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Using the auto belays

Climb the high walls at The Reach safely by yourself, using our array of auto belay devices.

A very good way of working out, or working on technique - and you can do by yourself! The auto belay device eliminates the need for a human belayer. The auto belay takes up the slack as a climber ascends and safely controls the descent when the climber lets go or falls.

 Auto belay Information Video 

There are important safety considerations associated with using auto belay devices, as explained in our Auto belay Information Video. The basic procedures are also laid out below.

Of prime importance:

  • Your harness must be fitted correctly
  • The auto belay karabiner must be clipped into your harness correctly

To ensure that these basics have been grasped, Bouldering only members must have a short safety induction with an instructor before using the auto belays unsupervised.

Adult members who are registered for roped climbing already know how to fit a harness and clip into it, so do not need to have this induction.

Young people (aged 14-17) must also have an induction and assessment at the centre in order to use the auto belays without supervision. Please contact us to arrange this (020 8855 9598).

Younger people wanting to climb can check out our under 18 pages.

Auto belay Procedures
General Considerations
  • Most accidents are due to user error
  • Helmets must NOT be worn when climbing with the auto belay.
  • Maximum user weight: 23 stone (150 kg)
  • Junior members must be assessed by Reach staff before using the auto belays unsupervised; in all other circumstances, under 18s may only use the auto belays under the constant supervision of an adult member.
  • Bouldering-only members must be inducted by Reach staff and complete the Auto belay Add-on waiver before using the autobelays unsupervised.

Before use
  • Check the auto belay operation before use
    • leave it clipped to the blue fabric triangle, then pull the tape down a few metres and ensure it retracts
  • Check your harness is fitted correctly
    • waist belt tight - impossible to pull down over your hips
    • all buckles secured
  • Check the auto belay's karabiner is clipped into your harness correctly
    • clipped into the belay loop on the harness – i.e. NOT into a gear loop
    • gate facing away from the body
    • gate locked

During use
  • Do not climb faster than the tape retracts
  • In the event that the line does not retract during climbing, stop climbing and ask staff for assistance, or down-climb if possible
  • Only climb routes on the line the auto belay is on

After use
  • Ensure that the auto belay karabiner is clipped back into the anchor flag when you have finished.

The Reach opening times:
10am - 10pm Mon-Fri
10am - 7pm Sat-Sun
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020 8855 9598

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