I am learning to rock climb, and I have heard that I will need to belay climbers, so if they fall, my belay will stop the fall and prevent an injury.

What do I need to do to properly belay my climbing partner?

  • 8
    Take a class. This can't fit in SE.
    – Jay Bazuzi
    Commented Jan 26, 2012 at 1:18
  • 3
    Please Gonzo, listen to Jay. Take a class. Would you want the person holding your life in their hands to tell you "don't worry, I learned how to do this online"? No. You'd want experience and training. Climb smart. Commented Sep 11, 2012 at 21:26
  • If you're learning indoors, the gym will teach you how to belay on top rope. This is the simplest skill to learn in the safest situation.
    – user2169
    Commented Apr 14, 2013 at 14:27
  • I think it's inaccurate to say an online resource can be complete, but even pilots have manuals and reams of checklists. Surgeons have reference books. And one should certainly be able to corroborate material learned in a belaying class against others' knowledge and experience. In fact I rather find it suspect and immature of the rock climbing community that knowledge only exists in the minds and communities of rock climbers and cannot be standardized and perfected this way.
    – djechlin
    Commented Oct 3, 2014 at 7:31
  • I don't think that's the case AAA. It's more that there are some things you need to do in order to learn safely, rather than read.
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Dec 2, 2014 at 9:25

2 Answers 2


I'm not sure that this is something that can be properly explained over the internet.

You really need to be instructed and supervised by a real person - preferably indoors first. I have found a pretty good instructional video on YouTube, although it is quite basic - I've reviewed a few others on there, and they are unfortunately questionable in their technique.

Belaying is about judgement - you need to give the climber enough slack that they are free to move up the crag, but not so much that they will fall too far if they slip. How you approach belaying will depend on whether the climber is leading or using a top-anchor.

About the only thing I can state absolutely over the internet - you always need to have a grip on the rope that is trailing from your belay/friction device down to the ground. A loose hold on this will just let the rope run through your hand(s) freely in the event of a fall, given you friction burns and endangering the climber.


Of course there are other safety issues as not standing under the climber, wearing a helmet, in case of rock fall. As mentioned above, you should have a qualified guide. Those most qualified will be certified by the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA). Most local rock gyms do have training and most outdoor stores that sell climbing equipment have training sessions. Climbing is a sport that can result in injury and death and choosing to do so should not be taken lightly.

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