How To Belay
Knowing how to belay is essential while rock climbing as it is the only thing that holds you from an uncomfortable death. The art of the belay is an age old tradition that has aided in safety and fun for years of human history. Communication during belay is just as important as the rope that holds the climber because without either, a terrible situation will ensue.
Want to belay? Here's what you will need:
- A buddy (spotter)
- Belay belt
- Climber belt
- Find a reputable place to climb. Many gyms and recreation centers have rock walls with certified belayers to help you and your climbing friend. Climbing a random cliff wall to act cool is so dumb. Use your head when choosing a place to belay.
- Fit the climber and belay belts tightly. A loose belt can be a climber's worst nightmare. Make sure the leg holes and waist fight so snug that you should barely be able to give your partner a "wedgie". Loop the rope through both you and the climber's belt hooks with the appropriate knot (ask your local gym for their suggestions).
- Use proper belay communication. The appropriate question to ask your climber, when you are ready is "On belay?". The climber will then respond "Belay on" if and when he/she is ready. From there, your friend will then tell you when he/she is ready to climb with the word "Climbing". You should give one last verbal acknowledgement of his/her statement by responding "Climb on.".
- Slowly release bit by bit of the rope, with minimal slack. Too little slack, and the climber won't be able to move. Too much slack, and their fall down might be a bit longer than expected. A little slack will ensure both mobility and a very small fall.
It is very, very fun to belay, albeit when done properly. Aside from this instructional article, take a belay class to show you the intricate details of the rope-climbing art. Besides, certain harnesses are different from others, and it would be impossible to address a specific brand within our article without professional, outside advising.