Climbing is dangerous. You need to do everything you can to mitigate the effects of gravity and falling. Redundancy is key. Always back-up every important piece of gear with another piece of gear and use more than one anchor at a belay and rappel station. Your life depends on it.
Beginner climbers are most vulnerable to accidents. Always use sound judgment; respect climbing dangers; don't climb over your head; find an experienced mentor or take lessons to learn how to climb safe. Remember that most accidents happen because of climber error.
Use the following 10 tips to keep safe when you're out rock climbing.
1. Always Check Harnesses
Stewart M. Green
After you’ve geared up, always check that both the climber’s and belayer’s harness
buckles are doubled back.
2. Always Check Knots
Before you start climbing, always double check that leader’s tie-in knot (usually a Figure-8 Follow-Through
) is tied right and finished with a backup knot. Also check that the rope is threaded through both the harness waist loop and the leg loops.
3. Always Wear a HelmetA climbing helmet is essential if you want to live long and prosper. Always wear one when climbing or belaying. Helmets protect your head from falling rocks and from the impact of falling.
4. Always Check the Rope and Belay Device
Before you lead a route, always double check that the rope is properly threaded through the belay device
(especially if it is a GriGri
). Also, always make sure the rope and belay device are attached with a locking carabiner
to the belayer’s harness.
5. Always Use a Long Rope
Make sure your climbing rope
is long enough to reach the anchors
and lower back down on a sport route or to reach a belay ledge
on multi-pitch routes. When sport climbing
, if you have any doubt that the rope is too short, always tie a stopper knot in the tail end to avoid being dropped to the ground.
6. Always Pay AttentionWhen you’re belaying, always pay attention to the leader above. He’s the one taking the risks of a fall. Don’t visit with other climbers at the base, talk on a cell phone, or discipline your dog or kids. Never take the leader off belay unless you are absolutely certain he is tied in and safe and he communicates that to you.
7. Always Bring Enough Gear
Before you climb a route, always eyeball it from the ground and determine what you need to bring. You know best. Don’t rely strictly on a guidebook to tell you what to bring. If it’s a sport route, verify visually how many bolts
. If in doubt—always bring more than you think you need.
8. Always Climb With the Rope Over Your LegWhen you’re leading, always make sure the rope is over your leg rather than between them or behind one. If you fall with the rope in this position, you will flip upside down and hit your head. Wear a helmet for protection.
9. Always Properly Clip the Rope
Make sure you always clip your rope through carabiners on quickdraws
correctly. Avoid backclipping, where the rope runs front to back rather than back to front in the carabiner. Make sure the carabiner
gate faces opposite your direction of travel, otherwise the rope can come unclipped. Always use locking carabiners
on important placements.
10. Always Use Safe Anchors
At the top of a pitch
or route, always use at least two anchors. Three is better. Redundancy keeps you alive. On a sport route, always use locking carabiners
if you’re lowering down to top-rope off the anchors.