Sep 13, 2011

Climbing Commands Reframe

Context by my favorite indoor ripper

I have instructed the basics of top rope belaying a lot. I view it (like many of my interests) as a craft. I'm consistently finding ways to make my teaching more effective and efficient. One key breakthrough I made is reframing the "Climbing Commands" as a dialogue between the climber and the belayer. The word command implies an order and does not necessarily imply successful understanding on the receiver's end. The word dialogue implies an exchange where each party is a participate. I prefer to think of (and teach) it as a series of questions and answers. The climber asks a question and the belayer answers. Example:

Climber: On Belay?
Belayer: Belay on.

Climber: Climbing?
Belayer: Climb on.

Climber: Take?
Belayer: Gotcha.

Climber: Ready to Lower?
Belayer: Lowering.

This subtle shift inherently improves the relationship between the climber and belayer. It encourages a better system that is less prone to miscommunication and the subsequent mistakes.