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Basic Hip Belay Instructions

Learn the proper belay and safety technique for scrambling on steep terrain.
Plus, read our article on scrambling safely.
  • Tie the easy-to-adjust bowline knot snugly around your waist. Tie a backup overhand knot for added security. Do the same for your partner at the other end of the rope.
  • Find a solid terrain feature to brace yourself against. Test the feature for stability before committing. Sit down & brace at least one straightened leg against the feature. Above, one leg is against the tree and the other heel is kicked into the snow.
  • Position the rope so that your brake hand is opposite your brace leg. Your other hand is your guide hand. The rope extends from your guide hand down to your partner. As your partner climbs, remove slack by pulling the rope around your body with both hands
  • 5.	Never release your brake hand. To slide your brake hand along the rope, use the slip-slap-slide method. Begin by slipping your guide hand back down the rope toward the climber. "Slap" the two ropes together in front of you.
  • 6.	Use your guide hand to hold both ropes for a moment.
  • 7.	Slide your break hand in toward your body and you're ready to take up more slack. Take up all available slack. You should feel your partner's weight on the rope at all times.
  • 8.	If your partner falls, immediately bring your brake hand down and across your body, wrapping the rope farther around your core. The friction of the rope against your body stops the fall.
Tie the easy-to-adjust bowline knot snugly around your waist. Tie a backup overhand knot for added security. Do the same for your partner at the other end of the rope.
Image 1 of 7

Tie the easy-to-adjust bowline knot snugly around your waist. Tie a backup overhand knot for added security. Do the same for your partner at the other end of the rope.

READERS COMMENTS

Page 1

Yes..I love this site, inspired to me..
— TRINIDADY Vacations

I don't see how the rope slides through your brake hand, when it is tied in a "bowline" knot around your waist. I think you are missing a crucial step here.
— Scott E

I agree, a little too much assumed between step one and two.
— Chuck

A few more wraps on that "bowline on a coil" would be much better. With it's extra wraps around the body, it uses a bit more rope, but should it take weight, it won't be quite so uncomfortable as a single strand cutting through you. Long before swami belts and modern climbing harnesses, the bowline on a coil was widely used for climbing.
— Rick


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