Friends Don't Let Friends Belay

I've just returned to Washington from a trip to Greenland with friends Scott Bennett and Bryan Gilmore. Among bunch of climbing, fishing, crosswords, bailures, and tent-sitting, one of the biggest revelations from the trip was that multipitch climbing shouldn't typically involve belaying a follower.

  • Lead, and clove hitch to the belay. This automatically puts the leader "off belay" and fixes the rope for the follower to begin immediately.
  • The follower should then TR-solo the pitch, and not be tied in to the rope.
  • Upon reaching the belay, the follower should clip in with a tether or daisy chain, and then simply pull up a few meters of the dangling rope, clip it through a progress capture device which is hung from some part of the anchor, and throw the leader on belay to lead the next pitch. As the the leader moves up, the follower/belayer just pulls up a few meters at a time of rope, which is never all brought up to the belay or stacked.