10 Tips for Safe Climbing
1. Always Check Harnesses
After you’ve geared up, always check that both the climber’s and belayer’s harness buckles are doubled back.
2. Always Check Knots
Before you start climbing, always double check that leader’s tie-in knot (usually a Figure-8 Follow-Through) is tied right and finished with a backup knot. Also check that the rope is threaded through both the harness waist loop and the leg loops.
3. Always Wear a Helmet
A climbing helmet is essential if you want to live long and prosper. Always wear one when climbing or belaying. Helmets protect your head from falling rocks and from the impact of falling.
4. Always Check the Rope and Belay Device
Before you lead a route, always double check that the rope is properly threaded through the belay device (especially if it is a GriGri). Also, always make sure the rope and belay device are attached with a locking carabiner to the belayer’s harness.
5. Always Use a Long Rope
Make sure your climbing rope is long enough to reach the anchors and lower back down on a sport route or to reach a belay ledge on multi-pitch routes. When sport climbing, if you have any doubt that the rope is too short, always tie a stopper knot in the tail end to avoid being dropped to the ground.
6. Always Pay Attention
When you’re belaying, always pay attention to the leader above. He’s the one taking the risks of a fall. Don’t visit with other climbers at the base, talk on a cell phone, or discipline your dog or kids. Never take the leader off belay unless you are absolutely certain he is tied in and safe and he communicates that to you.
7. Always Bring Enough Gear
Before you climb a route, always eyeball it from the ground and determine what you need to bring. You know best. Don’t rely strictly on a guidebook to tell you what to bring. If it’s a sport route, verify visually how many bolts need quickdraws. If in doubt—always bring more than you think you need.
8. Always Climb With the Rope Over Your Leg
When you’re leading, always make sure the rope is over your leg rather than between them or behind one. If you fall with the rope in this position, you will flip upside down and hit your head. Wear a helmet for protection.