OLDS – Hoppin’ on the T BUS

The OLDSchool crew has headed back into the woods to learn the basics of rock climbing. By the end of the section they will learn new gear systems, rock movement, bouldering, top-rope climbing, anchors, and multi-pitch.

We want to take the time to share with you one specific skill that the students will be learning.

The “TBUS.” Now even though all of our camp vehicles here at Snowbird have their own unique names, the TBUS is not one of them. TBUS is a belaying method used universally in the climbing world, and will be mastered by each student during this section.

TBUS stands for:





We secure each climber with gear such as rope, carabiner, harness, helmet, an air traffic control device (ATC), and a person who belays the climber when ascending the route. For example, when top rope climbing a prepared climber is attached to one end of the rope using a knot called the figure 8 follow through. The rope feeds through a secure anchor at the top of the route then back down to the belayer who is attached to the rope via an ATC. The ATC is what makes this method of belay possible by creating the needed friction for allowing the belayer to safely support and control the weight of the climber. The climber and belayer are both committed, this is where the TBUS comes in.

The relationship between the climber and belayer is very important when attempting to climb any route on the rock. Communication is key even before the climber ever leaves the ground. There is a series of gear checks and a clear verbal contract to make sure both climber and belayer  are ready to rock on. Once all systems are go the TBUS is put into action. A right-handed belaying starting position is with left hand on the section of rope going up to the anchor, and right hand just below the ATC on the section of rope going toward the ground. As the climber goes up the route they are creating slack in the already dynamic rope. To remain safe on the climb the belayer must take slack by pulling more rope through the ATC and onto the ground. When the slack is taken the belayers right (break) hand is further away from starting position. Now, the belayer must return back to starting position while safely securing the climber. They then break to ensure as little fall as possible pending the climber slips from the rock. The rope is always in break position during TBUS, except while taking slack. The belayers left hand goes under the right hand to temporarily become the break hand while the belayers right hand slides back into starting position. The TBUS makes sure that the climber is safely on belay and secure during the duration of the climb. The TBUS progression is accomplished many time by the belayer throughout a climb, anytime slack is created the TBUS is employed to create a secure and controlled line.

We are fans of the TBUS here at OLDSchool because it’s one of the safest ways to belay a climber, fun to practice, and easy to master. The rock climbing section will give our students a plethora of outdoor skills to put into their tool box, while enjoying Christ-centered community around some of God’s most mighty creations.

Also check out this cool video on Top Rope Belaying Technique.