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Postby Andy » Wed Nov 29, 2006 8:33 am

Scott Rogers wrote:What is the safest way, if any, to take a picture of someone while you are belaying them?

First off, I didn't take any of these photos - my wife did. However, I do take lots of photos while on belay. It's really no different than doing anything else while on belay - taking a wizz, putting on your shoes, eating a snack, etc. As long as you have a solid grip on the rope with your break hand and can do whatever it is you need to do with the other hand it seems pretty safe to me. If you think about it, you're always going to be catching a fall one-handed. What difference does it make what you're doing with your non-break hand?

Note: I belay with the classic "pinch" method. Though I usually have my break hand in the reverse position from the diagram below (instead of thumb up I have mine with thumb down). I find with my hand in this position I can twist the rope around the bottom of my hand to create more friction and get a better grip. If you take a look at this photo you can see that I have my hand in the reverse position from the diagram below, but I have twisted it 180 degrees so that my thumb is pointing up. If I pull straight down I have a very solid break. Also note that my left, non-break hand is doing absolutely nothing. It might as well be taking photos :wink:.
Image
"What a day, eh, Milhouse? The sun is out, birds are singing,
bees are trying to have sex with them - as is my understanding..."

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Postby Doug Shaw » Wed Nov 29, 2006 12:35 pm

First, kudos on your first lead catch.

That said, your last post disturbs me a bit.

Andy wrote:However, I do take lots of photos while on belay. It's really no different than doing anything else while on belay - taking a wizz, putting on your shoes, eating a snack, etc.


:shock: Don't forget to pay attention to your climber once in a while.

I am pretty risk-averse and anal retentive about these sorts of things. As a climber I am acutely aware that my life is in the hands of the guy who is holding the other end of that rope. I want them paying attention to me, not fracking around doing other things because they are bored. Things like taking a quick bite off of an energy bar or reaching for a discrete scratch are pretty innocuous - quickly-finished. Looking down to see my belayer engaging in more involved, distracting activities, such as (to use your example) putting on shoes or taking a whiz, would tend to make me nervous, not to mention annoyed at best and downright angry at worst.

But all that said, I'm interested in hearing other people's takes on this. Am I overly cautious/anal here?

Andy wrote:If you think about it, you're always going to be catching a fall one-handed. What difference does it make what you're doing with your non-break hand?


I think you answered your own question earlier in this thread:

Andy wrote:Right before he fell Dan yelled out "Watch me!" or "I'm falling!" or "Oh s**t!" or something to that effect so I was frantically trying to pull in slack when he actually pealed off

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Postby jfox » Wed Nov 29, 2006 12:40 pm

mainpeak wrote:One thing I've noticed about climbing in CO is that people jump right out on their first lead at 5.6 and up. Pretty impressive.


Yeah...my first was a 5.8 over on N. Table with Dan....I surprised myself too! Oh wait....it wasn't a lead though. :? Just my first climb.

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Postby Scott Rogers » Wed Nov 29, 2006 12:48 pm

Thanks for the words Doug, I agree with you completely. There's nothing I hate more than having a non-attentive belayer while I'm doing crazy-hard lead climbs. It always pissed me off when the belayer asked me to stop so he could lock off and take some pictures, especially when I that meant my arms would become even more tired, and make falling even more eminent. But I guess it all comes down to personal preference. Pictures are cool, but so is minimizing fall potential.
We can't change the world, but we can change the way we live.

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Postby Andy » Wed Nov 29, 2006 1:49 pm

Doug Shaw wrote:I am pretty risk-averse and anal retentive about these sorts of things. As a climber I am acutely aware that my life is in the hands of the guy who is holding the other end of that rope. I want them paying attention to me, not fracking around doing other things because they are bored. Things like taking a quick bite off of an energy bar or reaching for a discrete scratch are pretty innocuous - quickly-finished. Looking down to see my belayer engaging in more involved, distracting activities, such as (to use your example) putting on shoes or taking a whiz, would tend to make me nervous, not to mention annoyed at best and downright angry at worst.

Good points.

Whatever I'm doing with my non-break hand I'm always completely prepared to drop it (whether that be a candy bar, my camera, my weener, etc) in the case that the hand is needed.

This type of climbing I was doing with Dan is pretty untypical for myself. Usually I'm on long, meandering, alpine-like routes that aren't all that hard. More often than not I can't see or hear my partner. My partner and I tend to error on the side of loose belays because rope drag is usually a much more pressing factor than a couple of feet of slack.

Also, on our typical alpine-like climbs speed is usually also a pretty big issue. If we did things like take a leak, have a snack, tie/untie our shoes, drink, etc only when neither of us were climbing, the time those things take could really begin to add up.

Also, I think it's important to differentiate between belaying a leader and belaying a follower. I find it's a lot easier to multi-task when belaying the leader because it's easier to let out slack with one hand. I don't multi-task when belaying a follower because it's a two handed job to pull in the slack. (On of these days I need to get one of those auto-locking devices like a Trango B52.)

Bottom line, I feel safe if I've got a solid attentive grip on the rope with my break hand. So far I'm one-for-one on safe catches of leader falls. I've caught about 5 or so follower falls, all without incident as well.
"What a day, eh, Milhouse? The sun is out, birds are singing,
bees are trying to have sex with them - as is my understanding..."

- Bart Simpson

"You are not Steve F-ing House."
- Best RockClimbing.com Rant Ever

www.AndyInTheRockies.com

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Postby Andy » Wed Nov 29, 2006 1:56 pm

Scott Rogers wrote:Thanks for the words Doug, I agree with you completely. There's nothing I hate more than having a non-attentive belayer while I'm doing crazy-hard lead climbs. It always pissed me off when the belayer asked me to stop so he could lock off and take some pictures, especially when I that meant my arms would become even more tired, and make falling even more eminent. But I guess it all comes down to personal preference. Pictures are cool, but so is minimizing fall potential.

To me being non-attentive means either (a) not playing out slack when it's needed, or (b) not taking in slack when it's needed.

I don't let multitasking interfere with these two duties.
"What a day, eh, Milhouse? The sun is out, birds are singing,
bees are trying to have sex with them - as is my understanding..."

- Bart Simpson

"You are not Steve F-ing House."
- Best RockClimbing.com Rant Ever

www.AndyInTheRockies.com

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Postby mainpeak » Wed Nov 29, 2006 2:32 pm

I'm with Doug. The climber's safety is of primary importance. The only time I would lock off to take a picture is at the climber's request, when he/she has a safe stance , there's no one overhead, and its basically a casual climb.

There's only been two intances where I've had to lock off a belay for any other reason. Once was when a large rock came loose under my feet and I wanted to secure it, the other was one one came down on my hand and messed it up pretty badly.

I am also with Andy though with respect to Alpine routes, ( and relieved to hear his clarification ), that you need to comprimise safety and speed. I definitely take a few bites to energize during belays, maybe make minor adjustments to stay warm, take a leak, but thats about it. All can be done without letting go of the belay and without losing focus on the climber, even if she's out of view.

However, any major adjustments, even hydration.... I do in between when both climbers are safe.

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Postby Dan the Mountain Man » Wed Nov 29, 2006 5:49 pm

To each their own. Guess you just have to trust your belayer knows what he/she is doing. Seeing as Andy caught my fall, I feel that he has a pretty good idea of what was going on. He was definately attentive, but was not staring at me the whole time, which is fine. So long as you can manage the rope and brake at a moments notice, you are fine.

Sometimes I let my belayer know that I am very uncomfortable on a certain part of the climb, and let them know that I can slip at any time. In this case it gives me more a mental blanket to know that they are always watching me. If I turn and they are not I make sure to bark at them to look! Like I said though, it is a matter of trust between you and your partner, and Andy has sufficiently demonstrated to me that he can be trusted! :D

Dan
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Postby Tim Jordan » Wed Nov 29, 2006 6:15 pm

[I find it's a lot easier to multi-task when belaying the leader because it's easier to let out slack with one hand.]

How can you be letting out slack with one hand and doing some other task with the other and still have a hand on the break hand? Do you have 3 hands?

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Postby Andy » Wed Nov 29, 2006 7:51 pm

Tim Jordan wrote:How can you be letting out slack with one hand and doing some other task with the other and still have a hand on the break hand? Do you have 3 hands?

I can let out slack with my break hand - kinda like how I can rappel with one hand.

Good thing I'm not looking for partners... it sounds like I'm scaring a lot of people :lol:.
"What a day, eh, Milhouse? The sun is out, birds are singing,
bees are trying to have sex with them - as is my understanding..."

- Bart Simpson

"You are not Steve F-ing House."
- Best RockClimbing.com Rant Ever

www.AndyInTheRockies.com

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Postby Scott Rogers » Wed Nov 29, 2006 9:19 pm

Andy, I have faith that you know how to belay, and pretty well. I was just trying to make a point, but I didn't mean to attack you personally, sorry about that. I'll keep my mouth shut from now on.
We can't change the world, but we can change the way we live.

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Postby Devin » Thu Nov 30, 2006 10:55 am

Andy wrote:Good thing I'm not looking for partners... it sounds like I'm scaring a lot of people :lol:.


I haven't ever met you in person, but based on your insights that I have read on this site, I wouldn't hesitate to have you as my belayer. :D

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