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DIY Belay glasses
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By Will Copeland
Mar 4, 2012
view off the 4th belay

Looking to see if anyone has thought about or made homemade belay glasses. Thinking about trying my hand at fashioning a pair. Thinkin about using mirrors rather than prisms like the CU glasses. Let me know y'alls thoughts, ideas, etc.

-Will


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By Alvaro Arnal
Administrator
From Aspen, CO
Mar 4, 2012
Pup Tent OS

This is how I made my belay glasses in 2 easy steps:

1) Wear stylin' sunglasses that the hunnies in sportsbras at the crag will notice

2) Look up

Done!


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By Mike Anderson
From Dayton, OH
Mar 4, 2012

I made a pair for about $30. I've been meaning to post a tutorial, but nascent gotten around to it.

I will post it up in a few days.


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By Malcolm Daly
From Boulder, CO
Mar 4, 2012

I made my first pair of belay glasses by buying a pair of "bedtime readers" from Amazon for about $23, cutting the lenses out and gluing them, upside-down on a pair of sturdy readers which I had cut the lenses out of. You don't have to be too clever to make them, just think it through before you get too excited about cutting and gluing. HINT: glue a bridge between the two lenses before you cut them in order the keep the correct alignment. Total cost was less then $50 and took a couple of hours.

Then I got a set of the real ones which I like a lot better.
#1 - They are much lighter.
#2 - The lenses are a lot smaller which, at first, seemed bad but after a few months of use, I like a lot. When you;re beginning to belay and your climber is close to the ground, the glasses can be perched on the end of your nose and you look over them. As the climber gets higher, push the lenses up and now you can track your climber through them and also see underneath them to determine how much slack you have in the line.

The bigger glasses don't allow this and so I never use them.

Mal


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By Matt N
From Santa Barbara, CA
Mar 4, 2012
OTL

[shrug] Mirrors?




(not me)


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By Jason Halladay
Administrator
From Los Alamos, NM
Mar 4, 2012
Climbing at the Belvedere crag near Nago with a great view of the northern end of Lake Garda and the town of Torbole sul Garda below. June 2013.

I have to say that, like many, I first chuckled a bit when I first saw folks using belay glasses. And then I tried them. After nearly two years of using them, I'm of the opinion they're really great. If you spend any appreciable amount of time belaying, do give them a try--your neck will thank you. Maybe not now, but perhaps five or ten years down the road. (As an aside, I'm really curious if anyone has ever done a study of the long-term affects on the neck caused by belaying?)

Anyway, on to the topic at hand. I've made three pair of DIY belay glasses. The first pair broke (more on that later), second pair replaced those and the third pair was for my special lady friend (and most consistent belayer.) All three were made from $25 (now $27) "bed reading glasses" available at amazon.com.

I simply unscrewed the arms and flipped them over to the other side, effectively flipping the prisms and leaving them in-situ in the lens frames. I didn't try to cut them out and flip them fearing I'd get the alignment wrong and poorly-aligned prisms are rough on your vision. Then I just dremeled out a small nose notch in what used to be the top of the lens frame. On the first pair I didn't fill the standard nose notch with anything so that resulted in a very weak bridge between the two prisms. So on my second and third pairs I glued a piece of plastic in the original nose notch to give the frames better strength. This has worked well. Certainly they're not the most comfortable eyewear ever but for a few minutes of belaying at a time, that's not an issue.

Granted, they look a tad ghetto but I figured belay glasses look pretty dorky to begin with so...

close up
close up


Some thoughts--I like these DIYs a lot. But, they are more fragile than the real-deal CU Belay glasses. so extra care must be taken when putting them on or taking them off. I've used the CU belay glasses and those are some quality optics in a light, flexible and strong package. You get what you pay for. If you have the cash, the CU glasses are top-notch. In fact, since we're fully on the belay glasses bandwagon now, I bought a pair of the CU belay glasses for my girlfriend for Christmas to replace the DIYs I made for her.


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By Woodchuck ATC
Mar 5, 2012
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008

Do they come in a clip-on for my normal every day glasses? I just wear a foam neck cervical collar to support my heavy head if it gets tired right now.


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By Dick King
Mar 15, 2012

Has anyone out there in cyberspace tried www.activeforever.com/p-26142-adjustable-reversible-prism-gl>>> ?

The $77 offering that's designed to turn upside down looks to me like a decent compromise between $150 glasses from Germany and trying to adapt a $25 pair of downward-looking prism glasses to belay.

-dk


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By bruno-cx
Mar 15, 2012
shirtless wonder

Dick, I used a pair of this this weekend. Super comfortable, easy to look around the lenses. More comfortable than the DIY version. The frame seems to be a high quality sport sunglass frame.


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By 1Eric Rhicard
Mar 15, 2012
It is a good sized roof. Photo: Jimbo

Have used a pair of the CU Glasses and liked them but they are made of glass and ship and break pretty easily. While using a buddies BGs to belay him a small pebble the size of a peanut M&M hit and cracked one of the lenses. They were still usable but that was lucky. For us Southern AZ chosstafarians it might be better to go with the home made ones.


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By Dick King
Mar 15, 2012

bruno-cx wrote:
Dick, I used a pair of this this weekend. Super comfortable, easy to look around the lenses. More comfortable than the DIY version. The frame seems to be a high quality sport sunglass frame.


The ones you tried are the $78 Task-Vision glasses, not the $150 CU glasses? The joint you twist to invert the prisms for belaying doesn't look brittle to you? [The product is, after all, normally sold to bedridden patients and couch potatoes, not vigorous climbers.]

Thanks. If so, I can buy them with confidence.

-dk


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By G McG
From Victoria, BC
Mar 15, 2012

Get a few people together and order them straight from Germany. I just paid $115 CDN for the CU's straight from the source. 3 of us went in on that order to get that price


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By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Mar 15, 2012
At the BRC

Eric, you should have your friend contact Albi in Germany (sorry, I don't know his last name.) He was very helpful when my wife's pair of CU glasses needed some tlc.
Mark


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By Dick King
Mar 16, 2012

G McG wrote:
Get a few people together and order them straight from Germany. I just paid $115 CDN for the CU's straight from the source. 3 of us went in on that order to get that price


Do they come with a case that lets owners safely carry them in their gear bag with cams and ATC's?


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By G McG
From Victoria, BC
Mar 16, 2012

Dick King wrote:
Do they come with a case that lets owners safely carry them in their gear bag with cams and ATC's?


They came in a clear plastic case with a molded protective foam that they fit in. I'd imagine you wouldn't want to put it UNDER all of your gear, but in with it all I'm sure it would be fine. The case seemed heavy duty enough to be able to be knocked around and dropped without damaging the glasses (I've dropped my case quite a few times on concrete and rock, and the glasses are still pristine).


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By Michael Maraiah
Apr 7, 2012
Belay Glasses

Michael's Belay Glasses: belayglass.blogspot.com/ Don't crane your neck while belaying. Basically, one looks forward to gaze upward saving on neck strain. They allow the belayer to comfortably assume a closer position to the base of climbs which translates to a safer belay. They allow the belayer to more fully concentrate their attention to the task at hand, especially on long, protracted sessions. They accomplish this at roughly a 1/4 of the cost of the other product on the market, putting this easier into the average climbers budget.


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By Aric Datesman
Apr 7, 2012

David Sahalie wrote:
your glasses are modified bed spectacles. bed spectacles run $30, so paying you $10 to modify them is a great deal.


Sarcasm?


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By Jesse Newton
From catskills
Apr 9, 2012
slide mtn, 4180 catskills

I'm gonna go with look up, and communicate lol


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By Noah Fogel
From Cbad CA
Apr 10, 2012
me

my friend has one its scary looking down at your belayer and there looking straight at the wall instead of you there also really popular in spain. i tried them on they made me dizzy not my forte.


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By Josh Janes
Jun 16, 2012

www.mountainproject.com/v/gear-review-cu-at-the-wall-belay-g>>>


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By pawilkes
Sep 18, 2012

Another alternative are Belay Specs (www.belayspecs.com). They feature a flexible, tough stainless steel frame that is easy to see around. They prisms are bigger than the CU glasses so you see more but they sell for nearly half the price ($80) and are made in Salt Lake City, UT.


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By wankel7
From Indiana
Sep 19, 2012

I took a trad falling clinic. While in this class i caught about 20 lead falls in a row. Each catch was dynamic and backed up on toprope in case the piece blew.

After a while my neck got pretty tired watching my climber like a hawk. Then I wondered how good my dynamic catch would be not looking. I caught the climber just fine. Then I tried catching with my eyes closed using my other senses to time my dynamic catch. That also went well.

It taught me belay glasses are ridiculous.


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By Jaren Watson
From Rexburg, Idaho
Sep 19, 2012

Belay glasses are a must. It's a verifiable fact that if you belay more than five times in any ten-year period, you've got an 80% chance of wearing one of these for the rest of your life.

Belayer's neck brace (attachment for belay glasses available at additional cost).
Belayer's neck brace (attachment for belay glasses available at additional cost).


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By csproul
From Rancho Cordova, CA
Sep 19, 2012
Summit of Wolf's Head with Pingora in the background

wankel7 wrote:
I took a trad falling clinic. While in this class i caught about 20 lead falls in a row. Each catch was dynamic and backed up on toprope in case the piece blew. After a while my neck got pretty tired watching my climber like a hawk. Then I wondered how good my dynamic catch would be not looking. I caught the climber just fine. Then I tried catching with my eyes closed using my other senses to time my dynamic catch. That also went well. It taught me belay glasses are ridiculous.

Let's just hope you've been watching carefully enough to know whether that dynamic belay is warranted or not. Belay glasses may be optional, but IMO watching and paying attention to your climber is not. Unless, of course, they are climbing out of sight...then carry on.


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By mountainhick
From Black Hawk, CO
Sep 19, 2012

wankel7 wrote:
I took a trad falling clinic. While in this class i caught about 20 lead falls in a row. Each catch was dynamic and backed up on toprope in case the piece blew. After a while my neck got pretty tired watching my climber like a hawk. Then I wondered how good my dynamic catch would be not looking. I caught the climber just fine. Then I tried catching with my eyes closed using my other senses to time my dynamic catch. That also went well. It taught me belay glasses are ridiculous.



I don't care if you are wearing belay glasses, but if you are not paying attention and you give me a "dynamic" long soft fall into an ankle breaking ledge, well...

There are times on long pitches when a belayer can't see the climber, it happens, but arguing against being attentive, um.


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By wankel7
From Indiana
Sep 20, 2012

Ben Hicks wrote:
I don't care if you are wearing belay glasses, but if you are not paying attention and you give me a "dynamic" long soft fall into an ankle breaking ledge, well... There are times on long pitches when a belayer can't see the climber, it happens, but arguing against being attentive, um.


I am stating in this controlled environment where i was only giving dynamic catches i didn't have to see the climber fall to accomplish a dynamic catch.

No where did i say one should not pay attention.


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