A lot of my early rock climbing experience involved kids (including myself as a kid), climbing walls, and really tight, confidence- inspiring, top rope belays. So much so, that this type of belaying is ingrained in my muscle memory and my husband is constantly wishing I’d give him even the tiniest bit of slack on top rope climbs.
I’ve come to refer to this type of belay as a “Birthday Party Belay.”
Aside from kids’ birthday parties, this belay is great for those scenarios where you are absolutely terrified you might fall and even though falling should elicit no fear because the actual amount of slack in the rope is small, you are too lazy or tired to want to drop and have to redo any more of this climb than absolutely necessary.
Some in this scenario might say “uprope” or “take” and sound professional.
But I prefer to say “birthday belay, please.”
Or , if I’m really scared or out of breath, I’ll just say “birthday”and we all know what it means.
A friend of mine went to a workshop with other climbers and reported back that, to her surprise, none of them knew what a birthday party belay was. I am forever grateful she educated them, as I think it is a very practical term. I would like to see it spread across all of the climbing world, so I am starting tonight with this blog.
Oh, and a hashtag. #birthdaybelay
Why not think about something fun like a birthday party when you are in a moment of unnecessary terror on a climb?
Please join me in this movement.