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Keeping Multi-Pitch Belays Tangle Free

By Simon Colley

Avoiding tangled ropes takes concentration and self discipline. But it's well worth the effort. Here are a few of my favourite tips to help avoid problems.

Tip One

Keeping Multi-Pitch Belays Tangle Free

On a small or semi-hanging stance consider lapping the rope over a sling as you take in. This helps to keep the rope organised and avoids draping it down the crag where it may get snagged.

Tip Two

Keeping Multi-Pitch Belays Tangle Free

Once your mate reaches you, clip the sling back into the belay to get the rope out of way. This gives you room to sort gear out, have a snack, wave at the tourists etc.

Keeping Multi-Pitch Belays Tangle Free

If you have lapped the rope with gradually decreasing lengths it should now pay out smoothly as your mate leads through.

Tip Three

Keeping Multi-Pitch Belays Tangle Free

When you have a few friends on the same belay things can get pretty confusing.
To avoid ducking under tangled ropes:
1. Try to make sure the person who will be leaving the belay first has their krab clipped in front of the rest, and on the same side they will be climbing to.
2. Clip the rest of your friends in the order they will be leaving.
3. Sit back and enjoy the view.

Tip Four

Keeping Multi-Pitch Belays Tangle Free

A quick way to secure your partner whilst swapping gear on a comfortable ledge is to tie an overhand loop in front of your belay plate. Clip the spare gear onto the rope between you so that they can reorganise the rack without dropping anything.


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