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maculated


Mar 17, 2002, 11:08 AM
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Okay, so here's another one:

I learned to belay with the left hand on the climber's end, right hand (palm up) on the rest of the rope, pull right hand up to meet left, left grab rope, right hand slide down and lock off.

When I went climbing in J-Tree, people there were belaying right hand palm down, pulling rope with left hand from climber's side of ATC, and extending right, then moving left hand above and pulling, switching right hand close to lock off ATC on right.

Maybe there's actual names for both styles, but I don't know. I've mastered both, but what is your take on the merits of both? Which do you use and why?


radistrad


Mar 17, 2002, 11:35 AM
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I've never heard of names for belaying technique, well maybe, right and wrong.
I say right hand (hand to to pile of rope on ground, you left hand to the climbers side of the rope)palm down, you have a huge range of motion.
How far can you place you hand behind you back with your palm up, not very. Turn your plam down, how far can you reach? A long way, I bet you can scratch your left cheek (buttox)with your right hand. Belaying with the palm down allows you to get the maximum bite on the rope at the belay device. The tighter the radius of the rope at the belay device the better locking power you have.
Try and get a tight radius with the palm up, not easy, not ergonomic and its the wrong way.
My right hand NEVER leaves the rope.
Sounds like you belay similar to me, just turn that right hand plam down, its about the range of motion of your arm and the radius at the belay device. Try it out, I speak the truth.
I know a lot of gyms teach palm up and they suck for doing that.


bulldog


Mar 17, 2002, 1:28 PM
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I use both techniques.
Especially if my forearms are pumped and I'm trying to get a little rest, I'll alternate palm up and palm down.

Bulldog


rock_chic


Mar 18, 2002, 11:05 AM
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Seeing as we're on the subject of belaying,
do many/ any of you guys use Gri-gris?

Just Ive heard recently of three or four cases where a gri-gri has failed.
once the climber was being lowered off a climbing wall (by an experienced belayer) he stopped to tighten a hold and then when he out his weight back on the rope the device failed to hold him and he fell to the floor.Luckily it was in a gym and there was huge mats so there was no injuries.
The gri-gri was threaded properly,was relativly new and there was no belayer fault.

I cant remember the details of the other cases but I know in one of them there was possible belayer fault.
but in the other two no fault could be found with the belayer or with how the device was threaded, just the device totally failed to hold someone.

Sets you thinking.......
Just take care people


jt512


Mar 18, 2002, 11:17 AM
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Sorry, but if he hit the ground, there was definitely belayer error.

-Jay


maculated


Mar 18, 2002, 11:33 AM
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I agree with Jay. Check out the way aGri-Gri functions. Like most belay devices, they are simple and idiot proof if used correctly. (And for $70+, they better be)


radistrad


Mar 18, 2002, 11:45 AM
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I agree the GriGri should not fail.
The only thing I can think is the rope was too small for the Gri Gri or had a major flat spot where the gri gri could not lock off the rope.
The Gri Gri uses a camming action to lock off the rope, if the rope is too small the Gri Gri will function, but it will not be able to cam off a rope that is smaller than its range. The same goes for a flat spot in the rope.
Just my thoughts.
I've been dropped by a Gri Gri, all belayer error!


tavs


Mar 18, 2002, 12:18 PM
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radistrad--I've belayed with lock-off hand facing up (for me, my left hand, since I'm a lefty) for the many years I've been climbing, never had a problem with it. Just how far do you think you need to move your hand to get adequate friction to lock off? I've tried the palm down method, and (maybe just because it wasn't how I'd learned) I found it to be a more awkward movement, , especially for paying out slack to a leader. I've seen WAY more people using palm up method, I certainly don't see how you can justify implying that this is wrong...


radistrad


Mar 18, 2002, 12:39 PM
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Maybe I should not say the the hand up method is wrong! I am glad it works for you.
In my opinion the plam down method is better.
I think the range of motion is a major factor in locking off a falling climber. You just dont have the range with the palm up.
Also with the palm up you dont have as much strength with the arm in that awkward position, harder to lock off.

Tavs may I ask, when you rappel, which direction is your hand? Palm up or Palm down.

You ask how far do I think I need to move my hand, all the way behind me when my partner is taking a lead fall. On top rope its a different story, he will not be impacting the belay like he would on a lead fall.
I too have seen lots of people use palm up, in the gym.


Partner coldclimb


Mar 18, 2002, 12:41 PM
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I use the palm up method and haven't found any problem with it. It's just way easier to me than the other methods I have tried. I haven't ever had any problems locking off either.


dustinap
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Mar 18, 2002, 2:13 PM
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There are terms for the way your hand faces, and I feel the only safe way of belayingis to supinate your hand, although most people pronate their hands. Of course, if you're using a gri-gri, you should pronate.

To supinate your hand would mean your hand is closed with your fingernails facing down to your toes, and the fleshy part of your hand facing up. This provides a more comfortable lock off with a tuber, and also your fingers could open from the force of a fall and your hand jerking towards the belay device. Your hand, obviously, doesn't open.

I do however find it easier to feed out slackpronating your hand, but I am getting use to supinating my hand now that I have done it for awhile.

One thing you will notice is alot of people, lets say using their right hand for break hand will pronate their hands. When a climber falls, or hang dogs, they'll switch their land hand onto break section of rope, and supinate with their left hand, and pronatetheir right, break hand, until climber starts climbing again.

If you do this, why not just supinate your break hand.

With a grigri, I normally pronate, because I just use one finger to hold down the lever when pulling out slack, when you pronate, you have to move your whole hand onto the grigri, which works, but I find pronating is better with a grigri on lead belay. supinating is much better I feel for a top-rope belay with a grigri.

Also, supinating when rappeling with a tube like device is much easier, and better I find.






[ This Message was edited by: dustinap on 2002-03-20 13:18 ]


dustinap
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Mar 18, 2002, 7:37 PM
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I hate to double post, but this is a really good thread. Could it made sticky or anything? The mod can delete this post once he/she reads it.


krustyklimber


Mar 18, 2002, 7:59 PM
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Gri-Gri's don't drop People...People drop People!

I've said it before, a Gri-Gri is the only belay device I'll use while sleeping! And I wouldn't be afraid if I looked down to see a partner sleeping while he belayed me with one.

The Gri-Gri is a foolproof device as long as it is kept out of the hands of FOOLS!

Jeff


gregarion


Mar 18, 2002, 8:14 PM
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Just in my personal opinion while belaying i like to keep my palm up. I find that this allows me a much smoother belaying action ,and also feel that in this position you can bring your thumb more into the action. Think of it like this when belaying palm down most likely,(and i may be wrong for some), you are getting your main force on the rope by the closing of your fist while your thumb being posiotioned under the rope is actually resisting this action. While in the case where you are belaying palm up you can still hold the rope with your fist, but you also have the added strength of being able to pinch down with your thumb on the rope. Hope that made a little bit of sense, and thanks for listening.


theostudent


Mar 18, 2002, 8:33 PM
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As far as my experience goes. Gri-Gris work very well. I also use an ATC most of the time, but whenever I use a Gri-Gri it has proved to be faithful to me. I have had my freind drop 10 feet to floor when I was belaying...and it WAS MY FAULT. It was my FIRST time belaying, and I went a little too fast on him and...WOOOMF! Actually, it wasn't too funny at the time. I thought I had broken his back. I would trust a Gri-Gri any day.
If there were any two cents that I would leave would be the realization man-made mechanics can never be 100.0000% error proof. Glitches...errors...and such happen. Devices fail sometimes, but thankfully we have a wonderful world of teams of people who test equipment for us. Just take precautions out there. Have great climbs fellow climbers.

lucas


kahuna3602


Mar 18, 2002, 10:02 PM
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Climber falls, belayer is at fault. A gri-gri can be used just as any other belay device if the belayer is paying attention!I believe that even if the rope is threaded backwards it can still be used as a belay device (but DON'T let go)


kahuna3602


Mar 18, 2002, 10:24 PM
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Sorry for going OT there. Going back on topic, I think palm down is much prefered it seems to give more leverage, to me at least. One method that I see all too much at the gym and it scares the HE!! out of me are the beginners that hold both hands in front of them as they belay, either too flustered with belaying or thinking they can put their arm down when they see the climber fall. I try try try to explain but too often the mechanics of it requires practice and that requires belaying.


number7


Mar 18, 2002, 10:46 PM
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Although I don't know much, I know it is safer to belay palm down for a few reasons. As someone already mentioned, better leverage. To list all of the benefits would be crazy, but leverage is better than no leverage no matter how one looks at it. The other good thing about it is that it is added protection against the rope comming loose from the brake hand (never can be too safe). With palm up, it leaves a natural opening in the dirrection the rope will want to go with a sudden jerk.

The technique I don't get is when a belayer will bring the slack parallel with the live line (usually on top-rope). Does't that let the rope slide freely if the climber happened to fall? I know I don't trust that kind of belay. I like it when my belayer brings the left hand to where the brake is, repositions the brake hand and repeats the process


maculated


Mar 18, 2002, 11:26 PM
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7, the latter description is what I've recently mastered after seeing other people use it. I can see where that can also be dangerous, though, say you get to moving quickly to take slack in a falling leader or someone moving really fast up a route. There's a chance your smooth action will miss and you'll remove your hands for a split second.

On the other hand, palm up (I read the pronate, supinate thing, but I'll stick with the simple stuff) and parallel to the live rope does have it's disadvantages, as, just like you say, the lock off occurs for a shorter amount of time.

Palm down seems to give more range and more lock-off time.

Palm up seems to be more controlled, faster on the uptake, and more easy to feed out to a leader.

That's why I'm asking which people prefer. Pros and cons. I have noticed that the more 'long-time' and experienced climbers haven't responded either way. I'm curious to know why.


gekolimit


Mar 19, 2002, 2:35 AM
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Who cares how you do it aslong as it's safe!


tavs


Mar 19, 2002, 7:30 AM
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radistrad--I rapell palm up as well, I've tried palm down and feel like I don't have as much control. And I use the palm up method for lead belaying, and find the range of motion more than sufficient to lock off the belay--the friction achieved by the kinks in the rope through the ATC (which is what I use, I hate gri-gris) does most of the work for me, as it is designed to.

One thing I will add--I know that groups like NOLS, Outward Bound, etc, tend to teach the palm down method, and this may be because it is an easier method for a beginner to use to ensure a safe belay. I learned palm up, however, and after over six years TR and lead belaying, I've never had a problem. I say, whatever works for you!


radistrad


Mar 19, 2002, 8:05 AM
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tavs,
I am suprised that you rappel palm up. Have you done any overhanging rappels or single line? They require a lot of friction to keep it in control.
Well, glad it works for you, as long as we are all safe that is what really matters.

I want to add my technique for never letting go of the belay end of the rope. This is for top rope.
What I do is pull the rope in with my left hand, when it get half way to my body I pull the slack through the ATC with my right hand (plam down) and meet my left hand with my pinki finger (the pinkis meet), I grab the right side rope with my left hand (both lines are in my left hand now), I slide my right hand down the bleay line back to the ATC and repeat the process. My right hand never leaves the rope.
Does this method make sense? It takes a few times to master.
In the long run it does not matter how any of us belay as long as we know what we are doing. Hopefully we can learn from others and apply the best to our own adventures.



tavs


Mar 19, 2002, 9:27 AM
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Generally accepted practice in this case would be to grab with the left hand ABOVE the right, and slide the right hand down without it coming off the rope. Your brake hand (right hand, in this case) should NEVER leave the rope. Try keeping your right hand a little closer to the belay device to make it easier to reach up with the left hand above the right.


arlen


Mar 19, 2002, 8:20 PM
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I picked up a habit that an instructor was using:

Palm down on the belay side. After pulling slack through, bring the belay-side hand straight down, essentially locking off. Then bringing the rope-side hand down to the belay side, sliding the belay-side hand up; moving the rope-side hand back up and continuing. When the climber is moving fast, sliding the belay-side hand down out in front, regular-style.

I like it because when the rope's not moving, I'm locked off and watching the climber, not my hands. When I'm belaying a leader and controlling slack, I can hold both rope ends apart to lock the device while there's slack above--it's less tiring than with palm up. And with the palm down, I can pull the belay side behind my ass to create redundant friction, if I need to adjust my stance or use my rope-side hand.

Arlen


jt512


Mar 19, 2002, 9:00 PM
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Quote:Maculated: Palm up seems to be more controlled, faster on the uptake, and more easy to feed out to a leader.

That sounds like case closed to me.

You guys who are belaying palm down...I gaurantee you can't get rope out fast enough for me to clip, but, know what, we're never going to find out, because you aren't going to be belaying me like that.

-Jay

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