A fall into a placement or directly into the belay means that forces of up to a ton need to be withstood. For an impressive demonstration click here. In order to ensure safe climbing despite self placed protection, there are some basic rules to be observed:
- The belay is the life insurance of a team and thus needs to be bomb-proof. Building belays is a science itself that needs to be learned under experienced instruction. Well-established literature on the topic may also help.
- The first intermediate belay is the most important (fall factor), in case of a lead-fall it takes in most of the force. It should be placed close to the belay or the ground depending from where you start climbing.
- The placements are only as good as the rock (stable rock, use of rather big structures).
- Place pieces according to the anticipated force direction and test them by pulling carefully.
- Check if placements are not comming out during climbing as a result of rope pull. Mind climbing zic-zac lines and/or extend placements with slings to minimize rope drag.
- Also think of your following partner. Will she/he be able to get the gear back?