Partnership Of The Rope

Partnership of the Rope

So there we were at the base of our route, tying in.  With our figure 8s and belay device threaded, we have entered the partnership of the rope. Sometimes it’s a short single pitch sport route, sometimes a 9 hour day on an alpine face. The partnership of the rope should be taken seriously across the spectrum.  

When we enter this partnership each member might have different goals for the day, but each member is there to help the other achieve those goals. The climber may be the one under physical and mental stress, but the belayer is there to support and safeguard the climber’s movement and decisions. This in turn helps the climber ascend higher than they could do on their own. Knowing I have back-up on the other end of the rope, allows me to move confidently through the difficulties of each pitch. 

I have to mention a route I climbed on the Devils Tower a year ago.  El Matador’s stem box was psychically the hardest pitch I have lead. I climbed it clean without falling or taking on the rope because of my belayer.  He was there to catch me if I did fall, I knew that, but it was more than that. He wanted me to succeed. He continually yelled up “keep fighting”  “stay with it”  when all I wanted to do was place gear and “take” because of the severe muscle pain and fatigue that was constant and continually growing. It was my belayers verbal presence that kept me on the climb and kept me moving upward at speed.  I couldn’t have done it clean without him. Next time you’re out sending or achieving new heights and goals, take a minute to thank the person opposite of you on the rope. They helped you get where you are.

Pete Lardy is the chief guide and owner of the Pikes Peak Alpine School. When he isn’t guiding, Pete can be found riding his bike around Colorado Springs to the nearest IPA. We’re all better people and climbers because of him.

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Pikes Peak Alpine School operates under special use permits from the USDA Forest Service, Pike National Forest and is an equal opportunity service provider & employer

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