Below are question you may have about climbing or our facility. If you find one of interest, please click on it and an explanation will appear below the question for your reading enjoyment. If at anytime you do not find the answers you are looking for, we are more than happy to receive an email from you or a phone call to help you as much as we can. You can contact us HERE.
Like all extreme related sports, climbing has its inherited risks; however, our staff strives for the most safe conditions associated with climbing and puts our belay instructions and safety towards climbers at the top of our list. We will not set you free in the gym without knowing your questions have been answered and that you have a good understanding on how to mitigate risks while climbing.
If at any point we see a safety violation or anything that we deem as an unsafe act, we will do our best to correct this action without the injury of a climber and if need be, remove the risk from the gym (i.e. people who don't listen or follow set rules will be asked to leave the facility).
We ask that if you are approached and explained how to fix a safety violation that you please listen to the staff members. They have all been climbing for some time and know how to reduce risk and keep the fun involved with rock climbing.
There are many types of climbing, but to explain the belay process, let's look at two types: bouldering and top rope.
The belay class that we teach will show you how to properly tie the figure eight retrace with a triple fisherman's backup when getting ready to climb. As well, we will also teach you how to use a belay device known as an ATC.
Our belay instructions are very detailed and staff members will not let you belay until they are completely satisfied you are ready to safely handle the rope and keep your partner safe while he climbs up the bigger walls.
No. Whenever you come to climb at our facility for the first time, our staff is ready to start your belay class as soon as you want to do it. We do not schedule weekly belay classes and welcome anyone that wants to climb the ropes in the gym.
Not necessarily. Because of liability purposes, we do require that you at least take the belay test-out (free) to show us you know how to tie a proper figure eight retrace with a triple fisherman's backup. As well, we also look mainly that as a belayer, you keep your hand on the break rope at all times and can properly communicate the climbing instructions to your partner. We are very lenient with our belay test out and will not fail you for little things, but will correct you; however, if you seem to have no knowledge of the system and techniques, then we will have to require you to take the class.
While we recognize that it can be very difficult for some people to learn the knots and proper belay techniques, we will never utilize these methods of climbing.
Let us first discuss a rope with a carabiner for the climber to clip into to start climbing. Carabiners are very useful tools when it comes to climbing, but they have one flaw, their ability to cross load. When a carabiner holds force along its spine (meaning weight at the top and bottom like it should be), they can hold roughly 24kN of force depending on the type. That is almost 6000 lbs. of force. When a carabiner cross loads (meaning weight at the opening gate and spine or at the narrow part), they can only hold 8kN of force which is only about 2000 lbs. of force. Amazing as it sounds, carabiners will often cross load if no weight is on them. Because of moving rope, carabiners at a top rope anchor or at a belayer act as a buffer to better mitigate heat friction and that is why we use them. A climber wouldn't use one for two reasons:
- The tie in point is static and doesn't move, so there is no heat friction.
- If a climber is climbing, how would they be able to fix a cross loaded carabiner when their hands and mind are focused and occupied on the climb.
Needless to say, a climber with a cross loaded carabiner and a hefty fall can and will result in serious injury because of the ever increasing likelihood of a catastrophic equipment failure.
As with the ropes already tied there presents another problem. A cardinal rule of climbing is to NEVER leave knots in a rope or soft good. The reason behind this is that knots weaken a soft good and if left tied, will cause quicker deterioration of the system. The only way to tell if a rope is damaged around a knot area is to untie it and check the rope. Seeing as knots stay tied, there is less checking of the knots by staff and climbers. Regardless of rope knowledge, almost anyone can tell if the rope doesn't look safe to climb just by feeling it (usually due to deformations in the inner part of the rope). With knots always in a system, there is absolutely NO WAY to tell when that rope will fail because all rope is bound to fail eventually. Like stated numerous times, we value safety above all else at our facility and keeping knots in a rope is bad gym practice and is in no way how real rock climbers handle business.
With everything in climbing, there are tons of ways to staying safe and probably the most disputed in climbing is proper belay technique.
First off, we would like to point out that both the AMGA approved belay method and our method are both illistrated the The Freedom of the Hils Mountaineering guide (also refered to as the climber's bible).
The reason we teach our specific belay technique is simplicity. The lack of moving parts within our technique helps beginners pick up the basics of belay and is completely safe inside an indoor facility. The biggest and most important rule of belaying is NEVER take your hand of the break rope. Every experienced climber on the planet will agree that if there is anything one should do to belay anyone is to keep a hand on the break rope at all times.
Once people get this basic technique regulars our ourselves will start to teach the other belay techniques and let the climber choose which technique they prefer the most to use. When it comes to our lead climbing class we will teach the more advanced belay techniques as our basic techniques used for top rope climbing will not allow for a belayer to properly feed rope or react to circumstances that come with belaying the lead.
If you have any questions with our belay techniques and are unsure it is a safe technique we will be more than happy to show you the different technuiqes and explain why we teach what we teach and the best part, we will never charge you for answering a question. Be safe and ROCK ON!
We highly recommend you practice the same way every staff member and 99% of every climber in the industry has had. Learn from the experienced. Eventhough we charge for your first belay class as well as a lead climbing class, we will never not answer a question you have about outdoor climbing and safety. No matter what you want to know or learn, if we have the spare time we will always teach and help keep you safe outdoors.
Because of the great amount of different circumstances that you may face outdoors, we can only teach you so much indoors. We highly recommend you get with an experienced outdoor climber and go climb with them and learn from them. With that, we will get you as much information as we can from how to setup anchors, what to use and what we recommend using to be as safe as possible outside. Like we have always done since 1996, we will always be there to prepare you for outdoor climbing as it is the culmination and the best experience in climbing you will ever have. Be safe and ROCK ON!