Belay Duty

Belay Duty. (Click on the photo for added detail.)

With today’s throwback post I’m sharing the last from the series of film photos taken on expired colour negative film and cross-processed in B&W chemistry. I took this at another climbing session at the same crag as Jeff’s Cave. This time, however, there is a human element, with Ben patiently belaying. Non-climbers tend to think that climbing sessions are spent continuously climbing up walls, but the reality is that takes up less than half the time (and only if you’re lucky). The other half is generally spent belaying one’s climbing partner. This is an equally important part of the process, where complete attention must be paid as someone else’s safety is in your hands.

I almost titled this photo differently, with a jab at the climber on the other end of the rope. Who happened to be going through a particularly tricky bout of lack of confidence. And while I’m sure he wouldn’t hold it against me (God knows I’ve done my part patiently belaying him, and will continue to do so as long as necessary), I felt it wouldn’t be kind to tease him about this. Self-confidence comes only with practice, and then only when one can rely on the support of others.


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