Rope Tug Commands

Sometimes the loudest scream cannot be heard when the climber and belayer are far apart. This is especially true in windy conditions, or when the climber is around a corner, above an overhang, or at the back of a ledge. It may be necessary to use a series of "tugs" on the rope in place of the standard voice commands. To avoid any possible confusion with interpretation of multiple rope tug commands, use only one.

a. While a lead climb is in progress, the most important command is "BELAY ON." This command is given only by the climber when the climber is anchored and is prepared for the second to begin climbing. With the issue of this command, the second knows the climber is anchored and the second prepares to climb.

b. For a rope tug command, the leader issues three distinct tugs on the rope AFTER anchoring and putting the second on belay. This is the signal for "BELAY ON" and signals the second to climb when ready. The new belayer keeps slack out of the rope.

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