Forums: Climbing Disciplines: Indoor Gyms:
local gym teaching poor belaying?
RSS FeedRSS Feeds for Indoor Gyms

Premier Sponsor:

 


iceaxe23


Mar 1, 2006, 5:47 PM
Post #1 of 61 (11974 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jan 29, 2006
Posts: 35

local gym teaching poor belaying?
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Ok I consider myself a knowledgeable and safe climber...and I go with some friends to a gym I used to go to. I had not been there since 1999. All new people. They still have me as belay qualified but not lead qualified anymore due to me not being there in some time which I thought was safe... and the rest of my group has to take a basic knot and belay test. I taught everyone that when using an ATC the ropes should never be parallel and your brake hand never leaves contact with the rope..and the standard hands down meathod... Your brake hand is always down almost like you are rappelling (ever try rapping with parallel ropes?!?) I find out later this guy makes them have the ropes totally parallel and my girlfriend tried to tell him that isn't as safe. He made her catch "surprise falls" his way and she said it hurt and she burned her hands a little as his method had the break hand at times right by your face with the ropes totally parallel and the climber fell some as he was not caught right away. whenever her and I climb I take surprise falls and she catches me instantly with the standard method. It's funny as I just read an article about the same thing in Rock and ice magazine. They said many gyms teach the rope parallel way and it is not safe. I know some do the hand up and some do the hands down....but hands up totally parallel is not safe at all...What do you do in situations like this? I felt this was not safe and he was teaching people not to be safe. I should have watched them...I was too busy in the bouldering area...One guy in the group was an old school climber and this guy had a stitch plate and the "coach" was telling the guy how to use it wrong and the guy who has used it for years correctly tried to explain to the "coach" how to use it correctly and finally gave up and just used someone else's atc. I heard the majority of this second hand from the group, but I did catch the last belay and saw the parallel ropes and was shocked...am I just freaking out over nothing?


sbaclimber


Mar 1, 2006, 6:03 PM
Post #2 of 61 (11974 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jan 21, 2004
Posts: 3080

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
...am I just freaking out over nothing?
No, you are perfectly correct in being very concerned about this!
There is ONE belay method commonly used in gyms that does require the brake end to be parallel to the climber's end of the rope when arresting a fall. That is when using a Munter/Italian Hitch.
When using any non-autolocking belay device that I am aware of, the brake hand should be 'down'. Even autolockers can (and often should) be used this way.
They are teaching something very dangerous at this gym! If you want to do something about it, I would suggest talking to whoever the person is who is responsible for training the staff. If they are not aware that this is incorrect and/or will not believe you, then there are plenty of books and other resources that they can be shown indicating the proper way of arresting a fall.


whoa


Mar 1, 2006, 6:10 PM
Post #3 of 61 (11974 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Dec 19, 2005
Posts: 193

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In the questioned practice, do you mean the brake end of the rope is always parallel to the climber's end, or just when sliding the brake hand back to the ATC, as in this drawing from Princeton Univ.'s basics website:

http://www.princeton.edu/...raphics/atcbela1.gif


thetroutscout


Mar 1, 2006, 6:16 PM
Post #4 of 61 (11974 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jun 23, 2004
Posts: 388

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

You shouldn't say it isn't safe. Is just not "as" safe. It sounds like from your interaction with the employees that they might not be open to criticism. Talk to the manager/owner and if he acts the same way, find a new gym. Palm up/parallel seems easier for people to learn. I'd rather have a belay that is good at palm up/parallel rather than ok at palm down/perpendicular, at least in the gym. Lead by example and maybe others will follow.

^^ike


luke_flowers


Mar 1, 2006, 6:28 PM
Post #5 of 61 (11974 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Dec 2, 2005
Posts: 31

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

You are definitely not freaking out over nothing. I would definitely be very careful of the technique which you are describing, and if you choose to climb further at that gym then be aware of the way any partners you climb with use their devices.

The 'hands up - rope parallel' style of belay is a relic of the old days of body belaying and is really not appropriate for use with modern belay tubes or even the older belay plate devices. Those devices rely on surface area and angle of contact between device and rope to initiate braking. If the ropes are parallel then the only surface contact is around the carabiner (no different than having a top rope go through a carabiner down to bare hands). Since this is the case, all of the friction required to slow a climber's fall will be derived from the hand holding the rope, causing in the best case scenario a burned hand, and in the worst a dropped climber.

In general the ideal situation when delaying with a modern braking device is to always default back to a braking position when not managing the rope. This means that the worst likely event is that a top roper gets a little extra slack, or a leader gets hosed if you are completely distracted. The other 'technique' will very likely result in a dropped climber if a fall occurs when the belayer is not paying attention...obviously dangerous.

Finally I would find out if the individual instructing is following gym policy or teaching his own misguided method...then act accordingly.


sbaclimber


Mar 1, 2006, 6:34 PM
Post #6 of 61 (11974 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jan 21, 2004
Posts: 3080

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
This means that the worst likely event is that ... a leader gets hosed if you are completely distracted.

Sounds like a pretty bad scenario to me!
Actually, I can't think of a much worse event....

:wink:


Partner ctardi


Mar 1, 2006, 9:43 PM
Post #7 of 61 (11974 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 8, 2004
Posts: 1278

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Well, you could try talking to the owner, and ask if you can have permission to belay that way.

Basically it boils down to thier gym, their rules. If you don't think it's right, talk to the owner. There can be some cases when instructors who have been doing it that way will teach it that way, not on purpose, but out of habit. But like I said, if you have a problem, talk to the owner, they will want to hear about it. Just don't say "your belay meathod is wrong, you are an idiot!", just tell him that you dislike the belay meathod you are being shown, and ask if you can belay your way, if he/she says no, offer to show them why it's safer.

The most important thing that the owner should care about is people's safety.


joshy8200


Mar 1, 2006, 10:08 PM
Post #8 of 61 (11974 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Sep 30, 2002
Posts: 646

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:

The 'hands up - rope parallel' style of belay is a relic of the old days of body belaying and is really not appropriate for use with modern belay tubes or even the older belay plate devices. Those devices rely on surface area and angle of contact between device and rope to initiate braking. If the ropes are parallel then the only surface contact is around the carabiner (no different than having a top rope go through a carabiner down to bare hands). Since this is the case, all of the friction required to slow a climber's fall will be derived from the hand holding the rope, causing in the best case scenario a burned hand, and in the worst a dropped climber.

Yet somehow for YEARS I and other climbers have arrested MANY falls without dropping or burning their hands. NOT ONCE HAVE I EVER BURNED MY HANDS OR DROPPED A FALLING CLIMBER BELAYING HANDS UP.

In reply to:
In general the ideal situation when delaying with a modern braking device is to always default back to a braking position when not managing the rope.

Yes. But when you are taking in or letting out slack...you're not in the break position because you're taking in or playing out slack.

In reply to:
The other 'technique' will very likely result in a dropped climber if a fall occurs when the belayer is not paying attention...obviously dangerous.

The 'technique' does not drop a climber. As I pointed out, hands-up, is a tried and true method. PEOPLE who do not belay properly with ANY TECHNIQUE drop people.

But hey...just felt like pointing a few things out. I totally agree with the merits of using the hands down method. At times it is cumbersome with someone climbing fast on a top-rope...then it's time for hands up. Other times hands-down is JUST as good.


lambone


Mar 1, 2006, 10:36 PM
Post #9 of 61 (11974 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 30, 2003
Posts: 1399

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
as in this drawing from Princeton Univ.'s basics website:

http://www.princeton.edu/...raphics/atcbela1.gif

This is how we teach belaying. It is how I have taught belaying for ten years. It is perfectly safe if taught properly, and as the other guy said, it is an easier method to teach and learn.

You think that is sketchy. :? Our local competing gym gives anyone a Gri-Gri and says "go-for-it" with 5 minutes training if any. Seriously, parents who bring kids for birthday parties are handed a gri-gri and belay for the party, with no training. They don't even tie in with a figure 8, they just clip in with biners pre-attache dto the rope. We get tons of belay tests at our gym with people who think they know how to belay, but can't tie a figure 8 and have never seen an ATC. Now THAT is sketchy. And it sucks because they think we are lame when we fail them on the belay test.


hugepedro


Mar 1, 2006, 11:15 PM
Post #10 of 61 (11974 views)
Shortcut

Registered: May 28, 2002
Posts: 2875

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
I taught everyone that when using an ATC the ropes should never be parallel and your brake hand never leaves contact with the rope..and the standard hands down meathod... Your brake hand is always down almost like you are rappelling (ever try rapping with parallel ropes?!?) I find out later this guy makes them have the ropes totally parallel and my girlfriend tried to tell him that isn't as safe. He made her catch "surprise falls" his way and she said it hurt and she burned her hands a little as his method had the break hand at times right by your face with the ropes totally parallel and the climber fell some as he was not caught right away.

If you teach people that the ropes should never be parallel then you are teaching inferior belay technique. After the 3rd time you short-roped me I would ask to be lowered so I could smack you upside the head with a #2 Camalot.

There is nothing wrong with belaying with your brake hand palm-side up.

The only problem I see is that your girlfriend didn't lock off the rope to arrest the fall. So either the coach taught her incorrectly, or she didn't understand her instruction. If you've climbed with your girlfriend before, and she has held your falls, shouldn't she have known how to lock off the rope? Or is it that because you taught her to always hold the rope in the braking position, where falls were held easily, she never learned that she needed to lock off the rope, then along came the gym coach who taught her a different technigue and she didn't realize that with this technique she would still have to move the rope to the braking position?


garylogie


Mar 2, 2006, 6:46 AM
Post #11 of 61 (11974 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Feb 15, 2006
Posts: 26

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I had a similar problem with the gym staff not being very responsive to my ideas of what is safe and what isn't a few years back. I spoke to the manager about it after a while and he finally understood what i meant after I'd shown him what I meant physically and explained that I thought that my way was better, not that theirs was wrong.

Just explain it like that and show them. A picture is worth a thousand words!


joshy8200


Mar 2, 2006, 7:21 AM
Post #12 of 61 (11974 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Sep 30, 2002
Posts: 646

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
If you teach people that the ropes should never be parallel then you are teaching inferior belay technique. After the 3rd time you short-roped me I would ask to be lowered so I could smack you upside the head with a #2 Camalot.

YEP.

In reply to:
There is nothing wrong with belaying with your brake hand palm-side up.

The only problem I see is that your girlfriend didn't lock off the rope to arrest the fall...

Exactly.


kydd76


Mar 2, 2006, 7:31 AM
Post #13 of 61 (11974 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jun 16, 2005
Posts: 228

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
In the questioned practice, do you mean the brake end of the rope is always parallel to the climber's end, or just when sliding the brake hand back to the ATC, as in this drawing from Princeton Univ.'s basics website:

http://www.princeton.edu/...raphics/atcbela1.gif

I have used the slip, slap, slid method for over ten years with every kind of belay device and with a body belay. It has never failed to catch a fall. Even with iced ropes and heavy gloves on. I have never had a burn on my hands. I have never dropped a climber at any time. What I can say is that with this technique used properly, you should have no problems are concerns. I even use this method to rap, it is easier to use on double rope when there is lots of friction in the system. This is my thoughts any way, do what is comfortable, but safe, and have fun.


fracture


Mar 2, 2006, 7:31 AM
Post #14 of 61 (11974 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jun 12, 2003
Posts: 1814

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

OP: Here is a thread about that R&I article (and why it sucked).


cintune


Mar 2, 2006, 7:32 AM
Post #15 of 61 (11974 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 10, 2004
Posts: 1293

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
The 'technique' does not drop a climber. As I pointed out, hands-up, is a tried and true method. PEOPLE who do not belay properly with ANY TECHNIQUE drop people.
So true. I've never understood why people latch on to a single "ultimate" belay technique and then try to convince anyone who does it differently that they're going to kill someone. Belaying is a dynamic process, on long routes your hands and arms will get tired using any single robotic technique, you'll be moving around, your climber will be moving at varying rates of speed, and what you need most is versatility and experience, not a dogmatic belief in a single perfect way to do things. Hands up, hands-down, ropes parallel, ropes tangent, the only real constants are to never let go of the brake strand and always pay full attention to what's happening so you can lock off in an instant. The rest is a matter of preferences, practice, and circumstances.


kydd76


Mar 2, 2006, 7:37 AM
Post #16 of 61 (11974 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jun 16, 2005
Posts: 228

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Climbing does not hurt climbers, falling does.


iceaxe23


Mar 2, 2006, 1:52 PM
Post #17 of 61 (11974 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jan 29, 2006
Posts: 35

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

thanks all for the feedback...to clear some things up...I did teach them how to break and not just keep their hands down in the break position. If you kept your hand down you could never take up/give slack. You would be fighting resistance. You have it off to the side and lock down immediately during a fall. Also I have never short roped anyone even warming up on easy climbs (well maybe way back in the day). I never said palm side up was wrong.If I am teaching inferior ways of belaying with an atc by telling them not to have the ropes parallel well I am just going by what I was taught (that has worked safely for many years) and pure mechanics of an atc (ropes parallel no friction). I was taught that way by crazy Euros about 15 years ago (via stitch plate-and been using atc for about 10 years[when I was an HRST master training in the Marines we used the Munter hitch 90% of the time and that is different]). Even using a tube devise for rapping (on a single line) you learn that if you raise the trail end of the rope up near parallel you get moving VERY quick and that is why you don't see people rapping with the ropes parallel. (double ropes, alpine climbing, ect are all differnet..this was about gym climbing for somewhat newbees)And yes at least it could have been worse as they could have just handed them GriGri's..lol

To defend my girlfriend: she just said when she got a surprise fall and had the ropes parallel that the rope and climber gained speed very quick as she started to lock down and it was much harder than the method that she was comfortable with having the brake hand off to the side and then locking down.

So after reading everyones responses, talking to other climbers, and doing some research I see this is going to be just like Coke vs. Pepsi as I got so many mixed answers.
I may be stuck in my paradigm of how to belay, but so are so many others.
As long as people do the method they are comfortable with it, and it's safe, so be it.


on a side note:
this would make a great show for the Discovery channel's myth busters to see the physics of which method is safest


lambone


Mar 2, 2006, 1:58 PM
Post #18 of 61 (11974 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 30, 2003
Posts: 1399

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

you know what man, you are preaching to the choir. nobody really cares that you think your way is the best way or whatever. it is a circular debate leading nowhere. They last post on the first page puts it best, in climbing there are allways more then one way to do things, some ways work best for certain circumstances. Before you call some one dangerous, or what someone is doing as dangerous, you should really have good reason.


iceaxe23


Mar 2, 2006, 2:03 PM
Post #19 of 61 (11974 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jan 29, 2006
Posts: 35

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
you know what man, you are preaching to the choir. nobody really cares that you think your way is the best way or whatever. it is a circular debate leading nowhere. They last post on the first page puts it best, in climbing there are allways more then one way to do things, some ways work best for certain circumstances.

wow I thought I just said that in my last post :?:


curtis_g


Mar 2, 2006, 2:19 PM
Post #20 of 61 (11974 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 20, 2005
Posts: 594

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
Climbing does not hurt climbers, falling does.

i do not agree.
three days of pulling down on rock and my fingers hurt.
and my arms hurt. climbing hurts. faling hurts MORE.
hahaha.

about the belay issue:

I WAS TAUGHT to belay by not giving any attention to the rope to the climber. like, just do a right arm curl and grab your left hand above your right to slide your break back down to your waist/hip.

i still do you my left to pull in the slack much easier through the device but i dont pull up slack up in front of me, parallel to the live end of the rope...that's just stupid.

why would you want to pull up slack parallel when you can pull it off to the side and be 2 times safer? you can take your left (guide) hand off the rope to help you slide down your break and keep your slack end off to the side and not parallel. it just seems dumb to keep the ropes parallel. I find it unnecessary I guess.


jimdavis


Mar 2, 2006, 2:47 PM
Post #21 of 61 (11974 views)
Shortcut

Registered: May 1, 2003
Posts: 1935

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
as in this drawing from Princeton Univ.'s basics website:

http://www.princeton.edu/...raphics/atcbela1.gif

This is how we teach belaying. It is how I have taught belaying for ten years. It is perfectly safe if taught properly, and as the other guy said, it is an easier method to teach and learn.

I'll disagree. I've worked in a gym for 4 years now, teaching belay seminars every week or so...I find that beginners pick up the hands down method a lot quicker. IMO.
I think beginners usually can take slack in faster your way, but I've seen a lot of people struggle to catch falls this way, and even more people switching hands all the time.

I'd agree with most people's opinions that whatever you feel the most confident with, is best for you. However, from a instructors standpoint, and a risk management standpoint...I would teach the hands down method, and that's all I'd allow at my gym (for TR's at least).

I found myself in the same situation 3 years ago. I learned hands down (after learning the parallel way) and strongly prefered it. I went to a gym in PA, Vertical Extreem, with 4 friends. I offered to teach them all to belay, but the staff wouldn't allow me to...instead they HAD to take the VE "class". They insisted on teaching parallel technique on grigri's. Start to finish for my friends who didn't know what belaying was before the class.....20mins.

My friends had trouble using the method, so after they all got approved to belay there (yet could barely do it, not so that I felt comfortable with them) I taught them how to belay hands down....they all adopted it, and with a little coaching did just fine.

Afterwards I asked the staff why they prefered this parallel method...met with quite a bit of hostility, I was told that I was wrong, and that my way wasn't the standard way to belay. After 5 mins of dealing with her BS, I let her know she could argue standards with the AMGA or NOLS, both of whom teach this technique.

I left the gym, and 4 months later heard they had a belayer drop a climber close to 40' feet at a b-day party there....after passing their 20min belay class. I decided not to climb there anymore.

You'd be supprised how many gyms are sketchy as hell...which is terrible because these days, it's where 75% of climbers get their first exposure/ instruction in climbing.

I kinda hope some required standards are put in place soon. It sucks that we have to do this...but there are too many gyms that aren't doing a good job of teaching safe techniques.

Cheers,
Jim


roniravia


Mar 2, 2006, 2:49 PM
Post #22 of 61 (11974 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Sep 30, 2003
Posts: 12

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I've seen so many people in the crags belaying like that that I was terrified. I don't care how many people caught a leader's fall with that "parallel rope technique" - I will never consider it safe. It's kind of like saying, yeah, I'm driving 90mph on the freeway for years and I'm still alive.


poedoe


Mar 2, 2006, 2:54 PM
Post #23 of 61 (11974 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Mar 25, 2005
Posts: 106

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
You are definitely not freaking out over nothing. I would definitely be very careful of the technique which you are describing, and if you choose to climb further at that gym then be aware of the way any partners you climb with use their devices.

The 'hands up - rope parallel' style of belay is a relic of the old days of body belaying and is really not appropriate for use with modern belay tubes or even the older belay plate devices. Those devices rely on surface area and angle of contact between device and rope to initiate braking. If the ropes are parallel then the only surface contact is around the carabiner (no different than having a top rope go through a carabiner down to bare hands). Since this is the case, all of the friction required to slow a climber's fall will be derived from the hand holding the rope, causing in the best case scenario a burned hand, and in the worst a dropped climber.

In general the ideal situation when delaying with a modern braking device is to always default back to a braking position when not managing the rope. This means that the worst likely event is that a top roper gets a little extra slack, or a leader gets hosed if you are completely distracted. The other 'technique' will very likely result in a dropped climber if a fall occurs when the belayer is not paying attention...obviously dangerous.

Finally I would find out if the individual instructing is following gym policy or teaching his own misguided method...then act accordingly.

This post almost says it all. However it is not surface area and angle of contact that make the difference, it is purely friction. It may come as a surprise to many, but when dealing with two essentially smooth surfaces friction does not depend on surface area. In such a case the friction depends on the force and what is known as the co-efficient of friction. In the case of the hands up rope parrallell method, the co-efficient of friction is extremely low, therefore in order to keep the rope from sliding the force applied to the rope (by your hands) must be much higher. In the other method is is completely the opposite, by bending the rope you're greatly increasing the co-efficient, thereby requiring a substantialy lower amount of force.

The hands up method is just blantently wrong. When we talk about belaying, we often refer to our "brake hand." I'm sure everyone will agree that when we say break hand we mean just that, one brake hand and not two. I am willing to bet that with two fingers nearly anyone can arrest even the harshest fall if they were to belay with the hands down method. I would like to hear anyone who is a fan of the hands up method declare with confidence that they could do the same hands up. And as for the argument that it is easier to teach beginners, and the reply to that is that is just stupid. Since when was it acceptable to teach anything the wrong way just because it was easier to understand? In the 1st grade do kids learn to add and subtract with a calculator, or by hand? The point is if you are going to do something, do it correct the first time even if it takes more time.

I have also heard that that some people just like the hands up method and that it is easier to use and I can agree to that to an extent. I myself heard that from someone who was belaying me (after I pointed out they should belay hands down) and my simple response to them was that I liked being alive, and it was easier for me not to die if I didn't hit the ground because too much rope slipped through my belayers device. Hands up is plain wrong, End of Story.


curtis_g


Mar 2, 2006, 3:03 PM
Post #24 of 61 (11974 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 20, 2005
Posts: 594

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
I'll disagree. I've worked in a gym for 4 years now, teaching belay seminars every week or so...I find that beginners pick up the hands down method a lot quicker. IMO.
I think beginners usually can take slack in faster your way, but I've seen a lot of people struggle to catch falls this way, and even more people switching hands all the time.

I'd agree with most people's opinions that whatever you feel the most confident with, is best for you. However, from a instructors standpoint, and a risk management standpoint...I would teach the hands down method, and that's all I'd allow at my gym (for TR's at least).

I found myself in the same situation 3 years ago. I learned hands down (after learning the parallel way) and strongly prefered it. I went to a gym in PA, Vertical Extreem, with 4 friends. I offered to teach them all to belay, but the staff wouldn't allow me to...instead they HAD to take the VE "class". They insisted on teaching parallel technique on grigri's. Start to finish for my friends who didn't know what belaying was before the class.....20mins.

My friends had trouble using the method, so after they all got approved to belay there (yet could barely do it, not so that I felt comfortable with them) I taught them how to belay hands down....they all adopted it, and with a little coaching did just fine.

Afterwards I asked the staff why they prefered this parallel method...met with quite a bit of hostility, I was told that I was wrong, and that my way wasn't the standard way to belay. After 5 mins of dealing with her BS, I let her know she could argue standards with the AMGA or NOLS, both of whom teach this technique.

I left the gym, and 4 months later heard they had a belayer drop a climber close to 40' feet at a b-day party there....after passing their 20min belay class. I decided not to climb there anymore.

You'd be supprised how many gyms are sketchy as hell...which is terrible because these days, it's where 75% of climbers get their first exposure/ instruction in climbing.

I kinda hope some required standards are put in place soon. It sucks that we have to do this...but there are too many gyms that aren't doing a good job of teaching safe techniques.

Cheers,
Jim

well said. it seems that gyms like to teach this technique, but when i want to teach someone, or when i got taught or when I see a friend teaching a friend, the way that you and I described is the preferred method.

It's almost like the gyms just want to throw people through the classes so they figure that the most static technique (simplest/least motion/least technical) is preferred, but when people actually know the person they are teaching, they take the time to teach them the (possibly) longer or more complicated (but safer) way. The gym instructors wouldn't care because they don't own the gym and they aren't on the live end. they just want to get those n00bs away from them.
Why wouldn't you want the person belaying to be doing so with a technique that puts the slack in the safest position at all times?

p.s. im going to the gym in an hour to teach 2 or three of my friends how to belay. I'll teach them my way, forget the guide hand unless you're having trouble pulling in the slack, then use that guide hand to tighten (off to the side of course) the brake end to slide the brake hand.

but don't worry. i'll also teach them how to stand there like a slave and hold the slack, after i hold the slack for their first belay and make sure they got it down.


hugepedro


Mar 2, 2006, 4:40 PM
Post #25 of 61 (11974 views)
Shortcut

Registered: May 28, 2002
Posts: 2875

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
To defend my girlfriend: she just said when she got a surprise fall and had the ropes parallel that the rope and climber gained speed very quick as she started to lock down and it was much harder than the method that she was comfortable with having the brake hand off to the side and then locking down.


Ah, so the only real problem here is that your girlfriend wasn't paying attention. There is no excuse for not being able to lock off the rope before the leader's weight comes onto it.


hugepedro


Mar 2, 2006, 4:55 PM
Post #26 of 61 (8447 views)
Shortcut

Registered: May 28, 2002
Posts: 2875

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
The hands up method is just blantently wrong. When we talk about belaying, we often refer to our "brake hand." I'm sure everyone will agree that when we say break hand we mean just that, one brake hand and not two. I am willing to bet that with two fingers nearly anyone can arrest even the harshest fall if they were to belay with the hands down method. I would like to hear anyone who is a fan of the hands up method declare with confidence that they could do the same hands up.

No, your post is what's blatantly wrong. Your assertion is totally ridiculous. There is nothing wrong with either hands up or hands down. If one can't teach a complete noob to belay competently using either method, then one is a poor teacher.

You hold the ropes in a parallel position while you are paying out or taking up slack, and when your climber isn't moving you keep your brake hand in a "neutral" position toward the side, ready to lock down in case of a fall, or ready to move back to parallel if your climber starts moving. It's easy to do, and easy to teach.


kubi


Mar 2, 2006, 5:17 PM
Post #27 of 61 (8447 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Sep 15, 2004
Posts: 815

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

this thread is a complete clusterfuck. I assume everyone that advocates using the method that the OP's girlfriend was taught is confusing it with the "palm up" method vs. the "palm down" method.

If you are in favor of belaying with the rope strands parallel using a standard belay device...why? I can see no reason to ever belay like this, and I would not climb with anyone who wanted to belay like that.


hugepedro


Mar 2, 2006, 6:40 PM
Post #28 of 61 (8447 views)
Shortcut

Registered: May 28, 2002
Posts: 2875

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
If you are in favor of belaying with the rope strands parallel using a standard belay device...why? I can see no reason to ever belay like this, and I would not climb with anyone who wanted to belay like that.

As I said in the post just before yours, you have the ropes parallel while you're paying out rope or taking up slack. You position your brake hand in a "neutral" position to the side when the climber isn't moving. Whether you hold the rope palm up or palm down makes no difference whatsoever.


curtis_g


Mar 2, 2006, 7:50 PM
Post #29 of 61 (8447 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 20, 2005
Posts: 594

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
If you are in favor of belaying with the rope strands parallel using a standard belay device...why? I can see no reason to ever belay like this, and I would not climb with anyone who wanted to belay like that.

As I said in the post just before yours, you have the ropes parallel while you're paying out rope or taking up slack. You position your brake hand in a "neutral" position to the side when the climber isn't moving. Whether you hold the rope palm up or palm down makes no difference whatsoever.

huge, do you even read what you quote?
WE ALL KNOW THAT PAMLS UP/DOWN IS NOT BEING DEBATED HERE!!!

but why ON EARTH would you prefer to have your belayer hold the ropes parallel AT ANY TIME DURING THE BELAY if it would be just as easy and twice as safe to pull in slack off to the side closer to a locked-off position?


hugepedro


Mar 3, 2006, 6:51 AM
Post #30 of 61 (8447 views)
Shortcut

Registered: May 28, 2002
Posts: 2875

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Oh you're right, I thought part of this discussion was also about palm up vs. down. My bad.

Sure, you can haul in slack while holding the rope out toward the side, but you can't pay out rope as easily in that position, so you will end up short roping a climber who is on lead, and that is a pain in the butt.

From a safety perspective it makes no difference. No matter where your hand position is, if you can't lock off a fall you are an incompetent belayer.

The only problem in the original post is that his girlfriend was not paying attention, she was caught by surprise and didn't lock off the rope before the climber's weight came on it. She was not a competent belayer. Perhaps she is now, unless her boyfriend confused her by blaming it on the technique the gym taught thus preventing her from learning a lesson. There is nothing wrong with the technique the gym taught.


kubi


Mar 3, 2006, 7:13 AM
Post #31 of 61 (8447 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Sep 15, 2004
Posts: 815

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
Oh you're right, I thought part of this discussion was also about palm up vs. down. My bad.

You weren't the only one that thought that, I just wanted to get this discussion back on track.

In reply to:
Sure, you can haul in slack while holding the rope out toward the side, but you can't pay out rope as easily in that position, so you will end up short roping a climber who is on lead, and that is a pain in the butt.

This is how I pay out slack.

1) reach down to belay device with guide hand and grab rope
2) pull rope out from belay device while simultaneously bringing brake hand in towards belay device.

I assumed this is how everyone does it. The beauty is that it makes no difference where your brake hand is, locked-off down by your thigh or up by your face, it will still feed out slack just as fast. Why bring your hand out of the locked off position needlessly?

In reply to:
From a safety perspective it makes no difference. No matter where your hand position is, if you can't lock off a fall you are an incompetent belayer.

I agree somewhat, in that you should be able to quickly lock off the belay no matter what position your hand is in, however, there are plenty of situations (especially in top-roping) where the climber can fall onto the rope before you realize they are falling.

In reply to:
There is nothing wrong with the technique the gym taught.

Have you read these posts? Belaying with parallel ropes is terrible technique and should never be used, let alone taught.


bighigaz


Mar 3, 2006, 7:36 AM
Post #32 of 61 (8447 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Sep 30, 2002
Posts: 695

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

This forum is only 3 pages long, so CLEARLY some clarification is needed. :roll:
It won't be a valuable forum until it reaches AT LEAST 28!

Anyway, The original poster is no idiot, there is at least SOME danger to having the ropes PARALLEL. This, first, needs clarification: PARALLEL does not mean the brake hand is pointing away from the climber. It means the ropes are PARALLEL, or NEXT TO EACH OTHER. The danger I see hear, especially with a NEW BELAYER, is the potential to confuse the brake side of the rope. I've seen it happen many times when new belayers want to do a "temporary switch" and for a moment there IS NO BRAKE... or worse, they FORGET which side is the brake!

Remedy: Simply emphasize a "slide" up the brake side, NEVER removing your hand from the rope. Everyone finds a way that's easiest for them, and works. Point is, don't take your hand of the brake. (Duh.)

R&I seems to have tried to address the subject, but did it very poorly. The pictures sucked, and never really showed a "ropes parallel" scenario! So the entire point of their article was lost.

In my opinion, the belay technique in question is perfectly safe as long as the belayer is always ready with the brake hand, and the ropes are never actually laid side-by-side. (It isn't necessary!) Any other brake-hand up configuration would be okay for working the slack in the rope as long the belayer is aware to NEVER take his hand of the brake! Simple.


kubi


Mar 3, 2006, 8:14 AM
Post #33 of 61 (8447 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Sep 15, 2004
Posts: 815

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
R&I seems to have tried to address the subject, but did it very poorly. The pictures sucked, and never really showed a "ropes parallel" scenario! So the entire point of their article was lost.

you are confusing the issue again. R&I addressed palm-up vs. palm-down, which is NOT what this discussion is about

In reply to:
In my opinion, the belay technique in question is perfectly safe as long as the belayer is always ready with the brake hand, and the ropes are never actually laid side-by-side. (It isn't necessary!) Any other brake-hand up configuration would be okay for working the slack in the rope as long the belayer is aware to NEVER take his hand of the brake! Simple.

Once again, ropes parallel is undoubtably more dangerous than holding the rope in a locked-off position, and serves no purpose whatsoever. Why on earth would you belay like this? Why be a dangerous belayer for no reason? It's not safe, it's not easier, it should never be done.


jt512


Mar 3, 2006, 10:59 AM
Post #34 of 61 (8447 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 11, 2001
Posts: 21892

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:

If you teach people that the ropes should never be parallel then you are teaching inferior belay technique. After the 3rd time you short-roped me I would ask to be lowered so I could smack you upside the head with a #2 Camalot.

Agreed, except that I'd whack the belayer with a stickclip, not a Camalot.

Jay


kubi


Mar 3, 2006, 11:13 AM
Post #35 of 61 (8447 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Sep 15, 2004
Posts: 815

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:

If you teach people that the ropes should never be parallel then you are teaching inferior belay technique. After the 3rd time you short-roped me I would ask to be lowered so I could smack you upside the head with a #2 Camalot.

Agreed, except that I'd whack the belayer with a stickclip, not a Camalot.

Jay

Hay Jay,

How does holding the ropes parallel decrease the likelihood of short-roping a leader? Unless you are belaying in some way I've never seen before, it doesn't matter where your brake hand is, so it might as well be down.


jt512


Mar 3, 2006, 12:36 PM
Post #36 of 61 (8447 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 11, 2001
Posts: 21892

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
In reply to:

If you teach people that the ropes should never be parallel then you are teaching inferior belay technique. After the 3rd time you short-roped me I would ask to be lowered so I could smack you upside the head with a #2 Camalot.

Agreed, except that I'd whack the belayer with a stickclip, not a Camalot.

Jay

Hay Jay,

How does holding the ropes parallel decrease the likelihood of short-roping a leader? Unless you are belaying in some way I've never seen before, it doesn't matter where your brake hand is, so it might as well be down.

You don't "hold" the ropes in parallel. You keep the ropes 45- to 90-degrees by default. If the belayer falls you lock off, a simple fact that most of the proponents of the locked-off-by-default method seem to overlook. To take in slack, you use the pinch-and-slide method depicted on the first page of this thread. After taking in the requisite amount of slack, you go back to the 45- to 90-degree default position. As I discussed in great length and repitition in the other, linked-to thread, the advantage of this postition over a locked-off position, is that you can more quickly respond to the needs of your partner, since you don't have to raise your brake hand first.

To address your question of short-roping, let's look at your previous post:
In reply to:
This is how I pay out slack.

1) reach down to belay device with guide hand and grab rope
2) pull rope out from belay device while simultaneously bringing brake hand in towards belay device.

So far, so good, but now what do you if you your partner needs two more full arm lengths of slack in about a half-second to make a high, overhead clip from a dicey clipping hold? Using your method you slide your guide hand down the rope toward the belay device while simultaneously sliding your brake hand down the rope. Then you pull out slack according to the procedure you describe. Then you repeat the whole procedure to pull out the third arm-length of slack.

Like, Hugepedro, my experience with belayers who try to use this technique is that they repeatedly short-rope me when I attempt to make long, fast clips.

Here is a faster way to pay out large amounts of slack: Belay palms-up with the ropes held at 45- to 90-degrees. To pay out slack, bring the brake hand into the parallel position while yarding out the first armful of slack. Do not move the brake hand down to the belay device; there is no reason to do so. Instead, simply loosen the grip with your brake hand enough to allow the rope to slide through it. You don't let go of the rope with the brake hand, and you don't open your fingers completely. Just loosen the grip enough to allow the rope to slide through, just as you do using your method, when you slide the brake hand down the rope. Now, to yard out multiple arm-lengths of rope, just keep your brake hand in front of you with the loosened grip -- don't move it all. Don't slide your guide hand down the rope -- this is too slow -- just let go of the rope completely after yarding out the first armful of slack, and then grab the rope near the belay device and yard out the next armful. Repeat as necessary, and then go back to the 45- to 90-degree default position.

The method is faster for two reasons: first, it eliminates sliding the hands down the rope, and second, the rope can be pulled through the belay device faster with the ropes parallel (less friction, or coefficient of friction, or whatever).

If at any time during the procedure your partner falls, you can simply lock off and give a static catch, or partially lock off to give a dynamic catch. The rope will not be ripped through your hands, as climbers who are not experienced with this technique mistakenly assume.

This is a tried-and-true method of belaying, which has been taught in North America for decades. It is more difficult to learn and teach than the locked-off-default method, but the faster and more flexible belay it affords makes it worth the extra effort.

Jay


hugepedro


Mar 3, 2006, 1:27 PM
Post #37 of 61 (8447 views)
Shortcut

Registered: May 28, 2002
Posts: 2875

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I was wondering when you would get here, Jay. I tried to smack 'em down in your absence, but apparently I'm not as good at smack downs as you.


jt512


Mar 3, 2006, 2:00 PM
Post #38 of 61 (8447 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 11, 2001
Posts: 21892

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
I was wondering when you would get here, Jay. I tried to smack 'em down in your absence, but apparently I'm not as good at smack downs as you.

I'm telling you: it's the Camalot. The clipstick is a far more potent weapon.

Jay


hugepedro


Mar 3, 2006, 2:05 PM
Post #39 of 61 (8447 views)
Shortcut

Registered: May 28, 2002
Posts: 2875

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

:lol: Longer reach, I suppose.


kubi


Mar 3, 2006, 2:06 PM
Post #40 of 61 (8447 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Sep 15, 2004
Posts: 815

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
You don't "hold" the ropes in parallel. You keep the ropes 45- to 90-degrees by default.

if you have the rope at 45-90 degrees by default then you aren't belaying with the ropes parallel like the girl in the OP was told to do.

After reading your post, I belay almost the exact same way as you.


luke_flowers


Mar 3, 2006, 3:06 PM
Post #41 of 61 (8447 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Dec 2, 2005
Posts: 31

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
However it is not surface area and angle of contact that make the difference, it is purely friction

Hate to pick such a minor point in a post so clearly aimed at backing up my oppinion (thanks for that) but surface area increases friction, and the more obtuse the angle between the belay rope and live rope the more pressure exerted on the frictional surfaces, which also further increases the friction. I was just trying to skip a step since I 'assumed' that everyone would know that friction was what made a friction braking device work.

Also for all those who honestly believe that a new belayer won't be distracted while belaying, and that they will never ever be distracted at the same time that the climber takes a fall, and with a ropes parallel technique they'll be able to move to the braking position in time to catch a fall...good luck with your next game of russian roulette, because the odds are counting down.

I simply believe in the concept of risk management, and reducing the need to react by defaulting back to a braked position when the rope doesn't need to be moving makes more sense to me.

Climb safe all...


hugepedro


Mar 3, 2006, 4:03 PM
Post #42 of 61 (8447 views)
Shortcut

Registered: May 28, 2002
Posts: 2875

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
Also for all those who honestly believe that a new belayer won't be distracted while belaying, and that they will never ever be distracted at the same time that the climber takes a fall, and with a ropes parallel technique they'll be able to move to the braking position in time to catch a fall...good luck with your next game of russian roulette, because the odds are counting down.

That's why you have an experienced climber watch over them until they are experienced enough, or if that's not possible you recognize the risk and you climb as though you are free soloing, or you have them use a gri-gri.

If a belayer can't move their hand into the breaking position then they aren't a safe belayer no matter what technique you teach them. Until they are competent enough to arrest a fall every time, you have to use the above mitigating approaches if you don't want to be dropped.


jt512


Mar 3, 2006, 4:08 PM
Post #43 of 61 (8447 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 11, 2001
Posts: 21892

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
You don't "hold" the ropes in parallel. You keep the ropes 45- to 90-degrees by default.

if you have the rope at 45-90 degrees by default then you aren't belaying with the ropes parallel like the girl in the OP was told to do.

I doubt that she was taught to keep the ropes parallel in front of her all the time. Sounds like a mis-communication to me.

Jay


ridgeclimber


Mar 3, 2006, 4:16 PM
Post #44 of 61 (8447 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Sep 16, 2005
Posts: 163

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I agree, you are absolutely right. Call me crazy, but even when I'm belaying with a munter hitch I keep my hand down, not parallel. This kinks the rope, but I don't even want to allow myself to belay at all in that position. As I figure, belaying is the foundation of safe climbing, why mess with it? If I were in your situation, I would consider leaving the gym.


clayman


Mar 3, 2006, 4:17 PM
Post #45 of 61 (8447 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 20, 2004
Posts: 296

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
There is no excuse for not being able to lock off the rope before the leader's weight comes onto it.

uh....what if you can't see the leader?


socaldudefromquebec


Mar 3, 2006, 4:51 PM
Post #46 of 61 (8447 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jan 26, 2006
Posts: 11

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

gym setting + top rope + beginner belayer + break hand down by default = safer
Reason: much easier to learn that when there is a fall... stay put in your default position (or during the second you were taking slack, then return quickly to default position).

lead climber + experienced belayer +break hand down = maybe slower pay out + safe enough

If the belayer is paying attention (as a lead belayer should be trained to do) they can anticipate the need for pay out and give plenty for a smooth clip. But I agree that the way (I think it was Jay) described giving slack seem faster.

However, I will not let a new belayer belay me if they've just learned (as in: have not put in at least several hours of belaying) the hands up method. Because in these early stages, even though they may look competent, they have not learned the reflex to lower their brake end as soon as there is tension in the rope (we don't always see the climber). And a small hesitation is enough for the climber to gain enough speed that the belayer may have a hard time breaking.

I think it's best to teach the hands down method to a new belayer. When they've mastered that and are ready to start lead climbing, then teach them how they can increase their efficiency and speed at lead belaying. If at the same time they are learning to lead climb, they can appreciate the nuance of lead belay.

BTW, the hands up method is what's taught in my local gym where one of the owner has apparently followed an AMGA course and that's the method they were advocating. In the gym I learned (in Montreal) they though me that it's safest to always keep my break hand below the belay device (even in paying out for a leader). Is it slower? Probably. Is it safer? I certainly think so. Is the hand up method safe enough in experienced hands? Probably. Do I let experience belayer belay me with both hand up? Sure, but I will always view this method as inherently less safe.

All this is of course only my opinion... it's worth what it's worth.


hugepedro


Mar 3, 2006, 5:31 PM
Post #47 of 61 (8447 views)
Shortcut

Registered: May 28, 2002
Posts: 2875

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
There is no excuse for not being able to lock off the rope before the leader's weight comes onto it.

uh....what if you can't see the leader?

Um, yeah, I didn't think that needed to be said. Even if you can't see them, usually you will hear them, and/or slack rope will start coming down rapidly.


kydd76


Mar 3, 2006, 6:07 PM
Post #48 of 61 (8447 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jun 16, 2005
Posts: 228

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

if you are not paying, any attention you will drop the climber, burn you hands, or *uck up in some way. there it has been said. i don't care if you use hands up are down. use your mind and pay attention when belaying.


kubi


Mar 3, 2006, 8:18 PM
Post #49 of 61 (8447 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Sep 15, 2004
Posts: 815

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
In reply to:
You don't "hold" the ropes in parallel. You keep the ropes 45- to 90-degrees by default.

if you have the rope at 45-90 degrees by default then you aren't belaying with the ropes parallel like the girl in the OP was told to do.

I doubt that she was taught to keep the ropes parallel in front of her all the time. Sounds like a mis-communication to me.

Jay

I doubted it too, but after reading all the posts on this thread in favor of it, i'm starting to belive.


lambone


Mar 5, 2006, 10:35 AM
Post #50 of 61 (8447 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 30, 2003
Posts: 1399

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

posted on page 2:

In reply to:
I left the gym, and 4 months later heard they had a belayer drop a climber close to 40' feet at a b-day party there....after passing their 20min belay class. I decided not to climb there anymore.

You'd be supprised how many gyms are sketchy as hell...which is terrible because these days, it's where 75% of climbers get their first exposure/ instruction in climbing.

I think the fundememntal problem with alot of climbing instruction, be it at a sketchy gym or through a sketchy friend, has nothing to do with the "hands-up vs hands down" method...it is the 20 minute belay class.

It takes longet then that to teach belaying properly, and to have it sink in. Our classes are at least 1.5 hours, or 2hrs if it's multiple students. I feel that is the minimum.

Our competing gym teaches the 20min belay class with a gri-gri....and we see lots of their folks coming over to our gym with sketchy belay techniques all the time.

I also don't think any gym should enforce the use of one method over another. People are best at the method they know and use most often, it's my opinion that both methods are safe if done properly so let people use what they are comfortable with rather then forcing them to change on the spot and use a method theydon't know and have no practice with.


justthemaid


Mar 6, 2006, 10:28 AM
Post #51 of 61 (6975 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Sep 10, 2004
Posts: 777

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
I doubt that she was taught to keep the ropes parallel in front of her all the time. Sounds like a mis-communication to me.
Jay

I would have thought the same thing... until yesterday. I witnessed not one but 4 people belaying in this method at my gym yesterday. I had never actually seen this before even with rank noobs.

Description: When belaying- ropes parallel. When taking up slack- ropes parallel. When at rest (climber not moving up or down or working out a move)- ropes parallel. This "at rest" position is where the majority of us will have our brake hand in the 45- 90 degree downward position you described- regardless of their belay method. Most disconcerting of all the rope was also parallel when they were lowering their partners. The lowers were jerky and clearly not very controlled.

Freaky

I'm assuming this might be what the OP was talking about. (Correct me if I'm wrong.)


boss


Mar 6, 2006, 10:59 AM
Post #52 of 61 (6975 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Sep 29, 2002
Posts: 235

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Since we're on the topic of belay technique, what are your opinions on this: Belay is with an ATC. Left hand is always on the rope end going to the climber. Right hand is brake and never comes off of the rope. Instead of going to a hands up position to move the brake hand, the brake hand stays down and slips up the rope to readjust position (hand never comes off of the rope just loosens slightly to allow for repositioning). Left hand is left to take in or pay out slack. Overall, rope never reaches a full upward position making lockdown of the belay easy and quick. Safe or not safe?

Boss


landgolier


Mar 6, 2006, 11:36 AM
Post #53 of 61 (6975 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Mar 3, 2005
Posts: 714

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
Since we're on the topic of belay technique, what are your opinions on this: Belay is with an ATC. Left hand is always on the rope end going to the climber. Right hand is brake and never comes off of the rope. Instead of going to a hands up position to move the brake hand, the brake hand stays down and slips up the rope to readjust position (hand never comes off of the rope just loosens slightly to allow for repositioning). Left hand is left to take in or pay out slack. Overall, rope never reaches a full upward position making lockdown of the belay easy and quick. Safe or not safe?

Boss

Add a teaspoon of dried rosemary and salt and pepper to taste, and you have the recipe for monster rope burn, just like mamma used to make it.


cintune


Mar 6, 2006, 11:51 AM
Post #54 of 61 (6975 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 10, 2004
Posts: 1293

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

The is getting ri-god-damned-diculous.There is no single fail-safe belay technique. It all depends on dozens of mitigating factors. Experience is everything, dogmatic theory is worthless. DON'T LET GO OF THE BRAKE STRAND is the only hard and fast rule. Whatever you have to do to make sure you can lock off instantly, do that. You can dance a fucking jig while you're at it, just don't let go.


boss


Mar 6, 2006, 1:14 PM
Post #55 of 61 (6975 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Sep 29, 2002
Posts: 235

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
Since we're on the topic of belay technique, what are your opinions on this: Belay is with an ATC. Left hand is always on the rope end going to the climber. Right hand is brake and never comes off of the rope. Instead of going to a hands up position to move the brake hand, the brake hand stays down and slips up the rope to readjust position (hand never comes off of the rope just loosens slightly to allow for repositioning). Left hand is left to take in or pay out slack. Overall, rope never reaches a full upward position making lockdown of the belay easy and quick. Safe or not safe?

Boss

Add a teaspoon of dried rosemary and salt and pepper to taste, and you have the recipe for monster rope burn, just like mamma used to make it.

No more than when in a hands up position I would imagine.


tisakson


Jun 25, 2006, 11:31 PM
Post #56 of 61 (6975 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jun 14, 2005
Posts: 75

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

uggg....I see it all the time at every crag I go to. Every person is doing the "raise the brake rope up parallel and then slide down with the brake hand not in rapell position". This will not only twist your hand and make it hard to catch a fall but also unsafe as the brake hand is way up in the air most of the time! common sense and geometry says this isn't safe. Our local gym, fortunately, teaches the proper belay technique.


c4c


Jun 26, 2006, 4:13 AM
Post #57 of 61 (6975 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jun 18, 2006
Posts: 1279

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Our society is going downhill fast! kids(adults) no longer have the patience/attention span/inteligence to learn proper technique so we just give them the quickest/easiest method and let them go. a Grigri would be fool-proof except that fools are so ingenius.


sweetchuck


Jun 26, 2006, 5:49 AM
Post #58 of 61 (6975 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 18, 2005
Posts: 151

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

My gym also teaches the parallel all the time method. I look around and cringe, but what can I say? Everyone is doing it the way the gym taught them. They have their hands up at their nose, and the rope parallel. When someone falls they have to whip the rope in an arc of about 3 feet to get to the brake position as the rope is whizzing through the device and their brake fingers rocket towards the hungry ATC. Most people seem to drop the climber about 3 feet, some much more. There is only top roping at my gym so there is no short roping. It’s all about pulling in slack. Personally, I use a method I saw in Quebec. Since the belay device is on the belay loop (something I am still getting used to), the rope to the climber is on top and the brake side is down. I keep both hands below the device and do a shimmy kind of thing to bring in slack. I always have one hand on break, usually two. I can pull in slack as fast as my partner can climb, and if my partner falls I have to move my hands a matter of inches at most to get a good break. They fall inches, not feet. Now, when I belay a leader, my method is similar to the one jt512 detailed.


camp5


Aug 1, 2006, 11:52 PM
Post #59 of 61 (6975 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Feb 7, 2005
Posts: 15

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

As a manager of a climbing gym my advice is to speak to the management as often gym staff try to implant their personal practices which may in fact conflict with the operational standards of the gym. Also gyms accumulate input from various sources, when deciding standards and one of those sources is feedback from customers.

Regarding whether infact the technique is safe or not, it is not a YES / NO answer, as pointed out in the other replies it would depend of various factors such as:
- type of protection (solid sport bolts or dodgy pro gear)
- weight difference between climber and belayer (obviously if the climber is heavier it would be wise to keep the brake hand down)
- type of belay device.

When taking all these factors into account we can conclude that the question is not black and white but shades of grey. For example a burly dad belaying his 10 year old daughter would not experience any issue if the ropes were parallel, also if he were using a figure8 as opposed to a ATC the effect would be even less. However just as the BD ATC XP has two friction modes it is pointed out in the reduced friction mode RFM is recommended when climbing on placed protection, for that very reason a potential "slippage" can be a positive - but again only if the weight difference between climber and belayer does not put the climber is a compromised situation.

In the end it’s a judgement call based on levels of experience, ability and needs.

It is my experience also that the technique shown in the illustrations is only prevalent in US and not common in other areas of the world. It is also my opinion that the technique is comes from the days prior to stitch plates, when figure8 or munter was the belay system, and as such it could be argued that the technique is no longer acceptable or safe when using some belay devices. For example with the figure8 belay device (which by the way is not identified by most manufacturers as a ‘descender’ and the many cases the recommended belay method is to use bight of rope pushed through the ‘smaller’ circle in the fashion of a ATC) even when the ropes are parallel there is still a considerable amount of friction as compared to an ATC or stitch plate type device.

As a general rule, and a policy by which my gym, and many others I know, apply their standards. We will accept whatever the manufacturer outlines as the correct use. Therefore always refer to the “manual” and consider strongly the potential implications of any deviation from these instructions.


curtis_g


Aug 2, 2006, 9:49 AM
Post #60 of 61 (6975 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 20, 2005
Posts: 594

Re: local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
However it is not surface area and angle of contact that make the difference, it is purely friction

Hate to pick such a minor point in a post so clearly aimed at backing up my oppinion (thanks for that) but surface area increases friction, and the more obtuse the angle between the belay rope and live rope the more pressure exerted on the frictional surfaces, which also further increases the friction. I was just trying to skip a step since I 'assumed' that everyone would know that friction was what made a friction braking device work.

Now I hate to add even more to a resurrected thread, but I wsa reading some of the old stuff and I'd like to say that if you're going to nit-pick, do it rite.

Surface area does not increase friction. And increase in surface area with a constant force of preassure (like psi), would increase friction, but it wouldn't just be an increase in surface area. See, to keep a constant preassure and increase surface area at the same time you must increase your preassure that would now be distributed (divided) over a larger area (think hard, say it out loud "pounds per square inch"). So really, to increase friction you increase force/preassure between two surfaces.

peace
Curtis


Ruff_Dog


Apr 20, 2013, 4:06 PM
Post #61 of 61 (983 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Mar 31, 2013
Posts: 56

Re: [jimdavis] local gym teaching poor belaying? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I know that post was 7 years ago, but they still teach that way! I go there semi-regularly now and that's the only way they let you.


Forums : Climbing Disciplines : Indoor Gyms

 


Search for (options)

Log In:

Username:
Password: Remember me:

Go Register
Go Lost Password?



Follow us on Twiter Become a Fan on Facebook