People typically see the brake that controls the lowering speed as the critical mechanism in auto belays, and while they are essential, have you ever considered what happens if an auto belay stops retracting? The most common self-contained auto belays on the market use a power spring to retract the climber’s lifeline as they ascend. Although rare, springs in any brand auto belay can fail prematurely, and when they do, the auto belay will stop retracting. While the brake mechanism remains intact, a spring fracture can set the stage for a long or shocking fall that can result in serious injury or worse.
As the exclusive Auto Belay supplier for IFSC World Cup Climbing, we know that the world’s fastest climbers rely on Perfect Descent Auto Belays. We recognized long ago, that this group of climbers carried a higher risk should a retraction spring fail and we set out to solve the single spring problem.
Today, all Perfect Descent Auto Belays are built using our exclusive Duplex Spring System: a split-coil design consisting of two independent, power springs engineered for reliability and longevity. The Duplex Spring System introduces redundancy to the Perfect Descent retraction mechanism, making it the only Auto Belay that will continue to retract the lanyard following a spring fracture.
So how do you know if both retraction springs are functional in your Perfect Descent Auto Belay? A simple test for measuring pull force has been outlined by the manufacturer and added to the daily inspection program. A reduction in measured pull force is an indicator that a spring is likely to have fractured. The unit should be quarantined and returned to an authorized service center for inspection and repair.
Our mission at Perfect Descent is to build the best Auto Belay and Perfect Descent keeps getting better.