The first in a series about how to be a better belayer.
Short rope [shawrt-rohp] verb: The act of not giving sufficient rope to your climber.
Getting short roped is bad. It’s not necessarily dangerous, nor does it cause you to take a whip (it can, of course) but the real reason it’s bad is because it convinces your subconscious that you’re climbing with an untrustworthy belayer. The reasoning is simple – if you’re getting short roped, your belayer is either not paying attention, or not technically proficient. It’s not just annoying, it’s counter-productive.
It would be unwise to push yourself when climbing with an inattentive or unskilled belayer.
The good news is this: if your belayer actually wants to stop short roping you, there is an easy fix. (If your belayer doesn’t care about short roping you, stop climbing with them. Seriously.)
First, when the climber is clipping, the belayer should step in towards the first bolt as they feed out slack. This simple action resolves most instances of short roping.
Second, when the climber is clipping, the belayer needs to feed out a full arm length of slack without coming out of the break position.
I tried to explain both of these concepts in-depth using words, and kept coming up short, so I am going to make a short video demonstrating both, and why they make such a big difference in safety and convenience for your climber. I tried filming with the camera on my laptop, but it was all fuzzy. Stay tuned!
I would love feedback and questions. Seriously. I love answering questions.