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Rock Climbing Photo: A good first lead.
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By john laing
From: Albuquerque,NM
Mar 13, 2012
"A good first lead" ... with a sub-optimal belay stance.

I routinely observe that, especially, early leaders (top-rope habits) seem to be okay with their belayer standing a significant distance from the base of the route, rather than reasonably & essentially directly below the first protection placement.

This introduces implicit slack in the rope from the "hypotenuse" lengthening of the rope to the climber with consequences of: increased lead-fall distance; the rope becomes a target for the leader to impact; and will produce outward & even upward, rather than a downward pull on the protection.

It takes a very low force to pull the belayer laterally, while full-body-weight force is required to lift (an unanchored) belayer off the ground. And it's almost assured that when the climber is heavier than the belayer, the belayer will be yanked-forward and often plucked-off the ground towards a collision with the falling leader.

'Best practice' belay stance isn't about 'how likely/unlikely that the leader falls' it's about 'what will happen if the leader falls:' where will the belayer go, where will the leader end-up?
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A good first lead.

Submitted By: Adam Shaleen on Jul 5, 2011
On this route:
Jenna's Chimney (5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a X )
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Photo Of: Adam Shaleen

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