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Is there a standard term for putting your leg behind the rope?


Original Post
John Byrnes · · Fort Collins, CO · Joined Dec 2007 · Points: 612

In what has to be a coincidence (or maybe not?) I have two occasional climbing partners, both women, who both climb aggressively, both are from South America, both frequently put a foot/leg behind the rope, and both seem to be rather clueless that they're doing it. Here's a photo of one of them.

This is a good way to get seriously hurt and make your belayer cringe.

As a belayer, I cringe when I see this. When I yell up at them to correct it, either they are too focused to hear and react, or they don't know what I'm talking about. (There's a bit of a language barrier with both too!)

I've always called it a "Foot Fault" but it seems there should be a better, more universal term. Is there? What terms are other people using?

Also, as a belayer, do you inform your leader about the situation? Or just let them dance with the devil in the pale moon light? I've avoided climbing with one of them because I don't want to be the belayer when the inevitable happens.

Matt N · · Santa Barbara, CA · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 338

Yell "wear a helmet"

then when they ask "porque?" you can tell them about the leg/rope issue

aikibujin · · Castle Rock, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 294

Technically, that’s putting the rope behind the leg, or putting the leg in front of the rope. :)

I do let my climber know when I see this, I usually just yell “beware of the rope!” I don’t know if there’s a standard term for this, but on two separate occasions at two different climbing gyms, I’ve heard of it referred to as “backstepping” by the gym employees. Both times I was taking the lead climbing test, and the gym employees were going over things I shouldn’t do, “don’t back clip, don’t z-clip, don’t backstep”. “Wait, don’t backstep?” “Yeah, you know, get the rope behind the leg.” “Whaaaa?” Maybe I heard it wrong, twice, but I’m pretty sure they said “backstep”.

Bill Kirby · · San Francisco CA · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 480

Backstepping

Christian Roda o Back · · Casa do Cacete · Joined Jul 2005 · Points: 1,486

"Quitate la pierna de enfrente de la cuerda ó te vas a chingar toda la madre, pendeja!"

that should work nicely

John Byrnes · · Fort Collins, CO · Joined Dec 2007 · Points: 612
Bill Kirby wrote:Backstepping
In my experience "Back stepping" is whenever you put your pinkie/outside edge of your shoe on the foothold instead of some other part of your shoe (inside edge/point/heel/etc).
Lothian Buss · · Albany, NY · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 15

I was taught to call it "backstepping"

Justin Brunson · · Broomfield CO · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 2,201

I thought backstepping meant crossing one leg behind the other while traversing.

Gregger Man · · Broomfield, CO · Joined Aug 2004 · Points: 1,321

Not sure what you call it, but I like to shout 'neck brace' at my partner when he does that.
He takes a darker view of the potential consequences and shouts 'vegetable' when I step behind the rope.

Erik Kloeker · · Campton · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 40

You're backstepped.

Chris Duca · · Downingtown, PA · Joined Dec 2006 · Points: 2,095

"F'ed"!!

Jim Turner · · Lakewood, CO · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 295
John Byrnes wrote: In my experience "Back stepping" is whenever you put your pinkie/outside edge of your shoe on the foothold instead of some other part of your shoe (inside edge/point/heel/etc).
I've heard that referred to as Outside Edge.
Bryan · · Minneapolis, MN · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 351

I always just shout up, "hey, watch your leg on that rope". Sometimes they don't listen though.

M Sprague · · New England · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 5,014

Sure you are not just subtly spraying about the Brazilian hotties you are climbing with? ;)

Best thing would be to show them that picture. It should be pretty clear to them then why it is not a good idea.

Backstepping to me is just the move. Have the rope behind or not is another matter. I just say "Watch the rope behind your leg" if I don't think they are aware of it.

redlude97 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 5

looks like its below the previous bolt which is less of an issue, but still a concern

Shelton Hatfield · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 586
redlude97 wrote:looks like its below the previous bolt which is less of an issue, but still a concern
Yes. Less likely to get flipped upside down, more likely to get a gnarly burn.
csproul · · Davis, CA · Joined Dec 2009 · Points: 325
Lothian Buss wrote:I was taught to call it "backstepping"
You were taught wrong. A backstep is climbing technique. Any time you step through such that your hip is facing the rock, usually with the outside of your foot against the rock, that is a backstep.

climbingtechniques.org/inte…
taipan jam · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 30

I agree with Mr. Sprague, backstep is a move. This is not a backstep, but possibly quite dangerous

There's a video floating about that is a great illustration of why this is so nasty. I often find myself in tight corners liebacking with the rope in a spot that would flip me. I think somebody who climbs pretty dang hard got injured this way a few years back...Rob Pizem? Not sure

If I can find that video I'll post. Don't believe any post that claims backstepping was getting your leg behind the rope. That isn't correct.

google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=ba…

Unless you want to argue with John Long and Craig Luebben (RIP)...and probably me, too.

books.google.com/books?id=T…

ollieon · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 40

Yes, I've seen this called backstepping. Let's accept that the same term refers to two different things (the move and the error).

Like how flagging could mean sticking your leg out or a fancy way of saying you're tired.

csproul · · Davis, CA · Joined Dec 2009 · Points: 325
ollieon wrote:Yes, I've seen this called backstepping. Let's accept that the same term refers to two different things (the move and the error). Like how flagging could mean sticking your leg out or a fancy way of saying you're tired.
Except it doesn't work in this case. If you tell someone they are backstepping and it has two meanings, how are they to know which meaning you intend? I've pretty much never once heard someone who wasn't a complete nOOb refer to putting the rope behind your leg as "backstepping". Conversely, pretty much every experienced climber I've ever met would know exactly what you meant if you referred to a move as a "backstep" and give you a puzzled look if used in the other (rope-behind-the-leg)context.

Just tell the climber to watch the rope behind their leg. If that doesn't get the message across then someone needs a little ground lesson before they hurt themselves.
BigFeet · · Texas · Joined May 2014 · Points: 385

Back stepping = stepping back?

Down climbing/orientation of body to repostion is what I get from this meaning. You are moving in a backward direction, yes? Maybe just moving position with your feet in a way that you "step back" with a foot. Seems like plain English to me.

"Watch the rope/leg" seems pretty simple.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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