Frequently Asked Questions

I hear Ascent Studio is really strict about the style of belaying, why is that?

Yes, we've decided that it is best for everyone in the gym if we settle on one specific style of belaying called PBUS. We do understand that there are a few variations that work well to keep the climber secure, however the PBUS method is the first method taught by the American Mountain Guide Association (AMGA) and American Alpine Club (AAC). It has been shown to be the most resilient in the face of distraction and the method least likely for the belayer to lose control of the rope.

I've never dropped anyone before. Why can't I keep using the method I'm most comfortable with?

What you have been doing may not be wrong, or bad. We've simply decided that in the gym we will request everyone to use the most fundamental and resilient method. The climber's safety should be topmost in the mind of everyone belaying so why not learn and use the best demonstrated method.

The PBUS method is simple and quick. It is easily mastered. It meets the 3 fundamental criteria for a good belay:

  1. We always keep our belay hand on the rope.
  2. We only slide our hand(s) when the rope is in the breaking position.
  3. We always position our hands according to their natural strength.

Hopefully the method you have been using also meets these criteria. However, most of the variations compromise some aspect of resiliency of the PBUS method.

When you go outside, you are free to use whatever variation you find suits your purpose. Our hope is that by practicing the PBUS method that it will become your most common and reliable method.

Doesn't a GriGri solve the problem of bad belaying?

Many people think that the GriGri is an auto-locking or automatic braking device. This not true.. The GriGri is an assisted braking device. This does not remove the belayer from the responsibility of keeping the rope secure and taking up slack using a proper belay method. The PBUS method works just as well with the GriGri. Other methods may actually defeat the assisted braking functionality of the device.