The Madrock Lifeguard is a new camming belay device and there are lots of reasons to check it out.
Right away you will notice the quality of construction, with metal parts throughout, including the braking lever. Its forged aluminum and steel components are built to take years of use and abuse.
You will also notice how much smaller the Lifeguard is compared to other belay devices. In addition to being compact, at just 153 grams, it’s one of the lightest camming belay devices out there. This is an obvious advantage for alpine climbers and multi-pitch climbers who want the extra security of a camming device but try to keep their gear as light as possible.
Despite the Lifeguard’s size, it delivers smooth, solid belaying performance. Ropes feed smoothly through the assisted-braking cam and rope tension locks down the cam solidly.
Two things to consider, however, are that it takes a little more force to engage the unit than with some devices, and the smooth feed is really enhanced by sticking to ropes 10mm and thinner.
The feed of the rope and the locking position is end-to-end of the device, and not over the side. Some climbers will find this an adjustment at first, although it soon felt even more natural than the over-the side feed to some of our testers.
If there’s one limitation to the Lifeguard, it’s the fact that under lower loads, such as you would experience toproping, or toprope-soloing, the rope can slowly feed through the device until full tension is achieved. Topropers will have to pay attention to this as they belay.
The Lifeguard is impressively built, functional, light, durable and highly recommended for big wallers, multi-pitch tradsters and sport climbers.