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Yet Another Dangerous Belay That’s Hard To Believe

A true story that could have ended any number of ways.

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I was climbing at a crag with lots of toprope routes. There’s a viewing platform at the top. We were hanging out on the platform after we finished our route. Another climber topped out next to us. He set up a belay on his harness for his partner and called down for his partner to climb. He was not anchored to anything. I was shocked and asked why. He shrugged and said he wasn’t worried because he outweighed his climber by 40 pounds.
—Jennifer Wong

LESSON: Always, always, always anchor yourself when working near a cliff edge, especially when you’re belaying someone from above. It doesn’t matter how much you outweigh them. Let’s say you weigh 180 pounds. Do you really think you could catch a falling 140-pound weight without getting a solid jerk in its direction of travel? Even if you did, how long do you think you could stand there holding that much weight off your harness? Don’t trust you and your partner’s lives to your own strength or girth. Use an anchor. Even a good hip belay requires that you brace your feet against something solid.

The Six Most Boneheaded, Dangerous, Irresponsible Climbers We’ve Heard Of (So Far)

Want more? Check out more installments in our ever-growing hall of shame: 

Leader Decks When Experienced Climber Bungles the Belay

Saw Through Someone Else’s Rope

Belayed With Hands Only—No Device!

Smoke Brick Weed and Go Climbing

Belay With a Knife In Your Hand

Don’t Let a Clueless Dad Take a Kid Climbing

She Got Frustrated and Untied—On Lead