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Belay police (rant)

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Belay police (rant)

Postby mvs » Fri Apr 23, 2010 8:17 am

I've been climbing at a different climbing gym lately, and have now been lectured three times in two weeks that I'm belaying wrong. I respect that folks are only trying to help. But two things bug me:

1) When you are belaying a lead climber on a difficult climb you want to concentrate on them not on this person coming and wanting to show you the "right" technique then and there. I understand that this concerned person feels they need to fix it right now, but they should understand

2) that there are SEVERAL ways to safely belay someone. There are pros and cons of each method. You can use a gri-gri, Münter Hitch knot, ATC-style device, or Figure-8.

In my case all lectures came from the fact that I'm using an ATC Guide (teeth in one side), belaying from my harness, with break hand PALM-UP on the rope. Apparently, in the part of the world I now live no one would ever belay palm-up. "Credential attack" begins, whereby my training must be inferior to the training 'round here. That overcome, "natural instinct attack" begins, where I'm told my natural instinct in a fall will be to pull the rope down with the break hand (not back and slightly down which is the natural movement if your break hand palm is up), and it will be a less effective belay.

Last time this happened it started a "lecture pile-on" with curious onlookers and several follow-up lectures that made it impossible for me and my buddy to climb.

All this makes me wish for a USA-style test on entry to the climbing gym to certify you can belay, then maybe I could climb in peace. I don't want to be cold to these well-meaning people but I'm getting sick of it.

Probably this is just my rant just before I copy/memorize this variant of belaying to get some peace.
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Re: Belay police (rant)

Postby Day Hiker » Fri Apr 23, 2010 9:51 am

mvs wrote:In my case all lectures came from the fact that I'm using an ATC Guide (teeth in one side), belaying from my harness, with break hand PALM-UP on the rope. Apparently, in the part of the world I now live no one would ever belay palm-up. "Credential attack" begins, whereby my training must be inferior to the training 'round here. That overcome, "natural instinct attack" begins, where I'm told my natural instinct in a fall will be to pull the rope down with the break hand (not back and slightly down which is the natural movement if your break hand palm is up), and it will be a less effective belay.


Sounds to me like you're doing everything just fine and correctly . . .

. . . except the spelling of the word "brake." :D
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Postby mvs » Fri Apr 23, 2010 1:05 pm

lcroft wrote:Totally understand MVS!

However, with it being a climbing gym you have to abide by there techniques. If you do not follow their guidelines then you maybe infringing on their insurance.

So probably the best thing to do as you walk through the door is check what belay techniques they use at that specific gym. Follow them and you shouldn't have any probs

or

Do it your way and try not to get caught (as long as its a recognised safe way) and don't whinge if you do!


Yeah, I wish it were so clear cut. The interesting thing is that at this gym there is no established policy. There is no "test" to take. My issue is just with a set of random people in this gym. I could follow the advice of one of them and make that person happy. But the next person might have a slightly different idea. Granted though, the major issue seems to be "palm up," so I'd best avoid trouble if I abandon that style.

I'm trying to get the whinging out of my system with this thread. :lol:
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Re: Belay police (rant)

Postby Charles » Fri Apr 23, 2010 2:01 pm

mvs wrote:I've been climbing at a different climbing gym lately, and have now been lectured three times in two weeks that I'm belaying wrong. I respect that folks are only trying to help. But two things bug me:

1) When you are belaying a lead climber on a difficult climb you want to concentrate on them not on this person coming and wanting to show you the "right" technique then and there. I understand that this concerned person feels they need to fix it right now, but they should understand

2) that there are SEVERAL ways to safely belay someone. There are pros and cons of each method. You can use a gri-gri, Münter Hitch knot, ATC-style device, or Figure-8.

In my case all lectures came from the fact that I'm using an ATC Guide (teeth in one side), belaying from my harness, with break hand PALM-UP on the rope. Apparently, in the part of the world I now live no one would ever belay palm-up. "Credential attack" begins, whereby my training must be inferior to the training 'round here. That overcome, "natural instinct attack" begins, where I'm told my natural instinct in a fall will be to pull the rope down with the break hand (not back and slightly down which is the natural movement if your break hand palm is up), and it will be a less effective belay.

Last time this happened it started a "lecture pile-on" with curious onlookers and several follow-up lectures that made it impossible for me and my buddy to climb.

All this makes me wish for a USA-style test on entry to the climbing gym to certify you can belay, then maybe I could climb in peace. I don't want to be cold to these well-meaning people but I'm getting sick of it.

Probably this is just my rant just before I copy/memorize this variant of belaying to get some peace.

WHAT PALM UP!!!! :D :D :D
That´s Germany for you! :wink:
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Postby Moni » Fri Apr 23, 2010 2:13 pm

It's why I don't climb in a gym.
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Postby MoapaPk » Fri Apr 23, 2010 3:32 pm

I'm not a climber, but...

Wait till they see how you hold the head of an ice axe. Self-belay or self-arrest hold? End of World!
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Postby TheOrglingLlama » Fri Apr 23, 2010 3:40 pm

Sierras

:mrgreen:
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Postby Alpinisto » Fri Apr 23, 2010 3:45 pm

Dingus Milktoast wrote:Just tell em you belay palm up so you can slap people faster, when the stick their noses into your junk.


Image
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Postby welle » Fri Apr 23, 2010 3:54 pm

I'm a big proponent of a Palm Down locking technique. Palm Up brake is just too unnatural with a weird twist to your shoulder and elbow. Maybe arm-strong muscled men can lock it without the awkward twist, but to me Palm Down is more natural and you hand is always in locking position. I also personally feel better if my belayer utilizes locking technique (for the attention reasons DMT mentioned), so I would never climb outdoors with anyone belaying Palms Up. It's just my personal preference and comfort level.
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Postby welle » Fri Apr 23, 2010 4:07 pm

^^^ yeah, you are right, Dingus, that's why I don't sport climb. the whole possibility of static belay scares sh&% out of me...
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