The belay system is a way to secure the participant’s stay on the rope stages and prevent him from falling. Deficiencies in the insurance system are unacceptable, because the participant’s safety depends on its quality. Our main rule is that if participants’ feet are higher than 1 meter above the ground, belay systems must be used to ensure their safety.
There are several basic methods of insurance applicable when conducting a rope course and building rope parks, the choice of which insurance to use depends on the features and tasks of the rope park.
It is used only for low rope course exercises. Several team members stand directly next to the participant who is on the course element. The team holds outstretched arms at a distance of approximately 20-30 centimeters from the participant’s body and monitors his movements. In the event of a breakdown, the team must be ready to catch it. This type of insurance is used only on course elements located no higher than 1 meter above the ground.
Insurance by flipping
This method of insurance is based on the standard insurance used by climbers, as well as the type of insurance used on Via-Ferrata routes. The participant controls his own safety with the help of climbing equipment. At the end of the rope stage, the participant must alternately put the carabiners on the belay loops of the next stage. To use this belay system, two carabiners (possibly three) troll descent units with whisker loops attached to the climbing system are required. The main rule of such insurance: “There should always be one point of insurance.” Safety rails consist of a horizontally stretched rope or cable that runs through the entire park at different heights above the stages.
There are many mounting options and types of carabiners for this type of belay. We prefer to use special “mustache” with carabiners “blocks” of the company Smart Belay. These are special carabiners in the upper part of which there is a movable roller, when it is attached to the rope, it slides along it, reducing friction. The advantage of these carabiners is that they do not wear out so quickly, the participant feels more comfortable on the stages due to less friction of the carabiner against the cable. In the case of failure, you do not need to follow the participant, it is enough to give him a rope and drag him to the end of the stage.
Another advantage of Smart Belay is the connection between the two carabiners through the straps, so if one carabiner is open, the second carabiner cannot open until you close the first one. This is how the participant’s safety problem is solved, he may end up at a stage without a single insurance point.
Continuous insurance of the rope park
This is the newest insurance system and the most secure at the moment, which is manufactured by our partners in Belgium. The principle of operation consists in combining all safety cables into a single system, which moves a special safety device. Thus, the participant is not required to take any additional actions while completing the route. The participant is attached to the belay at the very beginning of the route, passing from one stage to another, he does not need to leach carabiners from the belay loops, the only place where the participant can disconnect from the belay system is the finish line. In rope parks, a continuous belay system is considered the safest.
The use of this type of insurance is optimal for parks with a large influx of visitors, as it greatly reduces the time of the participant, and significantly optimizes the number of instructors. Everything has its pros and cons, one of the main disadvantages of this system is its very high cost. Another disadvantage is the lack of opportunity for a fast participant to overtake a slower one, but this is solved by installing two parallel continuous insurance systems.
We use classic mountaineer insurance only in cases where it is impossible to avoid the methods described above. For example, these can be tasks of a high ropes course or other, as a rule, specific training tasks. One qualified instructor is required to insure one participant.
We use this insurance system in the construction of children’s rope parks. Under each element of the park, we stretch nets to catch participants when they fall from the stage. This is a very convenient way to insure children, as it saves small participants from additional equipment, and allows them to move freely throughout the park.