Trust your belayer… a whole new bond

The last day of Spain was just me and Chris, Gunny was dropped off in the morning at the airport and we headed out to Reconco on our own. After scrambling around on the wrong path we made our way up the hill. Perfect weather, perfect temperature, warm but not too hot, no wind fresh rock. Chris had looked up a few climbs with a steady 5+ planned as my first lead.

Hitting the first few bolts fine I tried to clip the 5th, quickdraw in, reached for the rope and my left foot blew, I still don’t know the reason, it had held perfectly for the draw. Worst time to fall, the maximum rope out at the bolt, unexpected, belayer giving more rope out, everyone’s nightmare . Chris caught me perfectly, textbook belaying, the fall was bad with burns across three fingers and my arm along with a few knocks and cut knuckles but nothing serious.

It’s made me think more and more though how much trust we put in our belayers, I climb with a group and will often climb with new climbers who haven’t belayed before. I’m trusting these people with my life. I find with Chris I can climb harder, faster more difficult, I trust him spotting me and his judgement when he says I need to change something or watch my gear placement. It leads me to consider…. how many other people in life do we have this relationship or bond with. Maybe our parents or partner but we never put them in a situation holding our life on the end of a rope.


6 thoughts on “Trust your belayer… a whole new bond”

  1. Fully agree with the above comment. But I haven’t got a climbing partner and so climb each time at the indoor wall with someone new on the ‘social nights’. I have to say that, the first couple of times I have to let go at the top of the wall with my new, unknown belayer, I certainly pause to think a bit beforehand!

    I also climb outdoors with a club but I do somehow trust them – they’re all much more experienced than me and seem a sensible (and attentive) bunch.


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