Hints and Tips

Number one all time greatest tip.

Before you commit your weight to using an anchor system or a belay system, double check everything, a final check, and then check again. Make this checking a conscious deliberate action. Do this every time without fail and this 'habit' will keep you alive.

Bolts & Bolt plates – July 2003

Now days there are a variety of sizes in bolts & bolts plates.  Some bolts have larger heads than others, and some bolt plates have larger holes than others. If you are confronted with a large headed bolt and you only have small holed bolt plates then you could find yourself in trouble. I believe the older bolt plates have a larger hole than the newer plates. If you have a set of wires (nuts) handy then you can use one of these on the bolt head to get you out of trouble. Slide the nut back a bit and slip the wire over the bolt head. Push the nut back up under the bolt to hold the wire in place on the head.
Sometimes with Carrot bolt placements the shaft of the bolt near the head is enlarged due to a little too much hammering when installed.  Moving the plate backwards and forwards a bit on the bolt will usually allow the bolt plate to slip into place.
Some bolts are finely placed leaving just enough room for a bolt plate to slip on. Trying to put the plate on from a bad angle can cause it to become stuck halfway. To overcome this possible problem it is best to say don’t force the plate on, for 99% of the time it will just slip on when the right angle is found which is usually straight up & down.


Belaying is a most important aspect of safe climbing. When you become quite competent at a task there is the danger that you no longer concentrate as much as you should. This is not good while you are belaying as you need to be aware at all times. If you use an auto locking belay device, such as the Gri Gri, then lapses in concentration will have less likelihood of causing someone a serious injury. I would strongly recommend the use of an auto locking belay device

Be mindful

Nov 2002 - I’ve heard of a few incidents that indicate that a reminder to be careful is in order.
There are many ways to have accidents when climbing. Indeed part of the reason we climb comes from the inherent and real danger that climbing possesses. We gain a great feeling of personal achievement by overcoming our fears and physical constraints.
When I am instructing new climbers I do so in a way that minimises the risks involved in order to build skills and confidence. In this situation the perception of danger by my clients is very low. The most important item of belaying is stressed.
Belaying a fellow climber is the most important skill you will ever learn. Consider it well.
When climbers become more proficient and become leaders it is wise to consider the fall. It is fine to fall straight down on good pro. However traverses, fall factors, and what we are likely to hit in the even of a fall should be highly considered. Leading is all about taking the risk, although many of our climbs are well protected and can be led quite safely.
In any event it is wise to Consider the fall.