Posted by: Jack Henry | September 21, 2016

Editor’s Corner: Off Belay

While at Symitar’s annual educational conference, I was chatting with some of my fellow door monitors and one of them used the term “belay.” The only time I’d ever heard that spoken aloud was when my parents were members of the Mountaineers, and I believe they were referring to a book called Off Belay. In honor of my coworkers, The Mountaineers, and my parents, here are a few vocabulary words from the mountain climbing world. (Actually, I selected these from REI’s Climbing Glossary, which is quite extensive.)

· Barn door—To swing sideways out from the rock due to being off balance. Often occurs with a lie-back maneuver.

· Bashies—Malleable anchors that are literally bashed into small cracks for use in aid climbing. Tough to remove.

· Belay—To keep a climber from falling too far by using friction on the rope. The system that stops a climber’s fall. It includes the rope, anchors, belay device and the belayer.

· Belayer—The person who manages the rope so as to catch the climber on the other end in case of a fall or a slip.

· Carabiner—Metal loop (usually aluminum) with a spring-loaded gate on one side used for connecting various parts of a climbing system. May be oval, pear- or D-shaped. Also karabiner, ‘biner, or krab.

· Chimney—Wide, vertical crack large enough for a climber to fit inside and climb. A move done inside the chimney by using opposing force with the feet and the body.

· Hang dog—To rest on the rope as you lead climb, putting weight on the protection rather than the rock.

· Pumped—To be weakened or in pain (usually in the forearms) from a strenuous move or climb.

· Screamer—A long fall on a rope, frequently with screaming. Also the model name of an energy-absorbing runner made by Yates.

· Sewing-machine leg—Uncontrollable shaking of the lower leg(s) caused by fatigue and/or fear while climbing. Resembles the up-and-down movement of sewing-machine parts.

· Whipper—A long fall.

And from “Off belay” is a climbing command that means “I am safe and you can take me off belay.” The command is said by the climber to his belayer after he is in a safe place, anchored to belay anchors, and no longer needs to be belayed from below.

Carabiner (Known by non-climbers as a “keychain” or “handy clip thing.”)

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

Symitar Documentation Services

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