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bill413


Mar 19, 2009, 5:19 AM
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Re: [jt512] Safest belay technique [In reply to]
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jt512 wrote:
ąThanks to bill413 for the phrase "belay cycle".
Thank you.


onceahardman


Mar 19, 2009, 5:20 AM
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Re: [curt] Safest belay technique [In reply to]
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In reply to:
However, I have certainly caught more falls than you have under unique circumstances. Knowing how to belay "proficiently" involves much more than knowing how to do the same thing over and over.

Curt

Agreed. The issue of dynamic belays is largely a red herring issue in sport climbing. A robot, or a trained monkey could belay a sport climber.

And an attentive belayer does not need to see a leader fall in order to catch a fall. The tactile information received through the hands is sufficient- I've done it many times.

Kind of sad, though, that the list of belayers for jay has shrunk.


reno


Mar 19, 2009, 7:12 AM
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Re: [curt] Safest belay technique [In reply to]
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curt wrote:
sport climbing is all about falling--and not about climbing.

LaughLaughLaugh

In reply to:
Knowing how to belay "proficiently" involves much more than knowing how to do the same thing over and over.

I gotta agree with that.


dingus


Mar 19, 2009, 8:07 AM
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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:
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

If by belay proficiently you mean using the rope as a climbing tool, aid climbers also have some tricks up their sleeves.

Too bad these sport and aid belay techniques have so limited utility across the trad spectrum eh.

So yes, to learn how to soft catch and to be the leader's baby sitter, visit the sport belay champs.

DMT


spikeddem


Mar 19, 2009, 8:21 AM
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Re: [DexterRutecki] Safest belay technique [In reply to]
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DexterRutecki wrote:
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?

Difficulty in keeping up shouldn't be an issue. Perhaps you're not keeping the belay loose enough, or you're just still getting use to belaying for quick climbing/quick clips? The real challenge is when people are clipping above their heads and drop the rope. You have to quickly decide whether they're going to fall right away, or clip again. If your decision leads you to take in rope, then you gotta be real quick. The belay device hanging down is a non-issue. I don't understand how the P&S is any faster than BUS. If anything (for taking in slack) it seems slower.


In reply to:
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.

That's the way I do it.


spikeddem


Mar 19, 2009, 8:35 AM
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Re: [spikeddem] Safest belay technique [In reply to]
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What's the advantage in skipping the the "under" part of BUS? If people are arguing for doing it, there must be some kind of advantage?


dingus


Mar 19, 2009, 8:45 AM
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Re: [spikeddem] Safest belay technique [In reply to]
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spikeddem wrote:
DexterRutecki wrote:
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?

Difficulty in keeping up shouldn't be an issue. Perhaps you're not keeping the belay loose enough, or you're just still getting use to belaying for quick climbing/quick clips? The real challenge is when people are clipping above their heads and drop the rope. You have to quickly decide whether they're going to fall right away, or clip again.

Seems to me one of you is talking about top rope belaying and the other lead belaying.

Personally I make a huge distinction between the two. I do not apply the same rigor to a top rope belay.

I get the impression that some if not many climbers use or at least pretend to use - one method and one method only for all belay purposes.

Now I'm not sure I believe these people, for starters. But giving the benefit of the doubt? I have yet to see a single belay technique that is best for all belay needs, all the time.

I switch belay methods frequently, for the task at hand. Most of the experienced climbers I know do the same. These switches might come several times a pitch.

Works for me.

Cheers
DMT


spikeddem


Mar 19, 2009, 9:11 AM
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Re: [dingus] Safest belay technique [In reply to]
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dingus wrote:
spikeddem wrote:
DexterRutecki wrote:
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?

Difficulty in keeping up shouldn't be an issue. Perhaps you're not keeping the belay loose enough, or you're just still getting use to belaying for quick climbing/quick clips? The real challenge is when people are clipping above their heads and drop the rope. You have to quickly decide whether they're going to fall right away, or clip again.

Seems to me one of you is talking about top rope belaying and the other lead belaying.

Well, I was a bit unclear that I was talking about both.

In reply to:
Personally I make a huge distinction between the two. I do not apply the same rigor to a top rope belay.

While I don't apply the same amount of focus, I employ the same technique for taking in slack, almost always. I very rarely move my brake hand UP the rope (nearer the climber) without somehow fixing the brake side with my guide hand.
Climbing is a game of trade-offs, and I just don't see what the gain is in skipping the "under" part of BUS. Therefore, I might as well do it.

In reply to:
I get the impression that some if not many climbers use or at least pretend to use - one method and one method only for all belay purposes.

This is a fair enough point, considering I said rarely. I must concede that when I lead belay, I make adjustments (+ or - zero to three inches) by sliding up my hand without fixing the brake end with my guide hand. That said, I do think that it is different than taking in a couple feet of slack and then sliding my hand for several feet of rope at a time, for the whole entire route (assuming a TR belay).

Even in these adjustments, I would argue that I'm just being lazy, and I have convinced myself (probably rightly so) that the time is small enough, the distance short enough, and the contact with the rope decent enough, that it warrants making such an adjustment without fixing the brake end. This is obvious in the fact that probably over 75% of the time I still fix the rope with my guide hand when making an adjustment.

In reply to:
Now I'm not sure I believe these people, for starters. But giving the benefit of the doubt? I have yet to see a single belay technique that is best for all belay needs, all the time.

I, too, would be nervous about making any kind of blanket statement like that. Again though, I don't see what the advantage is in skipping the "under" part of BUS, except laziness.


dingus


Mar 19, 2009, 9:22 AM
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Re: [spikeddem] Safest belay technique [In reply to]
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spikeddem wrote:
I must concede that when I lead belay, I make adjustments (+ or - zero to three inches) by sliding up my hand without fixing the brake end with my guide hand. That said, I do think that it is different than taking in a couple feet of slack and then sliding my hand for several feet of rope at a time, for the whole entire route (assuming a TR belay).

What makes it different in your mind? I don't see much of a difference, myself.

In reply to:
I, too, would be nervous about making any kind of blanket statement like that. Again though, I don't see what the advantage is in skipping the "under" part of BUS, except laziness.

If its not necessary in a given situation then its not laziness to avoid doing it. The necessity, that is the underlying issue.

A lot of this stems from the perceived need to come up with some simplistic one size fits all answer that can be taught to noobs consistently.

Fine. I get that. Its the cordelette syndrome.

Suddenly an anchor OPTION becomes standard operating procedure and folks are expected to be on the band wagon.

WHAT???? YOU DON'T USE A CORDELETTE????

Just because a belay method is easily taught to noobs and is intended to porovide redundancy against noob mistakes is no reason to pretend that this is necessary for all belays in perpetuity.

That is the heart of this 'golden rule' of never letting go of the brake side of the rope.

I'm sorry, but this theory doesn't play out in the real world of climbing. Noobs sooner or later start to wake up and incorpprate other belay (and anchor) techniques into their kit.

I am completely unmoved by the 'this is how noobs are taught' argument.

DMT


Partner cracklover


Mar 19, 2009, 10:15 AM
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Re: [dingus] Safest belay technique [In reply to]
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dingus wrote:
I am completely unmoved by the 'this is how noobs are taught' argument.

DMT

That's fair enough. I agree that if you stick around long enough, you'll have the opportunity to learn many different techniques, each of which best fits a certain application. I'm with you on the "one-size doesn't fit all" idea.

However, there are some belay techniques which are fine for an experienced climber, but when taught to noobs will dramatically increase their chance of dropping their partners!

I should know, I was one such noob once. I had a guide see my belay and correct me, telling me what was wrong with it. Well, you can imagine I thought he was probably full of shit, because the method I had learned was a very commonly taught technique at that time. But I kept my eyes open.

Within a year, I saw three people get dropped (all belayed by noobs) specifically due to a drawback in the technique I had originally been taught. Fortunately, by that time, I had abandoned the inferior technique in favor of the one the guide suggested.

So I do think these conversations have merit, and the "what's appropriate/inappropriate to teach to a noob" is an important part of the conversation.

GO


dingus


Mar 19, 2009, 10:21 AM
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Re: [cracklover] Safest belay technique [In reply to]
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Concur. And specifically to the comment and the poster (the golden rule of don't let go, and J himself)... as stated I have incorporated some of J's wise advice into my own belay techniques over time. I listen to the man even when I disagree.

But don't coddle the noobs! If a noob can learn one thing a noob can learn two things.

DMT


notapplicable


Mar 19, 2009, 11:00 AM
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Re: [JAB] Safest belay technique [In reply to]
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JAB wrote:
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.


While taking in slack doesn't account for the bulk of rope movement through the device, it is a more frequent movement with certain disciplines of climbing and even varies a lot depending on the type of route. On any given gear lead (especially an onsight) there is a combination of route finding, down climbing and gear clipping happening amidst all the upward movement. If I'm belaying by feel, be it by choice or necessity, I like to have uninterrupted contact with the leader via the guide hand. It allows me to maximize responsiveness thoughout the entire belay but most importantly while the leader is clipping (which they may botch and then try to clip again quickly) and when down climbing.

When bringing up seconds, I belay by feel most of the time simply because it's more comfortable. Here my belay style just depends on how I'm managing that particular belay (off the harness, redirect, etc...).


notapplicable


Mar 19, 2009, 11:11 AM
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Re: [spikeddem] Safest belay technique [In reply to]
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spikeddem wrote:
What's the advantage in skipping the the "under" part of BUS? If people are arguing for doing it, there must be some kind of advantage?

Primarily - Economy of motion.
Secondly - A more complete "feel" for what the leader is doing.

For an experienced belayer, under most circumstances, the "U" phase of BUS amounts to a lot of superfluous movements and makes the belay more cumbersome.

I'm not saying you shouldn't do so if you feel comfortable with that method, just the opposite actually. All I am saying is that sliding your brake hand up rope without the assistance of your guide hand, is perfectly safe for an experienced belayer. You don't have to do it, just know that there is nothing wrong with it.


notapplicable


Mar 19, 2009, 11:15 AM
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curt wrote:
jt512 wrote:
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

I disagree. You may have caught more falls than I have because sport climbing is all about falling--and not about climbing. However, I have certainly caught more falls than you have under unique circumstances. Knowing how to belay "proficiently" involves much more than knowing how to do the same thing over and over.

Curt


You two are so cute.


acorneau


Mar 19, 2009, 11:24 AM
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GeneralZon


Mar 19, 2009, 11:28 AM
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hehe.

I was going to add that to my dead horse trophy, but I thought I may have been overdoing it. Tongue


d0nk3yk0n9


Mar 19, 2009, 2:44 PM
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Re: [dingus] Safest belay technique [In reply to]
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dingus wrote:
But don't coddle the noobs! If a noob can learn one thing a noob can learn two things.

I feel like we should be teaching noobs the simplest, most generally applicable techniques whenever we can. Thus, telling them "always do it this way" is better for a noob than "always do it this way except..." because the exceptions can confuse noobs and cause them to screw up.


DexterRutecki


Mar 19, 2009, 3:27 PM
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Re: [notapplicable] Safest belay technique [In reply to]
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notapplicable wrote:
For an experienced belayer, under most circumstances, the "U" phase of BUS amounts to a lot of superfluous movements and makes the belay more cumbersome.

I'm not saying you shouldn't do so if you feel comfortable with that method, just the opposite actually. All I am saying is that sliding your brake hand up rope without the assistance of your guide hand, is perfectly safe for an experienced belayer. You don't have to do it, just know that there is nothing wrong with it.

Wow, all this time I thought I was missing something from this thread. But, no, you seriously are suggesting not to use the U part of BUS.

I may have only been climbing 8 months, and thus still a n00b, but, you've got to be kidding me. I agree with JT, no way I'd let someone belay me that did that.


curt


Mar 19, 2009, 3:58 PM
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DexterRutecki wrote:
...I may have only been climbing 8 months, and thus still a n00b, but, you've got to be kidding me. I agree with JT, no way I'd let someone belay me that did that...

Good thinking. I'd probably drop you. But, it would be on purpose--for being an irritating and clueless Gumby.

Curt


notapplicable


Mar 19, 2009, 4:03 PM
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DexterRutecki wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
For an experienced belayer, under most circumstances, the "U" phase of BUS amounts to a lot of superfluous movements and makes the belay more cumbersome.

I'm not saying you shouldn't do so if you feel comfortable with that method, just the opposite actually. All I am saying is that sliding your brake hand up rope without the assistance of your guide hand, is perfectly safe for an experienced belayer. You don't have to do it, just know that there is nothing wrong with it.

Wow, all this time I thought I was missing something from this thread. But, no, you seriously are suggesting not to use the U part of BUS.

I may have only been climbing 8 months, and thus still a n00b, but, you've got to be kidding me. I agree with JT, no way I'd let someone belay me that did that.

Your entitled to that opinion and in all seriousness, you should continue to belay the way you have been untill you feel comfortable doing other wise. A day which may never come and if it doesn't, thats fine.

Either way, 8 months is not enough for your average climber to formulate an informed and well considered opinion on this matter.

Wait until you have belayed through a few miles of rope (lead climbs, TRing doesn't count) and have caught a bunch of falls under a variety of circumstances. Then re-evaluate.


DexterRutecki


Mar 19, 2009, 4:04 PM
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curt wrote:
Good thinking. I'd probably drop you. But, it would be on purpose--for being an irritating and clueless Gumby.

Curt

You really prove your point quite well by stating you'd drop a total stranger on purpose (last time I checked the results of this can be quite bad), and resorting to name calling because I said I wouldn't let someone belay me who was using a very non-standard belay technique.

You're right though, I should make the effort to be less of a "gumby" - please remind me, what page in Freedom is your belay technique on? or in any book, ever published that mentions climbing?


notapplicable


Mar 19, 2009, 4:13 PM
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DexterRutecki wrote:
You're right though, I should make the effort to be less of a "gumby" - please remind me, what page in Freedom is your belay technique on? or in any book, ever published that mentions climbing?

If there is one sure way to get yourself hurt in this game, it is ignoring the empirical in favor of the academic. What you learn in those books are foundational building blocks, you can't always ignore real world experience in their favor.

It's all about adaptability my friend. You gotta find a balance.

Think about it.


(This post was edited by notapplicable on Mar 19, 2009, 4:13 PM)


DexterRutecki


Mar 19, 2009, 4:20 PM
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Re: [notapplicable] Safest belay technique [In reply to]
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notapplicable wrote:
If there is one sure way to get yourself hurt in this game, it is ignoring the empirical in favor of the academic. What you learn in those books are foundational building blocks, you can't always ignore real world experience in their favor.

It's all about adaptability my friend. You gotta find a balance.

Think about it.

I hear what you're saying, but have to disagree. "Veterans", and those with a lot of experience are full of advice, it doesn't make it any good. For example, you could use a technique which has an inherent flaw in it for 20 years with no problem, and your empirical evidence tells you what you are doing is safe - and be dead wrong. Just because you have gotten away with something for a long time doesn't make it correct.

As another example, at work, as an engineer, I take a lot of advice from one of my more experienced "elders". He has never told me anything that he couldn't back up by sound logic. Occasionally I'll disagree with him, and if my argument has merit, he'll concede. My point being that you should never blindly take advice from someone's "experience", no matter how deep, without applying critical thought to it, and understanding what makes it right.


onceahardman


Mar 19, 2009, 4:29 PM
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I'm not speaking for either curt or dingus, but my impressions of this thread so far are:

-Older, experienced climbers like me don't like being told our belay method is "incompetant, unsafe, ignorant", or any other such adjectives, especially without any objective support, and with considerable anecdotal support of their effectiveness.

-Older, experienced trad climbers have generally faced more adversity than young sporties. If I drop my belay/rappel device, or leave it at home, I can still safely go climbing. I learned to climb with less equipment, and can still do so when necessary.

-If I tear a pulley, or even dislocate a shoulder, I can still certainly rappel, can probably still competantly belay, and have a pretty fair chance at self-rescue, without needing to call magic sorbet to take 12 hours to haul my ass out.

I didn't come on here to tell anybody else how to belay. I came on to defend my (objectively, so far) 100% safe method of belaying.

And, I don't short-rope. So you'll climb better with me belaying.


notapplicable


Mar 19, 2009, 5:20 PM
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DexterRutecki wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
If there is one sure way to get yourself hurt in this game, it is ignoring the empirical in favor of the academic. What you learn in those books are foundational building blocks, you can't always ignore real world experience in their favor.

It's all about adaptability my friend. You gotta find a balance.

Think about it.

I hear what you're saying, but have to disagree. "Veterans", and those with a lot of experience are full of advice, it doesn't make it any good. For example, you could use a technique which has an inherent flaw in it for 20 years with no problem, and your empirical evidence tells you what you are doing is safe - and be dead wrong. Just because you have gotten away with something for a long time doesn't make it correct.

As another example, at work, as an engineer, I take a lot of advice from one of my more experienced "elders". He has never told me anything that he couldn't back up by sound logic. Occasionally I'll disagree with him, and if my argument has merit, he'll concede. My point being that you should never blindly take advice from someone's "experience", no matter how deep, without applying critical thought to it, and understanding what makes it right.

It's like you haven't even read this thread. I have spent the last 5 pages applying critical thought to this problem. Where is your well reasoned argument? Where is your critical analysis of the issue at hand? My belaying evolved to incorporate this method over a period of years. Then we start this discussion and the bulk of the experience (by a ratio of at least 5:1) has spoken to it's safety.

I'm sorry man but with only 8 months experience, you can't have a well considered opinion on this issue so your relying on what you read in the books. The very thing you just finished saying you I shouldn't do. Who do you think wrote those books your favoring? Veterans thats who, veterans who know there target audience are the new and inexperienced climbers. I've said a dozen times or more that my method should not be the starting point for new belayers and that is who the bulk of those books are written for. Go back and read what you said about trusting the veterans and then think about the hypocrisy in your argument. After you've done that, re-evaluate the credibility of the arguments made by those of us (those who are in the majority here) who have been belaying this way for years.

While doing that, be sure to consider who has spoken up in this thread. At least 4 of them fit in to the "Very Experienced" category. Experienced enough that they could collaborate on the writing of a "How To" book. Of those 4 or more, only one is saying that this is not a safe method for the experienced belayer.


After all that, if your still not convinced, here is what I recommend. You say not to trust the experience of others so you should find out for yourself, it won't take to much time. Next time your at the gym or a sport crag, have someone back up your belay, look at the ground while belaying with this method and have your climber take some surprise falls. It won't take to long to figure out if it's viable.

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