Belaying is a complex skill, requiring practice and experience to become competent. Inattentive belaying is the cause of many climbing accidents, and mistakes can result in serious injuries for climber, belayer or both.
The BMC produce a range of good practice publications from booklets & posers to DVDs & mousemats. The third in our series of web films builds upon the strength of our Safety Campaign and covers belaying.
Below are three important belaying issues to consider. For more information read our Belaying and Abseiling leaflet which outlines belaying good practice and covers the implications of device design upon device choice.
1. Pay attention!
This sounds obvious, but accidents can occur if the belayer loses concentration. The belayer's responsibility to the climber cannot be over stated.
2. Know how to use your equipment
Always read and understand the manufacturers instructions. Furthermore, different belaying devices have different properties. Some are designed for ropes within a specific diameter range and others for specific styles of climbing. Ensure you choose an appropriate rope and belay device for the climbing situation.
3. Get in the best position
Anticipate the direction of pull and position yourself appropriately. Standing near the foot of a climb you are less likely to get pulled of balance when holding a fall or lowering a climber. With a lot of rope paid out, the climber could hit the ground should they fall. Standing near the climb results in less rope between belayer and climber.
At a climbing wall there is very little friction in the rope system. If not paying attention or positioned inappropriately, the belayer could be pulled of balance very violently, resulting in them losing control of the belay device.
WATCH BMC TV: Indoor climbing skills: how to belay a lead climber
Watch this and many more skills films on BMC TV.
Download the Belaying and Abseiling leaflet.
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