After a short introduction to the two most popular bolts, let us consider one of the key aspects of the sport climbing route equipment: the belay fitting.
2) Belay with two rings
3) Belay with a screwgate carabiner
Gianluca Di Benedetto
After a short introduction to the two most popular bolts, let us consider one of the key aspects of the climbing route equipment: the belay fitting. As the belay is the critical element for route safety, it's the part on which great attention should be focused on. But too often it's not.
First, it would be necessary to emphasize that the topic we are discussing is the belay of a sport route, aimed at lowering down the climber. In this series of articles, we don't deal with mountain climbing.
The rules that have to be respected are the following:
- Prefer, whenever possible, preassembled belay kits with a single ring (Fig. 1), or a double ring (Fig. 2), or a carabiner (Fig. 3). The international reference standard for each single belay element is the EN 959 of 2007.
- Use only materials suited to the place of use and to the characteristics of the rock.
- The belay anchors have to be placed at a distance of 20/30 cm and have to be connected or always used in pair.
- The belay has to be suited to the lowering down of the climber: thus it has to be placed on a compact rock, sufficiently far from edges, arêtes, cracks, holes, and in a manner that avoids excessive rope friction.
5) Belay with worn-out opposed carabiners, incorrectly placed
- The most durable belays, and also the cheapest ones, are certainly the ones with two rings, even if the climber has to carry out a maneuver to be lowered down.
- The belays equipped with a screwgate carabiner are safer, but have a small drawback: the lock-ring could get stuck. In this case, the climber has only to carry out a maneuver as in the case of a belay with two rings.
- The belays with a not screwgate carabiner have a different kind of problem: a beginner, not skilled climber could pull the rope from the carabiner.
- The belays made by two opposed carabiners are safer than the previous ones, but the two carabiners have to be correctly placed on the rock (Fig. 5).
Gianluca Di Benedetto
This recommendation is important particularly when you want repeatedly climb top rope the same line; in this way you will use the ring or the carabiner of the belay only once, that is only at the last top rope climbing (Fig. 6). continua...