How to Use a Belay Device Carabiner Pulley Rope for Climbing

How to Use a Belay Device Carabiner Pulley Rope for Climbing
Climbing is an inherently dangerous sport. Safety precautions involving specialized equipment and methods reduce the risk of injury or death. An important safety method is belaying. You can belay without a belay device, but today it is standard equipment on a climber's rack. During a fall, the belay device grips the rope and stops the downward movement of the falling climber. Many types of belay devices are available, but all work the same way: using friction to stop the movement of the rope. A tube-style belay device is commonly used during paired free climbing with a belayer and a leader. Inexperienced belayers should seek instruction from a certified instructor before attempting this on their own.


Difficulty: Moderate

Setting Up

Things You’ll Need:
  • 2 harnesses
  • Tube-style belay device
  • Large locking pear-shaped carabiner
  • Dynamic climbing rope
Step 1
Read and understand all the documentation that came with the harnesses, belay device, carabiner and rope. Understanding how this equipment works is essential to safe climbing.
Step 2
Put a harness on the climber and one on the belayer. Adjust and secure the waist belt and leg loops. Tie the rope to the tie-in points of the harnesses. One end should be secured to the climber and one to the belayer. A figure eight follow-through knot is the most common tie-in knot because of its simplicity. The belayer should be properly attached to a belay anchor.
Step 3
Attach a tube-style belay device with a large locking carabiner to the belayer's harness belay loop. If the harness does not have a belay loop, the carabiner must be secured to the rope tie-in points. The narrow end of the pear-shaped carabiner should be in contact with the harness, and the locking mechanism should be facing up so that it can be clearly seen.
Step 4
Grab a bight of rope close to the climber, and force the bight through the top hole of the belay device. A bight of rope is a loop of a small section of rope. If you are right-handed, the climber's side of the rope will be on the left side of the belay device and the stack of rope will be on your right. For a left-handed belayer, this would be reversed. The rope enters and exits the same hole in the belay device. Clip the belayer's carabiner onto the bight of rope coming through the belay device. The belay device and rope should both be connected to the wide portion of the carabiner. Lock the carabiner.
Step 5
The belayer must check the knots, harness, belay device and belay chain for proper setup. Fix any mistakes.
Step 6
While the climber ascends, the belayer uses the belay device to let rope out or take rope, in depending on the climbing direction and the protection placed along the way. The brake hand grips the rope on the stack side of the rope a couple of feet past the belay device. For right-handed climbers, the brake hand is the right hand, and for left-handed climbers, it is the left hand. During the climb, never release the brake hand from the rope. The other hand is the guide hand and is used to help the brake hand control the rope.
Step 7
If the climber falls, as the belayer you will stop the fall by gripping the rope with your brake hand and lowering it to your thigh. This allows the belay device to produce enough friction on the rope to stop the fall of the climber.

Taking Rope In

Step 1
Pull rope from the slack on the climber's end through the belay device with your brake hand, and guide it with your guide hand.
Step 2
When your brake hand is fully extended, slide your guide hand up the rope until it is above your brake hand.
Step 3
Extend a finger or two from the guide hand and hold the stack end of the rope in place while your brake hand slides down to continue pulling rope through the belay device. Be sure not to remove your brake hand from the rope.

Letting Rope Out

Step 1
Pull rope from the stack with the brake hand, and feed it through the belay device while pulling it through with your guide hand.
Step 2
Slide both hands down the rope, making sure not to remove your brake hand.
Step 3
Repeat until you need to take in rope.

Tips & Warnings

An important aspect to the using the belay device correctly is proper communication between the belayer and the climber. Discuss proper commands before climbing.
When in doubt, have a certified instructor check your setup.
Climbing is inherently dangerous and can cause serious injury or even death. Safety measures reduce the risk of injury. To ensure safety, use the proper gear and methods and climb within your ability.


Article Written By Tim McGivern

An outdoor enthusiast, Timothy McGivern has been writing about his adventures since 2005. He founded "The Sustainable Cyclist" in 2008 and maintains a personal blog covering rock climbing experiences throughout the United States. He is a bicycle mechanic, licensed engineer and holds a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from Union College.

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