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Forum: GLOBAL / Editorial / Petzl instruction for cross over belaying Login in to contribute
Petzl instruction for cross over belaying
OffLine 8a.nu
  2017-10-11 00:00:00    
Petzl comes with more safety instructions for belaying. Anybody who can explain why you are not allowed to give out slack and take in with the same method?
OffLine Bambam
  2017-10-12 08:44:54    
It's not like you are not allowed to i think. But when sliding up a rope towards the belaying device you have to losen your grip drastically and open the hand further than when sliding down a rope. This is because when you slide down, the rope is fixed in the belaydevice so you can hold a little bit of tension to have better control of the rope. When sliding towards the belaydevice there is a chance that if you dont losen your grip or the rope tangles that it just forms a loop. Then the chances of losing control of the rope or doing mistakes in a stressfull situation is given.  Still I prefer this method as long as you are doing it carefully. Switching hands is just a lot of gripping and letting-go moves wich all also have a risk of "missing" e.g. when tumbling and take two hands. Still that's not a big problem in my opinion.
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2017-10-12 08:48:42    
Thanks... it is just that I find it much more complicated to do the cross over and most experience climbers do not use this technique. Further more, for children with shorter hands it takes much longer time to pull in rope with the cross over style.
OffLine dreamingof8a
  2017-10-12 09:03:02    
The German Alpine Club DAV used to teach the "cross over method" for both giving and taking in rope. However a while ago they started to teach the "sliding" technique for giving rope just like Petzl describes it - the reasoning behind it was that apparently beginners are less likely to let go of the rope using this technique.

I wouldn't call the cross-over method wrong, but I admit that is definitely more complicated and hence could be more prone to errors.

I myself learned the cross-over many years ago and have always used both methods, depending on the situation.
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2017-10-12 09:05:48    
Thanks... do DAV still teach cross over for taking in rope?
OffLine dreamingof8a
  2017-10-12 22:26:35    
I'm not 100% sure but I don't think so. As far as I know you're meant to take in slack, moving the brake hand downwards, then slide upwards along the brake end of the rope.
OffLine Endre Verden
  2017-10-12 22:40:31    
I know sliding the hand is one of the normal ways to belay, but is's subpar.

Sliding the hand up when taking in slack, you effectively breaking the number one rule of belaying. You are letting go of the rope.

Especially if the belayer is going to take slack in fast, the grip normally gets very loose.
Seeing beginners who are thought this method, taking in slack is just a real life nightmare to watch. Luckily beginners usually don't fall that much...
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2017-10-13 09:01:28    
But it is almost impossible to take in slack fast if somebody misses a critical clip with the cross over method.
OffLine Endre Verden
  2017-10-13 17:56:09    
No it's not, training makes you proficient.
If you don't master it, then you are not yet a safe belayer, and should not belay on your own.

Why did they miss the clip?
That means a fall is probably imminent. Then it's important to have a firm grip around the brakestrand.
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2017-10-13 19:45:15    
Many experienced climbers do not use the cross over method, including me, and it works fine and of course it is much faster.
OffLine Endre Verden
  2017-10-13 19:55:33    
It's still a subpar way of belaying, doesn't matter how experienced you are.
You can't defy physics and friction.
You are effectively letting go of the rope.


I'm a experienced driver. I break the speed limit every time I drive.
I've never gotten myself or anyone else hurt. So my conclusion is that breaking the speed limit is safe, and it doesn't increase the risk for myself or my passengers.
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2017-10-13 23:16:17    
I agree but there might be situations where you gave to take in fast as your friend failed to clip and is about to fall close to the ground. Clearly you can take in much faster by sliding with your hand.
OnLine Bojan
  2017-10-14 09:20:37    
The first link (https://www.petzl.com/INT/en/Sport/Universal-technique-for-correct-use-of-a-belay-device-) is *universal* technique you can (or should) use with any Petzl belaying device.
If you use gri-gri the Petzl still suggests sliding break hand while taking in slack - look at the video at time 5:50
OffLine Bambam
  2017-10-14 15:23:07    
Endre Venden I think the point is, what you consider as "letting go of the rope" is not the big threat. You still do (or at least should!!!) ALWAYS have a closed "Ring" formed with your hand in wich you tunnel the rope so there is no chance for the rope to slip out of your hand. So actually you don't lose all control of the rope, there is just a slight delay in applying friction to the rope with your hand.
I prefer it as it is much faster and with proper awareness of the possible handling-errors it is just much smoother and faster.
Btw. I know what you want to tell us, but with your understanding of "letting go" : your "letting go" is not the same like "giving up control over the rope"
OnLine Joakim Thommesen
  2017-10-18 15:34:56    
Endre is right. I'm surprised there's even a discussion. You don't let go with the brake hand when someone is obviously about to fall any minute. With a grigri you at least have the redundance of the brake design, but with an ATC type brake you cannot let go in a situation like this.

Scary to read some of these postings.
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2017-10-18 16:48:17    
So you mean in a critical and dangerous situation you still need to take in slack with the cross over method?

Surely this is not as fast as just sliding with the hand which might help you to avoid your partner breaks his feet.