The art of belayer rock climbing is typically considered to be on the lower end of the abilities that climbers wish to be proficient at because there is so much focus placed on climbing techniques in modern times. Isn’t the wall where everything occurs to be taking place? Is it truly that necessary to be excellent at it regardless of how you look at it?
Belaying is the method that is utilized in order to keep climbers safe while they are climbing. By maintaining the rope in a downward position while using a belay system, friction is produced. This ensures that if a climber were to fall, the friction would prevent the rope from passing through uncontrolled, arresting the fall.
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The method of belaying someone on top rope is quite straightforward and can be picked up quickly and simply at an indoor climbing gym. It is crucial to keep the climber safe during lead belaying, which refers to belaying a climber when they clip either bolts or protection as they ascend. Falls can sometimes be very dangerous, and the belayer is also responsible for a number of factors. Climbing Outside? Here are some suggestions to assist you in getting started.
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Being a skilled belayer is therefore not only a terrific way to assist a climber, but it also ensures the climber’s safety. After all, you are very literally holding the climber’s life in your hands at this point. And to help you become the best belayer possible, here are ten pointers that will make you an expert at the skill.
Belaying: Tips For Becoming A Better Belayer!
1. Check Everything Twice.
As a competent belayer, it is your responsibility to ensure that both you and the climber have completed the climber’s knot and your own belay gear in the appropriate manner before the climber ever leaves the ground. There are never any exemptions when it comes to performing this cross-check when climbing a route. It is easy to slip into the habit of not doing this, so if you realize that you have gotten into the habit of not doing it, start doing it again.
2. Pay Close Attention
A good belayer is one who pays attention to the climber, takes notice of how the climber is doing (both physically and psychologically) and is aware of what is going on around the climber. Be aware of when they are getting close to clipping and requiring a rope. The only thing you should be doing at this point is keeping an eye on the climber. This implies that you need to identify them before they clip their first piece of protection or bolt.
3. Information Exchange
Maintaining a stress-free environment when climbing relies heavily on effective communication amongst climbers. It is also essential for ensuring one’s own safety. Before starting the climb, you should go through the calls and protocols, and you should maintain constant communication about what you are doing.
4. Make It A Gentle Catch (Dynamic Belay)
The climber benefits from a soft catch since it mitigates part of the impact of their fall. When a climber makes a strong catch, they might possibly damage themselves by swinging against the wall too forcefully, which can cause an ankle injury. Instead of fighting against the pull of the leader’s fall, you should move with it in order to offer a gentle catch.
When the belayer has room to move and is able to step forward with a fall, this is another instance in which a dynamic belay might be delivered. Be careful, though, that the “soft capture” doesn’t put them in a tree or on a cliff as they try to get away from you! If you haven’t used this method before, you should do it under the watchful eye of a skilled professional.
5. Don’t Cut The Rope Too Short
Climbers have a strong aversion to the practice of short roping. A climber is said to be short-roping when they encounter resistance from their belayer while attempting to clip the rope through the quickdraw. This resistance can come from the belayer either not delivering enough rope or not providing it quickly enough.
When you are working hard and want to clip the rope as fast as possible, this is a huge pain in the neck. If you want to prevent short roping, you need to anticipate the clip and be just ahead of when the climber needs the rope while still being safe (this means that you shouldn’t let all of that slack rope out for too long).
6. Keep An Eye On That Leg!
It is possible for the climber to have a flipped fall if the rope is behind the climber’s leg when they are climbing. Because of this, we always make sure to wear helmets, although even with one, there may still be rather dangerous falls. Make the climber aware of the situation by calling out if the rope continues to linger behind their leg.
A good belayer is able to provide the appropriate level of encouragement at the appropriate moment. I make it a habit to inquire about the climber’s preferred motivational words and the level of encouragement they need before we begin. The act of giving encouragement to the climber is an essential part of assisting them, and it is also an excellent way to actively assist them in making their ascent.
There are climbers who would rather have no encouragement at all and would rather have stillness. Discovering what they enjoy climbing with will make you someone they want to climb with again and again so that you can improve your skills.
8. Watch The Rope Like A Hawk At Number
If it is a lengthy climbing route, a good belayer will keep an eye on the rope’s middle marker and will yell out when the rope is getting low. In addition to this, they check to see that there is always a knot at the end of the rope (or that they are tied in on a multi-pitch climb), and they take immediate action when the rope is almost out or when it is time for them to move or ascend so that they do not lose time.
9. Be Wary Of Potential Hazards
It is always a good idea to keep a watchful eye out for any dangers such as falling boulders, changing weather, other climbers/people/animals above, the climber straying off the path, or that large hornets’ nest to their left. It is impossible to predict what obstacles you will face when climbing, so it is important to convey any problems that arise in order to keep the climber informed and alert at all times.
10. Lower It Like A Boss
When lowering anything, you should always do it in a calm and steady manner. That calls for you to take things a little bit more slowly! In the event that the climber is gathering the quickdraws or protection, be sure to pause for a sufficient amount of time to let them do so before continuing on to the next hold.
Always slow down to a speed at which you are comfortable, rather than lowering it to match what others are doing. Because losing control is such an unpleasant experience, you should keep both hands on the rope and allow it to pass between your fingers. Never put one hand in front of the other. If the friction causes your hands to get irritated, move more slowly, put on some gloves, or in a pinch, you can even use your shirt or a sock.
Every climber needs to make it one of their goals to become an excellent belayer. Belay people in the manner in which you would like to be belayed yourself, as the proverb says.