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Dynamic sport/gym belays


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I was looking at the lead climbing course at my local climbing gym in Vancouver (for a friend).  I was surprised that the course includes "dynamic belay techniques" which I googled and also found a few threads here on the topic.

To me dynamic belays seem dangerous for noobs and unnecessary for 90% of climbing situations, especially gym and sport climbing.  Why would a climbing gym be teaching this to noob leaders?  Please just catch my fall as fast as you can!

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I would prefer a "How to position the pad so the lead boulderer doesn't break his cankles".  

I don't know...knowlege is good, right?

Here is one thread that is mentioned...

I'm not a doctor, but I play one on TV.  And I would say that there are many conditions in play here, and yeah it is pretty stupid to teach a dynamic belay to a bunch of gym climbers.

But then again there is actually even stupider shit being taught pretty much all the time.   So I don't know what to say.

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I called the gym and they told me that it is what is taught by the ACMG (professional accreditation body for mountain guides in Canada). 

Here is the technique described.   

They also use something called the Edelrid Ohm to add friction when the climber is heavier than the belayer.  Perhaps I'm old school, but is anchoring your belayer to the floor not considered good enough anymore?  Has anybody here used this contraption?

I guess their gym, their rules.  But when I am outside, I'd like to be caught asap, thank you very much.

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It's much better to fall a few extra feet vertically instead of a shorter, harder catch that spikes you into the wall, especially in the gym, where falls are common and expected. I'm a big guy, so I have to be especially careful when I'm belaying to hop as the rope comes tight, otherwise I can cause the falling person to tweak or even break their ankles or legs. A hard catch can also increase the chances of a leader inverting in a fall, as everything happens much faster with more force, there is less time to stabilize before coming to a stop. Developing the skills to give a dynamic catch safely and automatically is right up there with keeping your hand on the brake strand for importance, especially gym and sport climbing.


Less than vertical and ledgy terrain the falling climber is unlikely to be falling fast enough for a hard catch to hurt them, hitting ledges and protrusions keeps their speed (mostly) in check. Best to just not fall when facing that below.

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