How To Use Climbing Belay Devices

If you want to learn about climbing, you need to learn how to use a climbing belay device. The primary purpose of a climbing belay device is to create friction. If you attempted to climb without a climbing belay device, you would have to act as the brake on the rope, which would be very difficult, not to mention dangerous. Using a belaying device is imperative for any climbing that uses a harness and a rope (basically all climbing except bouldering and free climbing). Learn about how to use a belay climbing device:

In order to learn about how to use climbing belay devices, you will need:

  • Ten minutes
  • Knowledge of basic climbing terms
  1. Get the correct belaying device. There are various types of belaying devices on the market. Not all belaying devices function in the same way. Choosing the correct belaying device will depend on what type of climbing you are doing. If you are doing indoor climbing, where falling is inevitable, you will probably want a self-braking belay device, such as the Petzl Grigri. If you are top roping, and want the least amount of friction, you will want a figure eight belaying device, such as the Black Diamond Super Eight belaying device.
  2. Attach the belaying device to the climber. Belay devices are attached differently to the rope, but most belay devices are first attached to the climber's harness. A locking carabiner is placed in the front loop of the climber's harness and then the belaying device is attached to the carabiner. Fold the rope in half so that it makes a loop and put it through the belaying device.
  3. Belaying a Climber. If you are belaying a climber, feed the climbing rope through the belaying device with your "guide" as the climber ascends.  Keep your brake hand on the other side of the belaying device. Put your brake hand down on the belaying device (unless the device is self-locking) when you want to apply more friction (if the climber falls for example).
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