UIAA belay method

The UIAA belay method is appropriate for belaying both the leader and the second, whereas it is also possible to belay both statically and dynamically. This principle of belaying involves the use of the braking action of the Munter hitch on the body of the carabiner.

Tying the Munter hitch to a carabiner with one hand.

Tying the Munter hitch to a carabiner with one hand.

This is a method which offers sufficient braking effects, to the extent that the belayer does not need to have leather gloves even when catching a strong fall. It works the same under loading upward and downward. The Munter hitch inverts only when there is a change of the direction of loading on the carabiner (a slight jerk accompanies this), but remains equally effective the entire time. An HMS carabiner (carabiner with more or less regular pear shape) is required to use it, ideally one with an automatic lock or at least a screw-in locking sleeve. A specific disadvantage of the UIAA belay method is the twisting of the rope (more precisely, twisting of the weave as opposed to the core of the rope) that occurs when it is used, but this is only a drawback for comfort, to which safety should take precedence. When climbing a multi-pitch route, if the twisting of the rope becomes unpleasant, then at the station one climber can untie from the rope (after other self-belay has been built) and the accumulated coils of the twisted rope can be unwound either by twisting the end of the rope in the opposite direction or dangling it down and letting it unwind by shaking it. Then it can be tied in again, and the climbing continues.

When belaying using the UIAA method, pay close attention to make sure the rope is not in contact with the locking sleeve of the HMS carabiner. The locking sleeve of the gate can come undone (unscrewed) due to the friction of the rope, and the rope can then easily slip out by pressing on the lock of the carabiner. This will result in the destruction of the Munter hitch and the loss of protection. In order to prevent this accident, set up the HMS carabiner in such a way that its gate is oriented on the opposite side from where the rope (more precisely the inactive part of the rope) is led. Right-handers should have the gate of the HMS carabiner on the left (as they will need to hold the inactive part of the rope in the right, dominant hand – as they pull the rope to the right), and similarly left-handers should have the gate of the HMS carabiner on the right, as they will pull the rope to the left with their left, dominant hand.

When climbing with a folded (half) rope using alternating clipping of the rope into intermediate protection, you will need a separate HMS carabiner for each strand of rope, each of which may hold only one strand of rope; for a double rope both strands can be inserted into the same HMS carabiner.

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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).

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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.