Derek has always told me he likes it tight! I tend to prefer a hanging belay from the first bolt on AR but whatever, we all got our style. Mad props to two climbers that are leading 11s and 12s in their first 6 months! If you two ever learn any skills (or stop bickering with each other) you're going to be on 13s and 14s before you know it!
It has nothing to do with style or slack or tightness. If he falls on that rope and slides down (hooking a leg or armpit or something) he'll have a NASTY rope-burn. I never let belayers stand where I can clothesline the rope. I've been there and have the scars to prove it.
caleb- i think jbacker was just offering some friendly advice. the guy's really seasoned - it might be good to take his suggestion to heart. it's great that you guys are climbing such hard stuff in such a short period of time - but i have to agree with him. getting clotheslined is just not fun.
I have analyzed the photo and concur, this is the photo that if made black and white with stick figures (is it redundant to say this regarding a photo of Derek) would have the cross bones (they don't seem to use the skull anymore) or the circle with the line through it.
This isn't a gross safety violation but I'm doubting Derek wants rope burn on his scrotum.
Nice advice guys, didn't even notice the first time I looked at it.