What Are Belay Glasses Used For?
Belay Glasses Promise: Look Forward to See Up
Belay glasses promise to reduce belayer neck strain by reducing neck angle while belaying on steep rock climbs. Unfortunately, most current belay glasses only partially deliver on this promise.
When belaying rock climbers, it is best to keep your eyes on the climber during the entire ascent. Doing so lets you make sure you know when to feed rope out, pull rope in, or catch a fall. This is especially true if your climber is at a difficult or hazardous location on the climb.
Climbing a pitch can be fairly fast, or it can take a really long time. Short, easy routes in a climbing gym might only take a climber a few minutes to ascend. Longer, harder and more complex routes in the gym or outside can take 20-30 minutes. Pamela Shanti-Pack, a PitchSix ambassador, says that her long offwidth ascents in Indian Creek can take more than an hour to climb. That’s a long time for the belayer to keep eyes on climber. For the sake of maximum safety, it’s critical that the belayer has maximum comfort.
Are Belay Glasses Worth It?
Without belay glasses, even low-angle climbs can cause neck strain. As routes get steeper, the pain associated with belaying for long periods of time can become acute. Belayer’s neck is a condition where strain on the back and sides of the neck can actually result in injury. Belayer’s neck can be debilitating in extreme cases.
Often, to avoid neck pain, belayers without belay glasses will not look up at their climber during the entire ascent. While looking away from your climber doesn’t necessarily put the climber in imminent danger, it can result in a belay that’s less responsive to the climber’s immediate needs. This can be dangerous if the climber is at risk of falling near a hazard.
It's highly recommended to use belay glasses to save neck pain and give a safer belay.
It’s the Belayer’s Responsibility to Give a Great Belay
While increased risk of injury is one downside of not maintaining eyes on climber, a more common negative side effect is a sub-optimal belay. If the climber is on a difficult-for-them route, it’s important that the belayer feeds slack, pulls in slack and takes at just the right times. It’s the belayer’s responsibility to optimize their climber’s send potential by giving a great belay.
Belay glasses help with this goal. Belay glasses help the belayer to look forward and see up. Unfortunately, belay glasses with fixed prisms, which is all glasses except PitchSix EyeSend glasses, elevate the belayer’s view by a fixed 60°. This means a belayer can reduce their neck bend by 60° over what it would normally be. If the climber is ascending a vertical, or 90°, cliff, the belayer only has to crane their neck by 30° instead of the full 90°. That helps, but it falls short of the look forward to see up promise. What fixed-prism belay glasses deliver is “look forward to see somewhat upward.”
EyeSend Belay Glasses are Superior
PitchSix EyeSend glasses are different. They are the only belay glasses with an adjustable prism. This unique feature let’s you adjust your angle of view from a low-angle, 60° slab to a steep 120° overhanging climb. Using EyeSend glasses, you can see forward, directly upward and even behind your head! You can maintain a neutral neck position regardless of the angle of the climb.
EyeSend glasses, for the first time, fully deliver the “look forward to see up” promise. You can maintain “eyes on climber” without bending your neck at all, regardless of cliff angle.
Get EyeSend and realize a more-comfortable, safer and better belay.