|I try hard to be a good belayer, and to keep reminding myself that just because I've been doing something for a long time, doesn't mean I'm doing it as well as I could be. Climbing with new partners reminds me of how variable belaying standards are - but also teaches me new things. New ever skinnier ropes are a dream to lead on, but a potential nightmare for belayers - I haven't caught a really high factor fall on a 9mm rope on my ATC, and don't relish the prospect much. A recent belaying error (by a random partner) saw a regular buddy of mine dropped nearly the full length of the gym wall a month ago, and he only just escaped serious injury - and it feels like I hear stories like this all the time. So I'm trying out some of the newer locking-assist devices, specifically to regain some of the margin that the skinny ropes are whittling away. I'm trialling the Climbing Technologies Alpine Up as it most suits my needs - an interesting device, in that it works just like my beloved ATC Guide, but with a solid lock-up, ability to go hands free on rap, easy & safe lowering of the second(s) in guide mode, and very easy switching between descending and ascending doubled ropes.