Nowadays, it seems like every single outdoor sports company is coming up with their own variation to the time tested Black Diamond ATC Guide and Petzl Reverso. The Wild Country Pro Guide Lite belay device is just that. Luckily for us climbers, competition yields innovation.
The Pro Guide Lite can accept ropes from 7.7 mm and upwards. 7.7 mm is pretty small–good job Wild Country. What really impressed me, though, was its ability to handle ropes on the fatter end of the spectrum. As a guide, I spend a lot of time belaying two followers simultaneously. Belay devices that require excessive force to pull in slack add a huge amount of labor to my day-to-day. The Pro Guide Lite allows me to take slack on two 10mm ropes for 8 pitches AND be elbow-ache free when doing one-pint curls at the end of the day.
Whenever clients ask my opinion on gear selection, I always suggest that they “sweat the small stuff.” Meaning: cut weight at every opportunity. The Pro Guide Lite belay device is remarkably light and trimmed of all excess. Especially for myself (having used the heavy, original version of the Black Diamond ATC Guide for years now) the Pro Guide Lite’s weight, or lack thereof, is very noticeable. Its profile, when hanging on my harness, is also much smaller than what I have been accustomed to. I obsess over carabiner weight, why wouldn’t I care about the weight of my belay device as well?
Basically, I’ve never really nit-picked my belay device selection. Heck, a lot of the time in the alpine I don’t even bring a belay device. Now, though, I’ve seen the light that is the progression of old standards. Replacing my old belay device with the new Pro Guide Lite has made me a happier, healthier, faster, and stronger belayer. I suggest you do the same!