Date of Award

Spring 5-24-2019

Document Type

Honors Project

University Scholars Director

Dr. Christine Chaney

First Advisor/Committee Member

Lane Seeley

Second Advisor/Committee Member

Daniel Keene


Lead Climbing, Kinematics, Physics, Dynamic Rope, Belayer Technique


The goal of this research is to gain a better understanding of the kinematics and dynamics involved with lead climbing. Digital accelerometers, load sensors, and slow motion cameras were used to conduct both small and large scale testing of different factors of that might effect a climber and belayer during lead climbing. Rope elasticity and belayer movement were the two factors that were looked at for this research. Small scale testing was done using rigid masses, cords with different levels of elasticity, and a pulley system to simulate anchor points. From the small scale testing it was found that a more elastic rope decreases the force experienced in a fall. After comparing tests of an anchored belayer to a free belayer it was found that there is a 30% and 35% decrease in the maximum average force experienced by the climber and the belayer, respectively. While both tests show a scenario in which one case is better, in real climbing, the best setup changes on a case by case basis. It is the job of both the climber and belayer to know the risks and come up with a plan to reduce the most amount of risks possible in order to enjoy climbing safely.

Included in

Physics Commons