How To Belay – A Practical Guide for Beginners with Advanced Tips

How To Belay

Last Updated on January 16, 2020 by Michael J. Branco

Belaying is a variety of techniques mountain climbers use to apply pressure on a climbing rope with the goal that a falling climber doesn’t fall far. A climbing partner normally applies strain at the opposite end of the rope whenever the climber isn’t moving and expels the pressure from the rope whenever the climber needs more rope to keep climbing. Well, it is unknown to the maximum people about the proper technique of how to belay. In this article, we will discuss different types of important factors regarding belaying.

The expression “belay” additionally implies where the belayer is secured; this is commonly an edge, however, it might be a hanging belay, where the belayer themself is suspended from a projection in the stone.

During the 1970s, numerous competitor climbers experienced a brutally primitive belay test. The understudy belayer was lashed down, and an instructor dropped a concrete bucket from a tower. The understudy needed to stop the bucket with yet a rope around their waist and bare (trembling) hands. This old method for learning surely demonstrated the immense forces that a fall can generate and the need for persistence.

Notwithstanding today numerous climbers get the hang of belaying in the exercise center, frequently using brake assisted mechanical devices, belaying will consistently be vulnerable against human mistake.

Belay Devices

Belay devices fall into two classifications: One is an assisted braking device and the other is the non-assisted braking device. The last mentioned, regardless of whether one is a “tube” or some other variety, all generally work the same. Basically, you feed a bight of rope into a space that is verified to your bridle with a locking carabiner. These non-assisted gadgets crimp on the rope when the climber loads it, making enough friction for the belayer to catch or hold the climber.

An assisted braking gadget has a device that clamps or squeezes the rope when it is under strain. The assist feature includes a little use of hand power, yet these sorts of belay devices still require two hands—they aren’t hands-free!

Pursue your device guides for appropriately stacking the rope, tying down the gadget and rope to your bridle, and the gadget’s particular systems for belaying and bringing down. While most gadgets work comparatively, they don’t work precisely the equivalent, and it is past the extent of any manual to disclose to you how every plan ought to be used. After Surveying the instructions, and take a belay class at the gym center. What’s more, don’t be astounded if the procedure one gym instructs is not quite the same as how another gym will have you belay. To an ever-increasing extent, however, exercise centers are showing the PBUS strategy for belaying (see the photograph, below). P = Pull. B = Brake. U = Under. S = Slide. This strategy basically keeps your brake turn in the braking position so if the climber falls, the belay device draws in without the belayer having to make a change in hand position.

grigri belay device

Great! The PBUS technique for belaying keeps the brake turn in the brake position consistently. The brake hand consistently remains below the belay device.

figure 8 belay device

Risk! The old “slip and slide” technique for belaying holds the belay gadget open. On the off chance that the climber falls, the rope could slip through.

Belaying Rules

For belaying, there are some common rules and regulations you have to follow. Read the guideline below carefully

  • First check double that you’ve locked the belay carabiner and that the carabiner isn’t cross-loaded: that the rope or belay loops aren’t stacking on the carabiner door or spine.
  • Make sure your gadget is perfect with the measurement of your grappling rope—not all belay gadgets grasp on each rope’s diameter.
  • When a belayer sustains out or takes in the rope through the device, the guiding hand works the rope on the climber side of the device, and the brake hand holds the rope on the opposite side and secures to get any fall.
  • The guide hand will frequently let the rope, however, the brake hand NEVER LETS GO OF THE ROPE and, similarly as significant, the brake hand is consistently in a situation to apply a braking activity.
  • Have the climber watch that you’ve stacked the belay gadget effectively and your equipment is clasped right. Likewise, check the tie-in hitch.
  • Try to make clear verbal directions so the belayer and the climber are in agreement.
  • Then develop a psychological belay checklist, and tick each container each time you belay.
  • Lastly, knot the end of the rope so the climber can’t be dropped on the grounds that the belayer came up short on the rope.

How Belaying Works?

In a representative climbing position, one edge of the rope is fixed to the harness of the climber, using a Double Figure Eight, anchor, or twofold anchor knot. The rope at that point goes through climbing protection, which is fixed into the stone. Attachment to the stones might be by means of bolts that are for all time fixed into the stone or by customary security that the climber places and later removes without adjusting the stone.

The rope goes through the protection to a subsequent person called the belayer. The belayer wears a harness that has a belay device connected. The rope strings through the belay device. By modifying the situation of the edge of the rope, the belayer can change the measure of friction on the rope. In one position, the rope runs openly through the belay device. In another position, it can undoubtedly be held without moving, in light of the fact that the friction on the rope is so incredible. This is called “locking off’ the rope.

On the off chance that the climber climbs three feet higher than the last bit of protection in the stone, and afterward falls, the rope helps him to fall the three feet to the protection, and another three feet beneath that. In the event that they fall any further, the rope is pulled upwards through the security from the belayer below. Since the belayer, by and large, keeps the rope locked off, the climber’s fall ought to be captured and they are left suspended, however, sheltered, someplace below the protection.

A powerful rope, which has some stretch in it, is frequently used with the goal that the climber isn’t brought to an unexpected jarring stop. A few climbers pick static ropes for abseiling/rappelling in light of the fact that it’s simpler to use.

As the climber keeps on rising, they cut the rope into ever more higher metal circles fixed into the rock, so that in case of a fall they don’t fall more distant than the “unclipped” length of rope permits. While the task of belaying is ordinarily assigned to a friend who remains at the base, self-belaying is likewise possible as an advanced specialized climbing method.

A man climbing is said to be on belay when one of these belaying techniques is used. Belaying is a basic piece of the climbing framework. A right belaying technique lets the belayer hold the whole weight of the climber with generally little power, and effectively capture even a long fall. By using a blend of belaying edge and hand-grasp on the rope, the belayer can gently lower a climber to a safe point where climbing can be continued.

black diamond belay device

Command of Belay

It is a very basic activity while climbing that the climber and belayer maintain good communication, so both can easily understand what the other means—miscommunication is the main source of damage, even death.

The following directions are all-inclusive. You have to double-check that your partner gets them.

CLIMBER ASKS: “On belay?”

BELAYER SAYS: “Belay on!”

This implies the belayer is focusing and is prepared to feed out the rope, reel in the slack, and catch the leader.

CLIMBER SAYS: “Climbing.”

BELAYER SAYS: “Jump on!”

The climber at that point visually affirms that the belayer, in fact, has her on belay. At exactly that point should she start climbing?


This implies the climber needs the belayer to bring in any slack and hold her on the rope. The take direction can be used on a course, so the climber can rest, or toward the finish of the course, when the climber is prepared to string the anchor or lower.

BELAYER REPLIES: “I have you.”

CLIMBER SAYS: “Prepared to lower.”

BELAYER REPLIES: “Bringing down.”

CLIMBER SAYS: “Off belay.”

Climber possibly says this when she is either on the ground or securely tied down at the upper station/belay.

BELAYER SAYS: “Belay off.”

Other Commands

CLIMBER SAYS: “Watch me.”

This implies the climber could fall.

BELAYER REPLIES: “I have you.”

This consoles the climber that the belayer is prepared to get a fall.


This means the climber needs the belayer to pay out more rope.

CLIMBER SAYS: “Cutting.”

This heads-up for the belayer implies the climber is going to cut a bit of security and requirements slack to do as such.


It is a warning that the climber has ousted a stone or dropped a bit of rigging. The belayer should seek shelter—and still, keep a firm grip on the brake side of the rope.


The climber is going to fall or is falling.

The Responsibilities of the Belayer

The belayer should keep the rope secured off in the belay device at whatever point the climber isn’t moving. As the climber proceeds onward the climb, the belayer must ensure that the climber has the perfect measure of rope by paying out or pulling in excess rope. On the off chance that the climber falls, they free-fall the separation of the slack or unprotected rope before the friction applied by the belayer begins to slow their descent.

A lot of slack on the rope expands the separation of a potential fall, yet excessively minimal fall on the rope may keep the climber from climbing the rock. It is significant for the belayer to intently screen the climber’s circumstance, as the belayer’s job is vital to the climber’s wellbeing.

While belaying on overhanging bolted routes, especially inside, belayers frequently stand well once again from the stone with the goal that they can watch the climber all the more effectively. Notwithstanding, while belaying a lead climber who is using conventional protection, this can be risky. The belayer should remain close to the base of the course so as to decrease the point of the rope through the main bit of protection.

This, thus, decreases the power pulling it up and out of the rock if the leader falls. Standing excessively far away from the stone can bring about protection unzipping, with the most reduced piece being pulled away from the stone,  followed by the next, until the entirety of the insurance may conceivably be pulled out. Standing excessively far away from the base of the bottom also means that if the leader falls, the belayer encounters an unexpected force inwards towards the stone and might be pulled off their feet or into the stone.

auto belay device


Communication is one of the most important parts of belaying. It is between the belayer and climber is foremost, yet you’ll see even experienced climbers become reckless with belay directions. Learn and use them generally.

You won’t generally have the option to see or hear your partner, so belt out the sign, and don’t climb or take somebody off belay until you know you’re on or he’s off. If all else fails, pause and continue yelling. Never take somebody off until you are sure.

Establish up a signaling system for situations where you can’t hear each other. At the point when you are driving, when you are securely moored, give three sharp pulls on the rope to flag you are off belay (while likewise yelling the words). While belaying, pull back multiple times to show appreciation. At the point when the pioneer is prepared to belay, again give three pulls. The second should give three agreed pulls back before unplugging the belay and climbing.

Technique of Belaying

Now we will discuss the universal belaying principals. Read it carefully

  • Incessantly keep your brake hand(s) on the rope. Continuously! 
  • Possibly slide a hand when the rope is firmly held in the braking position.
  • Always orient brake hands in their most grounded natural position.
  • Continuously keep up consideration on your climber, and be careful of any dangers in your surroundings.

Perfect Belay Stance

  • Physically, that implies your non-dominant foot is forward, your knees are bent and your entire body is relaxed yet prepared.
  • Topographically, that implies you’re not very a long way from the wall. To confront impact from the climber or a stone, you’re also one stage away from being directly under the climber’s route.
  • Authoritatively, it means that any rope on the ground is perfectly stacked with the goal that it won’t get tangled up as you’re belaying.

Genuine Hand Position

  • Brake hand: First place your lead hand around six crawls below the belay device and firmly grip the rope. Thumb and index finger are up, not down. (Note: If you put your brake hand excessively near the device, you hazard getting seriously pinched during a forceful fall, which thus, puts you in danger of dropping the rope.)
  • Guide hand: After that, you have to place your opposite hand on the climber’s side of the rope. Grab it marginally over your head at tallness that is agreeable to reach.

PBUS (Pull, Brake, Under, Slide) Technique

At the point when you’re belaying a top-rope climber, a large portion of your time is spent taking in slack as the person climbs. The PBUS technique is a basic, successful approach to do this:

Pull: Pull your guide hand descending while additionally lifting the firmly gripped brake rope out and up. This takes in slack as your partner climbs.

Brake: When the guiding hand approaches the belay device, flip the brake rope down to secure the rope in the gadget.

Under: Move the guiding hand to the brake rope, putting it underneath the brake hand. Hold the rope firmly to make another brief brake hand.

Slide: Loosen the grip, however, don’t unwrap the fingers of your unique brake hand. Slide it up to its unique position, six creeps underneath the belay device, and hold the rope solidly.

Repeat: Move your guide hand back to its unique position and you’re all set once more. For the most part, short quick PBUS sequences work best.

Watch and tune in to your climber intently and consistently. At the point when the climber stops, you have to pause. Continuously stop in the brake position. You should likewise be set up to catch a fall, hold strain in the rope and lower your climber.

Catching a fall

Regardless of whether this is on the grounds that you hear the climber yell “Falling!” or potentially you recognize the fall since you never take your eyes off your climber, you should respond quickly. That is the reason your athletic belay position is so important.

  • Pull your brake hand down as you fix your grip.
  • Use your body, harness, rope and belay gadget to absorb the force of the fall.

Your body is going about as a counterweight to the climber’s body. On the off chance that you’ve been evacuating slack reliably during the climb, both the distance climber falls and the subsequent power you are getting will be relatively modest.

Note that climbing ropes are designed to extend a bit, which helps the power of the fall and, thusly, reduces the power on the climber’s body throughout the fall.

Holding a Climber Who Pauses

At whatever point a climber needs to stop in any way, to rest, think about a move or is at the highest point of the move, for instance—the command is “Tension!”

  • Take out any slack in the rope
  • Force your brake hand down
  • Lean back to maintain rope tension
  • Yell Gotcha!
  • Bringing down a Climber

Lowering a Climber

At the point when the climber has completed the route, requested pressure and you have them, the climber will lean into a sitting position and yell, “Lower me!”

  • Bring your guide hand under your brake hand
  • Keep two hands on the rope
  • Shout Bringing down!
  • Let the rope gradually feed through the belay gadget, bringing down the climber
  • Keep up an enduring pace, adjusting speed if the climber requests it
  • Delay to allow them to climber see and arrange impediments like a stone outcrop, a rooftop or a shade
  • Slow down close to the ground to enable the climber to contact down with the great balance

At the point when the climber is remaining on the ground, securely adjusted on two feet, the climber yell” Off belay!” You respond by paying out a lot of slack and shouting “Belay off!”

Final Thoughts

Keep in mind climbing security is your duty. No web article or video can supplant appropriate guidance and experience—this article is proposed exclusively as supplemental data. Be certain you’ve practiced proper techniques and security requirements before you climb.

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