Free Belay Clinic

Why would anyone invest time in attending a belay clinic? With all of the great technical aids, it is easy to “*assume” things are covered.

Belaying is often taken for granted, especially in the day of “mechanical belay devices,” bolted routes, and cars that drive themselves.

Here are some thoughts about belay skills:

This is a slide from a PowerPoint Training program we put together for an Experiential Learning Ropes Course.

Some may think, “Hell, you don’t need a backup belayer.” Generally speaking, that is true, but our objective here is to teach people how-to belay. Having a second belayer allows them to practice the art.

“We do not do what we know, we do what we have learned to do.”

It backs up the primary belay, and keeps the participants busy and practicing. While at the gym, or on the crags, we generally do not have a backup. It is up to us to anticipate potential problems.

Being a skilled (not just “time in grade”) belayer, or having a skilled belayer watching your back, has many advantages. It puts you in a position to manage our partners second least on life(rope)?”

Helps us manage the forces and energy developed in a fall. Basically speaking, this is the equation for the for developed in a fall: Weight x distance/stopping distance x two = maximum dynamic load (force). Weight x Distance will provide us with the average dynamic load, but we are more interest in “Maximums that we may have to handle.”

For example: If a person weighs about 200 lbs and falls their height (6 feet) and stops quickly, they can develop over 2,000 lbs of force.

Belay Practice, with the Professionals at Alta Ski Resort. Ski Lift Evac, and Worker Rescue Training program
  1. The force on the top anchor (in top roped climbing or lead climbing) is increased, due to the pulley effect. If the above example is used, the force on the anchor would be approximately 3,300 lbs
  2. The rope stretch helps manage these forces, but a skilled belay can do a number of things to improve the leader’s ability to climb more difficult routes, have a more fulfilling experience, and minimize the risks associated with climbing.
  3. Learning these principles associated with belaying and advance belays has several advantages
    1. An obvious one, it improves safety
    2. It allows you (your team) to climb faster and speed is often safety.
    3. It enables your (your team) to climb more difficult routes
    4. It improves the adventure or experience. Instead of having your attention on watching for potential negative situations, you can enjoy the ride.
Near misses are much more common than many of us realize. This belayer is being lifted off the ground as she catches a top roped fall.

If you are interested in attending this clinic please contact me for details: d.hansen@HansenSpecialities.com

*I have stories of a lot of incidents dealing with belays. The on that comes to mind is in Rock Canyon, belaying from the top as a climber climbs the “Green Monster.” The belayer was pulled off, and nearly died, I did not hear how bad his second was hurt.

**There are a number of variables, which we will discuss