11

Rock climbing topos have various standardized symbols, such as xx for a bolt anchor, or a dashed line for face climbing. In keys of symbols, I've sometimes seen SB defined as a "sling belay." What does this mean? Does it mean that there is a natural feature that you can throw a cordelette around and use as an anchor?

  • Could you maybe add a picture of a topo that uses the term? I haven't encountered it personally. – DudeOnRock Nov 1 '15 at 19:39
9

The glossary section of Big Walls by John Long and John Middendorf defines a sling belay as:

A hanging belay with no stance; listed as SB on topos

From perusing forums, I suspect this term arose during the golden age of Yosemite climbing, but was soon subsumed by the term "hanging belay". A Google Ngrams comparison gives a good visual of this.

Google Ngrams chart showing "sling belay" being replaced by "hanging belay"

This seems to matter more for big wall climbs, as using a sling belay is considered to be "aid". To climb such a route "free" requires a longer rope or adjusting the pitches to end at hands-free stances from which to belay. (This is from a US perspective, those in Europe may take a more relaxed approach to what is allowed for a free ascent.)

2

A sling belay is typically used to connect 2 points at an anchor.

enter image description here

An example belay sling from Edelrid.

  • 1
    I would just call that a sling. The question is about a symbol on climbing topos. – Ben Crowell Nov 2 '15 at 0:41

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.