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Trad climbing and the dynamic belay
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vicum


Jul 14, 2004, 3:58 PM
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Registered: Nov 18, 2001
Posts: 167

Trad climbing and the dynamic belay
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In the past year, I've been trying hard to incorporate the dynamic belay in my sport climbing. The way I was taught, I jump just as the falling climber nears the end of their free fall and begins to be caught by the rope.

Now while this is a great practice for sport climbing to prevent broken ankles, it seems that a dynamic belay would be even more useful in trad climbing to help reduce force on a skectchy top piece. But, since you can't jump while trad climbing, at least in most multipitch situations, how do you do it? Let rope slide through your hand? And how do you practice?

~Arnold


Partner rgold


Jul 14, 2004, 4:39 PM
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Registered: Dec 3, 2002
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Re: Trad climbing and the dynamic belay [In reply to]
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You let rope slide. I don't think any significant number of climbers have practiced this in 30 years, but the only safe way to learn is with a weight and a rope you don't plan on using for anything else.

Here are some hints, but without practice they aren't worth much:

1. The length of time the rope slips is very short, typically quite a bit less than a second. The first time people try this with a weight, it usually hits the ground because they let much too much rope slip and then lose control.

2. With an ATC-type device, a dynamic belay is initiated by moving the brake hand out from the hip so that there is something like a 90 degree angle between the belay strand and the braking strand. This reduces friction, which initiates slipping, which is then immediately controlled by bringing the brake hand back to its normal position.

3. In the case of falls with big fall factors, most braking devices will not supply enough friction and the belay will become dynamic by default.

4. If the belayer isn't wearing gloves, severe rope burns are a very real possibility.


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