Every Monday we publish the most unbelievable stories of climbing stupidity submitted by our readers. See something unbelayvable? Tell us in the comments and your story could be featured in a future edition, online or in print. For more Unbelayvable, check out the Unbelayvable Archives.
>> I saw an inexperienced belayer take out her phone and take selfies for two full minutes. Soon enough, a man approached and informed her that she needed to put her phone away to give her friend a proper belay. She argued that her friend was a good climber and wouldn’t fall, and that even if she did fall, she had good reflexes and could catch the rope in time. She told him in no uncertain terms that her belay habits were none of his business.—Maria P., via Climbing.com
LESSON: A good belayer should always pay attention to her climber and always keep her hand on the brake strand. A good belayer should never take selfies, no matter how cute they look. Climbing falls can happen suddenly and be beyond the climber’s control. With a tube-style belay device, a rope not held in the brake position will begin pulling through the device immediately. Even if you do manage to grab it and arrest the fall, you’ll likely suffer some nasty rope burn in the process. And if someone offers you advice, they're trying to help. Take a moment to think critically about the situation before telling them off.
>> I saw some guys climbing on plastic yellow rope from the hardware store. They were excited about how cheap it was. They were even using a grigri.—Kenneth Laing Herdy, via Facebook
LESSON: It’s absolutely essential to always use climbing gear designed, tested, and rated for climbing. A cheap hardware store rope will break under small loads, is not abrasion resistant, likely will not function properly with a grigri’s camming device, will not stretch in a fall, and is absolutely not designed or rated for climbing. Your rope is the most important piece in your safety system, without it nothing else works. No amount of money saved is worth a climber’s life.
Dumb Anchor of the Week
What’s wrong with the pictured section of this anchor? Tell us in the comments, then see more awful anchors at the Dumb Anchors blog. Photo: John Gregory/Dumb Anchors. (Click for full size.)
We want to hear your unbelayvable stories! Tell us in the comments and your story could be featured in a future edition online or in print. Got an unbelayvable photo? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.