Safety and climbing: 4 tips

In climbing, belaying consists in having the life of one’s partner in one’s hands. You might as well say it’s better to pay attention! And as the reminder shots, in this matter, are never superfluous, La Fabrique Verticale gives you the 4 key tricks, which you always have to think about when you’re good. Just a quick recap.

If you want to take advantage of the good weather to go back to the cliffs (or to jump the step if you started indoors this winter), a little check up of safety techniques is probably important to do. Because belay is serious! Dynamic insurance: are you up to speed?

Double check

First of all, the most important point to ensure, it is without a doubt the double check. In good French, mutual verification.

The climber checks that:

  • the rope is placed in the right direction to ensure
  • the safety carabiner connecting the belay device to the harness’s trigger guard is securely locked
  • his insurer is attentive and ready to insure him
  • a knot at the end of the rope has been made, to avoid unpleasant surprises on the way down
  • his insurer has set up the belay system correctly

The insurer verifies that:

  • the climber made his knot
  • the knot is properly made and tightened
  • it has a stop knot (if it is a chair knot) or a sufficient length of rope after the knot (if it is an eight knot)
  • the climber has carried enough draughts to equip the track

Always keep eye contact with your climber and stay alert

Once the climber is in the track, the insurer must remain focused. He always has to look at the climber. And be prepared to stop a fall if necessary. So avoid talking, thinking about something else or looking away.

Focus, focus ! Because one second of inattention can be fatal.

Adopt a position conducive to belaying

To ensure, the ideal is to be located not too far from the departure of the track. In the phase preceding the carabiner from the first point, stay below, at the parry. As in block, be well camped on your feet, arms stretched out towards the climber, ready to catch him under the buttocks to accompany and slow down his fall in case of need. Be careful, however, that there is no crashpad! The parry can limit the damage but will not do everything in these cases etc.

Once the first point is set, and in the critical phase of the first two-three points of the track, be vigilant and give only the necessary slack. In the event of a fall, be prepared to swallow the slack frankly, even if it means “drying” a little, to avoid any return to the ground. Thereafter, once the climber is higher in the track, you will be able to dynamize the fall in a more important way. This does not mean leaving a large loop of slack on the ground 😉

Generally speaking, to ensure, wear suitable shoes.  Flip-flops are nice, they look good, but on uneven ground (dusty or stony, as found on cliffs), you risk slipping, hurting yourself and maybe even letting go of your partner as a result. This is all the more true if there is a big weight differential between the two members of the rope.

Finally, always move slightly to the side, so as not to remain in the axis of the track. In the event of a rock fall or a draw, in fact, that the climber would make leave without having time to warn you, you would be in the first line.

Always keep one hand under the belay device

Ensuring, either with a wafer-type device or with a self-braking device, requires a good knowledge of their use. If you do not feel up to it, go to complete your knowledge near the BE or the initiator of your room. In any case, and whatever the device used, you must never let go of the rope with the hand that is located under the device !