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nolan_fox


Oct 24, 2006, 3:01 AM
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Safest belay technique
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Hello everyone,

I am after the safest belay technique. I have been climbing just over a year. I asked experienced climbers for their opinions, performed Google searches for the safest technique, and just now read probably 35 threads on belay technique on this forum. I know this topic has been discussed in a number of threads, but never have I read about all these methods being discussed in the same thread. I am an attentive and conscientious belayer, and so are my climbing partners. We are not attempting to teach beginners safe technique, nor are we trying to determine which device is safest. All we want to know is which belay technique has the most elements of safety.

That having been said, here’s my story: I am American and learned to belay using what has been referred to here as the hands/palm up technique. Using this method, I never remove my hands from either side of the rope. I pull slack rope through the device with my brake/right hand, then using my right hand I move the brake side of the rope up to my feed/left hand, grasp both the feed/climber and brake sides of the rope with my left hand, slide my right hand down the rope towards the belay device, then release the brake side of the rope from my left hand, and move my right hand and the brake side of the rope back to my side in a locked position.

I moved to New Zealand recently, and my climbing partners are British and Canadian. The British climbers use a hand over hand method, where they pull rope through the device with their brake/right hand, release their feed/left hand from the climber side of the rope, then hold the brake side of the rope with their left hand halfway between the device and the right hand, remove their right hand, move it over the left hand to a rope position closer to the belay device, grasp the rope with the right hand, and move the left hand back to the feed/climber side of the rope.

The Canadian climber uses a palm down technique, which seems to be a hybrid of the palm up and hand over hand technique. He pulls rope through the device with his brake/right hand, drops his left/feed hand from the climber side of the rope and repositions his left hand beyond his right/brake hand on the brake side of the device (distal to the right hand from the device - so from left to right, it goes device, right hand, left hand), then he slides his right hand up the rope towards the belay device, and returns his left hand to the feed position on the climber side of the rope.

The pros and cons of these techniques seem to be: Palm up – hands never leave the rope, but the rope is not in a locked position when taking up slack. Hand over hand – rope always stays in a firm grip locked position, but the brake hand shuffles between left and right hands. Palm down – rope is in a locked position, but the extended reach with the left hand is awkward.

So what do you think? Is one of these methods safer than the others and why? Is there another method than these three which is even safer?

Thanks much,
Nolan

PS. For other readers/researchers, this thread had a good debate of palm down vs. palm up belay: http://www.rockclimbing.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=58848&highlight=brake+hand, this thread had a good discussion of the hand over hand technique: http://www.rockclimbing.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=1404581#1404581, and this site describes the palms down method well: http://www.climbing.com/print/techtips/ttsport225/index.html.


blueeyedclimber


Oct 24, 2006, 5:31 AM
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I don't think we need another argument about this, but I will say this. It pays to be versatile and know a variety of ways to belay, but the bottom line is this. Never remove your brake hand while belaying and catch EVERY fall. No exceptions. If you ever drop a climber, then you suck and have no business climbing.

The way you belay is usually referred to as the pinch and slide method. I use this to belay a leader because it is the fastest way to pay out and take in slack. When toprope belaying, I go back and forth. If you can effectively and safely belay, then any of the three will work.

Josh


joshy8200


Oct 24, 2006, 6:00 AM
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"You hook'em. I'll clean'em and fry'em."


bill413


Oct 24, 2006, 6:11 AM
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The safest technique is the safe one that the belayer can do unconsciously, consistently, without thought.
I'm ok with my partners belaying me with whatever technique they are most comfortable with (provided it is basically safe). I'd rather they use one that they are secure in than one that they don't really know.

That said....

I think that the emphasis on always being locked off is incorrect. It is funny to hear people insisting on always being locked off, and then touting the benefits of soft catch, or giving slack, or jumping when the climber falls.

When the climber falls, even if I don't have the belay locked off, I am going to catch them. Maybe a bit more rope will slip, but I've never failed to catch, no matter where in the belay cycle I am. The device (or your hips) provide the friction to initiate the catch. If I know the climber is about to fall, I will try & assume the locked-off position, but the system should catch them regardless.


joshy8200


Oct 24, 2006, 7:05 AM
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In reply to:
The safest technique is the safe one that the belayer can do unconsciously, consistently, without thought.
I'm ok with my partners belaying me with whatever technique they are most comfortable with (provided it is basically safe). I'd rather they use one that they are secure in than one that they don't really know.

I know what you mean by this statement of doing something unconciously...But I wouldn't want my belayer doing anything unconciously or 'in their sleep.'


bill413


Oct 24, 2006, 7:14 AM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
The safest technique is the safe one that the belayer can do unconsciously, consistently, without thought.
I'm ok with my partners belaying me with whatever technique they are most comfortable with (provided it is basically safe). I'd rather they use one that they are secure in than one that they don't really know.

I know what you mean by this statement of doing something unconciously...But I wouldn't want my belayer doing anything unconciously or 'in their sleep.'
On some routes I've taken so long that it might be a choice between a sleep deprived belayer or a sleeping one.... :lol:

Yes, agreed - I do want the belayer attentive. However, especially on routes where the climber goes out of sight of the belayer, it can be hard to remain focused continuously. And most of us have experienced the situation where passers-by start an interesting conversation that attracts the belayer's attention.


daithi


Oct 24, 2006, 8:18 AM
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In reply to:
So what do you think? Is one of these methods safer than the others and why? Is there another method than these three which is even safer?

In my opinion the safety of a belay is almost entirely dependent on the competence of the person providing it and how comfortable they are with their chosen method. I'm not convinced one method is intrinsically safer than any other provided the person knows what they are doing.


devils_advocate


Oct 24, 2006, 9:44 AM
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I hereby present you with the technical n00b award. For not only figuring out how to use the search functions and finding several discussions of your question, but, in addition, correctly posting (2 out of 3 isn't bad) URL links to the threads that "answer" your forever debatable question. And then, asking the question anyway. Here's to you, Mr. Technically Inclined n00b Guy.


fluxus


Oct 24, 2006, 10:27 AM
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Before you can talk about what counts as the "safest" belay technique you need to establish the goals of a good and safe belay.

If your goal is to neve have a break hand off the rope then there are a number of equally good methods but if your goal is to be responsive to the climber, provide them the right kind of fall for the situation they are currently in, be able to take and hold extremely fast, help them dog through a tough section, flawlessly feed out slack for clips without short roping them, etc then the answers begins to change.

bill413 wrote:
In reply to:
The safest technique is the safe one that the belayer can do unconsciously, consistently, without thought.

I will say that I think this is dead wrong. my belayer sure as hell better be activly assessing my need and adjusting their belay to meet them. I hate getting an "unconscious belay."


csproul


Oct 24, 2006, 10:57 AM
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I think you're getting hung up on the word "unconsciously". I read that to mean that the chosen technique should be second nature and performed without having to think about how to perform it.
In reply to:
activly assessing my need and adjusting their belay to meet them
this is different than having to actively think about the simple mechanics of how to get that done


devils_advocate


Oct 24, 2006, 11:06 AM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
The safest technique is the safe one that the belayer can do unconsciously, consistently, without thought.

I will say that I think this is dead wrong. my belayer sure as hell better be activly assessing my need and adjusting their belay to meet them. I hate getting an "unconscious belay."

I think now your crossing from discussing belay technique (i.e. style) to the duties of belaying. Being an actively conscious belayer is a whole other topic than whether you choose to belay palms up or palms down. Although, that is a discussion that for the most part I think we're all going to agree on. This one however is moot: Although I believe that palms down is a slightly safer method, fact is that people can and have for some time, belayed palms up safely... and many of those people you will never convince that palms down is better.


dan2see


Oct 24, 2006, 12:05 PM
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This summer I've gone group-cragging, with climbers of any background, ability, and attitude. 99/100 times I'm confident with the the belayer.

But one sloppy belayer made me really nervous. I think he didn't want to be there, and he sure was not paying attention. Add this to my natural fear of heights, and I'm attempting a 5.10 or worse face climb...



So I figure, as long as his hand is on the tail of his belay rope, I'll probably live.
I hope.
I did.


bill413


Oct 24, 2006, 12:34 PM
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In reply to:
The safest technique is the safe one that the belayer can do unconsciously, consistently, without thought.
Yes, it seems several people have gotten caught up in that word "unconsciously."

A good belayer should not have to think about technique. It should be automatic. An analogy: When I drive a standard transmission car, I don't have to conciously think about pressing down on the clutch - I've done it so much that it is an automatic response. I don't have to think - "now turn the steering wheel left and hold it...shuffle your hands..." I'm concerned, not with the mechanics of driving the car, but of the larger picture of piloting the vehicle safely and responsively. When you observe someone learning to drive, they tend to wander all over the road because they can only focus on the immediate 10 yards ahead of the vehicle. Once they have ingrained the basics, they can drive in a much safer manner - looking further ahead & responding to a wider range of stimuli.

With belaying, if I have to think and concentrate on the basic mechanics of the process, it will be much more difficult to give a responsive, adaptive belay. If the majority of the mental processing is occupied with basic belay technique, there is no way to observe & repond to the needs of the climber. Rather, the technique used should be natural enough that all the other things folks have mentioned can be attended to.


Partner cracklover


Oct 24, 2006, 1:34 PM
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Hello Nolan_fox,

Many people here are saying that the best belay is the one you can do well. Of course, being able to correctly and fluidly carry out a belay technique is important, but that simply sidesteps the question the OP asked.

So is one technique actually better than another?

BEC is correct, it pays to be versatile. But with that said, IMO, in any given situation, there *is* a "best" way to belay, especially if you are a beginner. The best way varies, depending on a few parameters.

The parameters are: 1 - What type of belay device are you using; 2 - are you belaying a leader, or a toproper; and 3 - if you are belaying a toproper, are you doing a slingshot (belaying from the bottom) or second (belaying from the top) belay.

Each of these has a "best" (again, IMHO) belay technique. So before I can answer your question, please explain who you're belaying (leader or TRer), from what angle, and with what device.

GO


nolan_fox


Oct 24, 2006, 3:30 PM
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Hello all,
Thank you for your responses to a thread that has been discussed before. I started it because I hadn't seen one yet comparing different belay techniques just on technique (not experience or attention of belayer). As for the "technical nOOb award," thanks, I'm sure I can find a place on my mantle for it...

So, it seems the answer I am getting is that the safest belay technique depends on the climbing situation (keeping in mind that we are conscientious belayers). Seems completely reasonable, and I would agree with that. Also, it has been stated that the safest technique is the one you are most comfortable with. Fair enough, but if comfortable with all three methods, there must be advantages to one over another in previously mentioned different climbing situations (as indicated by cracklover).

In response to your questions, I currently I do most of my belaying standing on the ground with an atc for toprope climbers. However, I also belay with a grigri, for leaders, and second. I would be quite interested to know which technique is safest for each of these situations.

Thanks!
Nolan


paganmonkeyboy


Oct 24, 2006, 5:04 PM
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Also - Don't short rope the leader ! I did that *once* - man, g was pissed, and I felt *horrible*...

I remember looking down once at my belayer while I was on a wet 5.8 - he had both hands up in the air waving around while talking passionately to his wife.

I asked him nicely to keep at least one hand on the brake strand...


Partner jammer


Oct 24, 2006, 5:10 PM
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Learn as many ways to belay as possible and decide for yourself.


Partner cracklover


Oct 25, 2006, 7:36 AM
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In reply to:
In response to your questions, I currently I do most of my belaying standing on the ground with an atc for toprope climbers.
Palm down, pinch and slide, always move "guide hand" AKA "feeling hand" from climber-side rope to brake-side rope when pinching. Using this method you avoid ever having the strands parallel while pinching them both.

In reply to:
However, I also belay with a grigri, for leaders
Palm up, follow the method that came with your gri-gri.

In reply to:
, and second.

Same as above, though for slingshot toproping with the gri-gri, the palm-down is fine, too.

In reply to:
I would be quite interested to know which technique is safest for each of these situations.

Thanks!
Nolan

You're very welcome!

GO
[edited for clarity]


mistertyler


Oct 25, 2006, 8:46 AM
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For me, being a good belayer means catching my partner at least 51% of the time; anything less is just unacceptable.

Serious answer: I like Fluxus' response about there being good techniques for different situations.


drfelatio


Nov 1, 2006, 12:31 PM
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For me, the exact belay technique that I use sometimes depends on the belay device that I am using.

When using an ATC or the Munter Hitch I use the palm up technique that nolan uses. While this feels very comfortable and natural, it oftentimes doesn't feel entirely secure. I occasionally feel as though the rope is trying to pry itself out from under my fingers. This typically occurs if I'm belaying some of my "wider" friends. When the rope is weighted, I usually rotate my brake hand around so the palm is facing down. This feels much more secure.

When I'm using my Cinch, however, I use a palm down grip. This is a direct result of the way in which the Cinch is supposed to be held while lead belaying. When taking up slack, I simply bring my brake hand up to my left hand, grab both strands with my left, and slide my right hand back down. In the case of a fall, my hand is already palm down.

Overall, though, I'd say neither technique is significantly safer than the other. Use what you feel is most comfortable.

On a side note: With regards to the whole "unconscious belaying" discussion, I do believe the original poster meant "SUB-conscious". I really hate it when my belayer goes unconscious...


jimfix


Nov 1, 2006, 1:18 PM
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Im surprised this hasn't made it here yet

In reply to:
A few of us here in AZ went out for a bouldering session last Saturday and then decided to top-rope a few taller routes out at Queen Creek. We did not have any harnesses, belay devices or webbing with us. So, tying into the rope with a bowline-on-a-coil is no problem, but how to best belay? Body belays are tried and true, but lowering someone with a body belay sucks--big time.

So, using ourselves as guinea pigs, we decided to experiment with new alternative belay methods. And, Lo and Behold! We found something that works really well.

http://www.rockclimbing.com/...p.cgi?Detailed=45382

A foot belay. Think of a body belay, with the rope running through the arch of one of your feet, instead of around your waist. Apparantly, this basic technique has been used by riggers to lower heavy items from beams for some time. Here is a close-up photo:

http://www.rockclimbing.com/...p.cgi?Detailed=45383

My initial concern was that it might be hard to keep my weight centered over the foot with the rope running under it, but that turned out to not be the case. Also, I thought the rope might try to work its way out from the middle of my foot. This also turned out to not be a problem--probably because both the heel and toe areas of most shoes are wider than the arch, so the rope tends to stay there. We found this belay method to be.....

1) Very easy to use--to hold and lower the climber
2) Very easy to learn
3) Very safe
4) Very comfortable for the belayer

Curt

P.S. There is even a Video to show how a pro does it.


c4c


Nov 1, 2006, 2:12 PM
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a grigri would be fool-proof except that fools are so ingenius!


gunkiemike


Nov 1, 2006, 2:14 PM
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There is no "safest" in this sport.

Also no "best", and no "never" or "always".

(Of course if everyone understood this, rc.com would largely disappear) :D


squamishdirtbag


Nov 14, 2006, 8:16 PM
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Wow alot of big posts for a what i thought to be a simple technique. Dont let you brake hand off the rope, and I can't see a way of fucking it up.


sbaclimber


Nov 14, 2006, 8:24 PM
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Just to add another variable (I didn't see anyone mention it, may have missed it though).....
If you are using the Munter/Italian-hitch, "locked-off" is actually having both 'sides' of the rope parallel.

Not only does it come down to what type of belaying you are doing (toprope, lead, second), but also what device you are using (ATC/plate/etc, Gri-Gri, Munter-hitch).
...and sometimes what position you are in as well (I am right handed, but sometimes have to belay lefty).....


jt512


Nov 15, 2006, 11:45 AM
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In reply to:
Dont let you brake hand off the rope, and I can't see a way of fucking it up.

There are many ways you can leave your brake hand on the rope and still "fuck up." Here is a partial list to get your thinking started.

*Failing to lock the rope off in a fall, causing loss of control of the rope.

*Failing to give enough slack, causing your partner to blow a clip.

*Failing to belay dynamically, causing your partner to slam into the wall.

*Failing to take in slack on a runout, causing your partner to deck.

As you can see, if you expect to become a truly good belayer, you must come to learn that there is much more to belaying than just not taking your hand off the rope.

Jay


nolan_fox


Nov 15, 2006, 3:02 PM
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Excellent points here.

Lots of helpful advice on this topic. Much thanks to everyone who has contributed. Experience goes a long way, but good advice can keep us from learning the hard way.


Partner coldclimb


Nov 15, 2006, 3:14 PM
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The safest belay technique is the one that is most natural to you. What works best for one person may be unnatural for another.


climbingam


Mar 15, 2009, 10:17 AM
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I am sure one of the best ways to get banned from this site is to post to a thread found in the deadhorse graveyard. If not it probably should be; i'll accept my fate either way.

After reading a couple hundred posts especially the pinch and slide vs. the bus method I am well versed in the basic debate and am not wanting to open up that flame war.

What I'd appreciate is to have your opinion on a method that doesn't seem to have been debated but is the one I was taught and seen used a lot, especially good veterans I watch. Basically, they just loosen their grip on the brake rope and slide/shuffle their hand towards the device. It is also the way that peztil says to use their grigri
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSVchbjVKLE
though my question pertains to using this method to an atc.

To mitigate the impression I'm trolling or trying to start the debate of alternate belay techniques, please just tell me if this is totally wrong way to do it. If so, yes, I have 1k posts on the other ways to do it and will figure the alternate way of doing it on my own.

To me, the way shown is simpler and the hand is closer to the body ready to catch a fall.

Thanks.


jt512


Mar 15, 2009, 12:06 PM
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Re: [climbingam] Safest belay technique [In reply to]
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climbingam wrote:
I am sure one of the best ways to get banned from this site is to post to a thread found in the deadhorse graveyard. If not it probably should be; i'll accept my fate either way.

After reading a couple hundred posts especially the pinch and slide vs. the bus method I am well versed in the basic debate and am not wanting to open up that flame war.

What I'd appreciate is to have your opinion on a method that doesn't seem to have been debated but is the one I was taught and seen used a lot, especially good veterans I watch. Basically, they just loosen their grip on the brake rope and slide/shuffle their hand towards the device. It is also the way that peztil says to use their grigri
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSVchbjVKLE
though my question pertains to using this method to an atc.

To mitigate the impression I'm trolling or trying to start the debate of alternate belay techniques, please just tell me if this is totally wrong way to do it. If so, yes, I have 1k posts on the other ways to do it and will figure the alternate way of doing it on my own.

It's completely wrong.

The brake hand should always be firmly on the rope. Both the pinch-and-slide method and the so-called BUS method allow this. In contrast, your "method" doesn't. If your partner were to fall while you were shuffling your brake hand up the rope, you'd have to grab on to and stop a moving rope. Good luck with that, especially if you don't wear gloves while belaying.

What you were taught has never, as far as I am aware, been considered a valid belay technique. It is true that you see a lot of "veterans" use it. Whether or not they could be counted on to catch a fall is debatable. What is not debatable is that they should not have passed this technique on to you, and you should not pass it on to other beginners.

A Grigri, however, is a different animal. Yes, you can safely shuffle your brake hand along the rope, because, even if the rope does start to run through the device, when you tighten the grip of your brake hand, the Grigri's cam should engage and arrest the fall.

Jay


pro_alien


Mar 15, 2009, 1:32 PM
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Re: [climbingam] Safest belay technique [In reply to]
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I am also in the "loosen grip to slide" camp.

Some references (in German), both written by Walter Britschgi -> http://gaswerk.kletterzentrum.com/...loads/sturzinfos.pdf. This is mostly about teaching falling technique in a gym environment, but also includes the author's latest insights on belay safety. For his analysis of different belay devices, see http://stud.paedak-krems.ac.at/...mann/Begreiflich.pdf .

What he points out is the importance of our reflexes - use the left hand (sensor arm) at all times to FEEL the rope and thus what the climber is doing, so the brake hand can do its job without a constant death grip. See page 5, image caption, can blind people belay too ?

Walter Britschgi wrote:
The belayer thus always knows whether the climber is moving or not. ... [snip]
- With the ATC, the brake hand always needs to move down immediately - most frequent mistake.
- The thumb encloses the rope.
- When returning the brake hand to the original position, it should have the form of a closed tube.
- A tube full of nerve cells is always ready to grasp the rope.
- This only works if the sensor arm is always ready, holding the "upper" rope.
- The sensor rope reports the imminent danger to the brake hand more quickly than the rope with its inertia in the belay device.
- Why can we hold the rope so loosely in this exercise ? Ropes are stretchy, but the stretch is slow compared to our reflexes. Thus it does not matter whether the brake hand is sliding along the rope or stationary, it is always ready to grab.

Pinch and slide is dangerous if you lift your brake hand to do it - the ATC does not provide enough stopping power in this position.

Better to just slide the brake hand up rope in a down position. If you are fast enough the inertia of the rope will help.


jt512


Mar 15, 2009, 2:42 PM
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Re: [pro_alien] Safest belay technique [In reply to]
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pro_alien wrote:
I am also in the "loosen grip to slide" camp.

Some references (in German), both written by Walter Britschgi -> http://gaswerk.kletterzentrum.com/...loads/sturzinfos.pdf. This is mostly about teaching falling technique in a gym environment, but also includes the author's latest insights on belay safety. For his analysis of different belay devices, see http://stud.paedak-krems.ac.at/...mann/Begreiflich.pdf .

What he points out is the importance of our reflexes - use the left hand (sensor arm) at all times to FEEL the rope and thus what the climber is doing, so the brake hand can do its job without a constant death grip. See page 5, image caption, can blind people belay too ?

Walter Britschgi wrote:
The belayer thus always knows whether the climber is moving or not. ... [snip]
- With the ATC, the brake hand always needs to move down immediately - most frequent mistake.
- The thumb encloses the rope.
- When returning the brake hand to the original position, it should have the form of a closed tube.
- A tube full of nerve cells is always ready to grasp the rope.
- This only works if the sensor arm is always ready, holding the "upper" rope.
- The sensor rope reports the imminent danger to the brake hand more quickly than the rope with its inertia in the belay device.
- Why can we hold the rope so loosely in this exercise ? Ropes are stretchy, but the stretch is slow compared to our reflexes. Thus it does not matter whether the brake hand is sliding along the rope or stationary, it is always ready to grab.

Pinch and slide is dangerous if you lift your brake hand to do it - the ATC does not provide enough stopping power in this position.

Better to just slide the brake hand up rope in a down position. If you are fast enough the inertia of the rope will help.

The guy sounds like a crackpot.

Jay


ja1484


Mar 15, 2009, 2:58 PM
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Re: [joshy8200] Safest belay technique [In reply to]
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[quote "joshy8200"]"You hook'em. I'll clean'em and fry'em."[/quote]

This.

I love it when people try to find absolutes in climbing.


pro_alien


Mar 15, 2009, 3:29 PM
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Re: [jt512] Safest belay technique [In reply to]
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jt512 wrote:
The guy sounds like a crackpot.

Walter Britschgi is in charge of safety for a large gym, so he just might have enough experience and sample size to have a clue. My translation may not be the best, but should convey the gist of what he is writing.


notapplicable


Mar 15, 2009, 4:02 PM
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Re: [climbingam] Safest belay technique [In reply to]
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climbingam wrote:
What I'd appreciate is to have your opinion on a method that doesn't seem to have been debated but is the one I was taught and seen used a lot, especially good veterans I watch. Basically, they just loosen their grip on the brake rope and slide/shuffle their hand towards the device.


First and foremost, I think there is little doubt that the BUS method or some similar variation, is the most secure to teach new climbers. That said, it is not all that userfriendly for high volume belaying and mobility.

I use the method you describe and I think it is perfectly safe for an experienced belayer. Even more so than the pinch and slide when it comes to less experiences belayers. Let me try and explain.

The most vulnerable point in both techniques is moving the brake hand "up rope" after taking in slack. There are two primary issues to consider here.

1. The distance the brake hand has to travel to achieve lock off. -- With P&S the brake hand has to travel 2 1/2 - 3 feet to achieve lockoff. With slide/shuffle the brake hand has but to close it's grip by 2mm or so.

2. The amount if initial friction in the system to resist the rope running through the belayers hand and causing a loss of control. This also relates to reaction time in that the greater the force required to initiate rope slippage, the longer the time the belayer has to achieve effective lock off. -- With the P&S the rope is only bent around the biner. With the slide/shuffle the rope is already bent back over the belay device.



This is not an indictment of the P&S method, I think that in skilled hands it is perfectly safe and efficient. I just take issue with the notion that the rope is going to immediately start running through the belayers hands when there is so little distance to travel to achieve effective lock off and given the greater initial friction inherent to the default rope orientation.


notapplicable


Mar 15, 2009, 4:20 PM
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jt512 wrote:
The brake hand should always be firmly on the rope. Both the pinch-and-slide method and the so-called BUS method allow this.

Jay

Jay, that is just not true.

It is with the BUS system because you essentially have two brake hands and one is always firmly gripping the rope.

With P&S on the other hand, the brake hand is loosened in order to slide towards the belay device and the only hand with a firm grip on the rope is the guide hand which would have to open it's grip inorder to release the climber side of the rope before being capable of acting as a brake hand. The designated brake hand during the "slide" phase of the P&S has no only a slightly firmer grip on the rope than does the brake hand using the slide/shuffle method.

Notice the key use of the word "Slide" in both the Pinch & Slide and the slide/shuffle methods. I require no only slightly (1mm or so) more slack to move my hand up rope than you do down rope and we both have to close our brake hand the same a similar distance to gain a firm grip on the rope.


edited to change phrasing where you see the strike throughs. After re-reading, I realized that my phrasing was not accurate.


(This post was edited by notapplicable on Mar 15, 2009, 4:34 PM)


jt512


Mar 15, 2009, 4:24 PM
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Re: [pro_alien] Safest belay technique [In reply to]
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pro_alien wrote:
jt512 wrote:
The guy sounds like a crackpot.

Walter Britschgi is in charge of safety for a large gym, so he just might have enough experience and sample size to have a clue. My translation may not be the best, but should convey the gist of what he is writing.

Oh, a large gym. Why didn't you say so?

Jay


jt512


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notapplicable wrote:
jt512 wrote:
The brake hand should always be firmly on the rope. Both the pinch-and-slide method and the so-called BUS method allow this.

Jay

Jay, that is just not true.

It is with the BUS system because you essentially have two brake hands and one is always firmly gripping the rope.

In that case it is true.

In reply to:
With P&S on the other hand, the brake hand is loosened in order to slide towards the belay device and the only hand with a firm grip on the rope is the guide hand which would have to open it's grip inorder to release the climber side of the rope before being capable of acting as a brake hand.

You don't know what you're talking about. The purpose of pinching the brake side of the rope momentarily with the guide hand is precisely so that you can slide the brake hand down the rope with a firm grip.

In reply to:
The designated brake hand during the "slide" phase of the P&S has no firmer a grip on the rope than does the brake hand using the slide/shuffle method.

Wrong. If you used the pinch and slide method correctly, you would not be saying that.

Jay


notapplicable


Mar 15, 2009, 4:40 PM
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jt512 wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
jt512 wrote:
The brake hand should always be firmly on the rope. Both the pinch-and-slide method and the so-called BUS method allow this.

Jay

Jay, that is just not true.

It is with the BUS system because you essentially have two brake hands and one is always firmly gripping the rope.

In that case it is true.

In reply to:
With P&S on the other hand, the brake hand is loosened in order to slide towards the belay device and the only hand with a firm grip on the rope is the guide hand which would have to open it's grip inorder to release the climber side of the rope before being capable of acting as a brake hand.

You don't know what you're talking about. The purpose of pinching the brake side of the rope momentarily with the guide hand is precisely so that you can slide the brake hand down the rope with a firm grip.

In reply to:
The designated brake hand during the "slide" phase of the P&S has no firmer a grip on the rope than does the brake hand using the slide/shuffle method.

Wrong. If you used the pinch and slide method correctly, you would not be saying that.

Jay

Sorry I was editing my post as you were writing this this. My phrasing was not accurate.

I still contend that the difference in grip is not significant (I have belayed with P&S on more than one occasion when required to by a gym using only GriGri's) and any compromise in the integrity of the belay brought about through the looser grip is more than made up for by the brake hand having a default location below the belay device and the greater initial friction imparted by that default rope orientation.


climbingam


Mar 15, 2009, 6:17 PM
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I like your assessment. I'm concerned enough to experiment (safely) first before I make any decision but my feeling on using the slide/shuffle method is that your hand is always very close while the P&S, if the fall occurs at the highest point, has a long pull which is done with the rotator cup which is totally slow (in my head, I have NOT actually done it).

I think the way jay does it, he's probably doing it so perfect that the brake hand is both tight and he is probably quick on the draw. In the other posts that I read, many agreed that a really good belayer can do almost any belay style and be safe. However, seeing people at the crag, a lot get lazy and on autopilot with the P&S and I think comparing autopilot P&S with autopilot shuffle/slide (S/S) that S/S would win. The response time of closing your hand is just so much quicker (AGAIN in my head). I'll see what I think after using both for a while.


notapplicable


Mar 15, 2009, 6:50 PM
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climbingam wrote:
I like your assessment. I'm concerned enough to experiment (safely) first before I make any decision but my feeling on using the slide/shuffle method is that your hand is always very close while the P&S, if the fall occurs at the highest point, has a long pull which is done with the rotator cup which is totally slow (in my head, I have NOT actually done it).

I think the way jay does it, he's probably doing it so perfect that the brake hand is both tight and he is probably quick on the draw. In the other posts that I read, many agreed that a really good belayer can do almost any belay style and be safe. However, seeing people at the crag, a lot get lazy and on autopilot with the P&S and I think comparing autopilot P&S with autopilot shuffle/slide (S/S) that S/S would win. The response time of closing your hand is just so much quicker (AGAIN in my head). I'll see what I think after using both for a while.

Sounds good. I've been belaying that way for several years and have caught a few falls that I didn't see coming with no indication of trouble.

Really small diameter ropes may not work as well because of a tendency to flex or bend due to their light weight but that's only in theory. I've never had a problem down to 9.6mm


bill413


Mar 15, 2009, 7:49 PM
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notapplicable wrote:
(I have belayed with P&S on more than one occasion when required to by a gym using only GriGri's)
I'm sorry, but experience with the GriGri does not directly translate into experience with other belay techniques. This is because the GriGri will grip the rope with a very small amount of tension on the brake strand. In fact, many people have gotten lucky by having the GriGri grip with no tension on the brake strand...but that is certainly not an endorsement of letting the brake strand run free.

You must keep a brake hand on the brake rope. I don't care if you switch hands or not....the brake rope must be controlled. The pinch & slide is more appropriate for some devices, the BUS or PLUS is more appropriate for others. Choose your methodology based on your comfort level, your ability to safely belay, and on what makes the device/belay safe.


(This post was edited by bill413 on Mar 15, 2009, 7:51 PM)


jt512


Mar 15, 2009, 7:51 PM
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Re: [climbingam] Safest belay technique [In reply to]
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climbingam wrote:
I like your assessment. I'm concerned enough to experiment (safely) first before I make any decision but my feeling on using the slide/shuffle method is that your hand is always very close while the P&S, if the fall occurs at the highest point, has a long pull which is done with the rotator cup which is totally slow (in my head, I have NOT actually done it).

How can you like his "assessment." He claims that he is "sliding" his brake hand up the rope. That is false. He is letting go of the rope with his brake hand and repositioning it. Since when has letting go with the brake hand been considered safe?

Jay


notapplicable


Mar 15, 2009, 9:04 PM
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bill413 wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
(I have belayed with P&S on more than one occasion when required to by a gym using only GriGri's)
I'm sorry, but experience with the GriGri does not directly translate into experience with other belay techniques. This is because the GriGri will grip the rope with a very small amount of tension on the brake strand. In fact, many people have gotten lucky by having the GriGri grip with no tension on the brake strand...but that is certainly not an endorsement of letting the brake strand run free.

I was in no way trying to imply that I am proficient with the P&S method and 99.47793% of my belaying is done palms down with tube style devices.

I included that to simply convey that I understand and have experienced that the P&S method does in fact allow the brake hand to have a firmer grip than the method I typically use. I just don't think that the tighter grip makes a significant difference given the other factors at play including default brake hand and rope orientation.

bill413 wrote:
You must keep a brake hand on the brake rope. I don't care if you switch hands or not....the brake rope must be controlled. The pinch & slide is more appropriate for some devices, the BUS or PLUS is more appropriate for others. Choose your methodology based on your comfort level, your ability to safely belay, and on what makes the device/belay safe.

I completely agree.


(This post was edited by notapplicable on Mar 15, 2009, 9:05 PM)


jt512


Mar 15, 2009, 9:37 PM
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notapplicable wrote:
...the P&S method does in fact allow the brake hand to have a firmer grip than the method I typically use.

Correct.

In reply to:
I just don't think that the tighter grip makes a significant difference given the other factors at play including default brake hand and rope orientation.

You are most likely mistaken. Braking force—ie, friction—is directly related to the tension in the rope, which, in turn, is related to the strength of the grip of the brake hand. Your claim, above, boils down to this: that friction is greater with essentially no grip on the rope, due to an extra bend in the rope around the lip of the belay device; compared with a tight grip on the rope, without that extra bend. That is almost certainly incorrect. (Almost) no grip on the rope translates to (almost) no friction, even with the rope making an extra bend around the belay device: no grip = no tension = no friction.

If you get caught off guard for a fraction of a second, and the belayer falls while you are essentially letting go of the rope to reposition your brake hand, your first indication of a fall will be the rope running through your brake hand. There is absolutely no way this is safe, or superior to being caught off guard using the pinch and slide method during the slide "phase" while maintain a firm grip on the rope. In the pinch-and-slide case, tension will build up in the rope; the rope will start to stretch; the rope won't slide through your brake hand, but rather, your brake hand will be pulled toward the device; and, unless you are completely brain-dead, you will react by locking off the device. In contrast, with your method, you will have to catch, and stop, a moving rope. And, until you can produce empirical evidence that you can do that, without wearing a glove, I'm not going to accept you can, and neither should anyone else. You are using a completely non-standard method of belaying: the onus is on you to demonstrate that it is safe.

Jay


(This post was edited by jt512 on Mar 15, 2009, 9:43 PM)


d0nk3yk0n9


Mar 16, 2009, 4:08 AM
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jt512 wrote:
(Almost) no grip on the rope translates to (almost) no friction, even with the rope making an extra bend around the belay device: no grip = no tension = no friction.

I'd have to disagree with this, at least as written. I've experienced multiple times while lowering someone that it is easier (for me) to control the lower if I loosely hold the rope back by my hip than if I tightly grip it parallel to the other strand of rope and loosen my grip slightly to lower. However, I don't know for sure that my experience translates directly to catching a fall, as I've only noticed this while lowering.


jt512


Mar 16, 2009, 1:25 PM
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notapplicable wrote:
bill413 wrote:
You must keep a brake hand on the brake rope.
I completely agree.

Then you should start doing it. You have fooled yourself into thinking that you are holding on to the brake side of the rope when you shuffle your brake hand up. You're not. You cannot consistently move your brake hand the rope without anchoring the free end of the rope with your other hand. You are letting go.

Jay


curt


Mar 16, 2009, 6:06 PM
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jt512 wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
bill413 wrote:
You must keep a brake hand on the brake rope.
I completely agree.

Then you should start doing it. You have fooled yourself into thinking that you are holding on to the brake side of the rope when you shuffle your brake hand up. You're not. You cannot consistently move your brake hand the rope without anchoring the free end of the rope with your other hand. You are letting go.

Jay

Don't you ever watch the climber when you are belaying? I sure do. This "fraction of a second while you're sliding your hand" stuff is complete bullshit. I can (and routinely do) retighten my grip on the rope long before the rope ever comes tight. Sliding your hand up the rope when belaying simply isn't a problem if you're paying attention.

Curt


jt512


Mar 16, 2009, 6:15 PM
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curt wrote:
jt512 wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
bill413 wrote:
You must keep a brake hand on the brake rope.
I completely agree.

Then you should start doing it. You have fooled yourself into thinking that you are holding on to the brake side of the rope when you shuffle your brake hand up. You're not. You cannot consistently move your brake hand the rope without anchoring the free end of the rope with your other hand. You are letting go.

Jay

Don't you ever watch the climber when you are belaying? I sure do. This "fraction of a second while you're sliding your hand" stuff is complete bullshit. I can (and routinely do) retighten my grip on the rope long before the rope ever comes tight. Sliding your hand up the rope when belaying simply isn't a problem if you're paying attention.

There isn't a belayer alive who watches his partner 100% of the time. Any belayer who belays in the style described by notapplicable will be letting go with his brake hand (and that's exactly what he's doing) while not watching his partner on a regular basis. If this supposed belay method becomes popular among n00bs, we're going to see accident rates soar.

Jay


(This post was edited by jt512 on Mar 16, 2009, 6:29 PM)


curt


Mar 16, 2009, 6:30 PM
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jt512 wrote:
curt wrote:
jt512 wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
bill413 wrote:
You must keep a brake hand on the brake rope.
I completely agree.

Then you should start doing it. You have fooled yourself into thinking that you are holding on to the brake side of the rope when you shuffle your brake hand up. You're not. You cannot consistently move your brake hand the rope without anchoring the free end of the rope with your other hand. You are letting go.

Jay

Don't you ever watch the climber when you are belaying? I sure do. This "fraction of a second while you're sliding your hand" stuff is complete bullshit. I can (and routinely do) retighten my grip on the rope long before the rope ever comes tight. Sliding your hand up the rope when belaying simply isn't a problem if you're paying attention.

There isn't a belayer alive who watches his partner 100% of the time. Any belayer who belays in the style described by notapplicable will be letting go with his brake hand (and that's exactly what it is) while not watching his partner on a regular basis. If this supposed belay method becomes popular among n00bs, we're going to see accident rates soar.

Jay

Well, neither you nor I have any data to support our respective positions--thus, we are in the realm of pure speculation. I simply don't think that this is the big deal you are making of it--and I doubt that this technique alone (sliding your belay hand up the rope) is leading to very many accidents, if any.

Curt


jt512


Mar 16, 2009, 6:32 PM
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Re: [curt] Safest belay technique [In reply to]
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curt wrote:
jt512 wrote:
curt wrote:
jt512 wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
bill413 wrote:
You must keep a brake hand on the brake rope.
I completely agree.

Then you should start doing it. You have fooled yourself into thinking that you are holding on to the brake side of the rope when you shuffle your brake hand up. You're not. You cannot consistently move your brake hand the rope without anchoring the free end of the rope with your other hand. You are letting go.

Jay

Don't you ever watch the climber when you are belaying? I sure do. This "fraction of a second while you're sliding your hand" stuff is complete bullshit. I can (and routinely do) retighten my grip on the rope long before the rope ever comes tight. Sliding your hand up the rope when belaying simply isn't a problem if you're paying attention.

There isn't a belayer alive who watches his partner 100% of the time. Any belayer who belays in the style described by notapplicable will be letting go with his brake hand (and that's exactly what it is) while not watching his partner on a regular basis. If this supposed belay method becomes popular among n00bs, we're going to see accident rates soar.

Jay

Well, neither you nor I have any data to support our respective positions--thus, we are in the realm of pure speculation. I simply don't think that this is the big deal you are making of it--and I doubt that this technique alone (sliding your belay hand up the rope) is leading to very many accidents, if any.

Curt

Yeah, I agree that we don't have any data, and for that reason the discussion has more-or-less reached a stalemate.

Jay


notapplicable


Mar 16, 2009, 7:56 PM
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Re: [jt512] Safest belay technique [In reply to]
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jt512 wrote:
In reply to:
I just don't think that the tighter grip makes a significant difference given the other factors at play including default brake hand and rope orientation.

You are most likely mistaken. Braking force—ie, friction—is directly related to the tension in the rope, which, in turn, is related to the strength of the grip of the brake hand. Your claim, above, boils down to this: that friction is greater with essentially no grip on the rope, due to an extra bend in the rope around the lip of the belay device; compared with a tight grip on the rope, without that extra bend. That is almost certainly incorrect. (Almost) no grip on the rope translates to (almost) no friction, even with the rope making an extra bend around the belay device: no grip = no tension = no friction.

If you get caught off guard for a fraction of a second, and the belayer falls while you are essentially letting go of the rope to reposition your brake hand, your first indication of a fall will be the rope running through your brake hand. There is absolutely no way this is safe, or superior to being caught off guard using the pinch and slide method during the slide "phase" while maintain a firm grip on the rope. In the pinch-and-slide case, tension will build up in the rope; the rope will start to stretch; the rope won't slide through your brake hand, but rather, your brake hand will be pulled toward the device; and, unless you are completely brain-dead, you will react by locking off the device. In contrast, with your method, you will have to catch, and stop, a moving rope. And, until you can produce empirical evidence that you can do that, without wearing a glove, I'm not going to accept you can, and neither should anyone else. You are using a completely non-standard method of belaying: the onus is on you to demonstrate that it is safe.

Jay


Before I get in to the issue friction and reaction time, I think it's worth noting that while top roping and feeding out slack for a lead (which accounts for the bulk of rope movement through any given belay device) this is a nonissue. While top ropeing it would be very difficult to create a high enough impact to cause a loss of control even if I started by holding the rope between my toes with hands at my sides. When paying out slack my grip during the down stroke is just as tight as it is using the P&S method. The only time this is a potential issue is if a LEADING climber were to fall while I am re-adjusting my hand after taking in slack. A movement that happens less infrequently than paying out slack and lasts at most 1 second.

That said, yes my contention is that my guide hand grasping the rope and the rope being bent back over the belay devices imparts enough friction that the rope will begin to stretch (at least a little) before running and provide sufficient warning that I will have more than enough time to close my hand the 2 mm needed to gain total control of the brake side of the rope. Also, think about the motions involved for a moment. When I'm taking up slack I use both hands to pull rope through the device and then lock it down before moving my hand up rope. This cinches the device down against the biner, increasing the potential friction. During the P&S the ropes are pulled parallel and rattles the belay device loose so that it contributes little or nothing to any amount of cumulative friction in the system.

I'm not claiming that there is enough friction in the system that the rope wouldn't run wildly if not grasped by the brake hand but rather that there is so little distance to cover to achieve lock down and more than enough time to cover that distance, that this is a perfectly safe belay technique for a competent belayer. My personal experiences while using this technique (which includes catching surprise falls on short and ragged out gym ropes) tells me that it is more than safe. How I go about providing you with empirical of this I'm not sure. The only thing I can think of is video taping some blindfolded catches. With back ups obviously.Sly


(This post was edited by notapplicable on Mar 16, 2009, 8:41 PM)


notapplicable


Mar 16, 2009, 8:10 PM
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jt512 wrote:
If this supposed belay method becomes popular among n00bs, we're going to see accident rates soar.

Jay

Although I think the wording "soar" might be a bit strong, I generally agree with this. I think new climbers should be taught a method that keeps a totally locked down hand ON THE BRAKE SIDE OF THE ROPE at all times. Once they catch some falls and learn the movements and forces involved with belaying, they can transition to more "advanced" techniques.


Fast forward to the last few seconds of this video and look at this guy catch a fall. If he can catch a fall using that death method, I can damn sure catch falls all day long using mine.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHes0dPSonE

Side note: Go on youtube and watch some of the "instructional" belaying videos. I'm pretty sure you'll be a whole lot less concerned about my method.Crazy


notapplicable


Mar 16, 2009, 8:12 PM
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jt512 wrote:
curt wrote:
jt512 wrote:
curt wrote:
jt512 wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
bill413 wrote:
You must keep a brake hand on the brake rope.
I completely agree.

Then you should start doing it. You have fooled yourself into thinking that you are holding on to the brake side of the rope when you shuffle your brake hand up. You're not. You cannot consistently move your brake hand the rope without anchoring the free end of the rope with your other hand. You are letting go.

Jay

Don't you ever watch the climber when you are belaying? I sure do. This "fraction of a second while you're sliding your hand" stuff is complete bullshit. I can (and routinely do) retighten my grip on the rope long before the rope ever comes tight. Sliding your hand up the rope when belaying simply isn't a problem if you're paying attention.

There isn't a belayer alive who watches his partner 100% of the time. Any belayer who belays in the style described by notapplicable will be letting go with his brake hand (and that's exactly what it is) while not watching his partner on a regular basis. If this supposed belay method becomes popular among n00bs, we're going to see accident rates soar.

Jay

Well, neither you nor I have any data to support our respective positions--thus, we are in the realm of pure speculation. I simply don't think that this is the big deal you are making of it--and I doubt that this technique alone (sliding your belay hand up the rope) is leading to very many accidents, if any.

Curt

Yeah, I agree that we don't have any data, and for that reason the discussion has more-or-less reached a stalemate.

Jay

This is RC.com. Arguing until we're blue in the face while making zero headway with the opposition is what we do here.


curt


Mar 16, 2009, 8:24 PM
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Re: [notapplicable] Safest belay technique [In reply to]
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notapplicable wrote:
jt512 wrote:
curt wrote:
jt512 wrote:
curt wrote:
jt512 wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
bill413 wrote:
You must keep a brake hand on the brake rope.
I completely agree.

Then you should start doing it. You have fooled yourself into thinking that you are holding on to the brake side of the rope when you shuffle your brake hand up. You're not. You cannot consistently move your brake hand the rope without anchoring the free end of the rope with your other hand. You are letting go.

Jay

Don't you ever watch the climber when you are belaying? I sure do. This "fraction of a second while you're sliding your hand" stuff is complete bullshit. I can (and routinely do) retighten my grip on the rope long before the rope ever comes tight. Sliding your hand up the rope when belaying simply isn't a problem if you're paying attention.

There isn't a belayer alive who watches his partner 100% of the time. Any belayer who belays in the style described by notapplicable will be letting go with his brake hand (and that's exactly what it is) while not watching his partner on a regular basis. If this supposed belay method becomes popular among n00bs, we're going to see accident rates soar.

Jay

Well, neither you nor I have any data to support our respective positions--thus, we are in the realm of pure speculation. I simply don't think that this is the big deal you are making of it--and I doubt that this technique alone (sliding your belay hand up the rope) is leading to very many accidents, if any.

Curt

Yeah, I agree that we don't have any data, and for that reason the discussion has more-or-less reached a stalemate.

Jay

This is RC.com. Arguing until we're blue in the face while making zero headway with the opposition is what we do here.

And we can accomplish all that while others are merely adding noise.

Curt


LamontagnedeGatineau


Mar 16, 2009, 8:46 PM
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Re: [notapplicable] Safest belay technique [In reply to]
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This discussion seems somewhat disconnected from the reality of any kind of multi-pitch climb. When you are scrunched up in a hole, stuck in a closed corner, lying on a portaledge, belaying someone after having dropped your ATC (yes, that WILL happen one day), or sprained your favorite break hand... you will need to adapt your belaying style to the current situation.

I am convinced that like in so many other real-life climbing situations, there is always a BEST technique. Unfortunately it is always situation dependant. Experienced climbers have many options to choose from - and from these, they choose according to the current external factors. Heck, on an easy climb where speed is of the essence, even the ancient shoulder belay may be the safest alternative because modern belaying techniques will slow down the team... force a bivouac... thunderstorm... etc

Which means that if you want to eventually get into multi-pitch climbing: Practice many belay techniques, left hand blocking, right hand blocking, munter hitch, hand up, hand down, using your figure 8, even the good ol' waist belay, and whatever else may exist in between because: You never know what you could encounter up there, so be ready for anything! Just make sure you know which is your blocking hand!!!

Otherwise, if you only have one technique, what will you do if it does not work in the situation of the moment? Give up???Unsure


reno


Mar 16, 2009, 9:04 PM
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Re: [jt512] Safest belay technique [In reply to]
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jt512 wrote:
curt wrote:
jt512 wrote:
curt wrote:
jt512 wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
bill413 wrote:
You must keep a brake hand on the brake rope.
I completely agree.

Then you should start doing it. You have fooled yourself into thinking that you are holding on to the brake side of the rope when you shuffle your brake hand up. You're not. You cannot consistently move your brake hand the rope without anchoring the free end of the rope with your other hand. You are letting go.

Jay

Don't you ever watch the climber when you are belaying? I sure do. This "fraction of a second while you're sliding your hand" stuff is complete bullshit. I can (and routinely do) retighten my grip on the rope long before the rope ever comes tight. Sliding your hand up the rope when belaying simply isn't a problem if you're paying attention.

There isn't a belayer alive who watches his partner 100% of the time. Any belayer who belays in the style described by notapplicable will be letting go with his brake hand (and that's exactly what it is) while not watching his partner on a regular basis. If this supposed belay method becomes popular among n00bs, we're going to see accident rates soar.

Jay

Well, neither you nor I have any data to support our respective positions--thus, we are in the realm of pure speculation. I simply don't think that this is the big deal you are making of it--and I doubt that this technique alone (sliding your belay hand up the rope) is leading to very many accidents, if any.

Curt

Yeah, I agree that we don't have any data, and for that reason the discussion has more-or-less reached a stalemate.

Jay

jt512 admits that his position has no supporting data.

16 March 2009, 1932 hours. Note this for the record. It'll probably never happen again.

Belay techniques, like many things in climbing (well, many things in climbing other than single pitch spurt cragging) require adaptability. I've belayed, and know many people who have belayed, using different "techniques" on the same route, and indeed on the same pitch.

If I can see my partner, my technique changes slightly from those times I can't see -- but can still HEAR -- my partner. And THOSE times are slightly different from the times I can neither see nor hear my partner.

And THOSE times differ if my partner is on lead vs. a second, on gear vs. bolts, on rock vs. ice... the list is endless.

To posit that any single technique is "teh Bestest evah!" for all situations is to be ignorant of the dynamics of various aspects of climbing.


jt512


Mar 16, 2009, 10:16 PM
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notapplicable wrote:
jt512 wrote:
If this supposed belay method becomes popular among n00bs, we're going to see accident rates soar.

Jay

Although I think the wording "soar" might be a bit strong, I generally agree with this. I think new climbers should be taught a method that keeps a totally locked down hand ON THE BRAKE SIDE OF THE ROPE at all times. Once they catch some falls and learn the movements and forces involved with belaying, they can transition to more "advanced" techniques.


Fast forward to the last few seconds of this video and look at this guy catch a fall. If he can catch a fall using that death method, I can damn sure catch falls all day long using mine.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHes0dPSonE

No. if he can catch a fall using that method, I can, because he's using the pinch-and-slide method. When he catches the fall, he's belaying pretty much the way I do: he keeps the ropes 90 degrees apart, by default, locking off only when the climber falls.

In reply to:
Side note: Go on youtube and watch some of the "instructional" belaying videos. I'm pretty sure you'll be a whole lot less concerned about my method.Crazy

I don't have to watch YouTube to watch bad belaying. I climb at Rockreation–West L.A.

Jay


notapplicable


Mar 16, 2009, 10:31 PM
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LamontagnedeGatineau wrote:
This discussion seems somewhat disconnected from the reality of any kind of multi-pitch climb. When you are scrunched up in a hole, stuck in a closed corner, lying on a portaledge, belaying someone after having dropped your ATC (yes, that WILL happen one day), or sprained your favorite break hand... you will need to adapt your belaying style to the current situation.

I am convinced that like in so many other real-life climbing situations, there is always a BEST technique. Unfortunately it is always situation dependant. Experienced climbers have many options to choose from - and from these, they choose according to the current external factors. Heck, on an easy climb where speed is of the essence, even the ancient shoulder belay may be the safest alternative because modern belaying techniques will slow down the team... force a bivouac... thunderstorm... etc

Which means that if you want to eventually get into multi-pitch climbing: Practice many belay techniques, left hand blocking, right hand blocking, munter hitch, hand up, hand down, using your figure 8, even the good ol' waist belay, and whatever else may exist in between because: You never know what you could encounter up there, so be ready for anything! Just make sure you know which is your blocking hand!!!

Otherwise, if you only have one technique, what will you do if it does not work in the situation of the moment? Give up???Unsure

While your 100% correct, your kinda preachin to the choir on this one. More than once that I've thrown the rope around the body on a slab route, while a perfectly good belay device hung from my harness.

We were just focusing in on single pitch cragging for the sake of simplicity and clarity while analysing a specific style of belaying.


notapplicable


Mar 16, 2009, 11:04 PM
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jt512 wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
jt512 wrote:
If this supposed belay method becomes popular among n00bs, we're going to see accident rates soar.

Jay

Although I think the wording "soar" might be a bit strong, I generally agree with this. I think new climbers should be taught a method that keeps a totally locked down hand ON THE BRAKE SIDE OF THE ROPE at all times. Once they catch some falls and learn the movements and forces involved with belaying, they can transition to more "advanced" techniques.


Fast forward to the last few seconds of this video and look at this guy catch a fall. If he can catch a fall using that death method, I can damn sure catch falls all day long using mine.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHes0dPSonE

No. if he can catch a fall using that method, I can, because he's using the pinch-and-slide method. When he catches the fall, he's belaying pretty much the way I do: he keeps the ropes 90 degrees apart, by default, locking off only when the climber falls.

I don't know man, obviously I don't use the P&S so I'm not the best suited to speak on the matter but his belaying looks really sloppy for someone using a "passive" belay device. His default hand position seems to be more like 45 degrees, they're also pretty close to the belay device and shuffling back and forth a lot. It makes me nervous to watch but he caught the fall so perhaps appearances are deceiving.


jt512


Mar 17, 2009, 12:59 AM
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notapplicable wrote:
jt512 wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
jt512 wrote:
If this supposed belay method becomes popular among n00bs, we're going to see accident rates soar.

Jay

Although I think the wording "soar" might be a bit strong, I generally agree with this. I think new climbers should be taught a method that keeps a totally locked down hand ON THE BRAKE SIDE OF THE ROPE at all times. Once they catch some falls and learn the movements and forces involved with belaying, they can transition to more "advanced" techniques.


Fast forward to the last few seconds of this video and look at this guy catch a fall. If he can catch a fall using that death method, I can damn sure catch falls all day long using mine.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHes0dPSonE

No. if he can catch a fall using that method, I can, because he's using the pinch-and-slide method. When he catches the fall, he's belaying pretty much the way I do: he keeps the ropes 90 degrees apart, by default, locking off only when the climber falls.

I don't know man, obviously I don't use the P&S so I'm not the best suited to speak on the matter but his belaying looks really sloppy for someone using a "passive" belay device. His default hand position seems to be more like 45 degrees, they're also pretty close to the belay device and shuffling back and forth a lot. It makes me nervous to watch but he caught the fall so perhaps appearances are deceiving.

When he's in the little picture in the corner of the frame (what's that called?) he's keeping the ropes at 45 degrees. That's ok if there is a lot of friction. When he's in the main frame toward the end of the video, he's keeping the ropes 90 degrees apart, a good angle for typical, modern ropes on the skinny side. Climbers in the U.S. been taught to belay this way safely for decades. It is only in recent years that it has become more common to teach beginners to belay with the rope locked off all the time.

With sufficient practice, even a rank beginner can belay safely using the pinch and slide technique. However, the commercial gym and its typical 10-minute belay lesson having become the normal way for new climbers to learn to belay has necessitated that new climbers be taught a locked-off-by-default method of belaying. Such methods are not inherently safer, only easier to teach in 10 minutes, and they make it difficult for the belayer to promptly respond to the climber's needs in terms of the amount of rope out and the possible need to dynamically belay or yard rope in to prevent a ground or ledge fall.

Your method is the worst of all worlds. You're locked off by default, so you can't respond quickly, plus a significant percentage of the time you don't even have a grip on the rope with your brake hand.

Jay


Toast_in_the_Machine


Mar 17, 2009, 6:27 AM
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jt512 wrote:
If this supposed belay method becomes popular among n00bs, we're going to see accident rates soar.

Jay

Except that, to my understanding, it isn't us n00bs with the eagerness of a puppy watching every second with hyper awareness, but the half-expert with the casualness of "been there / done that" that is the source of most accidents.


dingus


Mar 17, 2009, 7:25 AM
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Sliding the brake hand up the rope for a conventional tube-style palm down belay is mostly inconsequential. The situation J conjurs of the rope running through the device is far less likely than he suggests.

Most times the tube device will lock the rope with very little or no tension on the brake side. I know this because I have caught sucn falls.

Not once, not ONCE in more than 30 years of climbing have I had a lead rope slip through the belay device in the manner J suggests.

Now using a tube-style device PALMS UP and letting go with the brake hand... that's an entirely different prospect.

But palm down? In the palm down config the belay device is mostly locked, most of the time, sliding hand or not. That's sorta the FRICKING POINT with having the frickin PALM DOWN to begin with.

Its cool to take sport belay techniques into trad. But there are limitations to every belay technique. Sitting on some ledge 5 pitches up with the leader out of sight and out of hearing... NO PLACE FOR SPORT BELAYS.

DMT


dingus


Mar 17, 2009, 7:29 AM
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jt512 wrote:
Your method is the worst of all worlds. You're locked off by default, so you can't respond quickly, plus a significant percentage of the time you don't even have a grip on the rope with your brake hand.

Jay

First you say its locked off. Then you pretend it isn't. You're blowing smoke on your old bugaboo here J. Its bullshit. Your palm up V belay works fine at crags where the climbers can see and hear one another.... for this precious REACTION you seem to think is so important.

A palm down belay IS locked, most of the time.... THAT'S THE POINT. The grip of the brake hand is a minor component to the initial stopping power of this belay technique.

A sport belay is not a panacea.

DMT


GeneralZon


Mar 17, 2009, 8:08 AM
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When he's in the little picture in the corner of the frame (what's that called?)

Picture in Picture.


jt512


Mar 17, 2009, 10:54 AM
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dingus wrote:
jt512 wrote:
Your method is the worst of all worlds. You're locked off by default, so you can't respond quickly, plus a significant percentage of the time you don't even have a grip on the rope with your brake hand.

Jay

First you say its locked off. Then you pretend it isn't. You're blowing smoke on your old bugaboo here J. Its bullshit.


Calm down and try thinking about what I wrote. I did not write a contradiction.

In reply to:
Your palm up V belay [sic] works fine at crags where the climbers can see and hear one another.... for this precious REACTION you seem to think is so important.

It works well on routes where you can't see or hear your partner, too. Friction plus rope stretch give the belayer time to lock off. Try it.

In reply to:
A palm down belay IS locked, most of the time.... THAT'S THE POINT.

And most of the time it's a stupid point. Do you drive with your foot on the brake in case you need to stop? No. You put your foot on the brake only when you need to stop. When you belay, if you're locked off by default, you can't be as responsive with the rope to the climbers movements as you can when you have the rope in a neutral position. When starting from a locked off position you can't as effectively (or at all) give a dynamic belay to lengthen a fall or yard in slack to shorten a fall.

Jay


dingus


Mar 17, 2009, 11:06 AM
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jt512 wrote:
Friction plus rope stretch give the belayer time to lock off. Try it.

Dude I use 'your' method frequently. I use it when reaction is critical. I use it if I think the leader has a good chance of pitching off. I use it if there are objective hazards.

What I don't do is pretend it is the one size fits all scenarios. I know better.


In reply to:
In reply to:
A palm down belay IS locked, most of the time.... THAT'S THE POINT.

And most of the time it's a stupid point.

Wrong. Most of the time, in TRAD, the belayer isn't doing anything. She's not feeding in. She's not paying out. She's just sitting or standing there, most of the time, doing nothing. For long periods of time, in a lot of trad, the belayer is waiting for the leader to do something, anything. There are many reasons to be locked off and this is one of them.

In reply to:
Do you drive with your foot on the brake in case you need to stop? No.

Ever driven the hills of San Fran? Ever been 4wding? Brake and gas pedal, at once, you betchya.

In reply to:
You put your foot on the brake only when you need to stop. When you belay, if you're locked off by default, you can't be as responsive with the rope to the climbers movements as you can when you have the rope in a neutral position.

Ah the illusive 'reaction' time. This precious reaction time is irrelevant for most trad, most of the time.

In reply to:
When starting from a locked off position you can't as effectively (or at all) give a dynamic belay to lengthen a fall or yard in slack to shorten a fall.

Jay

So what? This is a sport climber's perspective. What is a yard worth of slack to the leader you can't see or hear? What is a yard of slack to the leader standing on a ledge taking 12 minutes to fiddle in a nut? What is a yard of slack in a 17 hour, 15 pitch climb?

I appreciate your challenging views. But far too often you present these ideas to noobs as 'the decision has been made'hen in fact its NOTHING but your opinion, based upon sport climbing needs and applied inappropriately in many cases, to trad.

The hands up methods have their place. So too do the locked off ones. Any person who has ever spent any time on a big wall belay will know this.

I embrace your ideas where appropriate. As I've told you, in the past you have helped make me aware of improvements and I've invested in those improvements. Your palm up V belay technique is one of these.

But I will doggedly stick to the notion that for the vast majority of trad the palm down locked off position is safer and the more responsible choicde.

DMT


notapplicable


Mar 17, 2009, 11:13 AM
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Toast_in_the_Machine wrote:
jt512 wrote:
If this supposed belay method becomes popular among n00bs, we're going to see accident rates soar.

Jay

Except that, to my understanding, it isn't us n00bs with the eagerness of a puppy watching every second with hyper awareness, but the half-expert with the casualness of "been there / done that" that is the source of most accidents.

What you say is true when looking at all climbing related accidents combined. If you isolate the botched belays and look at them separately, I'm confident you would see that the less experienced belayers are dropping the majority of climbers.

This is just a hunch though, I'd be interested to see some data.


justroberto


Mar 17, 2009, 11:56 AM
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jt512 wrote:
In reply to:
Your palm up V belay [sic] works fine at crags where the climbers can see and hear one another.... for this precious REACTION you seem to think is so important.

It works well on routes where you can't see or hear your partner, too. Friction plus rope stretch give the belayer time to lock off. Try it

Bet I can close my fist faster than you can lock off.

Try it.


notapplicable


Mar 17, 2009, 12:10 PM
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jt512 wrote:
When he's in the little picture in the corner of the frame (what's that called?) he's keeping the ropes at 45 degrees. That's ok if there is a lot of friction. When he's in the main frame toward the end of the video, he's keeping the ropes 90 degrees apart, a good angle for typical, modern ropes on the skinny side.

There are two belayers in the video. The guys belaying in full frame looks fine. The guy in picture in picture has his hands close together, close to the belay device and well above the belay device. He's the one that makes me nervous. Not so much because an experienced belayer can't do that safely but because a new belayer will most certainly get a hand sucked in to the belay device. Your the one who made the observation that the brake hand is drawn towards the device in a fall. Hell, I'm sure we've all seen people get a hand pinched while just lowering a climber, I know I have. I don't think what the second guy is doing is safe for a new belayer.


jt512 wrote:
dingus wrote:
A palm down belay IS locked, most of the time.... THAT'S THE POINT.

And most of the time it's a stupid point...When you belay, if you're locked off by default, you can't be as responsive with the rope to the climbers movements as you can when you have the rope in a neutral position. When starting from a locked off position you can't as effectively (or at all) give a dynamic belay to lengthen a fall or yard in slack to shorten a fall.

Jay


I agree with you on this. My method does not allow for the same degree of swift and subtle rope movement as the P&S. For me thats a relative nonissue though, as I spend the bulk of my time on gear routes and sub 5.11 sport climbs. I've never said that my method is more efficient or is universally applicable. My only claim is that it's safe for an experienced belayer and works for me the bulk of the time.


(This post was edited by notapplicable on Mar 17, 2009, 12:17 PM)


onceahardman


Mar 17, 2009, 12:48 PM
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In reply to:
Bet I can close my fist faster than you can lock off.

Try it.

This is correct.


reno


Mar 17, 2009, 12:53 PM
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I'm reminded of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid standing at the top of a cliff, looking down, and Sundance saying he can't swim.


jt512


Mar 17, 2009, 1:48 PM
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justroberto wrote:
jt512 wrote:
In reply to:
Your palm up V belay [sic] works fine at crags where the climbers can see and hear one another.... for this precious REACTION you seem to think is so important.

It works well on routes where you can't see or hear your partner, too. Friction plus rope stretch give the belayer time to lock off. Try it

Bet I can close my fist faster than you can lock off.

I'm sure you can, but that isn't the issue. You have to grab onto a running rope. I don't.

Jay


jt512


Mar 17, 2009, 1:51 PM
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notapplicable wrote:
jt512 wrote:
When he's in the little picture in the corner of the frame (what's that called?) he's keeping the ropes at 45 degrees. That's ok if there is a lot of friction. When he's in the main frame toward the end of the video, he's keeping the ropes 90 degrees apart, a good angle for typical, modern ropes on the skinny side.

There are two belayers in the video. The guys belaying in full frame looks fine. The guy in picture in picture has his hands close together, close to the belay device and well above the belay device. He's the one that makes me nervous. Not so much because an experienced belayer can't do that safely but because a new belayer will most certainly get a hand sucked in to the belay device. Your the one who made the observation that the brake hand is drawn towards the device in a fall. Hell, I'm sure we've all seen people get a hand pinched while just lowering a climber, I know I have. I don't think what the second guy is doing is safe for a new belayer.


jt512 wrote:
dingus wrote:
A palm down belay IS locked, most of the time.... THAT'S THE POINT.

And most of the time it's a stupid point...When you belay, if you're locked off by default, you can't be as responsive with the rope to the climbers movements as you can when you have the rope in a neutral position. When starting from a locked off position you can't as effectively (or at all) give a dynamic belay to lengthen a fall or yard in slack to shorten a fall.

Jay


I agree with you on this. My method does not allow for the same degree of swift and subtle rope movement as the P&S.

Thank you. That is an important admission.

Jay


onceahardman


Mar 17, 2009, 2:15 PM
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jt512 wrote:
justroberto wrote:
jt512 wrote:
In reply to:
Your palm up V belay [sic] works fine at crags where the climbers can see and hear one another.... for this precious REACTION you seem to think is so important.

It works well on routes where you can't see or hear your partner, too. Friction plus rope stretch give the belayer time to lock off. Try it

Bet I can close my fist faster than you can lock off.

I'm sure you can.

Jay

Thank you. That is an important admission.


jt512


Mar 17, 2009, 2:17 PM
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onceahardman wrote:
jt512 wrote:
justroberto wrote:
jt512 wrote:
In reply to:
Your palm up V belay [sic] works fine at crags where the climbers can see and hear one another.... for this precious REACTION you seem to think is so important.

It works well on routes where you can't see or hear your partner, too. Friction plus rope stretch give the belayer time to lock off. Try it

Bet I can close my fist faster than you can lock off.

I'm sure you can.

Jay

Thank you. That is an important admission.

No, actually, it's not.

Jay


notapplicable


Mar 17, 2009, 2:22 PM
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jt512 wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
jt512 wrote:
dingus wrote:
A palm down belay IS locked, most of the time.... THAT'S THE POINT.

And most of the time it's a stupid point...When you belay, if you're locked off by default, you can't be as responsive with the rope to the climbers movements as you can when you have the rope in a neutral position. When starting from a locked off position you can't as effectively (or at all) give a dynamic belay to lengthen a fall or yard in slack to shorten a fall.

Jay


I agree with you on this. My method does not allow for the same degree of swift and subtle rope movement as the P&S.

Thank you. That is an important admission.

Jay

It's a limitation inherent to the system. I consider it to be manageable but clearly it's not for everyone.


edit: my spelling is terrible


(This post was edited by notapplicable on Mar 17, 2009, 2:23 PM)


curt


Mar 17, 2009, 2:23 PM
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jt512 wrote:
justroberto wrote:
jt512 wrote:
In reply to:
Your palm up V belay [sic] works fine at crags where the climbers can see and hear one another.... for this precious REACTION you seem to think is so important.

It works well on routes where you can't see or hear your partner, too. Friction plus rope stretch give the belayer time to lock off. Try it

Bet I can close my fist faster than you can lock off.

I'm sure you can, but that isn't the issue. You have to grab onto a running rope. I don't.

Jay

No, Jay. You do not have to grab onto a running rope--not at least in the hundreds if not thousands of times I have done this.

Curt


jt512


Mar 17, 2009, 2:30 PM
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curt wrote:
jt512 wrote:
justroberto wrote:
jt512 wrote:
In reply to:
Your palm up V belay [sic] works fine at crags where the climbers can see and hear one another.... for this precious REACTION you seem to think is so important.

It works well on routes where you can't see or hear your partner, too. Friction plus rope stretch give the belayer time to lock off. Try it

Bet I can close my fist faster than you can lock off.

I'm sure you can, but that isn't the issue. You have to grab onto a running rope. I don't.

Jay

No, Jay. You do not have to grab onto a running rope--not at least in the hundreds if not thousands of times I have done this.

Curt

You've caught hundreds to thousands of falls while not holding on with your brake hand?

Jay


jt512


Mar 17, 2009, 2:33 PM
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This is pretty cool. We are actually witnessing the beginning of the acceptance of a belay technique that inherently involves the repeated violation of the one rule that every new belayer has been taught for generations: never let go with your brake hand.

Way to go rockclimbing.com!

Jay


justroberto


Mar 17, 2009, 2:50 PM
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jt512 wrote:
This is pretty cool. We are actually witnessing the beginning of the acceptance of a belay technique that inherently involves the repeated violation of the one rule that every new belayer has been taught for generations: never let go with your brake hand.

Way to go rockclimbing.com!

Jay
For generations? Really?

You realize that you have to slide your brake hand down the rope in a hip belay, right?


jt512


Mar 17, 2009, 2:53 PM
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justroberto wrote:
jt512 wrote:
This is pretty cool. We are actually witnessing the beginning of the acceptance of a belay technique that inherently involves the repeated violation of the one rule that every new belayer has been taught for generations: never let go with your brake hand.

Way to go rockclimbing.com!

Jay
For generations? Really?

You realize that you have to slide your brake hand down the rope in a hip belay, right?

You realize that when you slide your brake hand down the rope in a hip belay, and the pinch-and-slide, but not when you shuffle your hand up, which point I have made 150,000 times in the last three days, you have not let go with your brake hand.

Jay


curt


Mar 17, 2009, 3:13 PM
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jt512 wrote:
curt wrote:
jt512 wrote:
justroberto wrote:
jt512 wrote:
In reply to:
Your palm up V belay [sic] works fine at crags where the climbers can see and hear one another.... for this precious REACTION you seem to think is so important.

It works well on routes where you can't see or hear your partner, too. Friction plus rope stretch give the belayer time to lock off. Try it

Bet I can close my fist faster than you can lock off.

I'm sure you can, but that isn't the issue. You have to grab onto a running rope. I don't.

Jay

No, Jay. You do not have to grab onto a running rope--not at least in the hundreds if not thousands of times I have done this.

Curt

You've caught hundreds to thousands of falls while not holding on with your brake hand?

Jay

No. I do catch the falls with my brake hand--but, of course you knew that.

Curt


reno


Mar 17, 2009, 3:16 PM
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jt512


Mar 17, 2009, 3:30 PM
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reno wrote:

No, Reno. Holding on with your brake hand letting go with it are not splitting hairs. If you think they are, you are incompetent.

Jay


jt512


Mar 17, 2009, 3:31 PM
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curt wrote:
jt512 wrote:
curt wrote:
jt512 wrote:
justroberto wrote:
jt512 wrote:
In reply to:
Your palm up V belay [sic] works fine at crags where the climbers can see and hear one another.... for this precious REACTION you seem to think is so important.

It works well on routes where you can't see or hear your partner, too. Friction plus rope stretch give the belayer time to lock off. Try it

Bet I can close my fist faster than you can lock off.

I'm sure you can, but that isn't the issue. You have to grab onto a running rope. I don't.

Jay

No, Jay. You do not have to grab onto a running rope--not at least in the hundreds if not thousands of times I have done this.

Curt

You've caught hundreds to thousands of falls while not holding on with your brake hand?

Jay

No. I do catch the falls with my brake hand--but, of course you knew that.

Curt

Straw man.


curt


Mar 17, 2009, 3:37 PM
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jt512 wrote:
curt wrote:
jt512 wrote:
curt wrote:
jt512 wrote:
justroberto wrote:
jt512 wrote:
In reply to:
Your palm up V belay [sic] works fine at crags where the climbers can see and hear one another.... for this precious REACTION you seem to think is so important.

It works well on routes where you can't see or hear your partner, too. Friction plus rope stretch give the belayer time to lock off. Try it

Bet I can close my fist faster than you can lock off.

I'm sure you can, but that isn't the issue. You have to grab onto a running rope. I don't.

Jay

No, Jay. You do not have to grab onto a running rope--not at least in the hundreds if not thousands of times I have done this.

Curt

You've caught hundreds to thousands of falls while not holding on with your brake hand?

Jay

No. I do catch the falls with my brake hand--but, of course you knew that.

Curt

Straw man.

Quite an ironic reply, considering your last one.

Curt


reno


Mar 17, 2009, 3:38 PM
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jt512 wrote:
No, Reno. Holding on with your brake hand letting go with it are not splitting hairs. If you think they are, you are incompetent.

Jay, you're a funny guy. Ever consider comedy as a career?

I'm this website's champ at splitting hairs, and even *I* can't get past how pedantic you're being.

Several people here have made astute, informed, and correct observations, but you've ignored them all because they don't coalesce 100% with your position.

Here's a tip: You are not the world's foremost expert in climbing techniques.


notapplicable


Mar 17, 2009, 3:46 PM
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jt512 wrote:
This is pretty cool. We are actually witnessing the beginning of the acceptance of a belay technique that inherently involves the repeated violation of the one rule that every new belayer has been taught for generations: never let go with your brake hand.

Way to go rockclimbing.com!

Jay

Alright alright alright, keep your voice down man!!

Look fellas, I think were gonna have to bring Jay in on this or he's gonna ruin everything.

Jay, what you are witnessing is what is known as TNCI09 (The nOOb Culling Initiative of 2009). This sport is growing at an uncontrolled rate and the crags are being overrun. The consensus is that a dramatic rise in gumby deaths is the only hope for a long term solution and this new belay method gets them to do away with one another while reducing backlash against the existing community.

You don't have to work with us on this but we're counting on your silence.


jt512


Mar 17, 2009, 4:15 PM
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reno wrote:
jt512 wrote:
No, Reno. Holding on with your brake hand letting go with it are not splitting hairs. If you think they are, you are incompetent.

Jay, you're a funny guy. Ever consider comedy as a career?

I'm this website's champ at splitting hairs, and even *I* can't get past how pedantic you're being.

Reno, if you think that the difference between shuffling your brake hand up the rope and pinching the brake side of the rope with your guide hand so that you don't have to shuffle it up the rope is a case of splitting hairs, then you are simply ignorant. The reason that the pinch and slide method was invented was specifically to avoid that very shuffle maneuver, which necessitates intermittently releasing your the grip on the rope.

If it is true that letting go of the rope with the brake hand is actually safe, then that would overturn one of the most fundamental rules that climbers have been taught for generations. That's a very big claim for the climbing game, and hence requires very good evidence. The proponents of this new Really-It's-OK-To-Release-The-Grip-With-The-Belay-Hand-After-All-(In-Fact-It's-Even-Safer-Than-The-Way-American-Climbers-Have-Been-Belaying-For-Decades) technique have no objective evidence that it's true. That leaves the issue in an empirical stalemate (because there's really no evidence for the other side, either), but not a practical stalemate. If you want to overturn the most fundamental rule in belaying, the onus is on you to prove that you're right.

Jay


jt512


Mar 17, 2009, 4:17 PM
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notapplicable wrote:
jt512 wrote:
This is pretty cool. We are actually witnessing the beginning of the acceptance of a belay technique that inherently involves the repeated violation of the one rule that every new belayer has been taught for generations: never let go with your brake hand.

Way to go rockclimbing.com!

Jay

Alright alright alright, keep your voice down man!!

Look fellas, I think were gonna have to bring Jay in on this or he's gonna ruin everything.

Jay, what you are witnessing is what is known as TNCI09 (The nOOb Culling Initiative of 2009). This sport is growing at an uncontrolled rate and the crags are being overrun. The consensus is that a dramatic rise in gumby deaths is the only hope for a long term solution and this new belay method gets them to do away with one another while reducing backlash against the existing community.

Oh. In that case, never mind.

Jay


dingus


Mar 17, 2009, 4:39 PM
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I'm going to continue using a palm down belay in my trad climbing. Nothing you've ever said on the subject has correlated 100% to the reality of my climbing. Of course I'll continue to use the palm up method too. Often I switch back and forth several times in a pitch of belaying, depending upon context.

Palm down I will continue to slide my brake hand along the rope to reposition it. Nothing you've said about ropes zipping through belay devices bears any resemblance to what I've seen and done in 30 plus years of climbing.

Palm up, no grip on the rope - yes I can see that is a problem. They go hand in hand as it were, yuk yuk.

'Safest belay technique' is clearly situational and no one technique will solve all problems.

Interesting discussion with throught provoking points, as always.

DMT


curt


Mar 17, 2009, 4:48 PM
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dingus wrote:
...Palm down I will continue to slide my brake hand along the rope to reposition it. Nothing you've said about ropes zipping through belay devices bears any resemblance to what I've seen and done in 30 plus years of climbing...

Nor does is bear any resemblance to reality.

Curt


reno


Mar 17, 2009, 5:02 PM
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jt512 wrote:
Reno, if you think that the difference between shuffling your brake hand up the rope and pinching the brake side of the rope with your guide hand so that you don't have to shuffle it up the rope is a case of splitting hairs, then you are simply ignorant.

Ah yes... the "If you don't agree with me, it's because you're a fucking retard" reply.

Good talking to ya, Jay. Hope you're well. Many happy climbs.


jt512


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curt wrote:
dingus wrote:
...Palm down I will continue to slide my brake hand along the rope to reposition it. Nothing you've said about ropes zipping through belay devices bears any resemblance to what I've seen and done in 30 plus years of climbing...

Nor does is bear any resemblance to reality.

Curt

Thanks for correcting my delusional belief that you're supposed to always maintain a grip with your brake hand.

Jay


onceahardman


Mar 17, 2009, 5:54 PM
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I submit that sliding a loosened grip along the rope is different than "breaking the most fundamental rule in belaying."

A loosened grip is still receiving tactile information from the rope. Providing the belayer is paying attention, and managing the rope well, There is plenty of time to close your fist, which as you have admitted, is faster than locking off. I've caught my share of unseen falls this way, sans problems.

The most important rules in belaying are Pay Attention, and Don't Be an Idiot.

I've climbed with your ilk before. "Belay MY way", "Anchor MY way", "You are doing it all wrong"...etc. No Fun.

I don't climb with that type very much any more. I've had my share of disagreements with curt around here, but it's pretty easy to see I'd have a lot more fun with him, and probably get more pitches done, secondary to not getting analysis paralysis at every anchor.


curt


Mar 17, 2009, 5:59 PM
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onceahardman wrote:
I submit that sliding a loosened grip along the rope is different than "breaking the most fundamental rule in belaying."

A loosened grip is still receiving tactile information from the rope. Providing the belayer is paying attention, and managing the rope well, There is plenty of time to close your fist, which as you have admitted, is faster than locking off. I've caught my share of unseen falls this way, sans problems.

I think it's fairly clear that everyone except Jay understands this.

Curt


jt512


Mar 17, 2009, 6:40 PM
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onceahardman wrote:
I submit that sliding a loosened grip along the rope is different than "breaking the most fundamental rule in belaying."

What I submit is that you're not just loosening your grip. You're not gripping at all. I submit that there is a difference between having your hand around the rope and actually gripping it.

What you guys are suggesting is so fundamentally wrong that I can't even believe that we are having this conversation.

Jay


jt512


Mar 17, 2009, 6:45 PM
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curt wrote:
onceahardman wrote:
I submit that sliding a loosened grip along the rope is different than "breaking the most fundamental rule in belaying."

A loosened grip is still receiving tactile information from the rope. Providing the belayer is paying attention, and managing the rope well, There is plenty of time to close your fist, which as you have admitted, is faster than locking off. I've caught my share of unseen falls this way, sans problems.

I think it's fairly clear that everyone except Jay understands this.

Curt

Yeah, me and every other American climber who was taught the pinch-and-slide method, and to whom it was explained that the reason for pinching the rope was precisely to avoid the very shuffling maneuver you guys are claiming is not only safe, but actually safer than the method that was taught to avoid it.

Jay


dingus


Mar 17, 2009, 6:49 PM
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I think most experienced climbers slide their brake hand up and down the rope without using the other hand, from time to time if not more often.

As in the vast majority, sport climbers included. Any visit to the locak crags will confirm this.

It is standard operating procedure, text book noob admonishments notwithstanding.

DMT


curt


Mar 17, 2009, 7:00 PM
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jt512 wrote:
onceahardman wrote:
I submit that sliding a loosened grip along the rope is different than "breaking the most fundamental rule in belaying."

What I submit is that you're not just loosening your grip. You're not gripping at all. I submit that there is a difference between having your hand around the rope and actually gripping it.

What you guys are suggesting is so fundamentally wrong that I can't even believe that we are having this conversation.

Jay

Naturally, there is no possibility that everyone else is right--because that would mean you are wrong.

Curt


jt512


Mar 17, 2009, 7:02 PM
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dingus wrote:
I think most experienced climbers slide their brake hand up and down the rope without using the other hand, from time to time if not more often.

As in the vast majority, sport climbers included. Any visit to the locak crags will confirm this.

It is standard operating procedure, text book noob admonishments notwithstanding.

DMT

I'll tell you something, Dingus. In 15 years of arguing about belaying on the Internet—palms-up, palms-down, dynamic, "running", just stand there locked off like an idiot, 5-point nonsense, pinch-and-slide, etc.—until this week, not once, in 15 years, have I seen anyone have the audacity to suggest that shuffling your brake hand up the rope is a legitimate belay technique.

Jay


curt


Mar 17, 2009, 7:04 PM
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jt512 wrote:
dingus wrote:
I think most experienced climbers slide their brake hand up and down the rope without using the other hand, from time to time if not more often.

As in the vast majority, sport climbers included. Any visit to the locak crags will confirm this.

It is standard operating procedure, text book noob admonishments notwithstanding.

DMT

I'll tell you something, Dingus. In 15 years of arguing about belaying on the Internet—palms-up, palms-down, dynamic, "running", just stand there locked off like an idiot, 5-point nonsense, pinch-and-slide, etc.—until this week, not once, in 15 years, have I seen anyone have the audacity to suggest that shuffling your brake hand up the rope is a legitimate belay technique.

Jay

Then it's about time that you finally learned something.

Curt


jt512


Mar 17, 2009, 7:05 PM
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curt wrote:
jt512 wrote:
onceahardman wrote:
I submit that sliding a loosened grip along the rope is different than "breaking the most fundamental rule in belaying."

What I submit is that you're not just loosening your grip. You're not gripping at all. I submit that there is a difference between having your hand around the rope and actually gripping it.

What you guys are suggesting is so fundamentally wrong that I can't even believe that we are having this conversation.

Jay

Naturally, there is no possibility that everyone else is right--because that would mean you are wrong.

Curt

One n00b and two old farts isn't exactly "everyone."

Jay


d0nk3yk0n9


Mar 17, 2009, 7:13 PM
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jt512 wrote:
onceahardman wrote:
I submit that sliding a loosened grip along the rope is different than "breaking the most fundamental rule in belaying."

What I submit is that you're not just loosening your grip. You're not gripping at all. I submit that there is a difference between having your hand around the rope and actually gripping it.

True. However, the difference is that when your hand is around the rope, you only have to tighten your hand to grip it fully, whereas if you let go completely, when the climber falls you actually lose control of the rope. It's a gray area that really depends on experience and comfort (both one's own and one's partner's) with the technique and with belaying in general. In short, something many people probably due often with little to no added risk, but not something I would teach beginners or say is okay for everyone to do.


curt


Mar 17, 2009, 7:13 PM
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jt512 wrote:
curt wrote:
jt512 wrote:
onceahardman wrote:
I submit that sliding a loosened grip along the rope is different than "breaking the most fundamental rule in belaying."

What I submit is that you're not just loosening your grip. You're not gripping at all. I submit that there is a difference between having your hand around the rope and actually gripping it.

What you guys are suggesting is so fundamentally wrong that I can't even believe that we are having this conversation.

Jay

Naturally, there is no possibility that everyone else is right--because that would mean you are wrong.

Curt

One n00b and two old farts isn't exactly "everyone."

Jay

onceahardman is a n00b?

Curt


notapplicable


Mar 17, 2009, 7:25 PM
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curt wrote:
jt512 wrote:
curt wrote:
jt512 wrote:
onceahardman wrote:
I submit that sliding a loosened grip along the rope is different than "breaking the most fundamental rule in belaying."

What I submit is that you're not just loosening your grip. You're not gripping at all. I submit that there is a difference between having your hand around the rope and actually gripping it.

What you guys are suggesting is so fundamentally wrong that I can't even believe that we are having this conversation.

Jay

Naturally, there is no possibility that everyone else is right--because that would mean you are wrong.

Curt

One n00b and two old farts isn't exactly "everyone."

Jay

onceahardman is a n00b?

Curt

Sly

I think he was talking about me.


healyje


Mar 17, 2009, 7:25 PM
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jt512 wrote:
One n00b and two old farts isn't exactly "everyone."

Jay

Jesus, go away for awhile, come back and it's the same Jay, different day - make that three old farts please. All the ridiculous angst around the topic of belaying is actually pretty funny as I suspect the reality is a whole lot of people are getting dropped these days by folks using, or rather misusing, all the various methods and devices. ATC and grigri; up, down, and sideways; sketch and skip; wink and blink; flirt and squirt - you name it, some percentage of folks are just going to f#ck it up for a variety of reasons most having to do with not paying attention to the right thing at the right time.

Belaying conscientiousnessly and with a modicum of awareness is far and away more important than which of the various methods you choose. Which of those methods and devices noobs should use to minimize number of gym fatalities is another argument altogether.


onceahardman


Mar 17, 2009, 7:43 PM
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jt512 wrote:
dingus wrote:
I think most experienced climbers slide their brake hand up and down the rope without using the other hand, from time to time if not more often.

As in the vast majority, sport climbers included. Any visit to the locak crags will confirm this.

It is standard operating procedure, text book noob admonishments notwithstanding.

DMT

I'll tell you something, Dingus. In 15 years of arguing about belaying on the Internet—palms-up, palms-down, dynamic, "running", just stand there locked off like an idiot, 5-point nonsense, pinch-and-slide, etc.—until this week, not once, in 15 years, have I seen anyone have the audacity to suggest that shuffling your brake hand up the rope is a legitimate belay technique.

Jay

I suspect "pinch-and-slide" is your favorite masturbatory technique...9.8mm sounds about right.


jt512


Mar 17, 2009, 7:51 PM
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onceahardman wrote:
jt512 wrote:
dingus wrote:
I think most experienced climbers slide their brake hand up and down the rope without using the other hand, from time to time if not more often.

As in the vast majority, sport climbers included. Any visit to the locak crags will confirm this.

It is standard operating procedure, text book noob admonishments notwithstanding.

DMT

I'll tell you something, Dingus. In 15 years of arguing about belaying on the Internet—palms-up, palms-down, dynamic, "running", just stand there locked off like an idiot, 5-point nonsense, pinch-and-slide, etc.—until this week, not once, in 15 years, have I seen anyone have the audacity to suggest that shuffling your brake hand up the rope is a legitimate belay technique.

Jay

I suspect "pinch-and-slide" is your favorite masturbatory technique...9.8mm sounds about right.

That was mature.

Jay


curt


Mar 17, 2009, 7:57 PM
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jt512 wrote:
onceahardman wrote:
jt512 wrote:
dingus wrote:
I think most experienced climbers slide their brake hand up and down the rope without using the other hand, from time to time if not more often.

As in the vast majority, sport climbers included. Any visit to the locak crags will confirm this.

It is standard operating procedure, text book noob admonishments notwithstanding.

DMT

I'll tell you something, Dingus. In 15 years of arguing about belaying on the Internet—palms-up, palms-down, dynamic, "running", just stand there locked off like an idiot, 5-point nonsense, pinch-and-slide, etc.—until this week, not once, in 15 years, have I seen anyone have the audacity to suggest that shuffling your brake hand up the rope is a legitimate belay technique.

Jay

I suspect "pinch-and-slide" is your favorite masturbatory technique...9.8mm sounds about right.

That was mature.

Jay

You should give him a break. That was the first post in several pages that wasn't disagreeing with you.

Curt


notapplicable


Mar 17, 2009, 8:34 PM
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curt wrote:
onceahardman wrote:
I submit that sliding a loosened grip along the rope is different than "breaking the most fundamental rule in belaying."

A loosened grip is still receiving tactile information from the rope. Providing the belayer is paying attention, and managing the rope well, There is plenty of time to close your fist, which as you have admitted, is faster than locking off. I've caught my share of unseen falls this way, sans problems.

I think it's fairly clear that everyone except Jay understands this.

Curt

EDIT: I had this thread confused with one in the beginners forum that were happening at the same time. I did not broach the subject in here but rather the other thread.

I've gotta admit, I was actually a bit nervous when I first made the post that spawned this conversation. Haven't seen this topic discussed before so I wasn't really sure what the response was gonna be.

When I started climbing I read a few of books, spent a few days sport climbing and then started teaching myself to lead on gear, haven't looked back since. I started belaying using the fundamentals found in the books and then just let my system evolve to suit my needs. What I found though, was that most other people I've climbed with use one of the more "formal" methods and I get the stink eye every time I go to the gym here in Richmond. Over time I've tried to reconcile what seemed to be a community consensus with what felt natural and experience had told me was perfectly safe under most circumstances. Eventually I decided I just had to trust intuition and experience.

I think it's interesting that all but one of the people acknowledging this particular belay method as safe, are also among the sites most experienced. I would definitely be raising an eyebrow if it were just a bunch of us in the 5-10 year experience bracket but it's hard to argue with the veterans when the topic at hand is something so basic and fundamental as belaying.

Interesting discussion either way and thanks for spending the time to be so thorough Jay. We may disagree about my method but between your and Dingus's thoughts on the P&S, I think I'm gonna experiment with it next time I hit the gym. I'm always willing to learn some new tricks of the trade.


(This post was edited by notapplicable on Mar 18, 2009, 11:02 AM)


notapplicable


Mar 17, 2009, 8:39 PM
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jt512 wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
jt512 wrote:
This is pretty cool. We are actually witnessing the beginning of the acceptance of a belay technique that inherently involves the repeated violation of the one rule that every new belayer has been taught for generations: never let go with your brake hand.

Way to go rockclimbing.com!

Jay

Alright alright alright, keep your voice down man!!

Look fellas, I think were gonna have to bring Jay in on this or he's gonna ruin everything.

Jay, what you are witnessing is what is known as TNCI09 (The nOOb Culling Initiative of 2009). This sport is growing at an uncontrolled rate and the crags are being overrun. The consensus is that a dramatic rise in gumby deaths is the only hope for a long term solution and this new belay method gets them to do away with one another while reducing backlash against the existing community.

Oh. In that case, never mind.

Jay

Sly

I knew you'd come around.


reno


Mar 17, 2009, 9:16 PM
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jt512 wrote:
I'll tell you something, Dingus. In 15 years of arguing about belaying on the Internet—palms-up, palms-down, dynamic, "running", just stand there locked off like an idiot, 5-point nonsense, pinch-and-slide, etc.—until this week, not once, in 15 years, have I seen anyone have the audacity to suggest that shuffling your brake hand up the rope is a legitimate belay technique.

Oh. Well, if you've never heard it on the internet, that must mean you're right.


jt512


Mar 17, 2009, 9:22 PM
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notapplicable wrote:
curt wrote:
onceahardman wrote:
I submit that sliding a loosened grip along the rope is different than "breaking the most fundamental rule in belaying."

A loosened grip is still receiving tactile information from the rope. Providing the belayer is paying attention, and managing the rope well, There is plenty of time to close your fist, which as you have admitted, is faster than locking off. I've caught my share of unseen falls this way, sans problems.

I think it's fairly clear that everyone except Jay understands this.

Curt
I think it's interesting that all but one of the people acknowledging this particular belay method as safe, are also among the sites most experienced. I would definitely be raising an eyebrow if it were just a bunch of us in the 5-10 year experience bracket but it's hard to argue with the veterans when the topic at hand is something so basic and fundamental as belaying.

I do not mean to impugn the judgment or safeness of any of the specific climbers in this thread, but I would be careful about trusting a climber just because he was a veteran—very careful.

Jay


reno


Mar 17, 2009, 9:25 PM
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jt512 wrote:
I do not mean to impugn the judgment or safeness of any of the specific climbers in this thread, but I would be careful about trusting a climber just because he was a veteran—very careful.

How long you been climbing again?


curt


Mar 17, 2009, 9:38 PM
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jt512 wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
curt wrote:
onceahardman wrote:
I submit that sliding a loosened grip along the rope is different than "breaking the most fundamental rule in belaying."

A loosened grip is still receiving tactile information from the rope. Providing the belayer is paying attention, and managing the rope well, There is plenty of time to close your fist, which as you have admitted, is faster than locking off. I've caught my share of unseen falls this way, sans problems.

I think it's fairly clear that everyone except Jay understands this.

Curt
I think it's interesting that all but one of the people acknowledging this particular belay method as safe, are also among the sites most experienced. I would definitely be raising an eyebrow if it were just a bunch of us in the 5-10 year experience bracket but it's hard to argue with the veterans when the topic at hand is something so basic and fundamental as belaying.

I do not mean to impugn the judgment or safeness of any of the specific climbers in this thread, but I would be careful about trusting a climber just because he was a veteran—very careful.

Jay

Indeed. Those of us who have belayed with countless different belay devices (or no device) and have done so while being benighted/snowed off/hailed off/chased off by lightning from alpine routes/big walls and countless multi-pitch climbs over the last 30 years, what could we possibly know? Particularly in contrast to conventional wisdom on the internet?

Curt


dingus


Mar 17, 2009, 9:43 PM
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jt512 wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
curt wrote:
onceahardman wrote:
I submit that sliding a loosened grip along the rope is different than "breaking the most fundamental rule in belaying."

A loosened grip is still receiving tactile information from the rope. Providing the belayer is paying attention, and managing the rope well, There is plenty of time to close your fist, which as you have admitted, is faster than locking off. I've caught my share of unseen falls this way, sans problems.

I think it's fairly clear that everyone except Jay understands this.

Curt
I think it's interesting that all but one of the people acknowledging this particular belay method as safe, are also among the sites most experienced. I would definitely be raising an eyebrow if it were just a bunch of us in the 5-10 year experience bracket but it's hard to argue with the veterans when the topic at hand is something so basic and fundamental as belaying.

I do not mean to impugn the judgment or safeness of any of the specific climbers in this thread, but I would be careful about trusting a climber just because he was a veteran—very careful.

Jay

I absolutely agree with this. I have damn near killed myself more than once climbing. I'm self taught out of a borrowed book that was missing a few pages. I wouldn't take the crap I spew from me, or anyone else for that matter.

And personally? I put a lot of stock in JTs advice. A LOT. (seriously, I do)

Fundamentally I don't agree that sport belay methods are the best answer or safest - for all trad.

I don't agree, fundamentally, that a palm up V stance is THE single best solution for all belay needs. I think there are many times in climbing when a palm down lock off position is superior for the task at hand.

Know the advantage of a lock off position?

Care to take a guess????

DMT


healyje


Mar 17, 2009, 9:51 PM
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jt512 wrote:
I do not mean to impugn the judgment or safeness of any of the specific climbers in this thread, but I would be careful about trusting a climber just because he was a veteran—very careful. Jay

Dude, no harness, no belay device of any kind, no locking biners - just pro and a rope - and I can still lead and belay as safe or safer than you on any route, any day of the week (again and again).

Get a grip on your spew man...


jt512


Mar 17, 2009, 9:58 PM
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healyje wrote:
jt512 wrote:
I do not mean to impugn the judgment or safeness of any of the specific climbers in this thread, but I would be careful about trusting a climber just because he was a veteran—very careful. Jay

Dude, no harness, no belay device of any kind, no locking biners - just pro and a rope - and I can still lead and belay as safe or safer than you on any route, any day of the week (again and again).

Get a grip on your spew man...

It appears that can you not read simple printed English (was it "impugn" that threw you?), so expecting you to read between the lines is clearly out of the question.

Jay


jt512


Mar 17, 2009, 10:12 PM
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dingus wrote:
And personally? I put a lot of stock in JTs advice. A LOT. (seriously, I do)

Thanks for that. It means a lot to me.

In reply to:
Fundamentally I don't agree that sport belay methods are the best answer or safest - for all trad.

First of all, I'm not advocating a "sport belay method." I was taught to belay this way in the mid-80s in Yosemite by some of the best trad climbers in the country, and used it exclusively on trad climbs for close to 10 years.

In reply to:
I don't agree, fundamentally, that a palm up V [sic] stance is THE single best solution for all belay needs.

Nobody does, including me. But shouldn't it go without saying that there are exceptions to every rule, include the rule that there are exceptions to every rule? Do we have to put disclaimers on every single post? "It Depends ™" stopped being funny a decade ago.

In reply to:
Know the advantage of a lock off position?

Care to take a guess????

It's easier to scratch your ass. What do I win?

Jay


notapplicable


Mar 17, 2009, 10:23 PM
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jt512 wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
curt wrote:
onceahardman wrote:
I submit that sliding a loosened grip along the rope is different than "breaking the most fundamental rule in belaying."

A loosened grip is still receiving tactile information from the rope. Providing the belayer is paying attention, and managing the rope well, There is plenty of time to close your fist, which as you have admitted, is faster than locking off. I've caught my share of unseen falls this way, sans problems.

I think it's fairly clear that everyone except Jay understands this.

Curt
I think it's interesting that all but one of the people acknowledging this particular belay method as safe, are also among the sites most experienced. I would definitely be raising an eyebrow if it were just a bunch of us in the 5-10 year experience bracket but it's hard to argue with the veterans when the topic at hand is something so basic and fundamental as belaying.

I do not mean to impugn the judgment or safeness of any of the specific climbers in this thread, but I would be careful about trusting a climber just because he was a veteran—very careful.

Jay


No doubt. Nor am I always willing to put total faith in my own (often limited) personal experience as being the final authority on these matters. I didn't spend as much time on this discussion as I have simply because I enjoy arguing.

In this case though, their cumulative experience coupled with my own is making it difficult to summon much skepticism.


(This post was edited by notapplicable on Mar 17, 2009, 10:44 PM)


notapplicable


Mar 17, 2009, 10:54 PM
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reno wrote:
jt512 wrote:
I'll tell you something, Dingus. In 15 years of arguing about belaying on the Internet—palms-up, palms-down, dynamic, "running", just stand there locked off like an idiot, 5-point nonsense, pinch-and-slide, etc.—until this week, not once, in 15 years, have I seen anyone have the audacity to suggest that shuffling your brake hand up the rope is a legitimate belay technique.

Oh. Well, if you've never heard it on the internet, that must mean you're right.

In an age when people look to the internet as a source of employment, news, communication and entertainment, the real humor in this quip is a bit more subtle than it first appears.

Well done.


jt512


Mar 17, 2009, 11:02 PM
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notapplicable wrote:
reno wrote:
jt512 wrote:
I'll tell you something, Dingus. In 15 years of arguing about belaying on the Internet—palms-up, palms-down, dynamic, "running", just stand there locked off like an idiot, 5-point nonsense, pinch-and-slide, etc.—until this week, not once, in 15 years, have I seen anyone have the audacity to suggest that shuffling your brake hand up the rope is a legitimate belay technique.

Oh. Well, if you've never heard it on the internet, that must mean you're right.

In an age when people look to the internet as a source of employment, news, communication and entertainment, the real humor in this quip is a bit more subtle than it first appears.

Reno (and you, probably) is too young to remember the old days, when it was the smartest people in the world who used the Internet.

Jay


curt


Mar 17, 2009, 11:18 PM
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jt512 wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
reno wrote:
jt512 wrote:
I'll tell you something, Dingus. In 15 years of arguing about belaying on the Internet—palms-up, palms-down, dynamic, "running", just stand there locked off like an idiot, 5-point nonsense, pinch-and-slide, etc.—until this week, not once, in 15 years, have I seen anyone have the audacity to suggest that shuffling your brake hand up the rope is a legitimate belay technique.

Oh. Well, if you've never heard it on the internet, that must mean you're right.

In an age when people look to the internet as a source of employment, news, communication and entertainment, the real humor in this quip is a bit more subtle than it first appears.

Reno (and you, probably) is too young to remember the old days, when it was the smartest people in the world who used the Internet.

Jay

Well, that surely isn't the case anymore. However, always remember that a prominent east coast climber (unlike Al Gore) did play a major role in inventing it.

Curt


jt512


Mar 17, 2009, 11:29 PM
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curt wrote:
jt512 wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
reno wrote:
jt512 wrote:
I'll tell you something, Dingus. In 15 years of arguing about belaying on the Internet—palms-up, palms-down, dynamic, "running", just stand there locked off like an idiot, 5-point nonsense, pinch-and-slide, etc.—until this week, not once, in 15 years, have I seen anyone have the audacity to suggest that shuffling your brake hand up the rope is a legitimate belay technique.

Oh. Well, if you've never heard it on the internet, that must mean you're right.

In an age when people look to the internet as a source of employment, news, communication and entertainment, the real humor in this quip is a bit more subtle than it first appears.

Reno (and you, probably) is too young to remember the old days, when it was the smartest people in the world who used the Internet.

Jay

Well, that surely isn't the case anymore. However, always remember that a prominent east coast climber (unlike Al Gore) did play a major role in inventing it.

Curt

Eugene Miya? Someone should tell him that he doesn't really need to run those rotating FAQ scripts in rec.climbing anymore.

Jay


curt


Mar 18, 2009, 12:05 AM
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jt512 wrote:
curt wrote:
jt512 wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
reno wrote:
jt512 wrote:
I'll tell you something, Dingus. In 15 years of arguing about belaying on the Internet—palms-up, palms-down, dynamic, "running", just stand there locked off like an idiot, 5-point nonsense, pinch-and-slide, etc.—until this week, not once, in 15 years, have I seen anyone have the audacity to suggest that shuffling your brake hand up the rope is a legitimate belay technique.

Oh. Well, if you've never heard it on the internet, that must mean you're right.

In an age when people look to the internet as a source of employment, news, communication and entertainment, the real humor in this quip is a bit more subtle than it first appears.

Reno (and you, probably) is too young to remember the old days, when it was the smartest people in the world who used the Internet.

Jay

Well, that surely isn't the case anymore. However, always remember that a prominent east coast climber (unlike Al Gore) did play a major role in inventing it.

Curt

Eugene Miya? Someone should tell him that he doesn't really need to run those rotating FAQ scripts in rec.climbing anymore.

Jay

No. Willie Crowther.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Crowther

Curt


notapplicable


Mar 18, 2009, 12:22 AM
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jt512 wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
reno wrote:
jt512 wrote:
I'll tell you something, Dingus. In 15 years of arguing about belaying on the Internet—palms-up, palms-down, dynamic, "running", just stand there locked off like an idiot, 5-point nonsense, pinch-and-slide, etc.—until this week, not once, in 15 years, have I seen anyone have the audacity to suggest that shuffling your brake hand up the rope is a legitimate belay technique.

Oh. Well, if you've never heard it on the internet, that must mean you're right.

In an age when people look to the internet as a source of employment, news, communication and entertainment, the real humor in this quip is a bit more subtle than it first appears.

Reno (and you, probably) is too young to remember the old days, when it was the smartest people in the world who used the Internet.

Jay

True but I'd wager it's a lot funnier now that all the low IQ's are running rampant in here.


jt512


Mar 18, 2009, 12:37 AM
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notapplicable wrote:
jt512 wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
reno wrote:
jt512 wrote:
I'll tell you something, Dingus. In 15 years of arguing about belaying on the Internet—palms-up, palms-down, dynamic, "running", just stand there locked off like an idiot, 5-point nonsense, pinch-and-slide, etc.—until this week, not once, in 15 years, have I seen anyone have the audacity to suggest that shuffling your brake hand up the rope is a legitimate belay technique.

Oh. Well, if you've never heard it on the internet, that must mean you're right.

In an age when people look to the internet as a source of employment, news, communication and entertainment, the real humor in this quip is a bit more subtle than it first appears.

Reno (and you, probably) is too young to remember the old days, when it was the smartest people in the world who used the Internet.

Jay

True but I'd wager it's a lot funnier now that all the low IQ's are running rampant in here.

No, quite the opposite, actually.

Jay


jt512


Mar 18, 2009, 12:39 AM
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curt wrote:
jt512 wrote:
curt wrote:
jt512 wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
reno wrote:
jt512 wrote:
I'll tell you something, Dingus. In 15 years of arguing about belaying on the Internet—palms-up, palms-down, dynamic, "running", just stand there locked off like an idiot, 5-point nonsense, pinch-and-slide, etc.—until this week, not once, in 15 years, have I seen anyone have the audacity to suggest that shuffling your brake hand up the rope is a legitimate belay technique.

Oh. Well, if you've never heard it on the internet, that must mean you're right.

In an age when people look to the internet as a source of employment, news, communication and entertainment, the real humor in this quip is a bit more subtle than it first appears.

Reno (and you, probably) is too young to remember the old days, when it was the smartest people in the world who used the Internet.

Jay

Well, that surely isn't the case anymore. However, always remember that a prominent east coast climber (unlike Al Gore) did play a major role in inventing it.

Curt

Eugene Miya? Someone should tell him that he doesn't really need to run those rotating FAQ scripts in rec.climbing anymore.

Jay

No. Willie Crowther.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Crowther

Curt

I think Miya was involved in ARPAnet development, too.

Jay


dingus


Mar 18, 2009, 6:24 AM
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Eugene is HAL's little brother.

"Turn off the USENET Eugene."

"I'm afraid I can't do that Dave..."

DMT


JAB


Mar 18, 2009, 7:00 AM
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Have to agree with JT here. Sliding your hand up the rope means that you are letting go, and that is a big NO NO in my books.

Yes, it is true that it only takes a fraction of a second to slide your hand up the rope. Yes, if you pay attention you will have time to squeeze your grip. But, moving your guide hand down for a second to ensure a firm grip during this short interval is not exactly difficult, nor does it in any way disturb your belaying. As I see it, if the belayer can't be bothered to do this simple manouver which increases the safety (as has been made quite clear already, by how much is pure speculation), maybe he won't be bothered to pay much attention otherwise either.


onceahardman


Mar 18, 2009, 8:08 AM
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In reply to:
As I see it, if the belayer can't be bothered to do this simple manouver which increases the safety (as has been made quite clear already, by how much is pure speculation), maybe he won't be bothered to pay much attention otherwise either.

Actually, this has not been made clear, as even Jay has admitted. There is no supporting data.

Look, if I was responsible for setting a national standard for belaying, I'd likely use something more like Jay's method. It may well be more idiot-proof, but we don't really know. Perhaps the seeming "bombproof-ness" of his method could lead to mental slackness, less paying of attention. But we really don't know.

Fortunately, the gov't has not set standars for how I, as an individual climber, must belay. Yet.


dingus


Mar 18, 2009, 8:19 AM
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Bunch of trad noobs sitting on spacious ledges, bored whilst waiting for the leader to do something, sitting there cocked and loaded in palms up V position and ready to by god react?????

Almost inevitable someone gets dropped via this dreaded loose grip, I agree. The rope is already held in 'feeder position' (to achieve this fast reaction time) anyway. Aye I can see that.

Now reverse the brake hand of that bored belayer. Pull the rope down to locked position while the leader is fiddling around.

Now the chances of dropping the leader due to loose grip are very, very small. The issue virtually disappears with simple twist of the hand. To suggest this is a bad idea is ludicrous. Presenting reaction time as a safety issue, in all belay situations, is equally ludicrous.

The loose grip issue is a downside of the more reactive palm up V method. It is NOT a downside of a palm down locked position.

Slower reaction time is a downside of the palm down locked position. But if lightning fast reaction time is irrelevant for a given situation, then so too is the strength of this belay method, FOR that situation.

Now you may just like belaying that way better. Bully for you. But spare me the hand off the rope crap. I don't buy it. A loose slide grip is NOT 'letting go.'

DMT


GeneralZon


Mar 18, 2009, 9:10 AM
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I think after a 3 year hiatus from the OP and 3 days of good discussions by all parties involved I offer the following award to this forum.



Tongue


jt512


Mar 18, 2009, 10:20 AM
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dingus wrote:
Eugene is HAL's little brother.

"Turn off the USENET Eugene."

"I'm afraid I can't do that Dave..."

DMT

His brother? More like his father! (See, for example, this). But that would still explain the similarity of their tendencies.

Jay


notapplicable


Mar 18, 2009, 10:53 AM
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JAB wrote:
moving your guide hand down for a second to ensure a firm grip during this short interval is not exactly difficult, nor does it in any way disturb your belaying.

Actually, if I'm belaying a climber by feel, constantly taking my guide hand off the rope amounts to having rampant static on a phone line. It constantly disrupts the data stream and compromises the belay on multiple levels.

JAB wrote:
As I see it, if the belayer can't be bothered to do this simple manouver which increases the safety (as has been made quite clear already, by how much is pure speculation), maybe he won't be bothered to pay much attention otherwise either.

Huh??

Speculation implies ambiguity not clarity or certainty.

This link may be of some use - http://dictionary.reference.com/


michael_lassen


Mar 18, 2009, 4:03 PM
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I recently found that our climbing club have two camps wrt. belay technique.

The official way to teach new climbers how to belay a leader is like this:

1. Keep both hands below device, palms down, locked off, in default position
2. Feed out slack by sliding brake hand down the rope, move guide hand to guide side to feed out, move guide hand back below device to get back to default position.

Nobody in the club actually does this, since everybody knows that it is a sure way to shortrope the leader, but people are apparently divided as to what they do instead.

Camp one (which I belong to) keeps guide hand on the guide side when the leader advances or clips. The brake hand slides down the rope when feeding out slack.

Camp two moves the guide hand back and forth between the guide and brake side, but keeps a large loop of slack between the two hands to be ready to feed out a large amount of slack.

This technique will sometimes give you a really soft catch, which often is exactly what is desired, but when the climber is close to the ground or on slab, it is not appropriate.

So yesterday I was giving a lead belay check to two girls. I notice that they had a tendency to keep the guide hand on the guide side with a somewhat large amount of slack between the device and the brake hand. I wanted to rectify, and since the guide hand on the guide side looks natural to me I told them to keep the brake hand closer to the device, when the climber is close to the floor. To day I have discovered that what I was supposed to tell them was to keep both hands below device when not feeding out slack..

Now, I am getting curious. Is this way of belaying a local specialty, or do any of you expert belayers out there belay in the style of camp two?


curt


Mar 18, 2009, 5:43 PM
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michael_lassen wrote:
...Camp one (which I belong to) keeps guide hand on the guide side when the leader advances or clips. The brake hand slides down the rope when feeding out slack.

Camp two moves the guide hand back and forth between the guide and brake side, but keeps a large loop of slack between the two hands to be ready to feed out a large amount of slack...

I'm also in Camp 1. Camp 2, while perhaps OK for some certain gym or sport climbing situations, simply doesn't give the belayer enough flexibility in regard to quickly feeding out, or reeling in slack in the rope.

Curt


jt512


Mar 18, 2009, 9:11 PM
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michael_lassen wrote:
Camp two moves the guide hand back and forth between the guide and brake side, but keeps a large loop of slack between the two hands to be ready to feed out a large amount of slack.

This technique will sometimes give you a really soft catch, which often is exactly what is desired

There is nothing in your description of that technique that would soften the catch. With extra slack out, the catch will be harder than normal, and the fall longer—the worst of both worlds.

Jay


JAB


Mar 18, 2009, 11:58 PM
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notapplicable wrote:
Actually, if I'm belaying a climber by feel, constantly taking my guide hand off the rope amounts to having rampant static on a phone line. It constantly disrupts the data stream and compromises the belay on multiple levels.

Why would you "constantly" move your guide hand off the rope? You only move your guide hand to the dead part of the rope when taking in slack, which in a normal lead situation is not very often.


spikeddem


Mar 19, 2009, 12:40 AM
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I'm confused. It seems this began (when revived) as a BUS versus P&S. It really seems to me that what JT has in mind (and maybe others, too?) is like a lazy version of the BUS (essentially missing the U, ironically enough!).

Taking in slack:

BUS:
Brake: Brake hand goes to locked-off position.
Under: Guide hand is set behind the brake hand.
Slide: Brake hand is slid up.

Following this, the guide hand is returned to the guide position. This is essentially a P&S with the palm facing down while keeping the angle between the ends of the rope maximized.

Is the argument that BUS - U = BS? (According to JT.)

It seems to me JT's main concern is that without the "U" step, the rope can run through the device easily. Is that not cured by following BUS properly?

Another confusing thing is that JT mentioned being caught off-guard when trying to give out slack, but I don't see how it would differ at all compared to a P&S.

I must admit, I'd feel more comfortable with a belayer doing either P&S or BUS than BS.


jt512


Mar 19, 2009, 1:08 AM
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spikeddem wrote:
I'm confused. It seems this began (when revived) as a BUS versus P&S. It really seems to me that what JT has in mind (and maybe others, too?) is like a lazy version of the BUS (essentially missing the U, ironically enough!).

Taking in slack:

BUS:
Brake: Brake hand goes to locked-off position.
Under: Guide hand is set behind the brake hand.
Slide: Brake hand is slid up.

Following this, the guide hand is returned to the guide position. This is essentially a P&S with the palm facing down while keeping the angle between the ends of the rope maximized.

Is the argument that BUS - U = BS? (According to JT.)

BS. Nice acronym. The only problem is that the people who are using this "method" aren't really sliding their brake hand up the rope. They are releasing their grip and repositioning their hand higher up the rope. They may have their hand encircling the rope while they move their hand up, but they aren't holding on to it.

In reply to:
It seems to me JT's main concern is that without the "U" step, the rope can run through the device easily. Is that not cured by following BUS properly?

In reply to:
Another confusing thing is that JT mentioned being caught off-guard when trying to give out slack, but I don't see how it would differ at all compared to a P&S.

I think I've explained that several times already, but here it is once more: Using the P&S method, you can maintain a firm grip with your brake hand throughout the entire belay cycle¹. If the climber falls during the "slide phase" while you're not watching the climber, the rope won't slide through your brake hand, since you are gripping it firmly; rather your brake hand will start to get pulled toward the belay device. Simultaneously, the rope will start to stretch because the muscular resistance you are providing with your brake hand will create friction around your belay carabiner. Thus, you never lose control of the rope. You will feel the tension in your brake hand, and, if properly trained, will lock off immediately. You should have no problem catching the fall, although a little rope may slip through the belay device (which, by reducing the impact force of the fall, usually does more good than harm, anyway).

In contrast, using the BS method, if the climber falls while you are moving your hand up the rope and you are not watching the climber, the rope will start sliding through your brake hand. In a sense, you have already lost control of the belay, and now you must regain control. it is much harder to grab and stop a moving rope than it is to lock off a rope that you are holding onto, even if you have to lock off from a starting position of the ropes parallel to each other.

In reply to:
I must admit, I'd feel more comfortable with a belayer doing either P&S or BUS than BS.

I couldn't agree more. In fact, I would probably not allow myself to be belayed by a BS belayer.

Jay

______________________

¹Thanks to bill413 for the phrase "belay cycle".


(This post was edited by jt512 on Mar 19, 2009, 1:15 AM)


curt


Mar 19, 2009, 1:34 AM
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jt512 wrote:
I couldn't agree more. In fact, I would probably not allow myself to be belayed by a BS belayer.

Jay

You already have and I have caught you many times, because you happen to fall quite frequently.

Curt


jt512


Mar 19, 2009, 1:47 AM
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Re: [curt] Safest belay technique [In reply to]
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curt wrote:
jt512 wrote:
I couldn't agree more. In fact, I would probably not allow myself to be belayed by a BS belayer.

Jay

You already have and I have caught you many times, because you happen to fall quite frequently.

Curt

I routinely see people using the BS technique who repeatedly blatantly let go with their brake hand. I would not allow anyone whom I observed doing that to belay me. I don't know if you do that or not; I haven't watched you that closely. If I do see you do that, you won't belay me again. It seems to be a moot point anyway, since you rope climb so seldomly.

Jay


DexterRutecki


Mar 19, 2009, 1:50 AM
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Re: [jt512] Safest belay technique [In reply to]
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So, I've always just lurked on here, and kind of wish my first post wasn't in this thread, but there's a few things I really could use clarification on.

I've been climbing about 8 months, and really try to pay attention to safety/using the right technique.

I was taught to belay by my gym, and they used the BUS method. I do notice that most of the "better" climbers at my gym (based purely on the grades they climb), usually use the P+S technique. I watch what others do a lot, and if you asked me, I generally would prefer not to be belayed by them. I don't know if it's because they're lazy, or what, but here is what I observe (this is for top rope, and at my gym all top roping is done on gri-gris):

When pulling in slack, they basically throw the rope up at their guide hand, and catch it in their pinky (the "pinch"), then, it looks to me like they move their brake hand down VERY quickly toward the belay device, and lock off again. I take it this is "the slide", but it looks a hell of a lot more like basically taking your hand off the rope then the controlled slide/firm grip that JT is talking about. My gut feeling is that if I happened to take a fall during this "slide", their chances of catching the rope would be a lot lower than with someone using BUS. (I realize that while top roping, on a gri-gri, I'd probably be pretty safe.)

I guess my question here is, is my observation just flawed, or are they likely lazy or using poor technique?

On a related note, I will say that if the climber I'm belaying is going up quickly, taking in the slack using the BUS method can make it difficult to keep up, and frequently the belay device will be more or less hanging down off the belay loop, which something tells me is less than ideal. Is one of the reasons to use the P+S technique that taking in slack quickly is much easier?

Second topic - I've recently started leading. When feeding slack, I keep both my guide and brake hands firmly gripped on the rope, and slide the rope through my ATC. When my brake hand gets close to the device, I slide my hand back down (by down here I mean toward the ground/away from the climber) the rope, then do the same with the guide hand, and repeat the sequence if neccessary. Is this unsafe? I will say I feel like I have a good grip on the rope, despite being able to slide my brake hand down it.

This is again, what the gym taught (i took a lead class), and I don't have any particular reason to believe it is unsafe, except that it seems to me exactly like the "BS" method, with the difference being that I am sliding my hand down the rope, as opposed to up toward the device.

Sorry if that was long winded, but I'd greatly appreciate people's answers/opinions, I've been wondering for a while.


curt


Mar 19, 2009, 2:02 AM
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Re: [jt512] Safest belay technique [In reply to]
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jt512 wrote:
curt wrote:
jt512 wrote:
I couldn't agree more. In fact, I would probably not allow myself to be belayed by a BS belayer.

Jay

You already have and I have caught you many times, because you happen to fall quite frequently.

Curt

I routinely see people using the BS technique who repeatedly blatantly let go with their brake hand. I would not allow anyone whom I observed doing that to belay me. I don't know if you do that or not; I haven't watched you that closely. If I do see you do that, you won't belay me again. It seems to be a moot point anyway, since you rope climb so seldomly.

Jay

I've done far more trad, multi-pitch, big wall and alpine routes than you are ever likely to do in your lifetime. However, if you are not comfortable with me belaying you in the future, that is completely fine with me. Get some gumby who buys into your particular brand of nonsense to do it.

Curt


jt512


Mar 19, 2009, 2:09 AM
Post #148 of 387 (3288 views)
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Re: [curt] Safest belay technique [In reply to]
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curt wrote:
jt512 wrote:
curt wrote:
jt512 wrote:
I couldn't agree more. In fact, I would probably not allow myself to be belayed by a BS belayer.

Jay

You already have and I have caught you many times, because you happen to fall quite frequently.

Curt

I routinely see people using the BS technique who repeatedly blatantly let go with their brake hand. I would not allow anyone whom I observed doing that to belay me. I don't know if you do that or not; I haven't watched you that closely. If I do see you do that, you won't belay me again. It seems to be a moot point anyway, since you rope climb so seldomly.

Jay

I've done far more trad, multi-pitch, big wall and alpine routes than you are ever likely to do in your lifetime. However, if you are not comfortable with me belaying you in the future, that is completely fine with me. Get some gumby who buys into your particular brand of nonsense to do it.

Curt

And in spite of the fact that you have climbed longer than I have, guess who's caught more falls. If you want to learn how to belay proficiently, the veteran trad climber is not the one to go to.

Jay


JAB


Mar 19, 2009, 2:11 AM
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Re: [DexterRutecki] Safest belay technique [In reply to]
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DexterRutecki wrote:
Second topic - I've recently started leading. When feeding slack, I keep both my guide and brake hands firmly gripped on the rope, and slide the rope through my ATC. When my brake hand gets close to the device, I slide my hand back down (by down here I mean toward the ground/away from the climber) the rope, then do the same with the guide hand, and repeat the sequence if neccessary. Is this unsafe? I will say I feel like I have a good grip on the rope, despite being able to slide my brake hand down it.

This is again, what the gym taught (i took a lead class), and I don't have any particular reason to believe it is unsafe, except that it seems to me exactly like the "BS" method, with the difference being that I am sliding my hand down the rope, as opposed to up toward the device.

That is perfectly safe and how you should do it. When you are sliding your hand down the rope, you are keeping the rope in a locked off position, and can keep a grip on the rope during the slide (the rope is tensioned between the belay device and your hand). That is not possible when moving your hand up towards the belay device - unless you first move your guide hand down!


curt


Mar 19, 2009, 2:20 AM
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Re: [jt512] Safest belay technique [In reply to]
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jt512 wrote: