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  • Mad Rock - Lifeguard - Red

Mad Rock Lifeguard


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    • Red, One Size

    22 Reviews


    Everyone out of the pool and on the wall.

    Mad Rock's Lifeguard is a game changer when it comes to the climbing world. It's an assisted braking belay device that boasts smoother handling that's more similar to the original tube belay devices. It's remarkably lighter and more compact when compared to other assisted braking devices, too. The Lifeguard also has a massive rope expansion range, from skinny 8.9mm ropes to 11mm fatties. 

    • Auto-locking belay device
    • Assisted braking system
    • Single ropes from 8.9-11mm
    • Item #MRC000Q

    Tech Specs

    aircraft-grade aluminum, stainless steel
    Rope Diameter
    8.9 - 11 mm
    Claimed Weight
    5.14 oz
    Recommended Use
    Manufacturer Warranty
    limited lifetime

    Tech Specs

    • Reviews
    • Q & A

    What do you think about this product?

    Have questions about this product?

    Better than grigri for lead + rope solo

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    Fell in love with the lifeguard at the gym. Fed for lead so well I grabbed one for myself. The lifeguard has been great for lead solo top rope solo, lead w/ belay, top rope, and replaces a grigri for ascending. Lowering / rappels isn't as smooth as grigri, but works after getting used to the device. Have had a few new climbers take a few minutes to figure out the anti panic handle, other than that only reason I'd go with another device would be maybe the birdie to handle 8.5 static roles

    Better options exist

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    The problem with this device is that you can’t pay out rope on lead belay really fast. If your climber makes a quick move and then clips, you’re gonna short rope him. If you like the Grigri style, get a new grigri. It is set up so you can defeat the cam and get rope quickly. If you don’t like defeating your device, get a Revo. The Revo is fantastic for ripping rope out fast and smooth, locks only when you screw up, and works so well you forget it’s not just an ATC.
    Perhaps the best-case user of the lifeguard would be someone extremely concerned about weight, but doesn’t trust an ATC. In the end, my lifeguard sits in the bottom of my gear bag.

    Way better than their rental

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    I bought this as a package deal. I really wanted to try out the new mad rock life guard, the gemini, a funky little beaner came with it. It does the thing, never will you end up cross loading your belay beaner. That being said, just pay attention when you climb, and it wont happen either. I have retired this piece of gear to my "gym only" bag. It is overkill, for sure. The lifeguard however, is money! Usually I'm not a fan of mad rocks stuff, unless I'm working as a climbing gym manager, then heck that lifeguard is freaking sweet!

    Solid Device

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times

    Got this mostly because I did not like having to override the cam on a grigri when lead belaying but like the added safety of a camming belay device for lead climbing. I have used with a couple of different ropes all around the 9.5 to 9.8 range and for the most part this device can be used just like an ATC. Would certainly recommend over the Grigri+ or any other Grigri for that matter. The cam seems to catch when you want but not when you are trying to feed out rope (for the most part, and with some practice). Overall, would buy again and recommend to anyone wanting to upgrade from an ATC.

    Love it!

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    I love this device. been using it for 2 seasons now. it's light durable and super fluid it has a stiffer spring than a gri gri so there's less chance of short roping. It is like using an atc with a cam as in you don't need to touch the device most of the time unless some one needs a lot of slack. Take a little getting us to.

    Good device. Wasn't for me.

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times

    Positives: I really like the design and how light it is compared to the Gri Gri. The lever is made out of aluminum which feels way more solid than the plastic Gri Gri lever. The lifeguard works great for top roping too.

    Negatives: I had problems when lead belaying with this device. Unfortunately, I don't like leaving a lot of slack in the rope, so when my partner is clipping I need to get rope out fast. That's when the lifeguard jams up. It's not a problem at all if you feed the rope out slowly. It would only jam when I was trying to feed rope out really fast. My partner and I would get really frustrated and in the end I decided to sell my Lifeguard to a friend and i'm just using my old atc till I find something better.

    Overall: The MadRock Lifeguard is still a good device, it just wasn't for me.

    I can laugh at my friends with a GriGri

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    I've had this for about a year now and I love this thing. Its small and easy to feed slack. It works very similar to an ATC as long as you aren't yanking slack out. Not having to mess with a cam to feed slack for a leader is wonderful. I'm not sure why people still use a GriGri. It also works better on a wider range of ropes than a GriGri.

    Like a Gri-Gri...but for Lead Belaying!

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times

    As a lefty, I've never taken to the Gri-Gri as a belayer. Beyond this, it seems that very few people can use said device without either letting go with the brake hand or short-roping the climber.
    When used properly, the Lifeguard does a pretty good job at overcoming both of these issues. It functions like a Gri-Gri, but feeds rope like an ATC--with the brake hand where it ought to be and no thumb overriding the cam. The Lifeguard is also smaller and lighter.
    Three small issues:
    1) The cam will engage while feeding if your rope is really fuzzy or wet (at least where original diameter is 9.8 or greater). This is easily remedied without overriding the cam, but it can be a pain.
    2) People who are used to belaying incorrectly with a Gri-Gri (cam open and no hand on the brake end) will naturally try to do the same with this device. Regardless, such folks have no business belaying without some training.
    3) As others have noted, the Lifeguard doesn't lower as smoothly as many other devices. Thus, for top-roping, the Gri-Gri remains superior.
    I'm still waiting for a belay device that I can give 5 stars. However, for single-pitch belaying, the Lifeguard is my new standard.

    Solid device!

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times

    Madrock really did it right with the Lifeguard. As others have said, upon opening the package, the most surprising thing is how small this device really is. It's so tiny! The build construction is bomber. This thing feels durable and secure in your hand. The full metal construction inspires confidence.

    I find it does really well leading with ropes thinner than 10mm. With the thicker gym ropes, it will lock up on you when you pay out slack unless you really anticipate the clips and belay a climber that takes pity on you! However, this is really no different than a GriGri (had you not over-ridden the cam).

    It works equally well on TR. I've never experienced rope creep with a top rope belay, even with a 100lb climbing partner.

    That said, this works to your advantage while route setting. I've had pretty good results routesetting with it. I'm not sure how well it would work in this regard with thinner ropes, but its fantastic on gym fatties.

    I haven't had the opportunity to get up any multipitch routes with it yet, but I'll be sure to update my review when I do.

    All in all, solid device. I do think its an acceptable grigri substitute.

    Better in Several Ways

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    The Lifeguard is smaller and lighter than the GriGri 2, all metal, pays out more smoothly with most ropes, and is less expensive. The Gri Gri cam engages sooner and more gradually than the Lifeguard, so the Lifeguard does not lock up prematurely when feeding rope out rapidly. I can feed out rope quite fast without pinching the cam open with my thumb, as is needed with the Gri Gri. It has been great with my 8.9 and 9.8 ropes, as well as several other diameters. I have a fat, stiff gym line (sold as 10.1 but functionally much thicker) that is very difficult to pay out with the Lifeguard, but I rarely use ropes that beefy any more.
    I took a gamble buying the Lifeguard sight unseen without trying it or hearing from friends, and have been very impressed. It could use a bigger flange to run the rope against when lowering, and I don't understand why no assisted-braking devices are manufactured with a clip-in wire or loop for keeping them secure while loading them off the ground on multipitch routes, but I usually carry only a guide-mode belay /rappel device off the deck anyhow.
    Now my old Gri Gri lives in my gym bag, while the Lifeguard gets all the outdoor action!

    Feels good

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    It took a little bit for me to get used to this (as does any autolocking device) but once I got used to it I would't go any other way. It feels good in your hands also.

    Great device

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times

    I was split between getting the lifeguard and grigri for quite a bit, but eventually decided to give the lifeguard a try. I was looking for an assisted braking device that I could use for mostly sport climbing, and this thing has exceeded my expectations. I have used the gri gri before, and I certainly prefer the lifeguard for lead belaying. It's smoother, smaller, more intuitive, and somewhat lighter than the grigri. It belays similarly to a tuber device, which also means it's easier to use for left-handed belayers. For lead climbing, the cam isn't as sensitive as grigri, but is still more than capable of a safe catch. I would definitely recommend checking out this device.

    Very nice assisted device

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    I've owned the original Petzl Grigri and the smaller version 2 and had the Mad Rock Lifeguard for just a few months now. I don't notice the weight difference much however I love that the Lifeguard is all packed into a nice little size. I prefer how the Grigris lower a climber however the Lifeguard shines for paying out slack to a leader although it can still catch. I'd love to see how it stacks up to the latest GriGri+ with the lead mode.

    my favorite thing on my rack

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times

    I had wanted an assisted braking device for a while and had looked at a lot of different ones before I decided on this. the size is great, I love the color, and the all metal construction gives me a lot of confidence in it. The device lets you pay out slack super easy when leading and catches securely when taking a fall. great device, would recommend

    Better than the rest

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    Y'know that other device, the one from France, the popular one? Yeah this thing is better where it really matters. The key is the strong spring holding the cam open. If you feed slack to a leader just like you would through a tube device, it won't lock up, so there's no need to compromise safety by holding the cam open with your thumb. Oh and it's smaller and lighter and has no plastic parts.

    The lowering lever could open to a better angle, but that's not a big enough problem to merit taking away a star.

    Bottom line is this is the only device I use anymore for belaying a leader.