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CurlyFries


Jun 11, 2012, 1:27 PM
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New Belayer
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My usual climbing partner and myself took a lead course a couple months back. Since then we sport climb indoors every other week and sport climb outside once a week.

I am not comforatable climbing anything pushing my climbing abilities because her belaying straight up scares the shit out of me.

I get short roped pretty much every bolt. I will look down when I finish a route and ask her if she is good to lower. Almost every time she already has the cam fully open (lever out and all) when I havent even weighed the rope. She also back clips half the time.

Should I be patient climbing routes below my abilities and wait for her to improve? Is it normal for someone to take a couple months to get good at belaying? Or should I ditch her and start climbing with my other buddies more often (all of which I have confidence in)?


(This post was edited by CurlyFries on Jun 11, 2012, 1:28 PM)


theextremist04


Jun 11, 2012, 1:43 PM
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Re: [CurlyFries] New Belayer [In reply to]
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Have you told her what she isn't doing correctly? Don't expect her to know instinctively. That being said, no, belaying isn't hard at all. I've had people get it in five minutes.


jeepnphreak


Jun 11, 2012, 1:44 PM
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Re: [CurlyFries] New Belayer [In reply to]
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Sounds like a recipe for disaster. Personally I dont climb with any one I dont trust. If she is that bad (no offence) but save her for the bed room for your "belay".
Go out the those that you trust. If you cant trust your belayer than you can get the full enjoment of climbing if you are constantly worried about some one getting you killed.

I had a very similar experience a while back. I met a drop dead cute girl I took out climbing. She had been climbing a few months so what the heck...
I was so shaken by her lack of belay skills I never asked he to climb again.


Partner cracklover


Jun 11, 2012, 2:05 PM
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Re: [CurlyFries] New Belayer [In reply to]
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CurlyFries wrote:
My usual climbing partner and myself took a lead course a couple months back. Since then we sport climb indoors every other week and sport climb outside once a week.

I am not comforatable climbing anything pushing my climbing abilities because her belaying straight up scares the shit out of me.

I get short roped pretty much every bolt. I will look down when I finish a route and ask her if she is good to lower. Almost every time she already has the cam fully open (lever out and all) when I havent even weighed the rope. She also back clips half the time.

Should I be patient climbing routes below my abilities and wait for her to improve? Is it normal for someone to take a couple months to get good at belaying? Or should I ditch her and start climbing with my other buddies more often (all of which I have confidence in)?

Belaying isn't rocket science, but on the other hand, if you're the type to be passive aggressive and just silently fume, and if she's not climbing with anyone else, then she may not be getting the feedback to realize that she's doing anything wrong.

Talk to her. Tell her specifically what the issues are, and that if she doesn't fix them, you don't feel comfortable climbing with her. Simple as that.

If you have done that, repeatedly, then you must have some other reason to be sticking around with her. If it's worth that thing to have a partner with whom you can solo while wearing a rope, go right ahead. Otherwise, move on.

GO


LostinMaine


Jun 11, 2012, 2:24 PM
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Re: [CurlyFries] New Belayer [In reply to]
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Leaving all else aside, you asked three questions:

CurlyFries wrote:
Should I be patient climbing routes below my abilities and wait for her to improve?
Entirely up to you. Do you enjoy climbing routes below your ability level simply for the love of climbing? If not, find a new partner. Ask it another way... would you like to climb with said partner if she was a stellar belayer but would only follow 5.2 and insisted on trying every route you led (like most trad partner relationships require).

In reply to:
Is it normal for someone to take a couple months to get good at belaying?
Nope... much longer. However, I won't climb with a partner who isn't a safe belayer after a couple attempts. Climbing and belaying takes a fair amount of intelligence, dexterity, and quick-thinking. I won't be belayed by someone who doesn't possess those three qualities.There is a world of difference between a safe belayer and a really good belayer, in my opinion. For now, help her become safe by providing her some suggestions and real-time feedback in a manner that suits her personality (not your personality).

In reply to:
Or should I ditch her and start climbing with my other buddies more often (all of which I have confidence in)?

If you're asking this question to strangers, your answer should be obvious to you. You will not get a useful answer for this question on a forum.


shockabuku


Jun 11, 2012, 2:27 PM
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Re: [CurlyFries] New Belayer [In reply to]
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Does she realize her shortcomings? It doesn't sound like it but I can't tell.

If yes, does she seem willing to correct them?

Maybe a third party to help her work on her belaying while you're climbing is in order.


CurlyFries


Jun 11, 2012, 2:44 PM
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Re: [theextremist04] New Belayer [In reply to]
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Yea, she also failed a lead belay test at a different gym than the one we usually go to. She got some feedback from the staff member doing the test basically telling her to practice more.

She is one of my roommates, so it is awesome having someone who climbs always around when it's nice out.

I guess what I'm asking is, does it usually take a long time to be decent at lead belaying? All of my other friends who lead have been at it for a couple years.


gbkxbb


Jun 11, 2012, 3:30 PM
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Re: [CurlyFries] New Belayer [In reply to]
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I don't get how it can be that hard...if you don't like being short roped, tell her to give you more slack...if she can't follow that simple instruction, then you are dumb for trusting your life with someone like that...


dagibbs


Jun 11, 2012, 4:02 PM
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Re: [CurlyFries] New Belayer [In reply to]
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You didn't specify, but it sounds like she's lead-belaying with a gri-gri, right?

With such a device, learning to feed slack quickly (say for a clip) is a bit tricky, and takes some time and practice. I prefer lead-belaying with an ATC because I find it is easier to feed rope quickly, and easier to lower someone heavy quickly and smoothly.

You also mentioned having the cam open before you've weighted the rope. THis one is a real safety issue, and shouldn't require much learning -- it is part of a safe belay, rather than a smooth belay. Have you told her that is wrong? Clearly, and with an explanation for why it wrong?

Clearly you have some other buddies -- it is a lot easier to correct mistakes as they are being made, rather than after the fact. Can you have one of the buddies who knows how to belay well supervise her belays a couple times and work with her on getting it right? Or can you do this while she belays someone else?

Or, as you said, you could climb with other people -- but it sounds like that would mean less climbing. Though, maybe, safer climbing.


shockabuku


Jun 11, 2012, 7:15 PM
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Re: [CurlyFries] New Belayer [In reply to]
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CurlyFries wrote:
I guess what I'm asking is, does it usually take a long time to be decent at lead belaying? All of my other friends who lead have been at it for a couple years.

It doesn't take long to be safe at it.

It does take a while to learn the subtleties of good belaying.

From what you say it appears she needs to step it up.


SylviaSmile


Jun 11, 2012, 8:29 PM
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Re: [CurlyFries] New Belayer [In reply to]
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You might try yelling at her! I'm not kidding. Recently, I started getting annoyed when my gym partner would lock off when I fell but then as I was hanging sort of "un-lock off," letting me slip several inches down from the holds I had been on. I know I outweigh her by twenty pounds or more and it wasn't a huge deal (just the gym, right?), but one day I was already frustrated and she did that so I just yelled at her. Blush I did apologize later, but on the plus side she hasn't done it (at least, not nearly as much) since then!


notapplicable


Jun 11, 2012, 9:13 PM
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Re: [CurlyFries] New Belayer [In reply to]
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They don't call it a "partnership" for nothin. You're supposed to learn together and help one another along the way.

Just let her know the areas where she needs improvement and maybe bring one of your more experienced partners along to give some feedback as she actually belays. Some people might not like such candor but this shit is life and death. Egos have to be set aside.


guangzhou


Jun 12, 2012, 4:26 AM
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Re: [CurlyFries] New Belayer [In reply to]
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CurlyFries wrote:
My usual climbing partner and myself took a lead course a couple months back. Since then we sport climb indoors every other week and sport climb outside once a week.

You're both still learning. You should but be able to give and receive advice.

In reply to:
I am not comforatable climbing anything pushing my climbing abilities because her belaying straight up scares the shit out of me.

Are you sure it's just her belaying and not just you're scared and nervous on lead. Her belaying could be just a small piece of the puzzle amplified by your lack of leading confidence to begin with.

In reply to:
I get short roped pretty much every bolt.

Have you tried warning her that you're clipping. Yes, she should be ready, but I warn my belayer when ever I can. Also, get off the Gri-Gri.

In reply to:
I will look down when I finish a route and ask her if she is good to lower. Almost every time she already has the cam fully open (lever out and all) when I havent even weighed the rope.

Again, are you sure this isn't your perception, could she have the lever on the gri-gri out, but the cam itself not engaged? If so, what's the difference.

In reply to:
She also back clips half the time.
Point it out to her with a simple "back ciip."

In reply to:
Should I be patient climbing routes below my abilities and wait for her to improve?

Depends on what you want from your climbing and from this partnership.

In reply to:
Is it normal for someone to take a couple months to get good at belaying?

Belaying can take a while to be proficient at. Lots and lots of nuances for sure.

In reply to:
Or should I ditch her and start climbing with my other buddies more often (all of which I have confidence in)?

Why ditch her, can't you have more than one partner at the cliff. If your other partners are better belayers, they can belay you while push your self and they help this partner improve while you're not pushing yourself.


(This post was edited by guangzhou on Jun 12, 2012, 4:27 AM)


blueeyedclimber


Jun 12, 2012, 5:45 AM
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Re: [SylviaSmile] New Belayer [In reply to]
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SylviaSmile wrote:
You might try yelling at her! I'm not kidding. Recently, I started getting annoyed when my gym partner would lock off when I fell but then as I was hanging sort of "un-lock off," letting me slip several inches down from the holds I had been on. I know I outweigh her by twenty pounds or more and it wasn't a huge deal (just the gym, right?), but one day I was already frustrated and she did that so I just yelled at her. Blush I did apologize later, but on the plus side she hasn't done it (at least, not nearly as much) since then!

You must be a joy to climb with.

Josh


sknowlton


Jun 12, 2012, 6:30 AM
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Re: [CurlyFries] New Belayer [In reply to]
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If you don't trust her, don't climb with her. Period. Do whatever you want to in order to correct the situation if you want to continue to climb with her. If I don't trust someone, I don't climb with them. Just my 2 cents.


granite_grrl


Jun 12, 2012, 6:43 AM
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Re: [CurlyFries] New Belayer [In reply to]
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CurlyFries wrote:
My usual climbing partner and myself took a lead course a couple months back. Since then we sport climb indoors every other week and sport climb outside once a week.

I am not comforatable climbing anything pushing my climbing abilities because her belaying straight up scares the shit out of me.

I get short roped pretty much every bolt. I will look down when I finish a route and ask her if she is good to lower. Almost every time she already has the cam fully open (lever out and all) when I havent even weighed the rope. She also back clips half the time.

Should I be patient climbing routes below my abilities and wait for her to improve? Is it normal for someone to take a couple months to get good at belaying? Or should I ditch her and start climbing with my other buddies more often (all of which I have confidence in)?

It doesn't take that long to become a safe belayer, it can take a long time to become a good belayer.

Safe for you: You need to communicate your basic expectations for a belay (ie - don't site there holding the lever open at the top of the climb before you're ready to lower, and other things like brake hand on the rope, etc). Explain that this is a deal breaker if she doesn't improve right away.

Safe for her: Are you telling her she's back clipped? Does she understand why this is bad? Do you understand why this is bad? Make sure you understand and explain things to her. If she doesn't seem concerned and interested in improving, ditch her.

Good belaying: There are people here poo-pooing the grigri. IMO it takes a bit more initial investment in time, but in the end will supply a better belay for sport climbs by a good user than an ATC. That being said, if she short ropes you EVERY time get her to start practicing on the ground. She's probably also nervous about the amount of slack she has out. Keep in mind that more slack in the system makes for an easier belay, but can also be a problem if the climber outweighs the belayer especially close to the ground. As you get higher on the route you can give a looser belay.

Lots of subilties to a good belay. Judging from the fact that you came on RC.com to ask this question you probably aren't the best person to teach her more than the basics. I've gone through belay boot camp myself and have also put other people through their paces. The process can be long and there's too much to it for me to explain on the interwebs. I would sugest exposing her to a number of other climbers who can also help her and make the best use of your shared pool of knowledge.


lena_chita
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Jun 12, 2012, 7:00 AM
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Re: [CurlyFries] New Belayer [In reply to]
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CurlyFries wrote:
My usual climbing partner and myself took a lead course a couple months back. Since then we sport climb indoors every other week and sport climb outside once a week.

Sounds like you both have about the same level of experience, and it is very little. You may have learned a bit quicker, or you may be THINKING that you have.

CurlyFries wrote:
I am not comforatable climbing anything pushing my climbing abilities because her belaying straight up scares the shit out of me.

With a new and inexperienced belayer, nobody should be comfortable pushing their limits. I would call it a healthy and reasonable fear.

For that matter, as a new leader, it may be good that you are not yet pushing your limits... For all we know, you have your foot behind the rope half a dozen times, and neither you nor your belayer ever notices.

CurlyFries wrote:
I get short roped pretty much every bolt. I will look down when I finish a route and ask her if she is good to lower. Almost every time she already has the cam fully open (lever out and all) when I havent even weighed the rope.


It is hard to teach someone to belay, or feed to rope properly, or do anything else, from halfway up the route. Time to engage help of experienced friends. Or, at the very least, have her practice feeding the rope quickly in a rope set up as a toprope scenario, with you standing right next to her and yarding two armfuls of rope at a time, after saying "clipping".

When climbing, give her warning that you are about to clip, and have a buddy back her up, if you are having doubts about her proficiency. The backup person could be someone who doesn't know how to belay at all. But it would be a bonus if the person does know, and can watch her to identify key issues where she is having problems.

CurlyFries wrote:
She also back clips half the time.

Call it every time you see it. As long as she corrects it before moving up, it is not a big deal. She should be able to learn this quickly. You don't mention this at all, but is she doing the same amount of leading as you do, or is her actual leading experience a lot less than yours in these past two months, because she is toproping more than leading? Being very nervous is not conducive to good learning. Maybe suggest that she leads easier climbs to get more practice without being so scared that she can't clip properly.


CurlyFries wrote:
Should I be patient climbing routes below my abilities and wait for her to improve? Is it normal for someone to take a couple months to get good at belaying? Or should I ditch her and start climbing with my other buddies more often (all of which I have confidence in)?

Depends. If she is a person you like, and you see benefits to continuing your climbing partnership, then yes, you should be patient and help her learn in a safe way.

You yourself need a lot of mileage on the rock, so I do not see why you couldn't climb a bunch of easier climbs with her, and then "push your limits" with your more experienced partners.


TradEddie


Jun 12, 2012, 8:55 AM
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Re: [lena_chita] New Belayer [In reply to]
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Either say something, try to teach her, or find another partner. I had a good friend, whose belaying I never quite trusted, not nearly as bad as you are describing, he was just easily distracted by pretty things, but I was reluctant to say anything.

One day I fell and didn't stop till I hit the ground.

TE


bearbreeder


Jun 12, 2012, 10:20 AM
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Re: [CurlyFries] New Belayer [In reply to]
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if you dont absolutely trust yr belayer ... dont climb with em ...

its that simple ...


blueeyedclimber


Jun 12, 2012, 1:32 PM
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bearbreeder wrote:
if you dont absolutely trust yr belayer ... dont climb with em ...

its that simple ...

Just do what I do. Assume that your belayer is trying to kill you, until he/she proves that they aren't trying to kill you.

Cool

Josh


sbaclimber


Jun 23, 2012, 3:04 PM
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Re: [SylviaSmile] New Belayer [In reply to]
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SylviaSmile wrote:
You might try yelling at her! I'm not kidding. Recently, I started getting annoyed when my gym partner would lock off when I fell but then as I was hanging sort of "un-lock off," letting me slip several inches down from the holds I had been on. I know I outweigh her by twenty pounds or more and it wasn't a huge deal (just the gym, right?), but one day I was already frustrated and she did that so I just yelled at her. Blush I did apologize later, but on the plus side she hasn't done it (at least, not nearly as much) since then!
+1
...been there, done that.
Sylvia's right, if your belayer is making you feel unsafe (e.g. in my case, completely letting go with the brake hand while belaying with an ATC)...then a verbal beration is called for!
If your belayer can't handle the (potentially severe) verbal correction, then they have no business being responsible for your physical safety!


(This post was edited by sbaclimber on Jun 24, 2012, 7:42 AM)


moose_droppings


Jun 23, 2012, 4:25 PM
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Re: [guangzhou] New Belayer [In reply to]
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guangzhou wrote:
In reply to:
I will look down when I finish a route and ask her if she is good to lower. Almost every time she already has the cam fully open (lever out and all) when I havent even weighed the rope.

Again, are you sure this isn't your perception, could she have the lever on the gri-gri out, but the cam itself not engaged? If so, what's the difference get rid of the Gri Gri.


potreroed


Jun 23, 2012, 7:58 PM
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Re: [moose_droppings] New Belayer [In reply to]
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moose_droppings wrote:
guangzhou wrote:
In reply to:
I will look down when I finish a route and ask her if she is good to lower. Almost every time she already has the cam fully open (lever out and all) when I havent even weighed the rope.

Again, are you sure this isn't your perception, could she have the lever on the gri-gri out, but the cam itself not engaged? If so, what's the difference get rid of the Gri Gri.

I would MUCH rather have a mediocre belayer watching me with a gri-gri than with an atc.


USnavy


Jun 23, 2012, 9:17 PM
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Re: [CurlyFries] New Belayer [In reply to]
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CurlyFries wrote:
My usual climbing partner and myself took a lead course a couple months back. Since then we sport climb indoors every other week and sport climb outside once a week.

I am not comforatable climbing anything pushing my climbing abilities because her belaying straight up scares the shit out of me.

I get short roped pretty much every bolt. I will look down when I finish a route and ask her if she is good to lower. Almost every time she already has the cam fully open (lever out and all) when I havent even weighed the rope. She also back clips half the time.

Should I be patient climbing routes below my abilities and wait for her to improve? Is it normal for someone to take a couple months to get good at belaying? Or should I ditch her and start climbing with my other buddies more often (all of which I have confidence in)?
Sounds like a standard gym climber to me. I have climbed with gym staff members at a few top gyms and they were not that much better. Anyway, show her to belay properly. If she doesent get it, move on, climb with someone else. It's not worth the risk. Belaying with someone that has no idea what they are doing may very well put you in the hospital. Dont get confused. Just because someone has a gym tag hanging from their harness saying they are certified doesent actually mean they know shit about belaying. That just means they were able to catch a single lead fall and tell the instructor that they need to verify their biner is locked and their harness is double backed. Real belaying requires a much larger knowledge base than that.


(This post was edited by USnavy on Jun 23, 2012, 9:21 PM)


guangzhou


Jun 23, 2012, 10:31 PM
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Re: New Belayer [In reply to]
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I think most of you miss the obvious point that he isn't that experienced either.

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