman belt for climbing, then have the tree tether with a ropeman on my tether and lineman for easy adjustment
Some people use SRT rope climbing to get up into the tree using a mechanical belay device like the Safeguard or the GriGri+ for progress capture and then they stay on that rope and device during their hunt, using their climbing rope as their tether during the hunt. When their hunt is over, they use their belay device for controlled descent back down to the ground.

Related and more informative questions are: Q1: "What are the pros and cons of using a mechanical belay device with your climbing rope as your tree tether?" and Q2: "What is the best practice for tether setup while in hunting position in the tree?"

My answers to both questions:

The pros: (1) There's no transition to a separate, dedicated tether, thus eliminating that step and the risk of incorrectly performing the transition to tether once at hunting height. (2) It also eliminates the transition off of the tether and to a rappel setup when you're ready to descend.

The con: (1) All belay devices, including the Madrock Safeguard, are intended to be used with the tag end of the climbing rope held in a controlled manner by one hand to prevent slack & associated slippage on the rope when it's unweighted. Thus, if you ever stand on your platform or ROS or maneuver around the tree for a shot in a way that unweights your rope, it will be able to slide through the belay device if you haven't introduced a countermeasure to prevent rope from feeding through the device.

The best practice while in hunting position: Have a countermeasure incorporated into your setup at height if you stay on your climbing rope to have it do double-duty as your tether during your hunt. The best countermeasure is a friction hitch placed above the mechanical belay device and connected to the carabiner that is clipped to your mechanical belay device.

WARNING: It is not recommended to place a friction hitch on the tag end of the rope (meaning: below the mechanical belay device) because it is possible for the hitch to feed up against or into the mechanical belay device if the rope slips through the belay device, and the Madrock Safeguard manual specifically warns against implementing a friction hitch on the tag end of the rope, stating that it is possible to BREAK the Safeguard if a backup friction hitch is placed below the Safeguard.

You can view a brief demonstration of how these devices permit rope slip when unweighted, and how to incorporate an optimal countermeasure with a friction hitch placed above the belay device, which I believe is the best practice for tether setup while you are in hunting position if you SRT rope climb into the tree with a mechanical belay device for progress capture during your climb. This video is from a reputable source for saddle hunting supplies, Eastern Woods Outdoors:


Here's one guy's viewpoint on the performance of the Petzl GriGri+ vs. the Madrock Safeguard:

 
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Coathanger15

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Sep 13, 2018
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Amazon.com has grigri + for $66 right now. Sorry I couldn't figure out how to post link. That being said, I have used a safeguard to climb and repel for 3 seasons and have no complaints. I am working on using some hitches from jrb but only in an effort to eliminate metal from my system.
 

LoadedLimbs

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Amazon.com has grigri + for $66 right now. Sorry I couldn't figure out how to post link. That being said, I have used a safeguard to climb and repel for 3 seasons and have no complaints. I am working on using some hitches from jrb but only in an effort to eliminate metal from my system.
The device on Amazon for $66 right now is the Petzl “GriGri”. The Petzl “GriGri+“ is listed too, but it’s $139 currently. They look similar, but they’re not the same thing.
 

Coathanger15

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Screenshot_20220923-065343_Amazon Shopping.jpg
Looks like it went up to $76 but it does say grigri+ sorry I can't figure out how to postlink. Just passing along info for those interested

Edit: i realize Amazon pics and descriptions can sometimes be wrong and as I don't use this product. I hope I am not pointing anyone to the wrong product. Just happened about it. Do your own reasearch. Amazon does have a good return policy.
 
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LoadedLimbs

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I’m wary of buying climbing gear from Amazon - its often impossible to know if you’re getting genuine product or counterfeit knock-off product. And some of the counterfeit knock-off products are such good look-alikes they are really difficult to spot.

I much prefer purchasing from a well known rock climbing or arborist supply company.
 

TNSTAAFL

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Related and more informative questions are: Q1: "What are the pros and cons of using a mechanical belay device with your climbing rope as your tree tether?" and Q2: "What is the best practice for tether setup while in hunting position in the tree?"

My answers to both questions:

The pros: (1) There's no transition to a separate, dedicated tether, thus eliminating that step and the risk of incorrectly performing the transition to tether once at hunting height. (2) It also eliminates the transition off of the tether and to a rappel setup when you're ready to descend.

The con: (1) All belay devices, including the Madrock Safeguard, are intended to be used with the tag end of the climbing rope held in a controlled manner by one hand to prevent slack & associated slippage on the rope when it's unweighted. Thus, if you ever stand on your platform or ROS or maneuver around the tree for a shot in a way that unweights your rope, it will be able to slide through the belay device if you haven't introduced a countermeasure to prevent rope from feeding through the device.

The best practice while in hunting position: Have a countermeasure incorporated into your setup at height if you stay on your climbing rope to have it do double-duty as your tether during your hunt. The best countermeasure is a friction hitch placed above the mechanical belay device and connected to the carabiner that is clipped to your mechanical belay device.

WARNING: It is not recommended to place a friction hitch on the tag end of the rope (meaning: below the mechanical belay device) because it is possible for the hitch to feed up against or into the mechanical belay device if the rope slips through the belay device, and the Madrock Safeguard manual specifically warns against implementing a friction hitch on the tag end of the rope, stating that it is possible to BREAK the Safeguard if a backup friction hitch is placed below the Safeguard.

You can view a brief demonstration of how these devices permit rope slip when unweighted, and how to incorporate an optimal countermeasure with a friction hitch placed above the belay device, which I believe is the best practice for tether setup while you are in hunting position if you SRT rope climb into the tree with a mechanical belay device for progress capture during your climb. This video is from a reputable source for saddle hunting supplies, Eastern Woods Outdoors:


Here's one guy's viewpoint on the performance of the Petzl GriGri+ vs. the Madrock Safeguard:

In my untrained, unprofessional, non-certified opinion... this is the best, most comprehensive (while keeping it brief) informational post on this site about these types of devices being used in common saddle hunting situations. It combines ideas I have had to aggregate from dozens of other posts across several threads. Many of such points are mission critical, not obvious to new users, and explained in an easy to understand way.

I was unaware of the first video also and I find that really helpful as well.

Sent from my SM-S901U using Tapatalk
 

Fl Canopy Stalker

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Some people use SRT rope climbing to get up into the tree using a mechanical belay device like the Safeguard or the GriGri+ for progress capture and then they stay on that rope and device during their hunt, using their climbing rope as their tether during the hunt. When their hunt is over, they use their belay device for controlled descent back down to the ground.

Related and more informative questions are: Q1: "What are the pros and cons of using a mechanical belay device with your climbing rope as your tree tether?" and Q2: "What is the best practice for tether setup while in hunting position in the tree?"

My answers to both questions:

The pros: (1) There's no transition to a separate, dedicated tether, thus eliminating that step and the risk of incorrectly performing the transition to tether once at hunting height. (2) It also eliminates the transition off of the tether and to a rappel setup when you're ready to descend.

The con: (1) All belay devices, including the Madrock Safeguard, are intended to be used with the tag end of the climbing rope held in a controlled manner by one hand to prevent slack & associated slippage on the rope when it's unweighted. Thus, if you ever stand on your platform or ROS or maneuver around the tree for a shot in a way that unweights your rope, it will be able to slide through the belay device if you haven't introduced a countermeasure to prevent rope from feeding through the device.

The best practice while in hunting position: Have a countermeasure incorporated into your setup at height if you stay on your climbing rope to have it do double-duty as your tether during your hunt. The best countermeasure is a friction hitch placed above the mechanical belay device and connected to the carabiner that is clipped to your mechanical belay device.

WARNING: It is not recommended to place a friction hitch on the tag end of the rope (meaning: below the mechanical belay device) because it is possible for the hitch to feed up against or into the mechanical belay device if the rope slips through the belay device, and the Madrock Safeguard manual specifically warns against implementing a friction hitch on the tag end of the rope, stating that it is possible to BREAK the Safeguard if a backup friction hitch is placed below the Safeguard.

You can view a brief demonstration of how these devices permit rope slip when unweighted, and how to incorporate an optimal countermeasure with a friction hitch placed above the belay device, which I believe is the best practice for tether setup while you are in hunting position if you SRT rope climb into the tree with a mechanical belay device for progress capture during your climb. This video is from a reputable source for saddle hunting supplies, Eastern Woods Outdoors:


Here's one guy's viewpoint on the performance of the Petzl GriGri+ vs. the Madrock Safeguard:

All of this!!!
thank you for saving me a ton of typing! You literally touched on every point and safe practice I could think of in this post. Great job sir
 

mprooch

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Oct 12, 2021
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None of these mechanical devices are certified for hand free use.
Another component here is what diameter rope will you or are you running? People like the madrock safeguard because it has 8.9 to 11 mm rope diameter specs so you can run smaller diameter tough ropes like C-IV, OpLux, etc. Just remember that if you are running out of spec (smaller or larger diameter) that's a no-no and don't think just because you are at the higher end of the spec diameter and it's 'sticky' that it'll not slip. Anyway, just some additional thoughts.
 

jcassell207

Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2021
Messages
43
Some people use SRT rope climbing to get up into the tree using a mechanical belay device like the Safeguard or the GriGri+ for progress capture and then they stay on that rope and device during their hunt, using their climbing rope as their tether during the hunt. When their hunt is over, they use their belay device for controlled descent back down to the ground.

Related and more informative questions are: Q1: "What are the pros and cons of using a mechanical belay device with your climbing rope as your tree tether?" and Q2: "What is the best practice for tether setup while in hunting position in the tree?"

My answers to both questions:

The pros: (1) There's no transition to a separate, dedicated tether, thus eliminating that step and the risk of incorrectly performing the transition to tether once at hunting height. (2) It also eliminates the transition off of the tether and to a rappel setup when you're ready to descend.

The con: (1) All belay devices, including the Madrock Safeguard, are intended to be used with the tag end of the climbing rope held in a controlled manner by one hand to prevent slack & associated slippage on the rope when it's unweighted. Thus, if you ever stand on your platform or ROS or maneuver around the tree for a shot in a way that unweights your rope, it will be able to slide through the belay device if you haven't introduced a countermeasure to prevent rope from feeding through the device.

The best practice while in hunting position: Have a countermeasure incorporated into your setup at height if you stay on your climbing rope to have it do double-duty as your tether during your hunt. The best countermeasure is a friction hitch placed above the mechanical belay device and connected to the carabiner that is clipped to your mechanical belay device.

WARNING: It is not recommended to place a friction hitch on the tag end of the rope (meaning: below the mechanical belay device) because it is possible for the hitch to feed up against or into the mechanical belay device if the rope slips through the belay device, and the Madrock Safeguard manual specifically warns against implementing a friction hitch on the tag end of the rope, stating that it is possible to BREAK the Safeguard if a backup friction hitch is placed below the Safeguard.

You can view a brief demonstration of how these devices permit rope slip when unweighted, and how to incorporate an optimal countermeasure with a friction hitch placed above the belay device, which I believe is the best practice for tether setup while you are in hunting position if you SRT rope climb into the tree with a mechanical belay device for progress capture during your climb. This video is from a reputable source for saddle hunting supplies, Eastern Woods Outdoors:


Here's one guy's viewpoint on the performance of the Petzl GriGri+ vs. the Madrock Safeguard:


THANK YOU FOR ALL THIS INFO. Appreciate you being short and to the point. I will do a little more research. I have an outdoor store about a hour away from me, but they have ropes and rigging stuff. So maybe I can go check a few items out and just get everything all at once. Thanks again
 

Vtbow

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Mar 21, 2018
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Guys, the solution to this is super simple. There's no reason to complicate it. When you get into the tree and have your tether/rap line at the length you want it, simply tie off the grigri(or whatever) using the manufacturer recommended method. This allows the device to function as it should and you to safely go hands free. It is a very common operation and an important procedure to know to escape a belay in a rescue situation, or perform other rescue tasks. Sure, you lose the ability to change your tether length instantaneously, but all these other extra pieces of gear everyone is talking about do the same thing and add complication to a simple system. Tying off a grigri is simplier than an ATC(which uses a mule knot)takes literally 3 seconds and undoing it to change the length of the tether takes about the same. Here is the link to the petzl grigri manual for this operation:
 

TNSTAAFL

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May 16, 2018
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Guys, the solution to this is super simple. There's no reason to complicate it. When you get into the tree and have your tether/rap line at the length you want it, simply tie off the grigri(or whatever) using the manufacturer recommended method. This allows the device to function as it should and you to safely go hands free. It is a very common operation and an important procedure to know to escape a belay in a rescue situation, or perform other rescue tasks. Sure, you lose the ability to change your tether length instantaneously, but all these other extra pieces of gear everyone is talking about do the same thing and add complication to a simple system. Tying off a grigri is simplier than an ATC(which uses a mule knot)takes literally 3 seconds and undoing it to change the length of the tether takes about the same. Here is the link to the petzl grigri manual for this operation:
Cool diagram and technique. Thanks for sharing!

Question: what is the effective difference between this and an auto block clipped to your LB loop, in terms of risk to the belay device (assuming the autoblock cannot reach the device itself)?

I only ask because they seem to have the same effect on the brake hand side of the belay device to me, but that might be because I have no idea what I'm talking about.

Sent from my SM-S901U using Tapatalk
 

Vtbow

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Cool diagram and technique. Thanks for sharing!

Question: what is the effective difference between this and an auto block clipped to your LB loop, in terms of risk to the belay device (assuming the autoblock cannot reach the device itself)?

I only ask because they seem to have the same effect on the brake hand side of the belay device to me, but that might be because I have no idea what I'm talking about.

Sent from my SM-S901U using Tapatalk
Well, I'm not the manufacturer, but here is my $.02:

-An auto block below the device ads friction prior to the rope entering the device. This could in some cases keep the caming device from engaging properly, or timely. This is especially the case when you add in environmental factors like moisture, etc. It also may mean the braking is shared between the two systems, instead of the mechanical device completely engaging as designed.

-tying off the belay happens AFTER the device is already set and cammed in the break position. You are essentially locking it in that position by adding an additional sharp bite to the rope below the device. The device won't slip because it physically can't uncam on the rope.

The only way to have a friction not below the device and have it perform the same would be for it to physically be touching the device. Depending on the friction hitch, the device would then either act as a tender(autoblock) and potentially release it, but then there not be enough friction for the mechanical device to activate, or the opposite, a prussik locks up directly below the device and can't be released.


This is all assuming they are used in spec...start messing around there and things get even Dicier.

Even if the autoblock can't reach the device it is changing the dynamics of the rope entering the device and in turn friction....which is what the whole device is designed around.

Keep in mind in the climbing world no one EVER relies on a single prussik or friction knot...totally against best practices. Having a friction hitch above a mechanical device essentially negates the device completely..and below it effects its designed use and tolerances.

Sorry for the long winded reply and I hope that makes sense....been a long week.
 
Last edited:

TNSTAAFL

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May 16, 2018
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Well, I'm not the manufacturer, but here is my $.02:

-An auto block below the device ads friction prior to the rope entering the device. This could in some cases keep the caming device from engaging properly, or timely. This is especially the case when you add in environmental factors like moisture, etc. It also may mean the braking is shared between the two systems, instead of the mechanical device completely engaging as designed.

-tying off the belay happens AFTER the device is already set and cammed in the break position. You are essentially locking it in that position by adding an additional sharp bite to the rope below the device. The device won't slip because it physically can't uncam on the rope.

The only way to have a friction not below the device and have it perform the same would be for it to physically be touching the device. Depending on the friction hitch, the device would then either act as a tender(autoblock) and potentially release it, but then there not be enough friction for the mechanical device to activate, or the opposite, a prussik locks up directly below the device and can't be released.


This is all assuming they are used in spec...start messing around there and things get even Dicier.

Even if the autoblock can't reach the device it is changing the dynamics of the rope entering the device and in turn friction....which is what the whole device is designed around.

Keep in mind in the climbing world no one EVER relies on a single prussik or friction knot...totally against best practices. Having a friction hitch above a mechanical device essentially negates the device completely..and below it effects its designed use and tolerances.

Sorry for the long winded reply and I hope that makes sense....been a long week.
Ah, I think I see. Thank you.

Sent from my SM-S901U using Tapatalk
 
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