Offsetting the belay station

A relatively frequent situation you can encounter when building a belay station involves awkwardly placed protection (anchor) points at the top of a crag or rock tower, whether they consist of placement of a ring, tree, rock horn, etc. which can be found unsuitably far from the edge of the face. The climber thereby reaches the surface of the summit, and for the actual anchoring of the belay station must continue onward on foot along a level plane. She places a belay device at an anchor point and now finds herself in an awkward position –she is in the middle of the summit plateau, and first of all she cannot see down the face to the other climber, and second of all her rope leading to her follower is forcefully catching against the upper edge of the face, so it is difficult for her even to take in the rope. This situation can be resolved with a so-called offset belay station. This is clipping in to the anchor point using a section of rope that extends your active reach, thereby enabling you to occupy a position on the upper edge of a face. There are two ways to build an offset belay station:

  • Belay device fastened to the rope leading to the second
  • Belay device fastened to the rope leading to the belayer

Each of these configurations has its advantages and disadvantages.

Belay device fastened to the rope of the second

The offset is formed as follows: the rope is clipped into a locking carabiner on the protection point of the station using a clove hitch in such a way that the distance from the clove hitch to the tying-in knot of the belayer is equally as long as the distance from the clove hitch to the edge of the face. To measure the distance correctly is a matter of habit, and the first time it mostly doesn’t come out right anyway. No problem – the rope can be easily shifted in the clove hitch without the clove hitch needing to be removed and unwound from the carabiner. This is a great advantage. You should bear in mind that the rope leading from the belayer is clipped in here – this is essentially her self-belay. So the belayer building the offset belay station can regulate the length of this self-belaying strand of rope, and at the same time remains belayed. When she has the optimum length of the rope sorted out, she cinches the clove hitch and moves to the edge of the rock, testing whether she can stand comfortably at the edge. Afterward she takes the second strand of rope which leads from the clove hitch (and leads down the face to the second) and ties an overhand on the bight into it. She then clips the belay device into this loop using a locking carabiner. The rope leading to the second is then inserted into the belay device. The offsetting of the stance is complete.

Offsetting on the rope to the second – the belay device is fastened to the rope leading from the anchor point to the second.

Offsetting on the rope to the second – the belay device is fastened to the rope leading from the anchor point to the second.

It is good to think about the stretching of the rope! If the offset is longer, the stretching of the rope will be greater. The belay device should not be set on the strand of the rope tightly against the upper edge of the face, since if the second sits into the rope, it can be pulled down under the legs of the belayer due to a stretch of the rope. It is then difficult to operate, in the worst case impossible. The belayer should therefore have the belay device set approximately 1 m up in front of herself.

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.