Confessions of a Belayer

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m just not really a rock climber. At least not for the time being. And that’s okay.

Before we left on this road trip I had vague thoughts of improving my climbing abilities. We’d be going to some of the best climbing areas in the country and climbing was going to be Alastair’s primary focus. It seemed only natural that I would partake. Turns out, the couple routes I tried did not spur an internal drive to push myself to try harder or get better. I do still enjoy an occasional trip to the climbing gym or a super easy route outdoors, and I haven’t totally ruled out all climbing forever. For now, though, I’m comfortable admitting that it’s just not my thing.

Alastair, however, loves it! Of course when it’s just the two of us he needs me around to belay him. Belaying is definitely not the most exciting outdoor activity but Alastair has personal climbing-related goals for himself and I’m happy to oblige and help him meet those goals. We’re a team, and I know he’d do the same for me.

Knowing that I would be doing a lot of belaying over the course of this trip, Alastair tried to make it as pleasant as possible for me. He packed belay gloves so I could keep my hands clean(er) and avoid rope burn. He brought two different belay devices (the gadget I use to catch his fall and/or lower him down from the top of the route) so I could have options on what gear I use. And he bought a pair of belay glasses that have mirrors which allow me to see what’s above without cranking my neck back.

The picture above shows the view through a lens of the belay glasses. I’m able to keep my head straight (you can see the rock wall I’m facing at the top and bottom of the picture) while keeping an eye on Alastair’s progress and seeing when he’ll be needing more slack or more tension on the rope. Despite looking a bit silly, these glasses have been a great asset. As you can imagine, they have saved me from a ton of neck strain after hours (and days) of belaying. Plus, it gives Alastair a pretty sweet view from above.



  1. Leslie Moore · May 25

    those are some nice glasses . . . 🙂


    • Erin · May 25

      I learned the hard way (with a few subsequent reminders) to not wear them when the sun is above me.


  2. big sis · May 25

    How does he even manage to climb with all the giggling he must be doing?


    • Erin · May 25

      I think his focus on not falling prevents him from looking down much.


  3. bendur · June 2

    Those glasses are great, haha! Clever. Which belay device is your favorite?


    • Erin · June 2

      I use a grigri if he’s going to be on the wall for a long time (like aid climbing which takes f.o.r.e.v.e.r.), but overall I like tubular devices because they are less cumbersome to manage.


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