/ Advice, Belaying a BIG beginner on a indoor wall

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scotlass - on 20 May 2012
Ok folks the situation is this, I will be taking a 6'4 18 stone body builder type and a 14 year old 8 stone kid climbing next weekend at an indoor wall. they are both complete beginners so I will be doing all the belaying, I'am 5'6 and about 10 stone so you can see where the problem is.

I have a few ideas of how to achieve this, such as going up and putting an extra twist at the top or maybe putting my line through the bottom runner so he can only pull me up so far but as the UKC head is better than one I would like your advice or better ideas that you may have.

The wall has no floor anchors or weighted sand bags.

Thanks for your help guys
Kevin Woods - on 20 May 2012
In reply to scotlass: Eek that isn't do good ... I'm about the same size and weight, and had a 16 stone guy take an 8 metre whipper at the indoor wall - partly so large due to the difference in your weights. I went 2 metres off the ground. All I can suggest is to hold the rope as hard as you can. Otherwise, I have heard of people twist the rope a couple of times. Hope that helps.
the real slim shady - on 20 May 2012
In reply to scotlass: Is there a way that you could improvise your own weights? You may need to ask the wall to ise them as well though
poeticshambles - on 20 May 2012
In reply to scotlass: Tie the young lad to the back of your harness as a kind of sand bag, just don't let the DSS catch you.
MJ - on 20 May 2012
In reply to scotlass:

Stick close to the wall and accept/be ready for the fact that you might be taken off your feet.
When you're all stabilised, lower as normal. This includes if you're off the ground yourself - just lower as normal and everything will work it self out.
Jamie B - on 20 May 2012
In reply to scotlass:

You need to teach them to belay each other. If they are on top-rope and you are watching them and backing them up this should be very do-able. I'm in a rush right now (off climbing) but will try to post back later with specifics about how to teach this.
hedgehog77 - on 20 May 2012
In reply to scotlass: Teach them to belay each other and when the weight diffrence is climbing you can hold the back of the harness of the lighter one. Simple really. You could use a gri gri or just hold the dead rope as you do this to back up.
Yanis Nayu - on 20 May 2012
In reply to scotlass: Eat lots of pies.

HTH. ;-)
Howardw1968 - on 20 May 2012
In reply to scotlass:

> The wall has no floor anchors or weighted sand bags.

Floor anchors I can understand but no sandbags seems kind of odd People are regularly in this situation (although not teaching) Have a word with the manager they cant be that expensive
Neil Williams - on 20 May 2012
In reply to scotlass:

A twist in the rope does help but some walls don't like it as it causes wear.

You could (if you've got a sling or the rope is long enough) use one of them as a human weight bag - or even just get them to hold the back of your harness?

Steve Clark - on 20 May 2012
In reply to scotlass:

If you can safely put an Italian hitch in the top anchor, this will increase the friction to a level where you can just hold the rope with one hand. The little guy could easily belay on the 'dead' side.

However :

1. The wall rope may be so stiff and old that it doesn't run nicely
2. The top krab needs to be big enough to allow it to invert and be a screwgate.
3. If there are two non-screwgate krabs close together you'll have to play with it to find the best configuration.
4. The wall staff may winge about rope wear. This is nonsense, because neither rope is static, but they are in charge.

Probably less hassle if you can go to a wall with a sandbag.

thegreatape on 20 May 2012 - host86-170-73-7.range86-170.btcentralplus.com
In reply to scotlass: As an 18.5 stone 'climber' who climbs with a variety of people at the wall, some of whom are literally half my weight, we always manage fine by putting a couple of twists in the rope.
TimH - on 20 May 2012
In reply to scotlass: A couple of things to think about:

A) Your positioning to deal with being pulled around if he falls. Standing side on to the wall and close to it means that when he weights the rope you get moved along the wall instead of face planting it. I would also try to leave myself space to take a couple of steps along the wall to help absorb the initial impact.

B) Stopping yourself from moving if he falls. As already mentioned you could either get the other guy to hold the back of your harness or use him as a sandbag. If you go for the human sandbag option I would use a taught sling between both your belay loops for comfort rather than the back of your harness. If he keeps moving around and making the sling slack just get him to sit down.

C) Holding the fall. Not wanting to teach you to suck eggs so apologies if this is patronising... I take it that you're happy with the amount of friction your belay device provides. If not it you might get more friction if used round the other way (eg Variable Controller or Reverso 1) or by adding a second carabiner in the same place as your normal one. Twisting the rope as already mentioned will do the job but will add a smidgen of rope wear. Obviously getting the other guy to tail you would work too.

Hope that helps,

needvert on 21 May 2012
In reply to scotlass:

Could bring your own weight. Body builder may be able to bring along a 32+kg kettle bell which with the friction of the 'pulley' at the top, might be sufficient.
KiwiPrincess - on 21 May 2012
In reply to scotlass:

I regularly Belay people 35 kilo's heavier than me. I have not been pulled up except with a lead fall. Top roping shouldn't be an issue.
If they do pull you. Put your foot out against the wall to avoid Hitting with face( wear Strudy footwear). Don't clip the first clip as you will be pulled into it or the wall and clip could hit device, possibly affecting it's function.. I have never gone up more than a meter or two, and prefer that to being tied down and the forces on you.
Neil Williams - on 21 May 2012
In reply to KiwiPrincess:

I am 17st and have made an 8st belayer go up until I grabbed the rope, so I wouldn't risk it with nothing at all.

colina - on 21 May 2012
In reply to scotlass: id have thought there wd be some provision for this .are you sure there are no sandbags?
Rich Ellis - on 21 May 2012
In reply to scotlass:
Hi scotlass . As a 16 stone climber you shouldn`t attempt this without a ground anchor or seriously heavy weightbag or two . Rope twist can be o.k. for a couple of stone , but how much heat are you going to generate with someone double your weight?
If I`m belayed by a lightweight person they are generally 3ft up being stopped from moving by the ground anchor.
If i drop even a metre with slack in rope people have struggled to get a grip and i am cautious of lowering if someone is not paying attention.

With no weight to hold you down you will either hit the wall really hard or just fly , then hit the wall really hard.
Find a big belayer for your wall or don`t do it please.
jkarran - on 21 May 2012
In reply to scotlass:

For toproping you can twist the ropes together at the top to add friction which is what a lot of people are alluding to. You seem to be considering putting an extra turn on the top krab given you mentioned going up to do it?

An Italian hitch at the top would be ideal but is unlikely to be acceptable at your wall unless they are particularly understanding or lax.

Do ask for a sandbag to be provided, call them well in advance and explain the situation. With the twists it is unlikely to be necessary but it's a good safeguard against accidentally forgetting to put twists in. If you have to provide your own then stuff a rucksack with water bottles and spare rope: Soft, heavy and can be filled/drained on the site. Don't use body building weights or kettlebells, 20kg of cast iron swinging about between your feet is a recipe for crushed toes or worse.

Avoid thin/slick ropes unless you have a powerful belay device.

homing-penguin - on 21 May 2012
In reply to scotlass: My girlfriend belays me, and I'm 18 stone and she's normal (bout ten stone lighter than me). When she belays me and there's no anchors about, she just uses a gri-gri.

In your situation, when belaying the big one, I'd get the kid to hold onto the waistbelt of your harness. That's what I've done before when in a three.

Remember to sit into your harness when he takes a fall and keep your knees bent.

I've actually belayed someone about 4 stone heavier than me. It was epic!!
scotlass - on 21 May 2012
In reply to scotlass: Thanks folks, I might try the kid as sandbag technique or taking a heavy rucksack or two just as a plan B if the wall gets upset with me twisting the rope, and if all else fails I will give him a high 5 as I shoot past
scottie390 - on 23 May 2012
In reply to scotlass: I agree with Bankhead on this one but ask the wall what their policy is for such a situation before committing to any of the above 'solutions' if they don't have one, extra twist of rope through the top anchor or if they don't like that and genuinely don't have any sand bags,get the other to use a gri gri while you back them up, bearing in mind the tighter they keep him the less effect a fall will have.
Mark Kemball - on 23 May 2012
In reply to scotlass: Using the kid as a sandbag should work fine (I've done this with school kids belaying each other), you need a shortish (60cm) sling and a couple of crabs - get the kid to sit on the floor on the other side to your belaying hand, with the sling connecting both your belaying loops.
girlymonkey - on 23 May 2012
In reply to scotlass:
Even if the wall has a sandbag, I have found in the past with a big weight difference that I still get lifted with a sandbag so it's more hassel than it's worth. As others have said, twisting the rope works well. When you do get lifted (I find this is a regular occurence), be ready to hook your toes under a hold. As long as you know you are likely to leave the ground then it's absolutely fine.
Jordon Fleming - on 23 May 2012
In reply to scotlass: ask the staff at the wall and they will have to take appropiate action to reduce the chance of injury. and if they cant haggle for cheaper rates ;) or they may even get sand bags or ground ancors
Birdmanuk - on 23 May 2012
In reply to scotlass: Like Jordan and few people have said ask the staff for a ground anchor method. They should be able to provide this to prevent injury. I have seen some walld have threads in the floor which you screw and anchor into. But the cheaper option for walls is sand bags plus you might need a couple by the sounds of it.
henwardian - on 24 May 2012
In reply to scotlass: A twist or two in the rope will help, you should probably still experiment with him carefully lowering his weight onto the rope, then sitting down with it fairly snug, then letting go with it fairly snug, then legging go as normal... just work it up basically to see at what point it starts to get a bid dodgy and then stop.
A lot depends on what is at the top of the wall, if it's malions then you will get a LOT more friction that if it is some kind of pulley wheel (I really don't understand the rationale behind a wheel but some walls do use them).
If you are using a Grigri, don't clip in the bottom clip as a failsafe because if you do get fired into the clip:
1) The clip could press down on the handle bit making the Grigri stick open.
2) If it isn't wedged open by the clip, the opposite could be true and it could be difficult to release it because of how it is caught in the clip.
An ATC can't get wedged open as it's always "open" and if you get stuck in a clip its easy to lower yourself back down.
Camm on 24 May 2012
In reply to scotlass:
Top roping/bottom roping (depending how you look at it!) I don't think it will be such a problem, when I was about 10 stone I've belayed a 16 stone guy and when lowering him off had no issues at all. I wasn't even stood close the wall, it's partly down to control and stance. If you're struggling, lean into the wall, if you're really struggling push yourself into the wall. I've seen small kids around 10 years old, belay their parents who are twice the weight lol.

I'm now 16 stone myself and have no trouble with people belaying me lol.
isi_o - on 24 May 2012
In reply to scotlass:
I have belayed for people about this much heavier than me on a regular basis, and have been lifted complete with sandbag too as Girlymonkey says, so personally I'm not really a fan of them. A twist or two in the top of the rope, an attentive (quite tight) belay and careful thought about where and how you stand and you'll be fine. If you are going to teach the 14 year old to belay then be cautious about what happens if they do lift off and you can't keep them on the ground - it's easy to get banged into the wall quite hard if you're standing far back from it. It's also easy for them to panic and let go of the dead rope if they do get lifted.
Have a chat to the wall staff - they will deal with weight differences on a very regular basis, so see what they are happy with you doing there.
Neil Williams - on 24 May 2012
In reply to isi_o:

" It's also easy for them to panic and let go of the dead rope if they do get lifted. "

If you back them up attentively enough, you can lock them off by pulling downwards on the rope even when they are up in the air.

The concern I would have is not of going up due to the shock load (I challenge you to find someone who isn't so fat they can't climb who I won't take off the ground if I take a decent lead fall), it's of *carrying on* going up until you reach the ground and they reach the top. If this happens slowly this won't be massively dangerous (though it will stop you getting back on the route where you want to!) but to an inexperienced belayer it might be.

As for weight bags, if you *and* a weight bag are taken off the ground when belaying on top rope, the weight bag could perhaps do with being heavier!

And as for twists in the rope, this does work but some walls don't like it as it causes wear (I know Big Rock asks people to use weight bags rather than to put twists in the rope for that reason). Agree about asking the wall which option *they* like.

scottie390 - on 24 May 2012
In reply to henwardian: why would she get fired into a clip belaying complete beginners on a bottom rope?

Gri Gri is the way forward in this situation.
isi_o - on 24 May 2012
In reply to Neil Williams:
Agreed, you can negate these issues by being very attentive over backing up the rope. Wanted to highlight these though as although easily solved they are things that I've seen people doing in the wall.
Yes, the weight bag could probably have done with being heavier, but it was the only one available, and was big enough that I needed a trolley to transport it! The main issue in that particular case was having to leave some slack in the system as it was a competition, so more loading in the event of a fall.
Can't say I've ever ended up right at the top of a wall, but half way I certainly have and that could be scary for someone who hasn't belayed before...
isi_o - on 24 May 2012
In reply to scottie390:
'Gri Gri is the way forward in this situation.'
Why? Genuinely curious... Not really sure what it offers in this situation unless you think you're going to let go of the rope, in which case you probably shouldn't be belaying them anyway! Certainly less easy to control if you do end up heading up the way and need to lower yourself back to the ground.
henwardian - on 24 May 2012
In reply to scottie390:
> (In reply to henwardian) why would she get fired into a clip belaying complete beginners on a bottom rope?
> Gri Gri is the way forward in this situation.

Read the Op. He asks if it would be a good idea to clip his rope through the bottom runner to limit the distance he can go skywards.
Rebecca North - on 19 Jun 2012
In reply to scotlass:

Does any one have any advice for belaying someone heavier outdoors? I am v light (7st) and will be belaying someone lighter than me on top rope (will be at southern sandstone so no leading). When at a wall I use an anchor but obviously that wont work outside. Would attaching a rucksack help? Twisting the rope? Anything else?

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