Reducing Belay-Related Risks in Climbing Gyms with BelaySAFE

Improper and inattentive belaying is a leading cause of incidents and accidents at climbing gyms. A Climbing Wall Association (CWA) report found that one-third of the belayers observed used belay devices incorrectly. While assisted braking devices (ABDs) like the Petzl Grigri provide a higher level of protection than traditional tube-style devices, they still require the user to control the climber's rate of descent. Belaying, whether with a tube-style device or ABD, transfers risk mitigation from climbing gym operators to users, who must remain proficient, attentive, and responsive.

 

Introducing BelaySAFE

BelaySAFE acts as a backup belay device that reduces shear forces and controls the climber's rate of descent. It minimizes the potential for belay-related incidents and equalizes weight differences between lightweight belayers and heavier climbers.

 

Deployment and Operation

Deploying BelaySAFE is simple, requiring minimal changes to existing belay procedures and no annual certification or service. Once mounted to an approved top-rope anchor, BelaySAFE's design ensures a smooth experience. It significantly reduces resistance at the anchor when taking in rope, thanks to its large smooth surfaces and one-way pulleys. This user-friendly feature helps belayers keep pace with fast climbers, reducing distractions and the potential for excessive slack in the climber's rope.

When a climber falls or weights the rope to descend, the one-way pulleys lock and apply braking force to control the descent, regardless of whether the belayer is prepared or properly positioned. BelaySAFE also transfers the climber's weight from the belayer's harness to the top anchor, eliminating the need for belay wraps, weight bags, or ground anchors, and helping keep the belayer's feet firmly on the ground.

 

 

Adjustability and Calibration

Because rope design, environmental factors, and rope wear can all impact the amount of braking force generated, BelaySAFE features four friction calibration settings. Using a simple calibration method, you can increase the friction setting for new ropes and decrease it as the rope ages, adjusting the setting even when the device is deployed without removing the rope.

 

Enhancing Gym Safety

The root causes of many belay errors stem from human factors that are often beyond the direct control of climbing gym operators. Combined with the common perception that climbing gyms are inherently safe environments, these factors can lead to overconfidence and complacency among users. While assisted braking devices help reduce risk, users are still responsible for controlling the climber's rate of descent. BelaySAFE provides an additional layer of security, independent of the belayer's proficiency and attentiveness, that controls the climber's descent even when the belayer becomes distracted or improperly manages their belay device. Don't rely on human precision alone. Make BelaySAFE an essential component in your climbing gym's arsenal against belay-related accidents.