Hands-on Gear Review

Wild Country Ascent Lite Belay Review

Price:  $22 List | $21.95 at REI
Pros:  Lightweight belay locker, can keep locker on harness while removing device
Cons:  Awkward to use, spine shape still allows cross loading
Bottom line:  A specially designed carabiner to use while belaying.
Editors' Rating:   
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Weight:  67 g
Gate Closed Strength (KN):  26
Sideway Strength (KN):  7
Manufacturer:   Wild Country

Our Verdict

The Wild Country Ascent Lite Belay is one of two belay specific locking carabiners that we chose to review. It features a small wire gate that keeps the carabiner from rotating around on the belay loop when in use. This wire gate works well at its intended task, and for the most part prevents belay devices from loading the carabiner in its weak orientation. If you are looking for a locking carabiner that offers better belay performance, we preferred the DMM Belay Master 2, a product that felt more intuitive in single pitch use, but we liked the Ascent Lite Belay more when used on multi-pitch climbs and on routes that must be rappelled as well.



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Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Ryan Huetter

Last Updated:
Wednesday
November 16, 2016

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Performance Comparison



Belay specs? Check. Belay-specific locker? Double-check. Life is easier at the crag with these specialized carabiners.
Belay specs? Check. Belay-specific locker? Double-check. Life is easier at the crag with these specialized carabiners.

Function


The Ascent Lite Belay is designed specially to work with belay devices. We used it in a variety of climbing styles, from single pitch cragging to multi-pitch routes where we had to rap down the same route, and we found the Ascent Lite to function fairly well at its intended task of preventing the belay device from becoming cross loaded against the carabiner's spine. We did find that certain devices, like the Petzl Gri Gri, which have smaller metal clip-in points, were more likely to slide down along the spine and bind up below the curve of the spine, effectively cross loading the carabiner. For this reason, we tended to prefer the DMM Belay Master 2 as a belay locker, though we did not experience this when using traditional tube-style belay devices. A solution we found to this problem was to clip the Gri Gri into the smaller space enclosed by the wire gatekeeper.

The way the wire gatekeeper opens, in the opposite direction of the main gate, makes it kind of awkward to fluidly clip into your harness' belay loop. It would be easier if the gate opened in the same direction. When not in use you have to go through the extra step of clipping the belay device into the wire keeper or else it hangs off to the side — another awkward, less optimal result of the design.

One of the things we liked most about using the Ascent Lite was that it could stay on our harness while switching out of belay duty on top rope sessions, and that it was easy to clip belay devices in and out of the carabiner when making rappels, something that the DMM Belay Master 2 struggled with.

We found that with the Gri Gri  the Ascent Lite Belay could still get cross loaded due to the curve in the spine.
We found that with the Gri Gri, the Ascent Lite Belay could still get cross loaded due to the curve in the spine.

Ease of Locking and Unlocking


The Ascent Lite Belay uses a standard screw lock on the gate to keep it from opening accidentally. The screw, which squeeked loudly whenever we opened or closed it, required seven turns to lock or unlock, which was more than any other carabiner we looked at. There was a good amount of tension in the spring, requiring slightly more pressure to open it than the Petzl Attache, which was light on spring tension.

Most of our reviewers found the Ascent Lite to be awkward to clip.
Most of our reviewers found the Ascent Lite to be awkward to clip.

Compactness/Weight


This locking carabiner merges lightweight construction with specialized function. Belay-specific locking carabiners often are heavier because of additional materials used to secure the carabiner to the belay loop and have thicker stock since they will be repeatedly subjected to abrasion from ropes. At 67 grams, it is the same weight as the Mad Rock Ultra-Tech HMS, and much lighter than its competition in the belay locker sub-category.

Gate Clearance


With a gate opening of 2.1 cm, this contender opens wide enough to clip into belay devices and thick ropes. The inner wire gatekeeper does not restrict the gate's clearance, and it in turn opens fully when the carabiner gate is closed, so that you can clip your belay device or belay.

The two belay specific lockers compared here: the Wild Country Ascent Lite Belay on the left  and the DMM Belay Master 2 on the right.
The two belay specific lockers compared here: the Wild Country Ascent Lite Belay on the left, and the DMM Belay Master 2 on the right.

Gate Hang Up


The Ascent Lite Belay has a snag-free, keylock nose that clips easily to Petzl Gri Gri belay devices, and does not hang up on the wire keeper loops on Black Diamond ATCs or Petzl Reverso 3 devices. It is the narrowest keylock nose, making it friendlier to clip into ropes and belay devices under some tension, more so than lockers with thicker noses like the Petzl Am'D Twist-Lock.

The Ascent Lite captures the belay loop securely with a wire keeper loop.
The Ascent Lite captures the belay loop securely with a wire keeper loop.

Best Applications


The Ascent Lite Belay is intended to be paired with a belay device to keep it from cross loading in circumstances where slack might develop and allow the locker to rotate freely. Since the wire gatekeeper is not removable, it does not have a lot of crossover functionality, so you will want to treat this as a specialized locker.

Value


At $22, the Ascent Lite Belay is slightly more than the DMM Belay Master 2. It is lighter, to be sure, but we feel like it is not as good of a deal as the Belay Master 2, which does allow its gatekeeper to be removed.

Conclusion


The Wild Country Ascent Lite Belay is a lightweight, durable locking carabiner designed specially for use with belay devices. We would choose this locker for belaying during single and multi-pitch climbs in order to keep our devices from cross loading.
  • Same as Ascent Lite Belay but without the wire gatekeeper
  • Great for Munter hitch

Ryan Huetter

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: November 16, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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Rating Distribution
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5 star: 0%  (0)
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3 star: 100%  (1)
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