Belaying yourself is rather easy if you have the skills to do so. However, the challenge comes when you belay someone much heavier than you. If you do this incorrectly, you could potentially lead the person to fall. You must know how to belay someone heavier than you efficiently when doing so.
How to belay someone heavier than you? The best way to belay someone heavier than you is to do it with the top rope form of climbing, which is much safer than lead climbing in most cases. One of the best ways to do this would be to tie yourself to the ground for additional stability and wear strong gloves that won’t allow the rope to slip.
While it is possible to belay someone heavier than you, it is not the easiest thing to do, and you might need to look at some of my tips.
During college, I spent a good chunk of my time belaying other people, which helped me learn how to make it easier for myself. Here is how you can belay someone heavier than you:
You might also enjoy reading this article about the most dangerous women’s sports, where I share helpful tips to prevent injuries!
How To Belay Someone Heavier Than You?
We should all understand the basics of setting up a rope and making the correct knots that will ensure the rope remains stable.
If you want to know how to belay someone heavier than you, keep the following tips in mind. These could save your life and the person who is much heavier than you.
1- Tying Yourself To The Ground
One of the main issues is that you often lack stability when belaying someone, especially those a lot heavier than you. The idea is that you can tie yourself to the ground, and this would reduce the effects of movement in the rope, which can throw you off balance.
Additionally, you have the extra support of the ground below you. I recommend tying yourself to the ground if the person you are belaying is more than 50 pounds heavier than you.
2- Make Sure You Wear Gloves
You might think your hands are strong enough to resist the pain of sliding the rope through it. However, this is often not the case, and the rope might slip or slide if you are lowering them at a too rapid pace. The idea of wearing gloves could save you some of the pain which causes you to release the rope.
Additionally, you can also wear gloves as a means of creating additional friction. The additional friction created by the grip in the gloves would ensure that you have the optimal level of protection for your hands. It could ensure that the rope does not slip from your hands either.
If you are looking for Seibertron cloves for rock climbing, I suggest you check the Seibertron Gloves for climbers.
3- The Right Gear And Equipment
Another important thing you should remember is that you must wear the right gear and equipment. It can be daunting to wear everything, but the person coming down the cliff should also wear a helmet and gloves to control the rope. The harness should be given to ensure you can hold them efficiently.
To ensure that you don’t risk any potential injuries if something goes wrong, the right safety equipment would be paramount, and we would recommend that you make sure the person is dressed correctly.
The Black Diamond Equipment Men’s Momentum Rock Climbing Shoes are some of the best on the market today, and these would ensure that you have additional grip.
4- Stacking Yourself With Extra Weight
Another thing that you can do would be to wear some extra weight. This can be in the form of a sandbag or any other gear that would provide extra weight when you lower the person down. It would work to balance out the differences in weight between you and the person that you are belaying down the cliff.
Numerous sandbags can be clipped to the carabiner, which would counteract the weight discrepancies.
However, you should not weigh yourself down too much, which could lead to inconsistencies and an inability to carry yourself when needed.
5- Reducing Rope Drag
Reduced rope drag is the part of the rope which drags along the cliff when you are lowering someone. In Top Rope, there is not a lot of rope drag; you will need to keep this in mind when belaying someone. If you don’t manage the rope drag, it could lead to slippages, which causes the person to fall.
You want to reduce the rope drag as much as possible, which means that you can easily stop the rope when the person falls, which should lead to you catching the person before they fall. Rope drag is something that you can efficiently manage.
6- Standing Closer To The Wall
Should the person fall from the rope and you are standing far away from the wall, you could be drawn towards the wall. Everything would try to come together in the case of an uncontrolled fall, and the idea is to avoid this as much as possible. Once you start sliding toward the wall, you will not be able to keep control of the rope.
The idea is that you don’t have as far to be drawn when you stand closer to the wall. Additionally, it would enable you to pull the rope, find your footing, and perhaps even catch the uncontrolled fall. However, you are likely to lose control and should also try to minimize your own risk of injury.
7- Using A Thicker Rope
The idea of belaying someone heavier than you is that you would need to have more rope friction. The more friction you have, the more things you have working on your side when belaying someone heavier than yourself.
Ideally, you would want to consider thicker rope, which would help you to keep the rope in check and reduce the speed at which the rope is fed through the components. The thicker the rope, the slower the belay would be. However, you would have full control, which reduces the risks of an uncontrolled fall to the ground.
8- Using The Edeldrid Ohm
A self-braking belay device would always be helpful when you are belaying someone other than yourself, and the Edeldrid Ohm is one of the best options that you can use. Once the climber attaches this to the quickdraw on the rope, it would serve as a self-braking mechanism, which stops the rope when it goes down too fast.
You might think that this could be a hindrance for a climber. However, it would not be felt by the climber, which means that the climber can continue as they would naturally.
It helps to reduce the force transferred onto the belayer if the person experiences an unexpected fall.
9- Make Sure There Are No Obstacles
Another thing you want to keep in mind is that unexpected falls often happen when the climber loses control. The idea is to make the climb as easy as possible for the person by reducing significant obstacles. This can be in the form of avoiding cliffs that could harm the person climbing.
Additionally, you want an open surface, and you don’t want to be climbing along trees. The trees could potentially snag the rope and even cause some issues when the person experiences an unexpected fall. You want to minimize any possible obstacles that could be in the way.
10- Explain The Route To The Climber
If you are dealing with an experienced climber, the route should be that much easier for you to overcome. However, new climbers might get stuck, which could be frustrating when you need to coach them through various obstacles. It would be best if you could explain the route to the climber and allow them to see where they need to go.
You can draw a map or even draw lines on the cliff if you are at some event that would enable the climbers to take the most functional route to the top. Everyone should be on the same page, which would help reduce the chances of someone giving up or being lost when climbing. This would make it much easier to belay someone.
The video below shows how to belay someone with a weight difference.
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Belaying someone is not as hard as it seems. However, when you have a person, who is much heavier than you, the risks do increase, and you need to make sure that you know what you are doing.
It is important that when you belay someone heavier than you, you use these tips. We would love to see your comments below if there are any other tips we might have missed.