Obviously experienced climbers on a 14a, but that belay technique sets a very bad example. Lots of slack and holding the gri-gri open. Some folks may get away with this but it both defeats the redundancy of the gri-gri and it give less experienced climbers the idea that this is a fine way to belay. I have seen too many people injured because of poor adherence to very basic safety techniques. (and the belayer and climber need to wear helmets).
By lee hansche Administrator From: goffstown, nh Jan 31, 2012
many good points in here, however, when i zoomed in on the pic it did look like jays hand wasnt covering the cam on the grigri (like MANY belayers have come to do)so it could still engage... some very good climbers are very sketchy on belay and i agree that a safe example should be set... i will take a belay from jay any day because i know he will catch me, but if someone i taught to belay did this id smack em haha... keep fighting the good fight :)
By M Sprague Administrator From: New England Feb 1, 2012
Sketchy Jay, LOL! - One does see a lot of bad belaying, but Jay is competent. The rope is going to a low directional bolt which is out of the picture, used to keep the rope from slicing the climber in case of a low fall, so he doesn't have a giant loop out, though it may look it. On a climb like this, the belayer needs to be able to react very quickly when paying out rope, so having hand or fingers ready to squeeze to release is the only way to go. Personally, I use my two little fingers of the break hand to squeeze so my thumb and first finger are still around the rope guiding the rest in case of a fall. You don't hold it open, just squeeze when you pay out.
As far as wearing a helmet on a very steeply overhanging sport climb, you are welcome to it and if you are comfortable with it, fine. I certainly wouldn't discourage someone from wearing one, but at Rumney the persons wearing them usually need them, being new climbers on the more lower angled stuff or spastic types. I personally find it more important to have a good belayer, triple check each other and be aware.
This is a demanding route for both climber and belayer. I belayed Zeb once on it and I was simultaneously concerned about keeping him off the deck if he falls and not able to feed him slack fast enough for the fast clips he needed to do. I found walking toward and away from the low directional bolt instrumental in maintaining just the right amount of slack in the rope. As for using a Gri-Gri, like Mark, I keep my thumb and index finger of my break hand around the rope at all times while using my palm to apply light pressure on the camming half of the device to prevent the rope from jamming. I happen to think holding down the camming half with one's thumb (as is commonly done) is not correct.
The newer method of belaying with a GriGri is far superior IMO. It seems silly to pinch the brake end of the rope with just my thumb and index finger when I can have all 4 fingers wrapped around the rope during fast slack payouts.
The old method can be done safely, but the thumb method is just plain better. More force on the break strand.
By lee hansche Administrator From: goffstown, nh Mar 11, 2012