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Stop saying "SAFE"
10:05:12 AM
Accident report to follow I hope, but yet again someone topped a pitch and used the magic word "Safe". Belayer took them off belay. Person got back on rope and fell whole pitch.

Don't say "Safe" when you're not safe.

For instance, if you're threading the anchors on a sport route, don't say "Safe".
A better term is "In Hard" as :-
-it doesn't sound like anything else
-it tells your belayer that you're clipped into something and to keep them on belay
-it says that you'll need slack soon, and that you'll need to be lowered
-it says please stay on belay.
(Your belayer may pull through a bit of slack and tie a double overhand below the device as a backup.)

On another note, 'Safe' sounds a lot like 'Take'. I've started using the illogical Americanism "Off belay" (illogical as your belayer is the one who takes you off belay) as it doesn't sound like anything else.
10:29:19 AM
My 2C

I have stopped saying "in hard" or anything similar if I am leading a sport route and intend to be lowered. If i am leading a sport route and need to thread the anchors before lowering, I will anchor in hard with slings but simply tell my belayer "slack".

If the belayer is keeping you on-belay while you are "in hard" I am not sure I really see the advantage of saying anything at all. In my mind it is better to remove any confusion of a middle ground between being"safe" and needing to be on-belay.

I always try to make sure my belayer knows the "plan" before I leave the ground aswell.
10:32:15 AM
On 12/01/2015 mikllaw wrote:

>On another note, 'Safe' sounds a lot like 'Take'. I've started using the
>illogical Americanism "Off belay" (illogical as your belayer is the one
>who takes you off belay) as it doesn't sound like anything else.

Just on that, I've picked up the habit from a few of my more experienced climbing friends of using 'Secure' rather than 'Safe' for the same reason.

10:47:29 AM
I always make sure my partner knows the plan. When up there I won't say safe but will just pull rope and rethread and then confirm that they've got me and have taken in any slack before I come off the anchor.

As for calling "safe", my phrase is typically: "I'm safe *name of partner*". This limits confusion with other parties and contrasts enough from the high pitched and desperate sound of TAKE!

On a related point, one thing that really shits me at Hardrock in Melbourne is that they've started telling climbers to say "safe" when they want/are ready to be lowered. Its so stupid and completely counter intuitive and all I can hope is that beginners heading outdoors have enough sense to figure out this is bad practice.

10:48:52 AM
Another vote for "off belay" when you're ready to be off belay. I pick it up from a buddy and find it much less confusing then the safe/take debacle;)

11:06:52 AM
I use "In hard" but really just comes down to your belayer knowing what your calls are going to be.

I tend to climb with the same group I have for years so we have the calls pretty much hard wired in the brain anyway

11:16:32 AM
I was taught never to say 'take' because it can be confused with 'safe', both 1 syllable. Instead use 'take in', 2 syllables.

Another tip, weight the rope before disconnecting your sling/draw from the anchor. This way you are testing you are on belay, threaded and tied in ok. Same thing goes for rappeling.

11:19:01 AM
a kiwi almost dropped me to my death when i said 'take' and he took me off. i leaned back a little but was able to stop the death fall.

we had a loud chat once i rapped back down.

off belay has an odd number of SYLLABLES which makes a big difference in the wind.
11:23:16 AM
Vanessa started saying things like "TAFE","I'm safe to take", "take in safe", and "SAKE" just to be confusing.

11:30:55 AM
On 12/01/2015 mikllaw wrote:
>Don't say "Safe" when you're not safe.
This has worked well for me for many years now...
>On another note, 'Safe' sounds a lot like 'Take'. I've started using the
>illogical Americanism "Off belay" (illogical as your belayer is the one
>who takes you off belay) as it doesn't sound like anything else.
... Untill you start belaying from above!

"Take", is another sad wtf overseasure we have in the lexicon now. What ever happened to "tension"?

Send a text message instead!
Bah humbug.

12:17:13 PM
Whatever happened then to the belayer yelling "Off Belay".
I was taught, and insist, on calls being confirmed with "OK".

So a climber yelling 'safe' (or even a mistaken 'take'), the belayer should call out "Off Belay", and receive the "Ok" before the rope actually leaves the device.

But totally agree with Mikl's post, that you never say "Safe", unless you want to be taken off belay.

1:04:24 PM
My 2 cents: As a general rule, after making a plan on the ground, I keep communication to an absolute minimum while actually climbing to avoid potential misunderstandings.

When I get to the top of a sport route and begin the process of retying and threading the anchor, I say nothing at all. As a consequence, there is no chance for miscommunication, and no chance (hopefully) that my belayer will take me off. When I finish the process I just say "ready to lower", or "off belay" if I intend to abseil.
1:09:41 PM
On 12/01/2015 IronCheff wrote:

>Another tip, weight the rope before disconnecting your sling/draw from
>the anchor. This way you are testing you are on belay, threaded and tied
>in ok. Same thing goes for rappeling.

Yes yes yes. Even though you generally have to call for slack to then remove your safety

2:41:44 PM
Was this the accident at piddo on sat (with the chopper airlift)?
3:15:19 PM
Yup, most here in Canada say 'Secure' which I think its much better than 'Safe'.

The response is usually the belayer shouting 'Off belay'.
3:41:30 PM
I started using 'in hard' after seeing a belayer next to me being confused about whether their climber said safe/take. It annoys one of my climbing partners who thinks its an Americanism but as long as he doesn't drop me I don't care :)
4:14:33 PM
I always use names and always ask for conformation on my calls and other's calls which happen at the start/end of pitches.

"John, I'm safe."
"Are you safe Sam?"
"Yes John, I'm safe."

If I'm sport climbing and going to be lowered then I'd normally be inclined to make no calls apart from take and slack until I'm ready to be lowered.

4:44:02 PM
I guess I tend to chat a bit if I have a clear line of sight to my partner but once I get out of sight I tend to revert to the minimum of calls. This is because I find I end up in situations where it is difficult or impossible to hear my climbing partner pretty often due to wind or cliff shape. And in those cases keeping the number of calls to a minimum is essential.
e.g. get to the top of the pitch, build your anchor, take in the slack, put them on belay and then call "on belay fred". If you don't hear a response just give 3 big tugs on the rope to indicate the same.
e.g. get to the top of a sport route, clip in hard, thread the anchors, weight the rope and yell "lower away fred". Since your partner knows it is a sport route with a lower off they'll lower you sooner or later even if they can't hear or see you.

And I agree with patto, "off belay" is a question that requires an "ok" before you actually do it.

Big G
5:03:24 PM
I hope whoever the unfortunate person that prompted this post is OK. All calls, whatever they are should be confirmed by climber and/or belayer

Eduardo Slabofvic
5:07:52 PM
I don't agree with the "off belay" call prior to actually being off belay. "Off belay" means that the climber is now free to do what they want to with the rope because they are no longer being belayed.

It's just like calling "Safe", as in it is now safe for you to take me off belay as I am in a situation where I take responsibility for my own safety (which could mean I'm clipped into an anchor, or I'm on a massive ledge looking for somewhere to take a dump) so its O.K. for you to take me off belay.

If I am not safe, I should not call "Safe", and if my movement is still governed by the belay device, then you should not tell me that I am off belay, because I am not.

I was providing some guidance to a newby a few weeks ago. This person has been taught by very experienced people prior to this. They belayed the leader, who called safe. This person then called off belay, before they actually had the rope out of the belay device. As they were removing the rope from the device, the leader at the top of the pitch pulled in some slack (and fair enough too, as they were told they were off belay). This caused the belayer to drop their belay device. No harm done, but lucky this was not on a multi pitch route, as the belay devide would be gone.

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