When rope climbing, your most crucial relationship is the one you have with your belay partner. Trust and communication are crucial. Your wellbeing is quite literally in the other person’s hands, and if you’re lead climbing, there’s a likely possibility that one person’s butt will end up in the other’s face.
Once you find a good belay partner and establish a “belaytionship,” it makes all the difference in your climbing. Finding a good belay partner doesn’t mean that you can’t climb with other people, but it’s nice to have someone dependable that you enjoy and trust. As you make plans with your significant other, with friends, or even with Netflix this Valentine’s Day, don’t forget about the person on the other end of your rope. Here are some ways to show your belaytionship love and appreciation.
- Always, always, always check your partner.
This isn’t really a Valentine’s appreciation suggestion as much as a good practice. Regardless of whether it’s your first time or five hundredth time climbing, if you want to be a good climbing partner, always double check knots and gear before you head up the wall or crag. It’s way too easy to settle into a comfortable pattern and assume that your partner did everything right before hopping on a climb, but nothing will ruin your belaytionship faster than a preventable injury.
- Treat your belay partner with a gear gift.
Don’t overthink it. A small gift of appreciation goes a long way. Does your partner always borrow your ATC or chalk bag? Gifting gear to your friend will decrease wear on your own gear AND remind them of you each time they use it.
- Do something other than climb with them.
If you spend several hours a week climbing with your belay partner, hopefully you enjoy spending time with them. Show your appreciation for them as a person as well as a climber by making plans outside of the facility. You can grab post-climb drinks or go to a yoga class that can help you train for #sends.
Whether your belaytionship is with your best friend, some guy from work, or even your significant other, make sure you give them a shoutout and help them feel appreciated Valentine’s Day and everyday.
Words: Anne Cruz, Brooklyn Boulders Queensbridge
Edits: Jen Werner, Brooklyn Boulders Queensbridge