Belaying….a walk down memory lane

Usually I play football with the kids at the Youth Zone on a Thursday evening. Last night I helped Nicole at the climbing wall get the kids strapped into their harness. She asked could I belay to which I replied “I have but let’s say I don’t!” After a while, I asked her to refresh me and I thoroughly enjoyed being that anchor person who takes up the slack in the rope to ensure the climbers safety.

Mike on the climbing wall

Mike on the climbing wall

Belay Device

Belay Device

Mike enjoyed climbing and it was through climbing, well should I say falling that it lead him to play the guitar. In fact after that fall at 16 I don’t remember him going again. He fell 20 feet and broke two vertebrae. I am always amazed how a clever little belay can be used to secure a rope to assist a climber and should they fall, it just locks them into position. Of course, the person allowing the rope or not allowing the rope to pass through the relay is key. Several times at different walls I belayed for Mike. I took a small 1/2 course that qualified me! Why did Mike fall? Typical, he had just turned 16 which aloud him to climb alone. That does not mean climbing up 20 feet without a rope attached and secured off! Why do we think we can go it alone? Why don’t we ask others for help? Why do we have an over confidence is self and our ability? Why does pride get in the way? One wall Mike climbed whilst I belayed for him was Edinburgh International, a wall of 28 meters or 90 feet. Whilst I have no head for heights, Mike was straight up a couple of times and he enjoyed the fast descent playing James Bond on the way down! As dad, I had great enjoyment knowing my boy was safe to be free on the wall, but that freedom he enjoyed was because he was attached to me via the rope and with that came his security and safety. mmm sounds familiar!

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