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Topic - Why did practising belaying with dead weight stop?

needvert on 15 Jun 2014

Every now and again, an old (relatively) timer around UKC will mention back in their day, they practised belaying catching a big dead weight of some sort.

Now days, that seems to have died off. We still learn with live people taking falls (that's not so much practising belaying as actually belaying, possibly with a backup belayer).

That's good and all, but I feel we've lost part of the learning experience.

For a start, no one wants (rightfully so) want to take high FF falls, yet in climbing we may be expected to catch a ~FF2, though with little idea of what forces may be involved (there's a lot to be said about whether belayers should use assisted locking devices, or wear gloves).

Second, a lot of variations of the one critical question become hard to answer:
- Would a belayer be able to catch a hard fall in that circumstance?

(Where circumstance could be using a certain device, rope, technique, lack of technique, hand position, persons physical characteristics etc...)



I don't believe myself nor any of my regular partners has ever caught a high impact fall, and we're lesser experienced as a result.


If it seemed like a good idea in the past to practice with dead weight, what changed? Did dropping an 80kg mass of weights fall afoul of health and safety considerations? Was it thought not worth the effort any more?
Post edited at 08:22
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