Taken a Belay Class (154/366)

“I wouldn’t last 30 minutes climbing solo.”
~ Bradford Washburn


Last year, Nick and I went outdoor rock climbing for the very first time, with the most awesome tour guide on the planet from GrandAdventures.com, and our friend, Erik. It was beyond rad.

After that experience, we were excited to use the climbing facilities in our gym, Planet Granite. We’ve been members for a few years, but mainly use the free weights and small gym space for heavy lift days and other CrossFit workouts. Then, a few weeks ago I went bouldering with Nick and Ryan, which was super fun (this is where you don’t use a harness or rope, and jump or fall down from the wall onto crash pads), but there’s also top roping (where you’re harnessed with a rope that’s above you, connected to the rock/wall your climbing), which was what we did at Red Rock Canyon with Erik last year.

To top rope at the gym, you have to also know how to belay, or to be the climbing partner who controls the rope for the person who’s actually climbing at the time.  To get a belay card, you need to pass a belay test showing that you’re knowledgeable and comfortable belaying, but if you’ve never belayed before, Planet Granite provides a free belay class to their members.  We decided to take our belay class today.  Fun!

After getting our climbing harnesses on, we learned to tie the knots used when you’re the one climbing.  First, you tie a “Figure 8” knot, and then you basically follow the rope exactly how it was tied in the figure 8, making the knot into a “Double Figure 8” knot.  After the Double Figure 8, we were taught how to tie a “stopper” knot above that, just for an additional safety measure (some people don’t use this, but it only takes a few seconds and I actually feel like it keeps the rope tidier anyway).

We were then taught how to handle the rope and how to use the the Grigri belay device, how to keep proper tension, take up slack, and how to stop the rope for the safety of our climbing partner when we’re belaying.

After learning the ropes (I couldn’t help it – I blame Nick for being so punny – okay I couldn’t help that one either), we learned short climbing calls to use to communicate with our partner so we each knew when we were ready to climb or belay.  Then we practiced a bit with our climbing instructor controlling the other end of our rope as if she were climbing the wall, practicing a fake “fall” and other things to help get us comfortable with the process.  The class took about half an hour, and then we got our temporary belay cards so we could practice our belaying and have fun climbing for the rest of the day.  Belay on!










Related Links:
Planet Granite SF

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