Getting in a twist: belaying with two ropes


Last weekend we had our second meet of the year. I think it’s fair to say both of our fresher’s meets have been a success despite the weather.

For those of you who couldn’t go on the meets or are still a bit confused about belaying outdoors, hopefully these short videos (~2 mins each) can help.

Key points for lead belaying:

  • Pay attention to what your climber is doing

  • Don’t let go of the dead rope

  • Stand close to the rock (trad climbing gear is not always mulit-directional)

  • Remember they need a bit of slack so they can move!

  • Rope drag can lift the gear out, using two ropes can help.

Key points for belaying with two ropes:

  • Learn to be ambidextrous and belay with either hand

  • Anticipate your climber’s moves. If they’re climbing on the right expect to pay out on the right. Be ready if they do fall

  • Practice is the only way you’re going to get good at this

  • Practice on the ground beforehand and don’t be afraid to ask someone more experienced to check what you’re doing

Technique for belaying with two ropes (watch from ~2 minutes in):

The BMC and have loads of resources on learning new skills. Check out BMCTV (  for more videos or look on the UKC articles page ( to learn more skills.