The Problem with Business as Usual
I was rock climbing near my home a few of months ago with two experienced climbing buddies, and I wasn't too shocked to learn both had hurt themselves (a broken ankle, a broken back) while climbing. But I was surprised to learn the reason: miscommunication between the climber and the person holding the belay device that controls the safety rope. "On belay" means that the belayer is operating the belay device, ready to "catch" the climber in the event of a fall. "On belay" essentially means "I've got you, it is safe to proceed." "Off belay" means the opposite: "I am not manning the belay device, so exercise extreme caution." Both my friends were injured when they believed the belayer was "on belay" when he wasn't.
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