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curt


Dec 13, 2004, 2:16 PM
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New belay technique
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A few of us here in AZ went out for a bouldering session last Saturday and then decided to top-rope a few taller routes out at Queen Creek. We did not have any harnesses, belay devices or webbing with us. So, tying into the rope with a bowline-on-a-coil is no problem, but how to best belay? Body belays are tried and true, but lowering someone with a body belay sucks--big time.

So, using ourselves as guinea pigs, we decided to experiment with new alternative belay methods. And, Lo and Behold! We found something that works really well.

http://www.rockclimbing.com/...p.cgi?Detailed=45382

A foot belay. Think of a body belay, with the rope running through the arch of one of your feet, instead of around your waist. Apparantly, this basic technique has been used by riggers to lower heavy items from beams for some time. Here is a close-up photo:

http://www.rockclimbing.com/...p.cgi?Detailed=45383

My initial concern was that it might be hard to keep my weight centered over the foot with the rope running under it, but that turned out to not be the case. Also, I thought the rope might try to work its way out from the middle of my foot. This also turned out to not be a problem--probably because both the heel and toe areas of most shoes are wider than the arch, so the rope tends to stay there. We found this belay method to be.....

1) Very easy to use--to hold and lower the climber
2) Very easy to learn
3) Very safe
4) Very comfortable for the belayer

Curt


gds


Dec 13, 2004, 2:21 PM
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Curt,
in the pics you posted it looks like you are on an angled small rock/slab at the base of the climb. Did you have any issues with the idea that you could be jerked backwards which would lift the toe of your"belay foot" up and in that case it would seem the rope could slide off rather easily.
I've never tried this so I don't know what it feels like but I would be a bit nervous.

edited once for spelling


walkonyourhands


Dec 13, 2004, 2:22 PM
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You guys didn't carry any harnesses, webbing, etc., so why the heck did you bring a rope??????
:?: :?:

I bet you're kidding us


talons05


Dec 13, 2004, 2:22 PM
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Interesting - looks like it would work in a pinch. How about damage to the rope, though? It seems like the rope being mashed into the ground and run across the rock under your feet while lowering would trash a line pretty fast.

A.W.


curt


Dec 13, 2004, 2:30 PM
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In reply to:
Interesting - looks like it would work in a pinch. How about damage to the rope, though? It seems like the rope being mashed into the ground and run across the rock under your feet while lowering would trash a line pretty fast.

A.W.

I maybe wouldn't do this with my best lead rope, but I don't think it damages the rope too much. You actually have a lot of variables to use with this belay method--and that is part of what makes it nice. You don't really have to "mash" the rope into the ground for it to work. There is plenty of friction caused by the rope making the "U" turn across the rubber on the bottom of your shoe. However, you can step down harder on the rope to get additional friction, if needed.

Curt


Partner j_ung


Dec 13, 2004, 2:30 PM
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Nolan14?

:P :P :P

Just kidding. Seriously though, on first glance, your stance looks unstable. A flat-topped rock, closer to the ground seems better.

It took a lot of courage to post this with the GOTY just a thread search away. :P


curt


Dec 13, 2004, 2:35 PM
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In reply to:
Just kidding. Seriously though, on first glance, your stance looks unstable. A flat-topped rock, closer to the ground seems better.

That was a concern gds had also. Actually the top of that rock is flatter in real life than the photo makes it look.

Curt


bonin_in_the_boneyard


Dec 13, 2004, 2:45 PM
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Ooooo, sketchy :shock:


redtail


Dec 13, 2004, 2:50 PM
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You have GOT to be kidding!

If that method is half as dangerous as it looks then count me out please. I can't imagine how it would be easy to lower someone. And there is obviously no backup! If it pops out from under the foot, all you got left is your hands. (I'm visualizing Spencer Tracy's hand belay from the old movie, OUCH!)

Please tell us you're jerking our chains!!!

Also, are you toproping through the anchors (since you had no gear)? Bad juju!


joshy8200


Dec 13, 2004, 2:50 PM
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That looks suspect. Even if it has been used to lower heavy loads on construction sites, it doesn't make it up to standards of putting someone's life on the line.


You seriously did this?


jimdavis


Dec 13, 2004, 2:57 PM
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Well, at least you'll have pictures along with the story to submit to the Darwin Awards.

:D

Jim


slavetogravity


Dec 13, 2004, 3:13 PM
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I’ve used a hip belay on many occasions. They require the same amount (or complete lack of) equipment as your shoe belay, and it works just fine. The only advantage I can see the shoe belay having over the hip belay is the shoe belay doesn’t dirty up your clothing. With that said any novices reading this should realise that a hip belay is many times safer then the belay technique illustrated here. So before you go grab your gear and run out to impress your friends with your new found belay technics you should first ask your self. “Am I as an experienced climber as Curt?” If the answer is no, you shouldn’t even consider trying.

On an unrelated note, this thread kind of reminds me of the one that described a couple of guys going to their local climbing gym to test the strength of those little key chain beiners. They said that no matter how far they ran it out and whipped off as hard as they could, the key chain beiner refused the break. Sketchy to say the least, and the thread was deleted.

Any bets on how long this one will last. :wink:


jon06


Dec 13, 2004, 3:17 PM
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I'm going with the other guys. It seems that if you where thrown of balance what-so-ever you would loose all controle.

Also, I dont think I would ever use this method, but I bet it would be more stable if you were wearing boots instead of climbing shoes.


Partner drector


Dec 13, 2004, 3:20 PM
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A reasonable fall, like a top roped dyno, would yank your feet right out from under you (INHO). The extra slack when the feet popped out would allow the climber to pick up speed before the rope got tight in your hands so there is no hope of recovering from a belay failure.

I would not let someone belay me like this.

Dave


slcliffdiver


Dec 13, 2004, 3:21 PM
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Okay I'm calling T8. Just because lowering off someone with sling shot top rope with a butt belay isn't even moderately uncomfortable (as long as it's slow enough) even with thin lycra tights. If it is you either need lighter partners or to spend time with mistress Donna to toughen up that fanny of yours :D


curt


Dec 13, 2004, 3:29 PM
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To all of you who think this is "sketchy" I would remind you that there have been plenty of instances of climbers being dropped when the belayer was using a gri-gri--which is designed to be almost idiot proof.

I am sure there are ways to screw up this foot belay, but I have to say it seemed very safe to all three of us. And, together we have about 85 years of climbing experience. No belay method is 100% foolproof, but we found this foot belay to be a useful tool to know, and that is why I'm passing it along. By all means, if you don't like it though--don't use it.

I would suggest you try it though, perhaps under very controlled conditions, with a second person backing your belay up with an ATC or something--on the side of the rope away from the climber. Also, I do not think this is inherently more dangerous than a waist or hip belay, for top-roping anyway.

Curt


jpdreamer


Dec 13, 2004, 3:46 PM
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That looks way sketchy to me for a multitude of reasons, but just on a basic one if your climber knocked a rock loose you'd be extremely hard pressed to move out of the way while keeping your climber on belay. This is not nearly as much an issue with a hip belay. Also, if you're concerned about comfort (and assuming that you had ay least one carabiner extra) why not just use a muntner hitch? I know they kink the rope, but the added redundancy would be more than worth the inconvinience.


dancingmadlybackwards


Dec 13, 2004, 3:56 PM
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I noticed a tree in your pic, was making an anchor with the tail of your rope, and belaying with a munter and biner not an option?

ps do you have any pics of the belay setup with a climber partway up 'on belay'? :lol:


blueeyedclimber


Dec 13, 2004, 4:02 PM
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I have just one question. Did you catch any falls with it? Feet together is not nearly as balanced a postition as feet apart. It seems it would be very easy to knock the belayer off balance, depending on the weight difference of belayer and climber.

Josh


curt


Dec 13, 2004, 4:03 PM
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In reply to:
.....ps do you have any pics of the belay setup with a climber partway up 'on belay'? :lol:

http://www.rockclimbing.com/...p.cgi?Detailed=45387

Here you go.

Curt


curt


Dec 13, 2004, 4:06 PM
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In reply to:
I have just one question. Did you catch any falls with it? Feet together is not nearly as balanced a postition as feet apart. It seems it would be very easy to knock the belayer off balance, depending on the weight difference of belayer and climber.

Josh

We each caught several falls with it and also lowered the fallen climber to the ground with it. As I mentioned in my original post, I too was concerned about how difficult it might be to maintain balance using this technique, but it turned out to not really be an issue.

Curt


shorty


Dec 13, 2004, 4:15 PM
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Curt,

Intriguing concept, but I propose a method which may be even more popular, **drum roll**

The dulfersitz belay.

Oh sure, you say, no one will want to do this. But I have on good faith that the following people find this method preferable:
- lycra clad, commando-style sport climbers (on hot summer days)
- Wyoming sheep herders
- Rainbow Coalition board members
- my neighbor's dog (when he can't scoot his backside on the carpet)
- anyone used to wearing a thong
- many bicyclists
- Uncle Fred (when his hemorroids are acting up)

The dulfersitz belay offers advantages of:
- easy to use
- easy to learn
- safe
- comfortable for the belayer..........well, some belayers
- promotes good personnal hygiene
- is not foot size dependant
- since it's best done while sitting, doesn't require the belayer to stand and balance on a rock
- like a Trango Jaws or the new BD ATC, naturally allows the belayer to lock off and "pinch" the rope with a constriction.....yeah, that's it

So ask you this. Which type of belay would you rather receive:
(1) A foot belay from Mr. Average Uber-Climber Dude (aka Curt)
(2) A dulfersitz belay from post- cookies/dumplings/cheeseburgers/fries/ice cream sundaes/pizza Oprah Winfrey.

My money's on #2. Shoot, it would be good enough to risk factor two lead falls.


curt


Dec 13, 2004, 4:45 PM
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Thanks shorty, but we were trying to find something that was potentially good--as opposed to something we already knew sucks. Haha.

Curt


mtman


Dec 13, 2004, 4:47 PM
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In reply to:
To all of you who think this is "sketchy" I would remind you that there have been plenty of instances of climbers being dropped when the belayer was using a gri-gri--which is designed to be almost idiot proof.

I am sure there are ways to screw up this foot belay, but I have to say it seemed very safe to all three of us. And, together we have about 85 years of climbing experience. No belay method is 100% foolproof, but we found this foot belay to be a useful tool to know, and that is why I'm passing it along. By all means, if you don't like it though--don't use it.

I would suggest you try it though, perhaps under very controlled conditions, with a second person backing your belay up with an ATC or something--on the side of the rope away from the climber. Also, I do not think this is inherently more dangerous than a waist or hip belay, for top-roping anyway.

Curt

you have a good point, and IMO i think that it is not that bad especially if your doing top rope that is in the climbers comfort zone

wouldn’t trust it in any other situations but you were not suggesting that, the only concern that i have is the wear on the rope from the rock that you are standing on.

haven’t you been told not to stand on your rope :D

mtman


jbell2355


Dec 13, 2004, 5:09 PM
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Curt, I don't think this is a "new belay technique". If I recall correctly, they illustrate a similar technique in FOTH. I'll have to double check. Regardless, your creativity is exceptional. Thanks for sharing.

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