Belaying with the body

If climbing from the ground only on a single pitch, or to a height of a maximum of half a rope length; that is, the ascent ends at the point of reversal, the belayer for the entire time of the ascent of the leader is located down on the ground. The belayer has nowhere to fall. This is surely a reassuring fact. It enables him to provide belaying without building a belay station; the belayer simply clips the belay device to his harness, and that’s it. This method of belaying is called belaying with the body, by which is meant the counterweight of the body of the belayer toward the catching force of the falling leader. Even if we’ve said that the belayer has nowhere to fall, it doesn’t mean that he is not at risk of any danger. On the contrary, there are more than enough dangers here. The most common tends to be a belayer threatened by the leader herself. The leader can knock a rock down on him, or climbing gear, or fall on him herself. This risk can be eliminated to a certain extent by wearing a protective helmet and maintaining heightened vigilance.

When belaying with the body the belayer must keep close to the rock, only slightly to the side of the line of fall of the first intermediate protection point. This is so that the force developed by the leader’s fall will act on the belayer only in an upward direction. The belayer will thereby be merely lifted up, which eliminates any brief sliding of the rope in the belay device. It is absolutely inappropriate for the belayer to stand far from the rock (much less to sit), since the force will then act on him not only in an upward direction, but also in a forward direction. The belayer will thereby most often lose his balance and, with nothing to lean against, will be yanked down and dragged along the ground; in the worst case scenario, subject to a fall with greater impact force, the belayer will be slammed directly against the rock. The leader’s fall will also be extended by the entire length of the path along which the belayer is dragged along the ground. There is also the risk that the startled belayer will drop the rope when thrown, and then the leader will almost free fall to the ground.

Incorrect – a belayer far from the rock.

Incorrect – a belayer far from the rock.

Incorrect – a belayer far from the rock.

Incorrect – a belayer far from the rock.

More in e-book.

Title Part 3Mountaineering Methodology – Part 3 – Belaying and Rappelling

ISBN 978-80-87715-09-3

MMPublishing, 2013

Available for download from Apple iTunes (in the Books section).

For example U.S. store – link

Another countries – look on the page Download

See layout.

Another possibility is Google Play. This version is a simplified (as PDF).

Title Part 3 GPMountaineering Methodology – Part 3 – Belaying and Rappelling

ISBN 978-80-87715-14-7

MMPublishing, 2014

Available for download from Google Play.