The climber ties into the rope using a " figure 8 follow through" knot. The IM's down at the wall are exceptionally skilled at teaching this knot to anyone who doesn't know it.
The belayer attaches to his end of the rope using a "caribeaner" and a "belay device." The particular belay device used down at the wall are "ATC's" which, beleive it or not, stands for air traffic controller. Belay devices work by means of friction; if the rope is pulled upwards toward the cliber, the rope will slide easily through the ATC. If, however, the rope is pulled downward toward the hip then the friction between the ATC and the rope is enough to lock off the rope completely.
A new belayer, after learning the technique from a trained IM or other experienced climber, must belay with someone backing them up on three separate days. Belayers are backed up by having an IM hold the loose end of the rope just in case. Once they have belayed, backed up, on three different visits to the wall, on the forth day they can take the belay test. This system makes sure that belayers can remember the technique from one visit to the next.
. . . put on a harness.
. . . set up an ATC.
. . . tie into a harness using a figure 8 follow through knot.
. . . check to make sure everything is set up correctly.
. . . use pre-climb calls (belay on, on belay, etc.)
. . . belay a climber up the wall.
. . . arrest a climber's fall.
. . . lower a climber safely to the ground.
While new belayers can only take the belay test after they have belayed, backed up, on three separate days, climbers with previous experience can take the belay test during their first visit to the wall. ALL BELAYERS MUST HAVE PASSED THE BELAY TEST.
Last edited on Feb.19, 1996 by Tim Gustafson and Derek Sasaki-Scanlon.