The Art of Belay

So what sort of belayer are you? Are you a fashionable belayer? A safe belayer. Attentive or casual? Which belay devices do you use? Here are a few of my favorite belay scenarios, dug out of my dusty archives.

1. Waist belay. Bundaleer, 1976. Jerry Maddox wondering if anyone will notice that the clothes he's wearing are the same ones he used on his numerous climbing trips to the European Alps back in the 1960s. Your secret is safe with me Jerry. To be fair, winter conditions at Bundaleer are not much different to those on the North Face of the Eiger.

1. Waist belay. Bundaleer, 1976. Jerry Maddox wondering if anyone will notice that the clothes he’s wearing are the same ones he used on his numerous climbing trips to the European Alps back in the 1960s. Your secret is safe with me Jerry. To be fair, winter conditions at Bundaleer are not much different to those on the North Face of the Eiger.

2. ATC. Ormiston Gorge (Northern Territory), 1996. Damien Auton obviously believes that belaying a mate on a difficult climb and an afternoon siesta should never be mutually exclusive.

2. ATC. Ormiston Gorge (Northern Territory), 1996. Damien Auton obviously believes that belaying a mate on a difficult climb and an afternoon siesta should never be mutually exclusive.

3. Sticht plate. Manali (India), 1986. As a professional climbing instructor Michael Hampton knows that belaying is a very serious activity that requires ones full concentration.

3. Sticht plate. Manali (India), 1986. As a professional climbing instructor Michael Hampton knows that belaying is a very serious activity that requires ones full concentration.

4. Waist belay. Lake Districk (UK), 1982. Chris Baxter telling me that a single-point belay in shit rock is totally acceptable when you are twenty metres back from the edge of the cliff and using a dodgy waist belay!

4. Waist belay. Lake Districk (UK), 1982. Chris Baxter telling me that a single-point belay in shit rock is totally acceptable when you are twenty metres back from the edge of the cliff and using a dodgy waist belay!

5. Belay plate. Wilson's Promontory (Trackside Wall), 1982. Eric Jones proving that a single sky-hook belay anchor is absolutely bomb-proof (as long as the second doesn't do anything silly – like fall off).

5. Belay plate. Wilson’s Promontory (Trackside Wall), 1982. Eric Jones proving that a single sky-hook belay anchor is absolutely bomb-proof (as long as the second doesn’t do anything silly – like fall off).

6. Sticht plate. Mt Buffalo, 1996. Professional climbing instructor, playboy and entrepreneur, Simon Mentz is well known for his dedication to climbing safety. Here Simon is trying to figure out if the girl on the lookout is a blonde or a brunette. Damn that sun!

6. Sticht plate. Mt Buffalo, 1996. Professional climbing instructor, playboy and entrepreneur, Simon Mentz is well known for his dedication to climbing safety. Here Simon is trying to figure out if the girl on the lookout is a blonde or a brunette. Damn that sun!

7. Italian hitch. Ben Cairn, 1987. John (Rabbit) Rawlin proving that a (casual) belay should never get in the way of a good full-bodied red.

7. Italian hitch. Ben Cairn, 1987. Jon (Rabbit) Rawlins proving that a (casual) belay should never get in the way of a good full-bodied red.

8. Figure-eight. Phra Nang (Thailand), 1991. Greg Caire trying to work out the odds of losing his ability to ever father a child (not to mention the worst inner-thigh splinters known to medical science) should the leader take a massive winger.

8. Figure-eight. Phra Nang (Thailand), 1991. Greg Caire trying to work out the odds of losing his ability to ever father a child (not to mention the worst inner-thigh splinters known to medical science) should the leader take a massive winger.

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4 Responses to “The Art of Belay”

  1. Jon Rawlings July 9, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

    Why am I in black and white? It does add a certain class I suppose! My seven year old son found those same boots in the garage the other day and after killing the life forms inside I agreed to take him for a little climbing adventure somewhere. By the way I think Karen brought the wine, I was too poor! Thanks for the blast from the past.
    Rab

    • Glenn Tempest July 10, 2013 at 9:27 am #

      Hey Rab, you were photographed in B/W because I was going through my arty phase back then. As for the wine, you are probably right that Karen brought it. I don’t remember us blokes cared what we drank back then. Karen’s fine wines brought a bit of ‘class’ to our climbing outings. This picture demonstrates just how much ‘class’ we had 🙂

  2. Chelsea July 9, 2013 at 5:50 pm #

    Classic!

  3. Simon Mentz July 9, 2013 at 6:47 pm #

    I’ve got no idea what the climb was or who I was belaying, but I am pretty certain the girl on the look-out was a brunette. simey

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