June 2nd: Belaying is rocket science…

Belaying is rocket science, or so it seems. Improvements, no matter what they relate to, come thick and fast these days and quickly get absorbed as the norm.Moore’s Law, dating back to the start of PC developments, describes (roughly speaking) a doubling a PC power every two years. There aren’t similar laws for climbing, least not that I’m aware off, but it would be interesting to cogitate a few…

Accepted that belaying isn’t exactly top of the sexy list either, it is fundamental to the business of climbing. Today, there is such a plethora of devices available that anyone new to the sport or having had a ‘climbing holiday’ for a decade or more might well suffer total meltdown when standing in front of the hardware counter down at their local climbing store when they come to part with their hard-earned in exchange for their belay device of choice.

It wasn’t always thus however. I avidly remember starting my own climbing career using the (then) old favourite, the waist belay. A pair of leather gloves were added by some climbers but usually a twist around the belayer’s wrist was the only trick in town. It seems totally Heath Robinson looking back but hey it was clearly an effective means of belaying (for the style of climbing common at that time) as the hospitals weren’t full of broken or rope-burnt climbers! We didn’t fall off much though in those days…

 Today, as I say, the choice of belay devices is quite literally, be-wildering. Passive or active, single or double rope and sport or trad – take your pick. I’ve just co-ordinated a review of many of the current belay devices and krabs which are available for Climber. Twenty eight separate bits of kit in c. 2000 words. Don’t bother doing the math, just grab a copy and get the low-down in next month’s mag.

Meanwhile, check-out the shots below to see what’s included within the review…

 

Single Rope Belay Devices_DSC_0578.jpgDouble Rope Belay Devices_DSC_0583.jpgGuide Plates_DSC_0592.jpgBelay Lock Krabs_DSC_0593.jpgHMS and D Shaped Screwgate Krabs DSC_0603.jpgHMS Belay Krabs_DSC_0596.jpg

 

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