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ymk


Sep 12, 2011, 2:47 AM
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Question about belay technique.
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I just wanted to start by saying I've read a through the resources here including the "Dead Horse Graveyard."

However, I wanted to ask a question regarding belay technique (without starting up the seemly "usual" debate)...

I've learned a couple belay techniques since I've learned to belay (all on atc) this summer.

A friend of mine belays this way - http://www.princeton.edu/~oa/graphics/atcbela1.gif. And I've adopted it *except* with my palm down on my right (brake hand). In other words - instead of my palm UP and my thumb facing away from me - my palm is facing down during break position as well as when I pull the brake line "away" to take up slack - my palm is facing down and my thumb is facing towards me. I find it very comfortable for me because *to me* I feel very confident braking with my "palm down" and palms up just seems awkward to me.

I just don't recall 100% if I've seen other climbers use this technique - I generally see it palms up. I just wanted to get some validation on the forum that this is an acceptable way to go about this.

Of course, I'm no idiot - I know how to brake, and my braking hand never leaves the brake line.

Thanks again everyone.

Also, reading this forum (this is my first time posting) has been very interesting and packed with information so just wanted to throw some additional thanks you out there :).

-y

Again, I'm not asking about which technique a given individual "thinks" is the best (I've read the debate), but what whether this technique is considered acceptable, solid, and safe.


(This post was edited by ymk on Sep 12, 2011, 2:56 AM)


patto


Sep 12, 2011, 3:10 AM
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Re: [ymk] Question about belay technique. [In reply to]
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As long as you can maintain a strong and firm control over the brake rope in the event of a hard fall at any stage in your belaying process then you are on the way to being a solid belayer.

The palm up method does make this more difficult as for a portion of the process the rope is in an unbraked position. For obvious reasons this should be avoided.


qwert


Sep 12, 2011, 4:22 AM
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Re: [ymk] Question about belay technique. [In reply to]
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ymk wrote:
I just wanted to start by saying I've read a through the resources here including the "Dead Horse Graveyard."

However, I wanted to ask a question regarding belay technique (without starting up the seemly "usual" debate)...

I've learned a couple belay techniques since I've learned to belay (all on atc) this summer.

A friend of mine belays this way - http://www.princeton.edu/~oa/graphics/atcbela1.gif. And I've adopted it *except* with my palm down on my right (brake hand). In other words - instead of my palm UP and my thumb facing away from me - my palm is facing down during break position as well as when I pull the brake line "away" to take up slack - my palm is facing down and my thumb is facing towards me. I find it very comfortable for me because *to me* I feel very confident braking with my "palm down" and palms up just seems awkward to me.

I just don't recall 100% if I've seen other climbers use this technique - I generally see it palms up. I just wanted to get some validation on the forum that this is an acceptable way to go about this.

Of course, I'm no idiot - I know how to brake, and my braking hand never leaves the brake line.

Thanks again everyone.

Also, reading this forum (this is my first time posting) has been very interesting and packed with information so just wanted to throw some additional thanks you out there :).

-y

Again, I'm not asking about which technique a given individual "thinks" is the best (I've read the debate), but what whether this technique is considered acceptable, solid, and safe.
What exactly is the pic you linked supposed to show? Just the changing of hands when taking in/ giving out slack, or the complete belaying? I am not sure from your wording how i am supposed to interpret that.

If the latter, this is about the worst you can do with an ATC/Tube style device!

If both ropes point in the same direction, you get a braking force that is equivalent to a bend around a carabiner, which is - compared to the kind of forces a fall can generate - nothing.

For about 99% of all climbing (in a beginner context), the brake strand of the rope should be below the belay device for an ATC/Tube type belay device.

qwert


livinonasandbar


Sep 12, 2011, 5:03 AM
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Re: [ymk] Question about belay technique. [In reply to]
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I use the "palm-down" position for my brake hand, because I feel there is then no chance for the rope to be jerked out from between my fingers and thumb. (Martial arts training... it's the weak spot in any grabbing technique.) It's a more natural position for your wrist when holding your brake hand in the "braked" position down by you hip. It also feels much more secure when lowering. The only downside to this is while belaying a top roper... your shoulder can get tired from raising your elbow continually to take in slack (due to the inverted position of your hand). That's assuming you're applying a proper belaying technique and not just sliding your closed brake hand up the rope in the braked position (like I tend to do).


ymk


Sep 12, 2011, 5:41 AM
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Re: [qwert] Question about belay technique. [In reply to]
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The diagram is with respect to when slack is being pulled up - the braking position would be "below" the device (isn't that the only way to brake when using an ATC? - I know when belaying with a clove hitch its different, but at this moment, I'm not concerned with that).

I meant to clarify by saying "I know how to brake" that I knew the proper way to brake and how the ATC "worked" - but I suppose it might be safe to ask again, but yes, I from what I understand there is only one safe way to brake on an ATC (with respect to ROPE position), I understand the way you "hold" the rope can be discussed, but I definitely personally prefer palms down - I don't think we need to get into that issue on this thread except whether it is alright to use a palm down position during the slack taking with respect to the diagram and whether that is alright.

Elaborating...

I've tried a couple different methods of belays (all of them with a similar braking position) but with variations on how slack is taken one (one with both hands holding on to the brake strand another, pulling up with the brake strand except moving the guide hand to lower part of brake strand so that the brake hand can be slid up the rope) - I currently find this technique (the one in the diagram with respect to slack-taking) the most comfortable, my question was regarding whether it was alright to have the brake hand "palm down" instead of "palm up" during the particular.


ymk


Sep 12, 2011, 5:51 AM
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Re: [livinonasandbar] Question about belay technique. [In reply to]
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livinonasandbar wrote:
I use the "palm-down" position for my brake hand, because I feel there is then no chance for the rope to be jerked out from between my fingers and thumb. (Martial arts training... it's the weak spot in any grabbing technique.) It's a more natural position for your wrist when holding your brake hand in the "braked" position down by you hip. It also feels much more secure when lowering. The only downside to this is while belaying a top roper... your shoulder can get tired from raising your elbow continually to take in slack (due to the inverted position of your hand). That's assuming you're applying a proper belaying technique and not just sliding your closed brake hand up the rope in the braked position (like I tend to do).

I see - I think you understood what I was trying to ask - I haven't yet had my elbow get tired yet, and I NEVER personally slide my brake hand up the rope in braked position (with this method of taking up slack b/c there is no other hand "supporting it" as there is in the "move your guide hand down, support, then slide method). I suppose there isn't a "hidden" reason why people most people do not employ a palms down outside of comfort (something I haven't had an issue with yet + the idea of palms up scares me.)


(This post was edited by ymk on Sep 12, 2011, 5:55 AM)


shotwell


Sep 12, 2011, 5:54 AM
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Re: [ymk] Question about belay technique. [In reply to]
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ymk wrote:
livinonasandbar wrote:
I use the "palm-down" position for my brake hand, because I feel there is then no chance for the rope to be jerked out from between my fingers and thumb. (Martial arts training... it's the weak spot in any grabbing technique.) It's a more natural position for your wrist when holding your brake hand in the "braked" position down by you hip. It also feels much more secure when lowering. The only downside to this is while belaying a top roper... your shoulder can get tired from raising your elbow continually to take in slack (due to the inverted position of your hand). That's assuming you're applying a proper belaying technique and not just sliding your closed brake hand up the rope in the braked position (like I tend to do).

I see - I think you understood what I was trying to ask - I haven't yet had my elbow get tired yet, and I NEVER personally slide my brake hand up the rope in braked position. I suppose there isn't a "hidden" reason why people most people do not employ a palms down outside of comfort (something I haven't had an issue with yet + the idea of palms up scares me.) this was my major concern.

Sounds like you're talking about a palms down pinch and slide. No problem with this; the pinch and slide is a commonly used belay technique.


notapplicable


Sep 12, 2011, 6:00 AM
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Re: [ymk] Question about belay technique. [In reply to]
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What you are talking about is perfectly fine. Perhaps not ideal, but still ok.


(This post was edited by notapplicable on Sep 12, 2011, 6:19 AM)


puravida9539


Sep 12, 2011, 6:13 AM
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Re: [notapplicable] Question about belay technique. [In reply to]
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I was first taught to use this technique also (I'm pretty sure its the same one). Its awful. I was taught to use this technique on a grigri, which I guess makes a little more sense. On an ATC though, its better if the brake hand is below the ATC unless you are taking out slack right then. Even then, there are much better methods of taking out slack that dont require both hands to be above the ATC. Sudden and unexpected falls suck when the rope is sliding through and you have to lock off when it is already moving. Hold the rope below the device, and take out slack with the off hand while the brake hand remains below the device and always locked off, except for those moments when you are taking out slack.


billl7


Sep 12, 2011, 6:17 AM
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ymk wrote:
I generally see it palms up. I just wanted to get some validation on the forum that this is an acceptable way to go about this.

For a belay from below, I use palms down like you. In fact, palm down is how our gym teaches the belay and so it is at the least "acceptable" from the myopic gym-climbing perspective. At the same time, I am okay with a competent belayer who belays with the palm up ... even with the pinch-and-slide method (gasp!).

For a belay from above, palms up feels strongest to me since the brake position is up.

Bill L


scrapedape


Sep 12, 2011, 6:35 AM
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ymk wrote:
I just wanted to get some validation on the forum.

Good luck with that.

In reply to:
Of course, I'm no idiot - I know how to brake, and my braking hand never leaves the brake line.

In my view, there are no absolute rules in climbing, but this is probably as close to an absolute as you will get.

Beyond this, everything else is preference, in my opinion.

In reply to:
Again, I'm not asking about which technique a given individual "thinks" is the best (I've read the debate), but what whether this technique is considered acceptable, solid, and safe.

As long as you can immediately apply a brake, I would consider it solid and safe.

As long as you can take in and pay out rope quickly enough for your climber, I would consider it acceptable.

Although you specifically said you weren't looking for opinions on what is "best," lots of people are going to tell you what they think is best. So I will do the same. I think that belaying palms-up is more flexible and comfortable. I've no doubt that you can become proficient belaying palms-down with a single rope, but I can't imagine trying to lead belay with double ropes using a palms-down technique.


tH1e-swiN1e


Sep 12, 2011, 12:40 PM
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As long as your brake hand never leaves the brake rope youre fine. Everything else is preference. I learned "palm down", but I find find "palm up" to be more comfortable when lead belaying.

"Palm down" is the AMGA certified and preferred belay technique.


Rmsyll2


Sep 13, 2011, 6:33 PM
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Re: [ymk] Question about belay technique. [In reply to]
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Too much about the topic has been left unstated, starting imo with whether the subject is lead or top-rope belay. Aspects of the two are backwards. What is the same is how to stop a fall: the brake hand must be below a tube-type device and gripping firmly. For any slight moment when the rope is not gripped below the device, a fall is not protected. What no one can appreciate until it has happened, is that once the rope starts sliding from a fall, it is not possible to simply hold it. It is only friction from bending around the device that allows reaction time and braking.

The diagram shows the brake hand above the device in all three versions. Getting the brake hand below the device after the fall starts is possible, particularly in a lead fall, but is a risk produced by ever taking the brake hand above the device -- unless it is an auto-braking cam device. As 'quert' says, what is shown is bad technique. The fact that it is used, particularly with lead belay, does not remove the risk of ever having the rope out of brake position.

Which way the hand is rotated on the wrist, as shown in figs. 2-3, is trivial. Which way the hand is positioned when below in brake position, thumb up or thumb down, is both a personal preference and related to how the brake hand repositions when taking slack. That is a larger subject, poorly treated by words alone.

.


Colinhoglund


Sep 13, 2011, 7:46 PM
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Re: [ymk] Question about belay technique. [In reply to]
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This is a common belay "inefficiency" that is caused by the proper technique with using a munterhitch in stead of a belay device. Many climbers who used the MH before modern belay devices were invented carried the MH technique over. The MH has the most friction when the ropes are together, where as modern belay devices have the most friction when the ropes are separated. The "best" technique is the one that keeps the rope in the break position for the highest % of the time.

Or in layman's terms, your using the rope handling technique that was designed for a different belay device than you are using.


hugepedro


Sep 13, 2011, 8:23 PM
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Rmsyll2 wrote:
Too much about the topic has been left unstated, starting imo with whether the subject is lead or top-rope belay. Aspects of the two are backwards. What is the same is how to stop a fall: the brake hand must be below a tube-type device and gripping firmly. For any slight moment when the rope is not gripped below the device, a fall is not protected. What no one can appreciate until it has happened, is that once the rope starts sliding from a fall, it is not possible to simply hold it. It is only friction from bending around the device that allows reaction time and braking.

The diagram shows the brake hand above the device in all three versions. Getting the brake hand below the device after the fall starts is possible, particularly in a lead fall, but is a risk produced by ever taking the brake hand above the device -- unless it is an auto-braking cam device. As 'quert' says, what is shown is bad technique. The fact that it is used, particularly with lead belay, does not remove the risk of ever having the rope out of brake position.

Which way the hand is rotated on the wrist, as shown in figs. 2-3, is trivial. Which way the hand is positioned when below in brake position, thumb up or thumb down, is both a personal preference and related to how the brake hand repositions when taking slack. That is a larger subject, poorly treated by words alone.

.


Colinhoglund wrote:
This is a common belay "inefficiency" that is caused by the proper technique with using a munterhitch in stead of a belay device. Many climbers who used the MH before modern belay devices were invented carried the MH technique over. The MH has the most friction when the ropes are together, where as modern belay devices have the most friction when the ropes are separated. The "best" technique is the one that keeps the rope in the break position for the highest % of the time.

Or in layman's terms, your using the rope handling technique that was designed for a different belay device than you are using.


Fricken short-roppin muthers.


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