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Dml


Jun 1, 2013, 6:45 PM
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Belay technique question
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Had a debate the other day with someone about belay technique that I hope some people will chime in on. Hope this makes sense:

When belaying with palm up and grasping the rope with your feeder hand so you can slide your brake hand down the rope to take up slack, and immediately put down to locked position, does it matter if you grasp the rope with your feeder hand using two fingers, three fingers, four fingers, or doesn't matter at all?

Thanks


jt512


Jun 1, 2013, 7:08 PM
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Dml wrote:
Had a debate the other day with someone about belay technique that I hope some people will chime in on. Hope this makes sense:

When belaying with palm up and grasping the rope with your feeder hand so you can slide your brake hand down the rope to take up slack, and immediately put down to locked position, does it matter if you grasp the rope with your feeder hand using two fingers, three fingers, four fingers, or doesn't matter at all?

Thanks

You don't want to "grasp" the rope at all, because you don't want to risk clenching the two strands of the rope together in your guide hand in reaction to a fall. Just pinch the rope between your thumb and index finger.


USnavy


Jun 1, 2013, 8:31 PM
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Re: [Dml] Belay technique question [In reply to]
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Dml wrote:

When belaying with palm up
That's all you needed to say. Dont belay palm up. Go to a wall (outside) with a bunch of .12s and .13s and try to count how many people are belaying that way (zero). The palm-up method is a red flag that screams "noob!". It is easier to loose control of the rope with that method.


(This post was edited by USnavy on Jun 1, 2013, 8:32 PM)


Syd


Jun 1, 2013, 9:04 PM
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Re: [USnavy] Belay technique question [In reply to]
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USnavy wrote:
Dml wrote:

When belaying with palm up
That's all you needed to say. Dont belay palm up. Go to a wall (outside) with a bunch of .12s and .13s and try to count how many people are belaying that way (zero). The palm-up method is a red flag that screams "noob!". It is easier to loose control of the rope with that method.

I agree. Bad belaying and I've seen it a few times. I seem to recall serious grounder(s) using this method.


moose_droppings


Jun 1, 2013, 10:27 PM
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jt512


Jun 2, 2013, 1:28 AM
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USnavy wrote:
Dml wrote:

When belaying with palm up
That's all you needed to say. Dont belay palm up. Go to a wall (outside) with a bunch of .12s and .13s and try to count how many people are belaying that way (zero). The palm-up method is a red flag that screams "noob!". It is easier to loose control of the rope with that method.

Says the n00b.


meanandugly


Jun 2, 2013, 3:40 AM
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What are you belaying with?...the palm up method is from the munter days and does not lend itself well to a tube or stitch style method.
As for it being a sign of a "noob", it is also a sign of an old school technique being improperly applied. Does it work with a tube or stitch styles device, not the best, but a person with experience can still use it effectively. If you are not using a munter, seek further instruction on the device you are using from a competent person...the person who taught you may not be that person.


Dml


Jun 2, 2013, 6:32 AM
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Thanks for the replies that answered the question. Not looking to get into a debate with others.


meanandugly


Jun 2, 2013, 6:44 AM
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Dml wrote:
Thanks for the replies that answered the question. Not looking to get into a debate with others.

If you don't want a debate then you came to the wrong site. Welcome aboard.


squeaka


Jun 3, 2013, 12:04 AM
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meanandugly wrote:
What are you belaying with?...the palm up method is from the munter days and does not lend itself well to a tube or stitch style method.
As for it being a sign of a "noob", it is also a sign of an old school technique being improperly applied. Does it work with a tube or stitch styles device, not the best, but a person with experience can still use it effectively. If you are not using a munter, seek further instruction on the device you are using from a competent person...the person who taught you may not be that person.
So from a complete noob climber, does anyone have a vid link to the CORRECT method.
MANY people I have seen belaying here in OZ (in gyms at least) use a palm up method so they are obviously the wrong ones to ask in person.


sbaclimber


Jun 3, 2013, 1:53 AM
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squeaka wrote:
meanandugly wrote:
What are you belaying with?...the palm up method is from the munter days and does not lend itself well to a tube or stitch style method.
As for it being a sign of a "noob", it is also a sign of an old school technique being improperly applied. Does it work with a tube or stitch styles device, not the best, but a person with experience can still use it effectively. If you are not using a munter, seek further instruction on the device you are using from a competent person...the person who taught you may not be that person.
So from a complete noob climber, does anyone have a vid link to the CORRECT method.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCUJrXSKWrw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvEQrKOtUZg


meanandugly


Jun 3, 2013, 3:01 AM
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squeaka wrote:
meanandugly wrote:
What are you belaying with?...the palm up method is from the munter days and does not lend itself well to a tube or stitch style method.
As for it being a sign of a "noob", it is also a sign of an old school technique being improperly applied. Does it work with a tube or stitch styles device, not the best, but a person with experience can still use it effectively. If you are not using a munter, seek further instruction on the device you are using from a competent person...the person who taught you may not be that person.
So from a complete noob climber, does anyone have a vid link to the CORRECT method.
MANY people I have seen belaying here in OZ (in gyms at least) use a palm up method so they are obviously the wrong ones to ask in person.

This is the fault in many gyms. Sometimes a gym owner is not the most experienced person and relies on the expertise of others who may themselves be mistaken in their techniques. Or the gym owner is of the old school methods and has not upgraded their own skills (if it worked for me it will work for you attitude). Either way they will enforce that this method be taught and as long as they keep a decent safety margin then they think all is good. I have even seen gyms enforcing, what I would call, dangerous practices....these are the one I happily walk out of.


csproul


Jun 3, 2013, 6:16 AM
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I'll chime in and disagree with some of what has been said. There is nothing wrong with palm up (lead) belaying. It is easier for many to feed rope in and out quickly using palm up and it is perfectly safe to catch falls like this if you are competent and paying attention. I'm not sure if new climbers are taught this more often but I can assure you that many very experienced climbers use palm up technique and do it well. I personally don't believe that either is particularly superior. As long as you can provide an adequate catch, feed rope in and out (quickly) as required, either method can be safe...it's not the method as much as it is the execution.

Now if you're talking belaying a TR, and the way you asked about pinching the "feeder hand", I suspect you are, I prefer to belay palm down. Then you can take your guide hand (non-brake hand) and grab below the brake hand to slide your brake hand back up. But if you are using palm up method and pinching the rope above you belay device...then no, I don't think it matters one bit how you grab the rope with your non-brake hand to perform the pinch. The only function of that "feeder hand" at that point is to hold the brake strand tight enough to slide the brake hand back. This can be done adequately with two fingers or four.


(This post was edited by csproul on Jun 3, 2013, 7:50 AM)


csproul


Jun 3, 2013, 6:21 AM
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USnavy wrote:
Dml wrote:

When belaying with palm up
That's all you needed to say. Dont belay palm up. Go to a wall (outside) with a bunch of .12s and .13s and try to count how many people are belaying that way (zero). The palm-up method is a red flag that screams "noob!". It is easier to loose control of the rope with that method.
Go to a wall with a bunch of 12's and 13's and you'll most likely see everyone using a Grigri...so your point is kind of irrelevant. BTW, I climbed at a wall this weekend where most everyone was climbing 11 and 12 trad routes. They were all belaying palm up. Noobs!


Dml


Jun 3, 2013, 2:04 PM
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Thanks for the replies. I probably should have written my question differently, but I was attempting to not sway people with the wording.

When I lead belay I prefer to belay palm up- I know, many of you hate that and there is a whole thread about that already, which is the debate I was trying to avoid. I appreciate the comments about changing to palm-down, especially the ones that did so constructively. I can see many advantages to doing it that way.

All that said, my question related to an exchange I recently had with someone. They tried to tell me that when taking up slack, after a clip, that my non-brake hand should grasp the rope with my full hand instead of two fingers. Their point was that if someone were to fall while my hand was in mid-slide, my non-braking hand would help to catch the fall. I disagreed, for many reasons that have been stated already, namely that anything that is preventing my brake hand from going down is a bad thing and to be avoided. I was just trying to see if anyone else had ever heard anything like this before. Thanks again.


jt512


Jun 3, 2013, 2:45 PM
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Dml wrote:
All that said, my question related to an exchange I recently had with someone. They tried to tell me that when taking up slack, after a clip, that my non-brake hand should grasp the rope with my full hand instead of two fingers.

That's ambiguous. Which side of the rope are you talking about?

In reply to:
Their point was that if someone were to fall while my hand was in mid-slide, my non-braking hand would help to catch the fall. I disagreed, for many reasons that have been stated already, namely that anything that is preventing my brake hand from going down is a bad thing and to be avoided. I was just trying to see if anyone else had ever heard anything like this before.

No, I've never heard of anything like that before, and it is flat-out wrong. Using the "pinch-and-slide" belay technique, your non-brake hand is always on the non-brake side of the rope. When, after taking in slack, you prepare to slide your brake hand down the brake side of the rope, you stabilize the brake side of the rope by lightly pinching it with your non-brake hand, but your non-brake hand remains around the non-brake side of the rope. If you were to close your non-brake hand around the brake side of the rope, you would be locking both strands of the rope together in front of you, which is probably the most dangerous thing you could do while belaying. If the leader were to fall, you would have almost no chance of stopping him before he hit the deck.

Tell your friend he has no idea what he is talking about.


(This post was edited by jt512 on Jun 3, 2013, 2:46 PM)


Dml


Jun 3, 2013, 3:34 PM
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jt512 wrote:
Tell your friend he has no idea what he is talking about.

Not a friend- random know it all. Smile


jt512


Jun 3, 2013, 3:56 PM
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Dml wrote:
jt512 wrote:
Tell your friend he has no idea what he is talking about.

Not a friend- random know it all. Smile

Even better!


(This post was edited by jt512 on Jun 3, 2013, 3:57 PM)


curt


Jun 3, 2013, 6:16 PM
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Palm-up versus palm-down belaying has been debated here ad nauseum and a quick search will find threads going back at least as far as 2004. This was posted by "rgold" a mere six weeks ago:

rgold wrote:
The palm-up hand position is a much more effective way to pump slack to a leader who is clipping. The palm-down method is not as fast, and at least in my experience, even the best belayers sometimes lock up their devices when pumping slack palms down, short-roping the leader at a critical moment.

When using half-ropes, the palm-up position is far better for managing two strands.

The palm-up position is the appropriate position for belaying with a Munter hitch. Dropping the brake hand means losing a significant amount of friction, negating one of the advantages of the hitch.

There is no reason why the device can't be kept locked off when the leader isn't moving, regardless of palm position. As for the belayer reacting to a fall, it is only in the modern era of distracted and complacent belaying that this had become an issue. The belayer is supposed to be giving full attention to the leader. If they are, there is no problem with dropping the hand to catch a fall.

The trouble with palm-up belaying is that the belayer cannot grip as hard and might have trouble holding a big fall. I know some people who burned their hands on big falls held palm up and switched to palm-down as a result. I think this is a real issue and is the primary reason for palm-down belaying.

My observation is that palm-down belaying seems to encourage a brake hand position barely below and almost touching the device. This is not at all optimal; there is the risk of pinching skin and, more critically, the inertial phase of a big-fall catch is entirely eliminated, making it more likely that rope will run if the belay load is high.

I think the solution to all these issues is an assisted-locking device. The Mammut Smart, the Alpine Up, and the Edelrid Mega Jul are the current contenders. Of these, I think the Alpine Up is best suited belaying palm-up, especially with half-ropes, but the technology is developing rapidly, and there will probably be new devices and improvements on the existing devices.

ATC-style devices are, I think, headed for extinction.

Curt


markus_bw


Jun 5, 2013, 2:12 AM
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curt wrote:
... This was posted by "rgold" a mere six weeks ago:

rgold wrote:
...
The palm-up position is the appropriate position for belaying with a Munter hitch. Dropping the brake hand means losing a significant amount of friction, negating one of the advantages of the hitch.
...
A popular misconception. The difference is 2.8 vs. 3 kN, so 0.2kN. Hardly significant. (http://www.bergundsteigen.at/file.php/archiv/2006/2/print/67-73%20%28hms%29.pdf)


Partner cracklover


Jun 5, 2013, 8:21 AM
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jt512 wrote:
Using the "pinch-and-slide" belay technique, your non-brake hand is always on the non-brake side of the rope.

Not necessarily. Many people (myself included) now teach a pinch-and-slide method in which the non-brake hand comes completely off the climber-side rope when it does the "pinch". There is absolutely no benefit to leaving that hand on the climber-side rope while pinching the brake strand. And there is a serious potential downside to having the hand on both sides.

I myself originally learned the version you mention as the "only" way, but switched within a year or two. You should consider doing the same - if not for yourself, at least for any noobs you might teach.

And yes, this has all been hashed over before.

GO


jt512


Jun 5, 2013, 9:57 AM
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cracklover wrote:
jt512 wrote:
Using the "pinch-and-slide" belay technique, your non-brake hand is always on the non-brake side of the rope.

Not necessarily. Many people (myself included) now teach a pinch-and-slide method in which the non-brake hand comes completely off the climber-side rope when it does the "pinch". There is absolutely no benefit to leaving that hand on the climber-side rope while pinching the brake strand. And there is a serious potential downside to having the hand on both sides.

I myself originally learned the version you mention as the "only" way, but switched within a year or two. You should consider doing the same - if not for yourself, at least for any noobs you might teach.

And yes, this has all been hashed over before.

GO

I see no advantage to doing it your way in general, and it will be slower than the standard method.


redlude97


Jun 5, 2013, 10:49 AM
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That does seem really awkward without any additional benefits. Do you have a video or something showing this method?


majid_sabet


Jun 5, 2013, 11:14 AM
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Having your hands parallel to each other (when rope is formed like a "U" in the belly device) is dangerous.

if leader takes a fall when hands are in parallel next to each other, there are minimum friction on the tube type belay devices and by the time belayer wants to stop the fall( if not burning their hand during the process) leader will take bigger fall.

IMO,best way to belay is to have one hand pulling the rope from above the belay device at all the time while one hand pulling the rope below the belay device and then sliding the grip hand "create an "O" (never let go off the rope) bring the hand up till hits the belay device, grip and pull rope. Letting one hand go off the rope and putting it below the grip hand " as shown on the vid" is ok but not efficient in lead climbing.



make an "O" slide and grip (IMO best,safe and fastest to stop a fall and or manage a slow catch fall)

pulling using left hand while pulling locking taking slack off with right hand



given slack to leader or resetting taking slack off ( no hands are ever off any part of rope.





Parallel belay ( Again IMO most dangerous way to manage rope specially if leader takes fall when both hands are up next to each other and rope is shaped like a "U" . I believe this the most common way they teach belaying in gyms.




(This post was edited by majid_sabet on Jun 5, 2013, 10:05 PM)


Partner cracklover


Jun 5, 2013, 1:51 PM
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jt512 wrote:
cracklover wrote:
jt512 wrote:
Using the "pinch-and-slide" belay technique, your non-brake hand is always on the non-brake side of the rope.

Not necessarily. Many people (myself included) now teach a pinch-and-slide method in which the non-brake hand comes completely off the climber-side rope when it does the "pinch". There is absolutely no benefit to leaving that hand on the climber-side rope while pinching the brake strand. And there is a serious potential downside to having the hand on both sides.

I myself originally learned the version you mention as the "only" way, but switched within a year or two. You should consider doing the same - if not for yourself, at least for any noobs you might teach.

And yes, this has all been hashed over before.

GO

I see no advantage to doing it your way in general, and it will be slower than the standard method.

It is slower, in principle. In practice the difference is microseconds per pull at most. It may actually be faster, since the non-brake hand can move directly into place when pinching, rather than having to slide up the rope.

As for the advantage - I have personally witnessed three drops with an ATC style device. In all three cases I have been able to determine that the climber fell when the belayer was in the pinch phase, using your method, and the non-brake side reacted to the sudden force of the fall by clamping down on the ropes. The fact that the non-brake hand was still on the climber-side rope - effectively clamping the two of them together - prevented the brake hand from doing its job of locking off.

I am not unique in having seen this either. I know of other climbers who've seen the same.

In the PAS method I teach, the only difference is one specific piece: When it's time for the non-brake hand to perform the pinch, instead of sliding up the climber side of the rope until it's above the brake hand, it releases the climber-side rope and goes directly to pinching above the brake hand. That one piece can make all the difference.

GO

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