Break Hand Up or Down?

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Messages 61 - 70 of total 70 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Big Mike

Trad climber
BC
Apr 26, 2013 - 11:48am PT
The pinch-and-slide above-the-device (actually a separate issue) has absolutely no place in modern instruction IMO.

Thank you JTM! This is the discussion! Not this palm down palm up rhetoric...
rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Apr 26, 2013 - 08:50pm PT
Crotch, I don't know of any data. Moreover, I'm using "grip strength" in a systemic sense, not in the absolute sense that you might expect to get data on from a clinical study. By "systemic" I mean, among other things,

1. It is almost impossible to orient the palm-up braking hand vertically, so

a. the brake strand applies lateral force to the pinky, prying open the hand finger by finger from the weakest side.

b. you can't bend the braking strand as far around the device with palm up as you can with palm down.

Taken together, these two things mean the hand is in a weaker position and less friction can obtained from the device with the palm up. Does this matter? Mostly no. But always?
rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Apr 26, 2013 - 09:03pm PT
Thank you JTM! This is the discussion! Not this palm down palm up rhetoric...

Mike,

1. The OP was concerned about possible loss of control of the belay as a consequence of the method employed, and that's the question I addressed with the palm orientation observations.

2. The "superior" technique in which the rope is (partially) locked off while the brake hand slides back to the device is very awkward with the palm up, so palm orientation is part of "the discussion" no matter what.
QITNL

climber
Apr 26, 2013 - 09:37pm PT
Hmm, think about how you would hold a baseball bat or an axe - would you get a better grip and generate more force swinging underhanded or overhanded?

For example, take a look at this fine fellow:



If you replaced his suspenders with a climbing harness & his axe with a rope, that's exactly how I hold my hands in a locked-off belay position.

(Of course I'm a lot more buff and way cuter.)
RyanD

climber
Squamish
Apr 26, 2013 - 09:48pm PT
Depends if ur chopping a tree down or splitting firewood QITNL. Are u swinging for the fence or trying to one hop it between second & first? Nice pic.
ec

climber
ca
Apr 26, 2013 - 09:49pm PT
I don't give a sh*t, as long as my belayer is comfortable and competent in what they're doing, their brake hand is where it should be at the right moment and that they are PAYING ATTENTION!

 ec
Big Mike

Trad climber
BC
Apr 26, 2013 - 09:49pm PT
2. The "superior" technique in which the rope is (partially) locked off while the brake hand slides back to the device is very awkward with the palm up, so palm orientation is part of "the discussion" no matter what.

True, but for me, the pinch, slap, slide method with the brake strand parallel, offers little to no friction on the belay device. At the point of transition, you might as well be belaying straight off the locking biner.

The hands down brake locked method is much more secure if you take your non brake hand off the upper stand and use it to lock the brake while you slide your hand up. That way the belay is *NEVER* compromised.

As a 200 pound man, being belayed by 100 pound females on occasion, this is VERY important to me.

Especially now, when i can't afford a fall.
rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Apr 27, 2013 - 01:44pm PT
Kate Rutherford belaying Brittany Griffith on the Venturi Effect, Incredible Hulk. Snipped from
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=9lhnB2zFE6w

Palm up belay
Palm up belay
Credit: rgold
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Social climber
SLO, Ca
Apr 27, 2013 - 05:57pm PT
I'm no doubt an idiot but I've never thought about this once. I learned the whole palm up, pinch manner-- I think it used to be pretty much standard??--and have always belayed that way. I've caught plenty of falls, even those I didn't know were coming and have been alright. Still, sounds like it's time for an upgrade to breaking low and facing down!
Batrock

Trad climber
Burbank
Apr 27, 2013 - 06:46pm PT
There is no "one way". Whatever is safe, and there are many safe ways to belay. I hip belayed for years and it was the safe way to do it back then. A few months ago I was climbing with a relatively new climber and was using a quick hip belay on a easy section. He came up to the belay and just about $h!t. He was perfectly safe and there was zero chance he was going to yank me off the ledge or that I was going to drop him. It's all about level of comfort, I was very comfortable using a hip belay, he had never seen it before and he wasnt so comfy with it. D
Don't over think it, it's just climbing.
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