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rck_climber


Aug 31, 2001, 9:49 PM
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Is there a difference - Definitely.

Belaying a lead if often called a dynamic belay (that's what you saw the person in the gym do). There is a much greater responsibility to the climber when belaying a lead and it takes an equally greater amount of skill and technique.

The primary difference is that on a lead belay, you are not just mindlessly taking in rope, remembering to lock off after each pull. Instead, since the climber is going up (and taking the rope with him) you are constantly spooling rope out and taking it in after he/she clips pro. It is much more active, as you try to find the right balance of giving your climber enough slack to make moves, yet not too much so that he/she takes a bigger fall than it has to be.

The other main difference is that on TR, the climber will only fall a very short distance (whatever slack you've left + the stretch in the rope), where as on lead, the climber can fall a considerably longer way (twice the distance between him/her and the last clip + stretch in the rope). It is the belayer's job to minimize the length of that fall as much as humanly possible. Some ways are to take in as much rope as possible (usually one good arm's length) in the split second the climber is free-falling and immediately lock off and prepare for the impact, as you, too, will be jerked around depending on the length of the fall. Another way is for the belayer to immediately lock off and run backwards to eat up some of that slack.

As for whether to anchor down for a belay, it depends on several factors. Some of these are:
1. The difference in size/weights between the climber and belayer. If you are about even, then it won't be as big a deal. But if you are belaying a 220lb. partner, and you tip the scales at 130....you'd better be anchored to something strong. It goes back to the pulley theory, his weight coming down will put an equal amount of force on you in the opposite direction - up. So if you're not careful, you could meet your partner at the halfway point.
2. How comfortable you both are with the climb, the conditions and the astrological make-up at the time (planets all in line?). These are the invariables, and although a fall can happen to any climber on any climb at any time, you generally know if you're flirting with your limits or not. Take this into account.

I highly recommend anchoring in, especially when you're smaller than your partner. For some reason, I just keep having to learn the hard way (got jerked through a tree last week when my partner took a 5-footer and I was chillin' on a nice grassy spot about 30' from the rock and behind a tree - and was not my first bad belay jerk ).

These are just some of the differences in belaying a lead versus a TR. As you can see, they are quite different indeed.

Hope this helps.
Mick


manuels


Sep 1, 2001, 12:58 PM
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hey mick, thatīs a very good explanation!
thanks a lot, its very helpfull for some beginner climbers who thinks they know it all.

Manuel


paulc


Sep 1, 2001, 2:14 PM
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For sure a good answer. One to link to the articles section??

Paul


vaness


Sep 1, 2001, 3:09 PM
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um..i just have to say that you REALLY should ancor yourself. im just over 100 and i had to belay 2 people at one time both about 200 pounds. (one guy freaked out and someone had to go up and get them) i ended up going about 3 feet into the air but someone was standing next to me and cought me


jds100


Sep 1, 2001, 3:59 PM
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Go to the following site for an excellent article on belaying: www.planetfear.com/climbing/training/articles/belaying/advancedbelaying.htm

One of the comments in the article refers to the belayer running away from the climb to take in slack. Putting in a directional down low, about the height of the belayers waist, adds greatly to the amount of rope that running away from the cliff will take in. Take a look at the site.

Also, Vaness: hopefully you won't be in a position to have to try to belay two climbers at the same time. There is instruction on issues of what to do about an injured climber, a "frozen' climber, and a great deal more in Self Rescue, a book in the How to Rock Climb series. Highly recommended!


rck_climber


Sep 1, 2001, 7:23 PM
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First, thanks for the compliments guys. I'm just trying to share what I've learned (that shouldn't take long ) and shed some light on some things where I can.

BUT, Zoo's right. There are certain instances and situations where any of these helpful hints are not the best idea and can actually complicate things or further endanger your climber. Bottom line is to take good care of our climbers on the wall. The things I mentioned were just a few of the ways to do that, however, as Zoo mentioned there is always an exception to the rule - I didn't even want to try to get into all the different situations that will change how you lead belay, but I'm glad Zoo brought it up. I should have mentioned that these are just some initial thoughts to keep in mind when lead belaying.

The only way to learn all the little nuiances of lead belaying is experience and by talking to more experienced climbers. For example, it's also a bad idea to run backwards if you won't be able to keep your footing when you take the impact, then you too, will be in for a ride. The differences in opinions, alone, should tell you that there is definitely more to lead belaying than meets the eye.

Nonetheless, we do all agree that lead belaying is significantly more difficult than belaying someone on TR. Good call, Zoo, you brought up a good point that I should have mentioned initially anyways - EVERYTHING is situation dependant.

Mick


fiend


Sep 1, 2001, 7:26 PM
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I never anchor myself when belaying on lead or TR.
In the case of lead belaying, if the weight difference is that big then you shouldn't be belaying in the first place.

Hanging belays are of course an exception.


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