Escaping the Belay : LUSENET : Mountaineering : One Thread

If my partner falls while seconding a pitch and becomes injured, how can i extract myself from the belay system w/o dropping my partner?

-- Ben Gross (, May 16, 2001


All explained ad nauseum in this book, available from If you really want to be able to do this, you have to practice and not just read. It's a skill a lot of climbers don't think about (or practice) enough. Climbing is more fun than practicing.

(B6105) SELF RESCUE: HOW TO ROCK CLIMB Fasulo, David $12.95 1997. 200 pp, ills. Long awaited volume on the latest rescue techniques for rock climbers: lowering injured leaders or seconds, passing knots, self belays, victim transport. Paperback.

-- Larry Scritchfield (, May 16, 2001.

I belay the second with a Gri-Gri from the anchor. (I climb in Yosemite where the rock is solid and anchors are good) If the second needs help, the belay is practically escaped already, I would just back up the Gri-Gri and do what's needed.



-- Karl Baba (, May 21, 2001.

If you connect your belay device directly to your anchors (instead of your harness) all you have to do is securly tie off the 'non live' rope secure your partner.

You can then take appropriate steps to help your partner, eg. using prussics to decend the rope if urgent first aid is required.

-- Colin Andrews (, January 09, 2002.

Its pretty easy, really. Depending on what you are using to belay with, I suggest a Munter hitch, but either way, use a Mule or other similiar knot to free your hands. Then tie a prussik onto the weighted line, or use an ascender type piece of gear (Basic, Ropeman, Tribloc, etc.), and clip this to the anchor. Release your belay so the load transfers onto the prussik. Now all the weight is on the prussik, so take the rope above the prussik. From here you have a few options. The first is the simplest, but restricts options, and that is to just tie a figure eight on a bight (or a "bunny eared" figure eight on a bight to make it extra redundant). The biggest problem with this is that you have a tough situation if the load needs to be lowered any time in the future, and it is hard to transfer the load to the knot smoothly. My personal suggestion is to tie a Munter/Mule combination into the anchor. This is easy to snug up, and by simply untying the Mule you can lower the load if neccessasy, or continue belaying your partner if that situation presents itself. Happy Trails and Climb Safe

-- Alex Telis (, May 30, 2002.

If your belaying a second from above there are a few things you can do. Lets asume you were smart and belayed him directly off the anchor. We'll also asume that your using an auto-blocking device (ie. GriGri, Reverso, B-52, GiGi.)

Since your device locked down when he fell, you should have your hands free.

1) Back-up your belay. Put a prussik on the climb strand, put a butterfly in the belay stand and clip it to your anchor, whatever. Make sure your belay is backed up. You can also tie a mule with and overhand backup around your climb strand. 2) Make the call weather he's coming up to you, or your going down to him. You can build a haul system and get him up to you, or you can go down to him and attend to him there. Depending on the extent of his injuries, you'll have to make this call. 3) Get to him. Weather you just hauled him up or you just down- prussiked to him, deal with his injuries. 4) Get out of there. If he is capible, lower him down to a anchor/ the ground. Make sure he's cliped in to something, have him untie, then setup a rappel. Rap down to him, and get him some medical attention.

If he can't go down on his own then your gonna have to do a little more. First, get a chest harness on him (you can make these out of slings, this is something you should know if your doing multi-pitch.) Second, build a rappel anchor and clip in, then unclip from your safety line/ anchor. Make sure your backed up w/ a autoblock or something as you might need to stop your rap and tend to him. Third, attach your buddy with a single length runner to your belay loop. Double this runner up so he's as close as possible to you. Fourth, keep building anchors and rappin down till your at the ground, then get him to a hospital. Bottom line, take a class, learn first hand from a certified guide, and be prepared.

-- Jim Davis (, January 05, 2003.

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