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Use This Belay Technique When a High-Impact Force Factor-2 Fall Is Possible

Falling straight onto the belay on a multi-pitch route is violent and dangerous. Add a layer of safety with the Fixed-Point Belay.


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The fixed-point belay (FPB) lets you belay a lead climber directly from the anchor—instead of your harness—while multi-pitch climbing, preventing a violent pull on the belayer during a leader fall. (A lightweight belayer can also use the FPB while single-pitch cragging—if a bottom anchor is available.) Protecting the belayer protects the leader, especially if a factor 2 fall is possible. This belay method is most useful when the climbing off the belay is steep, runout, difficult—and/or all three!

To begin, first determine if an FPB is advisable. Could you set up a belay elsewhere? Could the belayer use a tether (10-plus feet) and hang below the anchor? Could the leader pre-clip the first piece of the next pitch? If not, then an FPB is probably a good idea.

Derek DeBruin is an outdoor educator and AMGA Rock Guide based in the Wasatch of northern Utah. He is equally pleased to have rock shoes, crampons, or ski boots on his feet, and his pursuits in the mountains vary with the season. You can read about them on Instagram @derekmdebruin.

Illustrations by Jordan Peterson.


From Fall 2021