20. How to Escape the Belay—with redirect

In this video we look at how to escape a redirected belay. This is an advanced rockcraft skill that should be honed by anyone venturing into multi pitch terrain—but is also useful for cragging. You might use this skill to get the belayer out of the rope system in order to conduct emergency response.

Step 1: From the braking position, pull a bight of rope from the brake strand through the belay carabiner.

Step 2: Tie off the brake strand around the spine of the belay carabiner. Back up this hitch with an overhand knot tied to the loaded strand of rope above the belay device. You are now considered “hands free” and can use both hands for other tasks in this scenario.

Note: you are still counter-balancing the climber with your weight on the rope, so be sure to keep your weight on that rope, otherwise the climber may descend or shift positions, and in the case of an injury, this could make matters worse.

Step 3: Tie a klemheist or prussik hitch to the climber’s strand of rope. Clip a locking carabiner to this hitch.

Step 4: Connect this hitch to the strand of rope behind your clove hitch using a munter mule.

Step 5: Now you can undo the backup knot on your belay device and transfer the load of the climber onto that hitch and off your body. Ease the weight onto the hitch as they can slip if not properly set.

Step 6: Tie an overhand knot behind your belay device as a “stopper knot” in case the hitch holding the climber’s weight slips while you back the whole system up on the master point.

Step 7: Create a munter mule where the climber’s rope runs through the locking carabiner in the master point.

Step 8: Remove your hitch so you have only the munter mule in the climber’s rope holding their weight from the master point.

Now you’re free from the belay system and able to assess the situation!

We strongly recommend pursuing medical training, such as a Wilderness First Responder or Wilderness First Aid course.

We hope you found this video helpful. Feel free to comment below with questions or thoughts!


Please remember, climbing is inherently dangerous. Climb at your own risk.