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Characteristics of the world’s best belayer

Live by these seven characteristics and you’ll have a better chance at becoming the belayer your partner deserves.

April 24 2018

Rock climbing

Who is the one that checks that you are properly tied in before leaving the ground? Who yells out the beta that helps you move upward when you can’t find the next hold? Who helps keep you from hitting the ground after slipping off that greasy hold? Upon redpointing your project, who is the first one to praise and congratulate you? Your belayer. A climbing partnership is a two-way street, and that means that you need to be just as good of a belayer as your partner is for you. Live by these seven characteristics and you’ll have a better chance at becoming the belayer your partner deserves. 

adjective | ed·u·cat·ed | \ ˈe-jə-ˌkā-təd \

1. giving evidence of training or practice
Synonyms: skilled, knowledged, enlightened, proficient

“I’m glad I climb with an educated partner, he even knows how to belay me with a munter hitch.”

adjective | at·ten·tive | \ ə-ˈten-tiv \

1. paying close attention to something; mindfully observant.
Synonyms: perceptive, observant, alert, acute, aware, heedful, vigilant

“My ATTENTIVE belayer made sure I was tied in correctly and that I wasn’t back clipping or placing my leg between the wall and the rope.”

adjective | fo·cused | \ ˈfō-kəsd \

1. having the mind fixed on something.
Synonyms: absorbed, attentive, deep, engaged, engrossed, immersed

“My belayer was so FOCUSED on me while I climbed and tuned out all the distractions at the base of the wall.” 

adjective | in·volved | \ in-ˈvälvd

1. actively participating in something.
Synonyms: engaged, played a part in, shared in, took part in   

“My belayer was INVOLVED and shouted words of encouragement and shared great beta helping me succeed.”

Adjective | a·ware |  \ ə-ˈwer \

1. having knowledge or perception of a situation or fact.
Synonyms: conscious of, mindful of, informed about, acquainted with, familiar with

“My belayer was AWARE of the groundfall potential and how gripped the climber was.”

adjective | or·ga·nized | \ ˈȯr-gə-ˌnīzd \

1. arranged and conducted in a systematic way.
Synonyms: ordered, well regulated, structured, systemized, tidy, methodical

“I love how ORGANIZED my climbing partner is, setting up efficient belay stations and keeping our ropes from getting tangled.”

Team player
noun | team·play·er

1. cares more about the success of the other team members than their own success.
Synonyms: partner, teammate, collaborator

“You really acted like a TEAM PLAYER, belaying me non-stop and cheering me on until I got the send.”


The information contained in this article is non-exhaustive. Training is essential. In the mountains, the environment you are traveling in is inherently dangerous: You are responsible for your own actions, decisions, and safety.

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