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Belay technique


Original Post
Cole Metzger · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2019 · Points: 0

I had a very near ground fall in the gym Monday.  I climb at Stone Summit which has a massive 60foot over hung wall.  My belayer was standing 15 feet out from the wall to watch me.  When I fell he got dragged in and I stopped just before the deck.  

IMO I don’t think a belayer should stand that far out.  He/she should be able to give and take in slack by feel of the rope.  

Does anyone have thoughts or differences in opinion?

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275

I assume you were leading?

TJ B · · Denver · Joined May 2012 · Points: 26

Your thoughts are correct but what’s truly gonna save your ass in the future is how you and your partner choose to communicate about this. Typing it out here does nothing to educate

Sloppy Second · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2018 · Points: 0

Why are you complaining about a soft catch?

Jonathan Rogers · · Atlanta, GA · Joined Nov 2016 · Points: 25

I climb at the same gym and stand back 15 ft easy to watch my partner towards the top of the steep main wall, with no problems. We’re about the same weight.
 
One of my buddy’s always goes for the Hail Mary clip which is hard not to let him whip. Am I going to short rope him or will he whip when he misses the clip?I’d recommend warning your partner before just falling and make sure You guys are close in weight.

kevin deweese · · Oakland, Ca · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 521
Cole Metzger wrote: I had a very near ground fall in the gym Monday.  I climb at Stone Summit which has a massive 60foot over hung wall.  My belayer was standing 15 feet out from the wall to watch me.  When I fell he got dragged in and I stopped just before the deck.  

IMO I don’t think a belayer should stand that far out.  He/she should be able to give and take in slack by feel of the rope.

Your thoughts have been noted. /thread (before we get into a stupid debate about the Ohm and whether or not your gym lets you use them and why insurance companies and gyms suck.)

Jonathan Rogers · · Atlanta, GA · Joined Nov 2016 · Points: 25

And also when I climb with a lighter person I usually make a game plan on the ground so I don’t launch them with no warning.

Cole Metzger · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2019 · Points: 0
kevin deweese wrote:

Your thoughts have been noted. /thread (before we get into a stupid debate about the Ohm and whether or not your gym lets you use them and why insurance companies and gyms suck.)

He was heavier than me

Jaren Watson · · Idaho · Joined May 2010 · Points: 2,472

Sounds like you experienced an excellent learning opportunity with no deleterious consequences.

Glad you’re ok.

Malcolm Daly · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 380

Dude, when in overhanglandia, turn around and face out. That way you don’t have to step way back to see your climber.

Vic Davalos · · Rhode Island · Joined Aug 2017 · Points: 5

Though it's nice to be able to see your climber, it's totally unnecessary as long as you can communicate somehow, verbal or nonverbal.  You're completely right, a competent belayer should be able to give and take in slack by the feel of the rope (though obviously this takes some practice).  Straight up your belayer had poor technique.  If you're going to stand away from the wall while you belay, you should expect and be prepared to be yanked towards the wall.  You're lucky your belayer didn't lose control of the brake strand and drop you

Unfortunately, the belay style you're describing is the accepted norm at your gym

Tradgic Yogurt · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 55
Cole Metzger wrote: I had a very near ground fall in the gym Monday.  I climb at Stone Summit which has a massive 60foot over hung wall.  My belayer was standing 15 feet out from the wall to watch me.  When I fell he got dragged in and I stopped just before the deck.  

IMO I don’t think a belayer should stand that far out.  He/she should be able to give and take in slack by feel of the rope.  

Does anyone have thoughts or differences in opinion?

Have you thought about telling your belayer that this was a less-than-smart move, and he should learn to read the tension in the rope?

Sloppy Second · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2018 · Points: 0

Thank you for posting Cole, I love threads that give me an opportunity to call someone a bad belayer.

Lena chita · · OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 1,040
Malcolm Daly wrote: Dude, when in overhanglandia, turn around and face out. That way you don’t have to step way back to see your climber.

While this is true, and I do it often (outside —unfortunately I’m yet to meet a local gym with walls that warrant such a move)...


 I’m envisioning a future post on MP, along the lines of “my belayer was turned around, while belaying me, and smacked his head on the wall when I fell, as he got pulled up. I think it is wrong to stand facing away from the wall. What do you think?”

Cole Metzger · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2019 · Points: 0
Vic Davalos wrote: Though it's nice to be able to see your climber, it's totally unnecessary as long as you can communicate somehow, verbal or nonverbal.  You're completely right, a competent belayer should be able to give and take in slack by the feel of the rope (though obviously this takes some practice).  Straight up your belayer had poor technique.  If you're going to stand away from the wall while you belay, you should expect and be prepared to be yanked towards the wall.  You're lucky your belayer didn't lose control of the brake strand and drop you

Unfortunately, the belay style you're describing is the accepted norm at your gym

Is it rock spot?  If so, that’s even worse.

Cole Metzger · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2019 · Points: 0
Lena chita wrote:

While this is true, and I do it often (outside —unfortunately I’m yet to meet a local gym with walls that warrant such a move)...


 I’m envisioning a future post on MP, along the lines of “my belayer was turned around, while belaying me, and smacked his head on the wall when I fell, as he got pulled up. I think it is wrong to stand facing away from the wall. What do you think?”



I stand sideways so when my climber does fall I’m ready to go up.

Lena chita · · OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 1,040
Cole Metzger wrote:

I stand sideways so when my climber does fall I’m ready to go up.

It’s all situational. Blanket rules work, until there is an exception. 


Sometimes I turn. Sometimes I don't. 

Btw, belay glasses might help your belayer see you, without stepping so far from the wall. Or rather, so far from the first bolt, which matters more than the distance to the wall. I certainly have belayed standing 15 feet or more “from the wall”. The distance from the wall was rather irrelevant, because I was standing under the first clipped bolt. 
Chalk in the Wind · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 3

Why don't you talk to your belayer instead of asking us?

. Mobes · · MDI · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 865
Sloppy Second wrote: Why are you complaining about a soft catch?

Really. 

Vic Davalos · · Rhode Island · Joined Aug 2017 · Points: 5
Lena chita wrote:

It’s all situational. Blanket rules work, until there is an exception. 

The distance from the wall was rather irrelevant, because I was standing under the first clipped bolt. 

Oh yeah, thats a good point.

Keith Newcomb · · Miami, FL · Joined 9 days ago · Points: 0

So gravity is the force pulling straight down.  If you belay as close to the first bolt as possible(and safe) you maximize the downforce ( got the vector Victor?).  If you move out from the wall and your lead falls now you have a force pulling you to the wall and a force pulling you up toward the first bolt.  You resist the inward force with friction on your shoes and you resist the upward force with gravity.  Maximize gravity by staying close to the wall and you minimize the amount of rope used up before your lead slows and stops.  Friction in the system allows belayers to be lighter than leads.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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