Wednesday, 12 March 2008

How to pass an Earth Treks lead climbing and lead belaying test

Lead Climbing:

  • Usual harness and biner checks before climbing. Make sure rope is flaked.
  • Make sure you are good at clipping with both hands, with clips facing towards and away.
  • Make comfortable clips, optimal range is shoulders to knees. You should hang with a straight arm where possible to allow the skeletal system to take the load and waste less energy.
  • Don't use your teeth to hold slack when you don't grab enough on the first go since if you fall you can rip teeth out. Wrap your lips over your teeth or make sure you scream when you fall :)
  • Call your clips.
  • Don't backstep: don't step behind the rope so that it could flip you if you fall. The rope should be between you and the wall at all times.
  • Don't backclip: rope should always run from the wall out the front of the clip.
  • Don't Z-clip: don't clip the section of rope below your last clip. Grab the rope from the knot at your harness.
  • Make sure you clip the 2 quickdraws at the top with the gates opposing. Avoid the rope "X" that creates friction during lowering.
  • If you fall, don't grab the rope. Raise your feet and put your hands out to protect yourself from the swing into the rock.

Lead Belaying:

  • Usual harness and biner checks before climbing. Make sure rope is flaked.
  • Stand to the side of the climber for the first 3 clips, and close in to the wall. This ensures a falling climber won't hit you or get snagged on a taut rope.
  • Come out from the wall after 3rd clip for better visibility.
  • Leave appropriate slack.
  • Give good rope for clips. Take a step towards the wall and throw an armful of rope through the device. I find the palm-up, thumb-down belay method is best for managing the amount of slack available to the leader.
  • Call any backclips, backsteps, and Z-clips.
  • Wait for the lowering call before lowering the climber.
  • If the climber falls, allow yourself to be lifted up in your harness and raise your feet for the impact with the wall.

1 comment:

Garth Coghlan said...

Comprehensive! Don't hear of those sorts of tests back here ...

I did a canyoning workshop on the weekend. Learned lots of cool stuff.