Belaying the Most Basic and Important Rope Climbing Technique

Belaying is the act of securing the climber while he climbs. The belayer controls the rope during a climb and is there in the event of a fall and to lower the climber. There are three types of belaying in climbing. We will discuss all three but focus on the most popular, semi-direct.

This stuff is kinda boring, but really important so pay attention.

The belayer must be attentive at all times and feed rope at an appropriate pace. The belayer must anticipate when the leader needs slack or the rope tightened.



In a fall, the climber is not always able to give a warning and the belayer must be ready at all times.

In direct belaying, the load of a fall is transferred to an anchor without the weight being taken by the belayer first. This is common when the belayer is above the climber such as after the leader has reached the summit and the second climber is coming from below.

Whatever anchor is used must be one hundred percent safe. A sling on a solid spike, rock or tree is commonly used. Do not use a tree or rock if its sturdiness is questionable. A friction device such as an Italian hitch is better in a direct belay.

A semi-direct belay is the most common method of belaying in rock climbing either traditional or sport climbing. This method incorporates the tying to anchors from the front of the harness and belaying from the rope tie-in loop.

In a fall, the weight is transferred through the belay device and the rope to the anchors. The belayer will only experience a small proportion of the load.

The indirect belay is when the belayer takes the load in the waist but the belayer is supported by the anchors. This method is also used if you attach to the anchors from the back of the harness and belay from the front. This system can be uncomfortable for the belayer as they take the whole load in their waist.

This is commonly used when the anchors are weak.

Most climbers use the semi-direct belay method, but their may be some cases when you need to use a different method. The person belaying should be very comfortable doing so and experienced with the method that is used.

They also need to have full concentration on the belayer, there is nothing more frightening to a leader who feels like their belayer is not paying attention to them as they climb a route.

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Related posts:

  1. Belayer and Climber Communication
  2. Backup Knots for Roped Solo FreeClimbing
  3. 60 Foot Climbing Fall

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