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Staff assists climber with a secure figure-8 knot

Belay Training


Our belay program exists to provide patrons with an opportunity to learn the proper techniques required to safely belay at the climbing wall.  By doing this we create a community of climbers who are able to belay each other independent of the climbing wall staff. 

Belay Program Progression

Patrons come to climb.
Each participant is allowed to utilize the wall staff once.  This gives them a chance to see if climbing is something they may wish to pursue.  It also keeps the wall staff free to monitor the whole wall instead of constantly belaying.  After their trial climb, patrons are encouraged to take a belay clinic.  Climbers may remain “climb only” if desired as long as they are belayed up by a beginning or advanced belayer or a staff member.  If the patron happens to already know how to belay proficiently they can take the advanced belay test to show proof knowledge of proper skills.

Sign up for a belay clinic.
Belay clinics are offered at request of participants and will be instructed by a Lead Climbing Staff member. Each clinic will have between 2-4 people.  If there are not at least two people the class will be cancelled and the participant will be given the option to choose another date.  Class limit is set at four to allow for a safe and beneficial instructor-participant ratio.

Belay clinic
Each belay clinic will be taught by a Lead Staff member who has thorough knowledge of belaying and the equipment involved.  The clinic lasts somewhere between 1 and 2 hours, enabling the participants to learn all necessary information as well as have proper time to apply and practice these new skills.  Participants will be taught how to put on a climbing harness, how to tie the figure 8 follow-through knot, how to set up and use the Gri-Gri, correct belay technique, and miscellaneous information about climbing in general.  They will also learn the policies and procedures of the climbing wall.

Belay test
After taking a clinic, participants may take their belay test the next day.  They have up to two weeks to take their exam.  After this point they can try to take the advanced test or they must retake the clinic.  Only an Lead Staff member or Belay Clinic instructor can administer the belay test.  They reserve the right to make the ultimate decision on whether the person passes or fails this test. In order to pass the test a participant must be able to correctly tie into the rope, correctly set up the belay equipment, and exhibit correct belay technique.  They must also show a certain degree of awareness regarding their climbing partner’s status throughout the belay process.  After this process the staff member administering the test has the final call on whether the person passes. If a person fails the test they have the option of returning the next day to retake the exam.  If the person fails again it is recommended they repeat the clinic. 

Advanced belay test
Those who have taken clinics through University Recreation and those who want to “test out” of the process of taking a belay clinic.  If a patron wants to test out without taking a clinic they can take the advanced belay test.  This test can only be administered by a Lead Staff.  The advanced test has a higher standard with the idea that the patron should know exactly what to do and therefore perform extremely well.  To pass an advanced belay test the participant must be nearly perfect.  Any mistake can be cause for failure.