Recently, the American Alpine Club produced a video that shows several belay variations. They demonstrate two versions of the PBUS (Pull. Brake. Under. Slide), one version of the two handed technique (a terrible and uncomfortable technique) and the shuffle technique (something that beginners should never do).
The universal part of the universal standard is that all belays should follow three baseline rules:
- The brake-hand should never leave the rope.
- Hands should only slide when the rope is in the braking position.
- Hands should be in a position of strength.
I am definitely not a fan of the shuffle technique. It is an acceptable technique, but I don't think it's appropriate for people learning to belay. If you are someone who has the opportunity to teach belaying, I would cut this from any training for beginners.
It's good to see that the AAC is putting these videos together. There are far too many people out there still using archaic belay techniques...and as a result, there are still too many accidents from inadequate belays.
--Jason D. Martin