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Building a belay practice 'woody'

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 VictorM 10 Jan 2022

So I live in Holland aka Europe's flattest country and climbing gyms are currently closed due to restrictions... Moments to practice belay building (particularly on gear) are virtually non-existent anyway and with the time I currently have on hand I was thinking maybe it would be possibly to create something of a practice board. 

My idea so far:

-Have a wooden board measured roughly 2m*1m

-Bolt on a few short wooden beams under corners to create cracks (I was thinking three cracks high and one low to build multidirectional anchors

-Add two 'bolts' to (could be cheap metal rings) to practice bolt belay

Would anything else be useful? Thanks!

 jkarran 10 Jan 2022
In reply to VictorM:

You'll spend far more time and learn far more (DIY) making it than you will using it.

The art in placing gear, nuts especially, is understanding the possible directions of loading then finding the best features in the rock to suit what you have available. Also developing good judgement as to which features are independant or linked so a failure of one doesn't compromise the other. Dropping a nut or three into a wooden V or clipping a bolt is thoughtless, mechanical after the first try, you learn nothing worth the effort of making the thing.

The various options for equalising and organising your belay can be practiced with slings around anything robust as anchors, door handles, stair rails, an upended table etc

jk

 VictorM 10 Jan 2022
In reply to VictorM:

Fair points! I have started building the thing from scraps I have lying around in our storage so it won't cost me anything aside from time. Given the amount of time I get to tinker with gear in real cracks I think it might still teach me a thing or two if only to create more routine. 

 john arran 10 Jan 2022
In reply to VictorM:

I agree with jkarran that the effort in building it is likely to outweigh its usefulness, but...

if you are making it anyway, my suggestion would be to make it multi-directional, so that when you've finished it you can turn it on its side or upside down to change the direction of pull of each placement.

 VictorM 10 Jan 2022
In reply to john arran:

That's a good idea, thanks!

 BRILLBRUM 10 Jan 2022
In reply to VictorM:

I don't have a set (and I don't climb any more, so why would I), but the videos I've seen on Insta make them look pretty good for trying out problems/training at ground level and they seem to be favourable with instructors https://www.denverclimbingcompany.com/product/practi-bolts/

 BuzyG 10 Jan 2022
In reply to VictorM:

Not sure if you have a garden.  When we could not get out during lock downs. I would place two or three garden tools into the ground and practice building belays off them.  Then simply move them and build another.  Then I would usually hear my wife telling me to get the lawn cut.

Post edited at 12:52
 David Bowler 10 Jan 2022
In reply to VictorM:

My suggestion. Once you have built your multipiece belay, remove the pieces you have used as if you had already placed them on route and then build the belay with what you have left.

In reply to VictorM:

Having messed about building "belays" in lockdown 1 at the top of the stairs etc. I think this is a great idea. 

While the gear placing is important, practicing the ropework can be a big mental hurdle to overcome and this is one way to do. It and it definitely worked for me!

 maxsmith 10 Jan 2022
In reply to VictorM:

great idea, I have three bolts on my home wall for when I want to play around with new ways of building anchors or pulley systems etc

 VictorM 10 Jan 2022
In reply to David Bowler:

> My suggestion. Once you have built your multipiece belay, remove the pieces you have used as if you had already placed them on route and then build the belay with what you have left.

Yes, very good idea!

In reply to BuzyG:

> Not sure if you have a garden.  When we could not get out during lock downs. I would place two or three garden tools into the ground and practice building belays off them.  Then simply move them and build another.  Then I would usually hear my wife telling me to get the lawn cut.

Apartment dweller over here but that is a good idea for when we do in the future

 nikoid 10 Jan 2022
In reply to VictorM:

There is a contraption in this video that may give you some ideas:

youtube.com/watch?v=3SkCojauHto&

 Phil79 10 Jan 2022
In reply to VictorM:

My local climbing wall has something similar at ground level in order to practice placing gear and building belays. 

Its a series of wooden 'cracks' formed of off cuts, holes or horseshoes shapes cut in the board for threads/slings, a few well placed climbing holds to form features and a couple of bolts. Never seen anyone using it but suspect it gets used on training courses they run.

I'm sure it would be useful to practice the basics but long term unlikely to use it as others have said?

Post edited at 17:31
 VictorM 10 Jan 2022
In reply to Phil79:

> I'm sure it would be useful to practice the basics but long term unlikely to use it as others have said?

100% agreed but I don't even get enough time with real rock to practice the basics so I still think it can be useful to get some routine going before a trip!

In reply to nikoid:

> There is a contraption in this video that may give you some ideas:

Oh I like the corners and pockets in there, might do something with that!

 C Witter 10 Jan 2022
In reply to VictorM:

Furniture or whatever for the rope work; rock for the gear placements. Woody a waste of time, sorry!

 VictorM 11 Jan 2022
In reply to VictorM:

Well, I finished it today and it works as intended. I get the limitations of course but to me it already proved valuable as I discovered that some of my 120cm slings REALLY suck with more than two pieces of gear so those will be replaced shortly...


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