Safety First!… and 2nd… and 3rd!

Here are a few things I’ve learned and use while climbing to stay safe!

  1. Personal Anchors – These are what climbers use to stay safe when it becomes necessary to clip into a fixed piece of protection such as a bolt. The great thing about a PAS is, you can clip your carabiner into any of the loops, depending on if you want to be tight up against a bolt, or if you need a little more room. I like to use three PAS chains at all times, because most climbing anchors have 2 bolts, and I always use the third to back it all up. In climbing, you always want a back up system in case one (or two) fail.                              pas
  2. Helmet – This is self explanatory. In a gym, unless you are leading, it is usually unnecessary to wear a helmet. Outdoors, it is a must. You should never climb without one. Things can happen, even while walking around the crag I have seen people trip while eating lunch and smack into a rock. Not fun.
  3. Carabiners – When you start climbing you may only need 1 or 2 carabiners. As you build more skills, you’ll find that you may need several. I currently have over 14 carabiners. They aren’t cheap either, but you need to make sure you buy the right ones. DO NOT BUY CARABINERS FROM HARDWARE STORES! Often they are cheaper, but aren’t built to the standards of rock climbing. Look for ones that have screw gates for safety, like this one: carabiner
  4. Leather Gloves – No, not for climbing. But you should wear leather gloves for belaying. Things happen, and sometimes something as simple as a bee sting could cause you to lose control of your rope while belaying. This could mean that if your climber falls, you wont have enough grip to catch them, or worse, could mean 4th degree burns on your hands. Be safe, and use a thick pair of gloves so that even if you do let go of the rope, you can safely regain control without any discomfort.

Hope you guys enjoyed this post. Let me know what you think and what other safety tips you may have!

As always, walking is so knot the same as climbing! It rocks!

11 thoughts on “Safety First!… and 2nd… and 3rd!

  1. Sorry, to step out of my new persona.

    If anyone is in the very, very scary position of taking safety advice from this blog, DO NOT USE A DAISY CHAIN LIKE THE ONE PICTURED!!!. The sewing is not fall-bearing and an easy to make mistake sets you up to break the stitches and lose all connection with your anchor. Slings are best-simpler and multi-use, but a daisy chain that is actually a chain of individual slings is also OK. Just not one where the loops are sewn together like this.

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      • OK, so Wesley isn’t going to live long enough to heed this, but again for anyone looking for real advice.

        As you gain experience climbing outdoors, there are a handful of tasks you will repeat hundreds of times. Tying into the rope, for example. As you do these tasks over, and over, and over again you will naturally stop paying as close of attention to them. As you stop paying close attention you are prone to mistakes. Climbing history is full of stories of very, very experienced climbers who did not complete their tie-in knot and got seriously injured. Believing you could never make these mistakes is not just arrogance. It is hubris. i.e. a fatal flaw that will kill you (thus Wesley not surviving long enough to ever be an experienced climber). Another task that you will repeat over and over is tying into the anchor. Again, you WILL make mistakes. ESPECIALLY when you are the most experienced climber because then you will be taking responsibility for a dozen other tasks at the same time. A crucial component of climbing safety is admitting that you are capable mistakes and minimizing the number of available deadly mistakes. That means not using a daisy chain like the one mentioned above and using slings or, as a last resort, a daisy chain like this: http://www.rei.com/media/gg/442b6a53-0530-4c04-987a-127b398b898e.jpg for all your outdoor 2-bolt anchor needs.

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      • Updated: Wesley has updated his photo to a safer style of daisy chain. Slings are still preferable for simplicity and multi-use, but if you haven’t yet mastered a clove hitch and need an adjustable tie-in for long hanging belays, what he now has pictured is OK.

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  2. The way I use a daisy chain is the right way. I tie it in a figure 8 to my harness and then clip two locking snap-clips to it. Then tie a figure 8 to the snap clips. This Wes guy. I feel sorry for him.

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  3. Sometimes I like to have a locker for each run on each of my three daisy chains that way I can hang more gear from my harness. ( I like to bring an extra helmet, one for climbing and one for walking around the gym)

    It’s also easier to clip the chain because that rung already has a biner on it!

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  4. Wes, please let me know where you bought that awesome black biner. It’s so tactical. And thank you for the heads up on the gloves. I bought some welders gauntlets, they’re a bit hot but super safe.

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