The essentials in brief
Belaying is a technique used in rock climbing, mountaineering, and other vertical activities to protect climbers from falling by managing the rope. Read more here.
You need a belay device, rope, harness, and locking carabiner for belaying. Click here for more.
When belaying, you need to consider equipment check, communication, never letting go of the rope, maintaining a safe distance, and wearing a helmet.
When yoo go rock climbing, then you must know about belaying too. What is belaying? What kind of techniques are there? Which kind of equipment do you need for it? And which considerations should you maintain while belaying?
Table of Contents
Belaying in sports
Belaying is a technique used in rock climbing, mountaineering and other vertical activities to protect climbers from falling by managing the rope. Belaying involves controlling the rope that connects a climber to an anchor or another climber. It is an essential skill for any climber and requires concentration, attention to detail and proper technique.
There are several belaying techniques, including standard belay, brake hand belay and assisted brake belay.
The standard belay technique involves the belayer holding on to the rope with both hands, one above the belay device and the other below it. The belayer pulls down on the rope with the lower hand to create friction and slow the climber’s descent. As the climber moves, the belayer feeds the rope through the belay device, maintaining tension on the rope. So, if the climber falls, the belayer quickly pulls down on the rope with the lower hand to stop the fall.
Brake Hand Belay
The brake hand belay is similar to the standard belay, but the belayer uses their dominant hand to control the speed of the rope. The belayer holds the rope with the brake hand and feeds the rope through the belay device with the other hand. The brake hand is used to create friction on the rope to control the speed of the climber. If the climber falls, the belayer pulls down on the rope with the brake hand to stop the fall.
Assisted braking belay
Assisted braking belay is a newer technique that uses an assisted braking device such as the GriGri. The device automatically locks the rope if the climber falls, providing additional safety.
Please mind: The belayer still needs to maintain control of the rope and feed it through the device.
Equipment needed for belaying
Belaying is an essential climbing technique and requires the right equipment to ensure the safety of the climber. In the following, we will look at the equipment needed for belaying, including the different types of belay devices, ropes, harnesses and carabiners.
A belay device is an essential piece of equipment that helps the belayer control the speed of the rope while climbing. There are several types of belay devices, including
- ATC (Air Traffic Controller): Popular with climbers, this device is designed to effectively control rope speed. It’s easy to use and works by creating friction on the rope.
- GriGri: This is an assisted braking device that uses a cam mechanism to automatically lock the rope in the event of a fall. It’s popular with climbers who want extra safety.
- Reverso: This is a versatile device that can be used for both lead climbing and top roping. It’s designed to work with a variety of rope diameters.
The rope is the lifeline of climbing and it’s important to use the right rope for belaying. The standard rope length for climbing is 60 metres, but longer ropes can be used for multi-pitch climbing. The rope should be dynamic and able to stretch to absorb the shock of a fall.
A harness is used to secure the climber to the rope and protect them from injury. It’s important to choose a harness that fits well and is comfortable to wear while climbing. A well-fitting harness should not restrict movement and should be snug but not tight.
Carabiners are used to attach the belay device to the harness. It’s important to use a locking carabiner to ensure that the belay device does not accidentally come off the harness. There are different types of carabiner, including screw-lock and self-locking carabiners.
Did you know? Screw-lock carabiners, for instance, have a threaded locking mechanism that requires manual tightening to secure the rope in place. On the other hand, self-locking carabiners, also known as auto-locking carabiners, have a mechanism that automatically locks the rope in place when it’s clipped into the carabiner.
Youe belay checklist
Here’s a quick checklist of the equipment you’ll need for belaying:
- Belay device (ATC, GriGri or Reverso)
- Rope (dynamic and stretchable)
- Harness (well fitted and comfortable)
- Locking carabiner (to attach the belay device to the harness)
Notice: It’s important to check all equipment before climbing to ensure it’s in good condition and working properly. With the right equipment and technique, belaying can be a safe and enjoyable experience for climbers.
Belaying is an essential safety aspect of climbing and requires proper technique and equipment to ensure the safety of the climber. In addition to equipment and techniques, there are a number of safety considerations that need to be taken into account when belaying.
Check your equipment
Before you start climbing, it’s important to check all your equipment for signs of wear or damage. Check the rope for frays or cuts, the harness for loose buckles and the belay device for damage or malfunction. It’s also important to check that the belay device is compatible with the rope diameter.
Communication is essential in belaying and both the climber and the belayer should have clear signals to communicate. The belayer should always be aware of the climber’s movements and follow the climber’s pace. If the climber needs to stop or rest, a clear signal should be given, such as a hand signal or verbal cue.
Never let go of the rope
The belayer should never let go of the rope while belaying. The rope should always be in the belayer’s hands or attached to the belay device. If the climber falls, the belayer must be able to control the rope and stop the fall.
Maintain a safe distance
The belayer should maintain a safe distance from the climber to avoid being pulled off balance in the event of a fall. If the climber falls, the belayer should be able to maintain balance and control the rope.
The belayer should be positioned so that they can see the climber at all times. The belayer should also be positioned to avoid obstacles or hazards such as falling rocks or loose debris.
Wear a helmet
Wearing a helmet is essential for both climbers and belayers. It can protect the head from falling rocks or other debris. Both the climber and the belayer should wear a helmet when climbing.
In short: Belaying
In conclusion, belaying is an important aspect of climbing that involves controlling the rope to prevent the climber from falling. It requires appropriate equipment, techniques and safety considerations to ensure the safety of the climber. Belaying is an essential skill that every climber should master before attempting a climb, and it requires practice, attention to detail and proper technique. With the right skills and equipment, belaying can be a safe and enjoyable experience for climbers.