How To Work A Belay
Do you want to know how to work a belay? Belaying is the technique used to ensure that a climber, in the event of a fall, does not get hurt and that the fall is stopped soon, before the person falling gains too much speed. It consists of tying a rope at the top of the climb, and having another person keeping a tight rope connected to the climber through that rope.
To work a belay, you will need:
- Two people, the climber and the belayer, both with their harnesses
- A climbing rope long enough to go from the top to the bottom of the climb, plus knots
- A safe anchor at the top of the climb
- A rappel ring or a pair of carabiners for the anchor
- A belay device, clipped to the belayer's harness through a locking carabiner
- At the top of the climb, select an anchor and place the ring or the pair of carabiners. Make a bite at the middle point of the rope, and make it go through the anchor ring, as to have two halves, side by side, hanging from the anchor. Let both halves fall down the climb.
- The belayer must remain at the bottom of the climb, holding the rope that is further away from the wall. The climber must tie himself to the rope that is closer to the wall using a figure-eight follow-through knot. The belayer must make his half of the rope go through the belay device and the locking carabiner attached to his harness.
- Communication is key for a safe belay. The climber and belayer have to set some key words to allow efficient and safe communication, using short words or phrases that cannot be misunderstood. Before the climber starts to go up, both he and the belayer must crosscheck their equipment.
- The bleayer is the one clearing the climber to start going up. The belayer must make sure that the rope coils are neat and tidy, without any loops that may make the rope get stuck in trees, rocks or equipment. The climber has to let the belayer know whether he wants the rope to be tighter or looser as he climbs.
- Once the climber reaches the top of the climb, he will either take a break up there or go down, hanging from the rope. Whatever he decides, he must let the belayer know, and check with him before doing anything.
- The belayer must lower the climber slowly and safely. The climber will use his legs to stay away from the wall and his hands to remain head up along the way.