45 votes
Accepted

Is belaying a lead more difficult than a top roped climber

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 ...
  • 10.7k
33 votes
Accepted

What is the point of belay glasses?

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 ...
  • 3,474
27 votes
Accepted

Is it polite to ask other climbers to belay for you?

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 ...
  • 440
26 votes
Accepted

How should I vet belayers? What should I look for?

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. ...
  • 9,628
20 votes

What is the point of belay glasses?

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 ...
  • 6,769
18 votes

How do I connect to an Autobelay with a Whillan's harness?

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.
15 votes

Can you safely use retired ropes for belaying children?

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, ...
  • 1,451
14 votes

What belay systems would work for beginning climbers who can only use one arm?

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 ...
  • 8,368
14 votes

How should I vet belayers? What should I look for?

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 ...
  • 6,192
14 votes
Accepted

How unsafe is this belay technique really?

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 ...
  • 53.2k
14 votes
Accepted

Belaying/rappelling with a rope thicker than allowed by belay device

There are two factors to care about here: a static rope and a rope that is slightly too thick. Static ropes are usually less flexible than dynamic rope, which would explain the stubborn feeling. 0.5mm ...
  • 4,417
13 votes
Accepted

Avoiding a "ding-dong" when lead belaying in the gym?

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 ...
  • 2,702
13 votes

Belaying directly off a ground anchor?

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 ...
13 votes

Belaying with a figure 8 plate and weird mode

The small hole clips into your carabiner and the rope goes through the big hole and around the shaft, not through the small hole. Like this (from Canyoneering USA (CUSA)):
  • 8,016
12 votes

What belay systems would work for beginning climbers who can only use one arm?

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 ...
  • 53.2k
12 votes
Accepted

How to use a Munter hitch to belay and rappel?

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 ...
  • 7,471
12 votes

Is it polite to ask other climbers to belay for you?

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 ...
  • 4,417
12 votes
Accepted

(Why) Should I hold the rope when belaying the second climber with Reverso?

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 ...
  • 8,368
12 votes
Accepted

Grigri+ vs grigri 2

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 ...
  • 4,417
12 votes
Accepted

How to belay top-rope climbers who are ascending quickly?

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 ...
  • 1,109
11 votes

When should a belay device be replaced?

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 ...
11 votes

Is belaying with a hip belay unsafe?

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 ...
  • 9,628
11 votes
Accepted

Are "fall-arrester" devices used in climbing/mountaineering?

Professional use These devices are intended for professional rope work. When doing rope access work, there are typically two ropes involved. One is the working line which is loaded with the worker's ...
  • 6,465
10 votes

Belaying two seconds?

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 ...
  • 53.2k
10 votes

How do I connect to an Autobelay with a Whillan's harness?

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 ...
  • 11.7k
10 votes
Accepted

Belaying two seconds?

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 ...
  • 6,769
10 votes

Belay checklist?

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 ...
  • 2,702
10 votes

How to use a Munter hitch to belay and rappel?

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 ...
  • 8,368
10 votes

Is it polite to ask other climbers to belay for you?

Where I climb (New Mexico, USA), I think it would be impolite to walk up to a stranger outside and ask them out of the blue to belay you. I have been awkward position of being asked to belay someone I ...

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