/ Top rope belaying UK vs Canada

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a13x - on 02 Feb 2017
Hi,

Been climbing for near enough 20 years in the UK using this method when toproping: http://media.rockfax.com/2012/04/BG4C-BelaySequence-poster.pdf. Just moved to Canada and the one and only approved method at the local wall is some dodgy sliding hands version... I mean whatever I can change (with considerable effort) but do think their method has more potential to go wrong.

Also a quick google around and it looks like lots of online videos etc. are now using variations of hands sliding on the braking rope rather than a good solid swap over? Has this become the norm? Its now a few years since I did my SPA and I am wondering if this has now also in the UK become the thing to do? Maybe its easier to teach even though its a poorer, less transferable technique? Lets hope this isn't going the way of everything else and the accepted way being the North American version.

Cheers,

Alex
Minneconjou Sioux - on 02 Feb 2017
In reply to a13x:

Can't say I'vr noticed an issue. I think it might be more of an individual wall thing rather than a Canadian vs British thing.
a13x - on 02 Feb 2017
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:
Interesting that is. They say that their method is the only one approved by the Canadian Mountain Guides. I looked at BMC, AMI, MLTUK, NICAS etc. and they all seem to say that as long as you keep hold its grand

This is the Canadian Mountain Guides video (5 months old) https://www.vimeo.com/181407139. The 1st method in the video is the method they use. The 2nd is not one I think they use but the 'Shuffle Method' at 5:27 in the video is particularly odd...
Post edited at 03:09
Minneconjou Sioux - on 02 Feb 2017
In reply to a13x:
I suppose I haven't given it that much thought and I've never been pulled up for my belay style at my local wall.
That link doesn't work btw.
Post edited at 03:32
a13x - on 02 Feb 2017
Minneconjou Sioux - on 02 Feb 2017
In reply to a13x:
Pretty sure this is what I use and not had an issue. TBF my local wall issues Gri gri's to all newcomers.
Post edited at 03:54
a13x - on 02 Feb 2017
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:

This was with a grigri in a top rope scenario where we are not allowed to use 'V, knee, 1, 2, 3'.
Minneconjou Sioux - on 02 Feb 2017
In reply to a13x:

Hmmm. I don't use a gri gri (hate the things) so perhaps this confuses the Wall police
1
Howard J - on 02 Feb 2017
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:

> TBF my local wall issues Gri gri's to all newcomers.

I'm puzzled by the policy some walls apparently have of requiring customers to belay with devices they're not familiar with. Surely this is more dangerous?
Minneconjou Sioux - on 02 Feb 2017
In reply to Howard J:

> I'm puzzled by the policy some walls apparently have of requiring customers to belay with devices they're not familiar with. Surely this is more dangerous?

Me too. Especially something that introduces a mechanical device into a simple friction system. I suspect it is insurance driven.
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Scotch Bingington - on 02 Feb 2017
In reply to Howard J:

> I'm puzzled by the policy some walls apparently have of requiring customers to belay with devices they're not familiar with. Surely this is more dangerous?

Only time I have ever been dropped by a belayer was when a US wall insisted on using a grigri, what with them being fool-proof. My belayer, who had never used such a device before, proved that wrong. Not the first time I've told this anecdote - last time I was accused of lying - wonder if same will happen this time.

<caveat> I use grigris a lot, as does my current belayer. They are great - but walls insisting on climbers using them are being a bit stupid.

r0x0r.wolfo - on 02 Feb 2017
In reply to Scotch Bingington:

What happened?
EddInaBox on 02 Feb 2017
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo:

Luckily at that exact moment the planet's gravitational force inverted and he went up in the air, and is now in the Guinness Book of Records for the world's biggest dyno!
Denni on 02 Feb 2017
In reply to a13x:

As Mr Sioux said, probably a local wall rule.
Having climbed in Canmore, Calgary and Banff, they just checked I was good enough at belaying, lowering etc and let me crack on with my BD device.

bouldery bits - on 02 Feb 2017
In reply to a13x:

Ontario per chance?
a13x - on 02 Feb 2017
In reply to bouldery bits:
Nope but if I name the province the wall will become quite obvious as its the only one in the province and I'm trying to make friends ;)
Post edited at 20:43
jsmcfarland - on 03 Feb 2017
In reply to a13x:

I climbed at a gym in NY state over Xmas and belaying was done on pre-rigged gym gri-gri's. All climbers had to do a mandatory belay course (like $30 per person or something) and the slide technique was used to pull slack through. Screw insurance companies is all I can say
phil456 on 03 Feb 2017
In reply to Howard J:

> I'm puzzled by the policy some walls apparently have of requiring customers to belay with devices they're not familiar with. Surely this is more dangerous?

I think you are correct that is safer belaying with a device you are familiar with. The problem the wall has , its " wall police " need to able to tell at a glance if everything is ok, a simple blanket standard is easier to check.

As an example , I use a bowline or figure eight, my mate use a Yosemite bowline, to me I have no idea if he has tied it correctly, I assume he knows what he doing and tied right or wrong it looks like it would work; not really good enough for insurance companies !
Howard J - on 03 Feb 2017
In reply to phil456:

I've never used a grigri and have no plans to. However I have the impression that there are some crucial differences from belaying with a belay plate, and Petzl admit that someone familiar with these could take some time to adjust. I would be worried that a short instruction course wouldn't be sufficient to override instinctive reactions developed over 40 years, but I doubt the belay police would be able to spot this.
Minneconjou Sioux - on 03 Feb 2017
In reply to Howard J:

> I'm puzzled by the policy some walls apparently have of requiring customers to belay with devices they're not familiar with. Surely this is more dangerous?

I think that part of the problem is that many walls make money from hosting Birthday parties or other group events where the belayers may not be familiar with traditional techniques and where a grigri offers the best chance of avoiding a belay failure. This is where the insurance aspect kicks in. Some wall then find it easier to have a blanket policy and some insurance companies might make it mandatory.
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Howard J - on 04 Feb 2017
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:

I wonder about liability. With a traditional belay device I can truthfully sign the disclaimer saying I know how to belay and then I'm responsible for my own actions, and if I drop someone the wall probably isn't liable. If they make me use a gri-gri I can't sign this, and I become a novice. In fact I'm worse than a novice, because a novice is a blank sheet whereas I will have to learn to override long-ingrained reactions. The wall is then responsible for supervising me, and if I make a mistake they'll share much more of the responsibility.

And there, my lord, rests the case for the defence.
purplemonkeyelephant - on 04 Feb 2017
In reply to a13x:

I do both! When belaying a leader the priority is not pulling them off the wall or restricting their clipping by not paying out enough slack, so sliding the hands is a safety risk you have to take to protect the leader. When top-roping though there is no reason not to do the 'secure & slide', so if you can have a solid hand on the rope at all times then why wouldn't you? It's not about having a hard and fast rule, it's about being as safe as you can, and prioritising risk.
springfall2008 - on 04 Feb 2017
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:

I think if you forced everyone to use a Gri-Gri to belay lead climbing they might change wall!
dagibbs - on 04 Feb 2017
In reply to a13x:

Not a Canada/UK thing, but something that varies from climbing wall (gym) to climbing gym (wall).

I've climbed at a lot of different walls (gyms) -- close to 60 now, 6 in the UK, 9 in Canada, most of the rest in the USA -- and the belay rules, belay setup, testing, etc all vary from place to place.

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