/ taking a beginner to the climbing wall

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outtathaway - on 23 Aug 2013
Hi, I want to go climbing with a friend but she can't belay and has limited experience of the sport. I don't think it would be appropriate for me to teach her how to belay as I'm not an instructor so would the best thing be to hire one? She wants to try a new hobby and I'm looking to get back into climbing, I guess an instructor is the only option, opinions welcome, thanks, James
GridNorth - on 23 Aug 2013
In reply to jamesgreenfield:
> I don't think it would be appropriate for me to teach her how to belay as I'm not an instructor so would the best thing be to hire one?

Why don't you have confidence in your own abilities? I've taught loads of people to belay. In fact the ONLY person who has belayed me in a dangerous way was SPA qualified. I foolishly assumed that she was competent.
outtathaway - on 23 Aug 2013
In reply to GridNorth: I have confidence in my abilities and it would make it a lot easier if I just taught the basics, however I don't know whether the wall would be happy about me teaching her. For a first time wall user she would have to fill out the standard belay competency form but I don't think that could be bypassed by just saying that I'll teach her.
Neil Williams - on 23 Aug 2013
In reply to jamesgreenfield:

Most walls will allow you to sign in a novice and teach them to belay, some "discourage" it but I'm not aware of any in the UK that ban it outright.

The problem is that you'll need to be supervising them while they do, therefore you can't at most walls go off the ground unless you have a third person who is competent (or a third person who isn't competent if you just want to teach both to climb/belay and not climb yourself). Therefore if you haven't you will need an instructor.

Neil
GridNorth - on 23 Aug 2013
In reply to jamesgreenfield: Teach her outdoors. When you are satisfied take her indoors and register her as competent.
Jenny C on 23 Aug 2013
In reply to jamesgreenfield: Contact your local wall to check out what their T&C say about bringing in novices.

At The Foundry a registered adult member can sign in up to two novices, however novices can only belay if you (or another registered user) are backing up the rope - so you would need a third person if you wanted to teach her to belay.
cuppatea on 23 Aug 2013
In reply to jamesgreenfield:

I had the same problem a while back.

I asked on the forum and Oceanrower helped us out for a few hours. Top man! :-)
outtathaway - on 23 Aug 2013
In reply to jamesgreenfield: Thanks everyone, I phoned the wall and they said I could belay the beginner but I couldn't teach her how to belay and then climb myself, like you were saying. They run a beginner's climbing club for an hour on an evening so I'm thinking we could both go to that, I haven't been climbing for about a year and a half so it wouldn't hurt to have a refresher on the basics.
johncoxmysteriously - on 23 Aug 2013
In reply to jamesgreenfield:

Good grief. Would you like one of us to come round and make you a cup of warm milk?

HTF do you people imagine we all learned to climb before there were such things as climbing walls?

jcm
outtathaway - on 23 Aug 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously: It would be ideal if I could teach the beginner to climb at the wall but having just phoned the wall that isn't possible, unless there is a third climber there as people have said, which there won't be. I could do this outdoors but living in worcestershire the climbing wall is the most convenient option, at least at first. I'd happily teach her but I have to go by the wall's policy, not much I can do.
ThunderCat - on 23 Aug 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:
> (In reply to jamesgreenfield)
>
> Good grief. Would you like one of us to come round and make you a cup of warm milk?
>
> HTF do you people imagine we all learned to climb before there were such things as climbing walls?
>
> jcm

Someone needs to try decaf... :)

Al Evans on 23 Aug 2013
In reply to GridNorth:
> (In reply to jamesgreenfield) Teach her outdoors. When you are satisfied take her indoors and register her as competent.

Here Hear (not sure which spelling is correct)
johncoxmysteriously - on 23 Aug 2013
In reply to jamesgreenfield:

FFS man.

Take her in the garden (ooh, missus) and climb a tree with her belaying. Then go back to the wall and declare she's an experienced outdoor belayer.

Or pay to have some bored geek in a helmet teach her at the wall in a two-hour course what most of us learned in thirty seconds the first time we went climbing. Your call.

jcm
Simos on 23 Aug 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

Don't think it's worth spending 30 seconds in the garden learning to belay John, it's best to just start climbing and just let them figure it out as you go up. To be honest most climbing walls are not too high and have fairly bouncy floors so should be fine. :-)
Wesley Orvis - on 23 Aug 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:
> (In reply to jamesgreenfield)
>
> Good grief. Would you like one of us to come round and make you a cup of warm milk?

This has really tickled me.

Jamie Wakeham - on 23 Aug 2013
In reply to jamesgreenfield: do you not have a single climbing mate who could back her rope up, or climb whilst you back her up, for half an hour till she's learned? I'm an instructor myself and loathe to suggest we're entirely unnecessary, but this does seem overkill!

Al: hear.
robbo99 - on 23 Aug 2013
In reply to GridNorth:
> (In reply to jamesgreenfield) Teach her outdoors. When you are satisfied take her indoors and register her as competent.

Agree. I taught my girlfriend to belay outdoors at Cheddar; a much more relaxed environment to learn than a rammed climbing wall

That's in comparison to my local gym who want to charge 40 quid for showing her how to put a harness on and clip into an auto-belay...
megamonkeyman on 24 Aug 2013
I managed to teach my partner at Swindon Link center recently. I was learning myself, suppose if you read up on it and feel confident just play the game at the wall.

Saying that, Gloucester Warehouse stopped me from teaching someone else to belay because we didn't have a third person. I just went out to a simple crag and taught them there (in about 15 minutes for the basics).

Your call...good luck!
kestrelspl on 24 Aug 2013
In reply to robbo99: As my brother is under 18 my local wall don't give the option of saying he's a competent belayer and mandate that any under 18s who want to belay do the two hour course.

This despite the fact that they seemed perfectly happy for him to belay when my fiancee (also registered at the wall) was with us for several weeks, as they assumed that she would be backing him up when I was climbing and vice versa even though they never told us this. I then turned up just with him one week and not only didn't get to climb myself (no belayer) but had to pay 65 for him to do the course as well!
csw on 24 Aug 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:
> (In reply to jamesgreenfield)
>
> Good grief. Would you like one of us to come round and make you a cup of warm milk?
>
> HTF do you people imagine we all learned to climb before there were such things as climbing walls?
>
> jcm

Good point, if a trifle strident, but what you're forgetting is that back in the day, there weren't the same options as there are now.

Whichever way you choose to learn, it boils down to accepting the authority of someone more experienced. In 1956 there wasn't much of an alternative to going to a crag and having a go. Either with a similarly motivated mate and a length of tow rope, or hopefully an experienced climber. Today we have lots of options, but still, the person with little or no experience has to trust those with more, and there's a large body of people who consider climbing qualifications to be inherently more valuable than [I think] they actually are. I think it's being a bit narrow-minded to criticise a relative beginner, in 2013, for wanting to introduce a friend to the activity in a different way to how it would have been done when the Beatles were still together. Times change.



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JoshOvki on 24 Aug 2013
In reply to jamesgreenfield:

I don't think I have been to a wall that doesn't allow someone that is competent to sign in 1 or 2 people that are not. Just you have to stay on the floor unless you have someone else that is competent to back up the novice. It also makes sense as would you really want to teach someone that doesn't know how to belay while they are belaying you with nothing to stop them letting go and you hitting the floor?

When I used to work at a wall I remember hearing "no don't let go of that one, put both hands on the bottom rope NO THE BOTTOM ROPE!" After them signing the bit of paper saying they where competent, I don't think I have ever ran that quickly. The guy was getting pumped on an overhanging route.

Indoor climbing & most sport routes you are going to end up weighting the rope & belayer to get lowered is it really worth the risk?

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