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45

Yes. No question. With top-roping, the belayer can be spacing-out quite a bit and still do their job with a minimum of risk. With one hand on the belay tool, and another sensing the tension of the rope to the climber, you feel when there is some slack, then haul it in without even thinking. If the climber falls, it's rare the fall with be more than a foot ...


32

Like it says in the other comment, these glasses are to be used when belaying so that you don't have to tilt your head up. The lenses are made of a prism-shaped glass that bends the light in such a way that you see what is happening up while looking straight in front of you. They help to avoid neck pain, and they also make it easier to always keep an eye on ...


27

My answer is "don't ask". It's not so much that it's "impolite", but it's an imposition to them and potentially dangerous for you: Belaying can take quite some time, so you're asking the person to give up a chunk of their recreation time to a total stranger. It's not like you're asking someone to help for 30 seconds You're putting your life in their hands, ...


25

Be observant If you go to the gym often take note of who the regulars are and their general abilities. You aren't going to know everyone's name but you might get a rough idea of their capabilities. This will give you introduction lines like: I haven't seen you around here very much. Are you new? I noticed you mostly stick to bouldering. Last week ...


20

Belay glasses are (in Europe) so common that they are basically now part of the standard gym/crag equipment, just like an autolocking belay device. In some places, it can be rare to see someone without a pair on. The primary benefit is comfort for the belayer: you have a much more relaxed neck position. This isn't an "old person" thing, it's just more ...


18

The only thing this 30+ years old piece of climbing history should be connected to is a fixture to mount it in a frame or display case.


17

Most belay devices come with two holes for rope, for various reasons: Some devices are asymmetric and the two holes provide different friction Others are shaped with an up and down orientation, so two holes are provided to make it easy for left/right handed people Some lead climbs are better tackled with two lines of anchors. The two holes make it easy to ...


15

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 ...


15

There is a little bit information out there (here), about falls of climbers heavier than normal which suggests (very roughly) almost a linear relationship between fall load (force) and body weight, assuming equal fall factor. Applying this in the reverse, a significantly lighter climber would apply a significantly smaller load. This says a UIAA fall is ...


14

The simplest and most straightforward solution would be to connect yourself to a ground anchor. If you decide to do this while belaying a lead climber, you might want to let the rope slide a little when they fall, because you will lose the ability to provide a soft-catch by offsetting your body-weight.


14

Yes, it has been done! You can try contacting the people at Paradox Sports; this sort of adaptive climbing is exactly what they do. In terms of personal experiences, there are a couple of threads on Mountain Project covering this issue. (By coincidence, at least two or three of the climbers on those threads work/worked for Paradox.) The first thread has ...


14

A Pragmatic way to approach this is to suggest a 'warm up' where you both have a couple of goes at deliberately dropping off the wall just above the ground and then go to a few metres. This will give you some sense that your partner knows what they are doing and is in any case a perfectly sensible way for both of you to get your eye on the ball and gain a ...


14

It's not unsafe; really. Gyms will enforce the most foolproof techniques they can, because they can't afford to have some idiot hurt themselves in their gym. Gyms see a lot of casual climbers, and fresh beginners, and they don't want them picking up any habits that could lead to complacency. Sure, the brake-under-slide (or PBUS) is the most redundant and ...


13

On your descent, assuming you don't have an overhang, you simply place your heels against the wall, feet about shoulder width apart and lean back until your legs are horizontal, holding the rope above the knot and walk or bounce gently as your belaying partner lowers you. The only things that will cause a swing are- climbing a pitch adjacent to the one ...


13

Other answers seem to address the use of ground anchors, but I think you're asking specifically about having a ground anchor with the belay device attached to it, and not attaching the belayer. I've worked at gyms with this system, and the main argument is that the belayer doesn't need a harness. It's common in gyms that draw most of their revenue from ...


12

I know I am answering a slightly different, more general question, but I think it is quite crucial to learn how to unjam a rappel device without relying on anybody else's help before embarking on any kind of outdoor-rappelling adventures. I have gotten my ATC stuck more times than I'd like to admit. ATCs don't just like to eat poorly assembled autoblock ...


12

I have a friend with cerebral palsy who likes to climb, and can only use one arm, he did fairly well belaying with a Petzl GRIGRI: It's a self locking belay device, and can be used easily and rather safely with only one hand. Though not as safe, you can belay one handed with and ATC easily enough, the trick is to never let go of the rope while belaying, ...


12

To answer your question as to the ideal break position when using the munter: It depends. It depends on your comfort and experience with the knot, its application and the situation. I have rappeled and belayed with munter-hitches on numeral occasions. A double stranded munter-hitch rappel provides a significant amount of friction and unless you want to ...


12

From my experience, the simple act of asking won't be perceived as impolite. There is a good chance that people will let you join them, but be prepared to accept "no" as an answer just in case. It would be impolite to press on and try to get them to change their minds, but if you politely accept the "no", you should be fine. (I assume that you actually want ...


12

All of the listed reasons hold true, and can largely be simplified to the fourth: never let go of the brake strand unless you have tied it off. This maintains good habits and also mitigates potential accidents. In the past, such devices have been considered hands-free if monitored (i.e. you're sitting next to it, the ropes are running cleanly, and you're ...


12

Special devices: @imsodin is right in suggesting a GriGri. For the method: The common trick is to have two "belayers." One attaches the GriGri on their harness as usual. The second person stands facing the primary belayer and pulls hand over hand on the rope (essentially pulling away from the primary belayer, through the GriGri). The primary belayer can ...


11

I have used both Grigri devices (the older one much more often than the new one), but I own neither. So I can answer at least most of your questions: have you used this device? I have used it a few times ;-) Does it wear the rope less than its predecessor? I don't know, I didn't use it more than a few times, and my ropes get used with all kinds of belay ...


11

Here is a tidbit from Climbing Magazine: Hey, 35 isn’t old! It’s definitely not old enough to use hip belays by default, since the first belay devices came out in 1970. The hip belay is a good technique to know for rolling but still “no-fall zone” alpine terrain. This states that hip belays haven't been an accepted default practice since 1970. Next the ...


10

There are definitely some "checklist" mnemonics for new climbers, but no standard set. Even among the ACMG & AMGA, every guide and instructor might use something slightly different, or not use any at all. Here is the one I teach new climbers personally. It's rather simple, but it seems to stick. Anchor Belayer Climber Anchor may simply be a check to ...


10

The minute you have any doubt about it. There really is no other way to answer this question. There are so many different devices with different levels of mechanical complexity and different use and wear patterns, that it's impossible to describe what to look for in each one. Having said that, most recreational climbers would have a very hard time ...


10

Double Rope You need two ropes (of obviously different colours so as not to confuse them). Tie into both ropes, one on each side of your belay loop, your seconds will each tie into the other end of one of the ropes. When you set up your belay after you've led the climb, put both ropes into your belay device, you can belay for both of your seconds at once. ...


10

While belaying two seconds at once using the method ShemSeger pointed out is my favorite, it does take a fair amount of experience so I would not recommend it to someone climbing for the first time with two seconds. If you're just starting out, I recommend you use the Caterpillar technique: You lead on a single rope and belay the second as you would ...


10

That brings back memories - the Troll Whillans was the first modern harness on the UK market and I bought one when they came out around 1970. I think I still have it in the shed. Before that, we improvised a harness by wrapping tape around our waist and thighs. As befits the hippy '60s, this was called a Swami Belt. The Whillans was tied on by passing ...


10

A Munter hitch can brake regardless of the orientation of the brake strand. It provides the greatest braking force in the "closed" position (the brake strand running alongside the load strand), and a lesser force in the open position. The first site I found with testing found the following brake force values (tested with 11mm rope): Easy one-handed ...


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