Belay methods

You have the choice of using a mechanical belay device, a Miinter hitch, or a hip belay. The anchor set-up is the same in any case. Your choice will probably depend on what you're accustomed to and on your degree of confidence in the anchor. The hip belay tends to be somewhat dynamic, with a bit of movement at the belay—resulting in a slower stop to a fall but less force on the anchor and intermediate protection points. Belay devices and the Miinter hitch, on the other tend, tend to be less dynamic, stopping a fall faster but putting more force on the anchor and intermediate protection points. (See Chapter 7 for details on the various belay methods.)

Mechanical devices

A Miinter hitch, or a belay device such as a slot, tube, or Bachli, is easy to set up and efficient in use. Many ice climbers use such a method as standard procedure. The mechanism is usually situated at your seat harness (fig. 14-42), though you also have the option of belaying directly from the anchor.

Fig. 14-42. Ice belay set-up for a mechanical belay device or Miinter hitch at the climber's seat harness

BRAKE HAND

Fig. 14-42. Ice belay set-up for a mechanical belay device or Miinter hitch at the climber's seat harness

BRAKE HAND

Belay Device And Carabiner

Fig. 14-43. Ice belay set-up for a hip belay Hip belay

You can establish a hip belay as you stand facing the ice by running the belay rope through a control carabiner at your waist, around your back, through an extra carabiner on the first screw, and then into your braking'hand (fig. 14-43). This arrangement is especially favored when the rope is stiff and frozen and could jam in belay devices.

Fig. 14-43. Ice belay set-up for a hip belay Hip belay

You can establish a hip belay as you stand facing the ice by running the belay rope through a control carabiner at your waist, around your back, through an extra carabiner on the first screw, and then into your braking'hand (fig. 14-43). This arrangement is especially favored when the rope is stiff and frozen and could jam in belay devices.

Boot/ice-screw belay

For flat or gentle ice slopes, the boot/ice-screw belay is very useful (fig. 14-44). Here's how to do it: start by twisting an ice screw into place, then clip in a carabiner and run the belay rope through the carabiner. Plant your uphill boot over the screw, perpendicular to the direction of pull. Place the boot so that the inside point of your mid-boot row of crampons goes through the carabiner. Don't

Climbing Boot Sketch
Fig. 14-44. Boot!ice-screw belay

jab the rope. Bring the belay end of the rope over your instep, around the back of your boot ankle, and into your uphill hand.

You control friction on the rope by the amount of wrap on the ankle, much as in a boot-axe belay. You can also adjust the space between the edge of the boot and the outside edge of the carabiner. If the climber falls, slowly tighten the rope low against the ankle with your uphill hand.

Helpful variations of the boot/ice-screw belay include two that utilize the Munter hitch. Use a large pear-shaped carabiner, which has the correct diameter for the Munter, instead of a standard carabiner. In one method, simply use a Munter hitch at the carabiner instead of running the belay rope around your ankle (fig. 14-45). Another method permits you to operate the belay while standing (fig. 14-46).

Ice Axe Belays

Fig. 14-45. Boot!ice-screw belay using Miinter hitch

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