Here are a couple of useful posts on UKC to think about.
The first one is a video of a nasty fall where the leader had his foot behind the rope, causing him to invert when falling and a fairly harsh belay causing him to slam into the wall upside down.
A chap at the cuttings in Portland decked out the other day, when his belayer gave him to much slack. He’d leant back to be lowered off and his belayer thought he’d said slack and given him slack and let go of the rope.
There’s lots of good sensible comments on both, but to roughly sum up (and yes, I know we all know this and I’m teaching lots of folk to suck eggs here, but still):
– Where possible make sure the rope doesn’t run behind your legs
– Wear a helmet!
– If belaying, try and give a ‘soft’ catch (obvious caveat, if a soft catch means they slam into a ledge, feel free to be harsh), i.e. don’t have a very taut rope and go with the momentum of the fall. If you’re not sure how to give a ‘soft’ catch, practise in a safe environment.
– When at the top of a route, make sure you know what your belayer is doing (for leaders)
– When the leader is at the top of a route, make sure you keep them on belay all the time, especially when they’re threading a route. If they ask for slack, give them a bit and then lock off the plate.
Finally, the following article is also worth a read – http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=4727