Belay Glasses: The Game-Changer Every Climber Needs

Climbing is a thrilling sport that challenges both the mind and body. It requires a great deal of strength, agility, and endurance, as well as focus and mental fortitude. However, even the most skilled climbers can experience discomfort and pain while belaying, the act of controlling the rope while the climber ascends or descends. Belaying often involves tilting the head upwards for extended periods, which can cause neck strain and pain. Fortunately, there’s a simple yet effective solution to this problem: belay glasses.

In this blog post, I’ll explore the world of belay glasses and how they can be a game-changer for every climber. I’ll explain what belay glasses are, why they’re important in climbing, how to choose the right pair, and more. So if you’re a climber looking to improve your comfort and safety during belaying, keep reading!

What are Belay Glasses?

Belay glasses are a special type of eyewear designed specifically for belaying in climbing. They work by using prism lenses that allow the belayer to look straight ahead while still seeing the climber above. Instead of tilting their head upwards, which can cause neck strain, the belayer can simply look forward and monitor the climber’s progress. Belay glasses are typically made of lightweight materials such as plastic or aluminum, and they can be worn over prescription glasses or sunglasses.

There are several different types of belay glasses available on the market, each with its features and benefits. Some popular brands include Y&Y Vertical, CAMP USA, and Belay Specs. Some belay glasses come with adjustable lenses, allowing the user to customize the angle and position of the prism. Others may come with a hard case for protection during transport or storage.

Climbers of all skill levels, from beginners to experts, are increasingly using belay glasses. They are especially useful for climbers who must belay for extended periods, such as during multi-pitch climbs, where neck strain can be severe. Belay glasses, in addition to preventing neck pain, can improve the belayer’s visibility, lowering the risk of accidents and improving communication between the climber and the belayer.

The Importance of Belay Glasses in Climbing

Belay glasses are an important tool for climbers because they can prevent neck strain and improve comfort and safety during belaying. Neck strain is a common issue among climbers, especially those who belay for long periods. This can lead to pain and discomfort, as well as reduced performance and even injuries. Belay glasses help to eliminate this problem by allowing the belayer to maintain a natural head position while still seeing the climber above. This can reduce neck strain and improve the overall experience of belaying.

Belay glasses, in addition to preventing neck strain, can improve the belayer’s visibility and communication with the climber. Belay glasses allow the belayer to see more of the climbing area and identify potential hazards or obstacles by keeping the belayer’s head in a neutral position. This reduces the likelihood of an accident and improves communication between the climber and the belayer, resulting in a safer and more efficient climb.

Furthermore, belay glasses are useful for climbers of all skill levels, from beginners to experts. Belay glasses can make the learning process easier for beginners by reducing discomfort and allowing the climber to focus on technique and skill development. Belay glasses can help professionals maintain performance and reduce the risk of injury, allowing them to climb more efficiently and effectively.

How to Choose the Right Belay Glasses?

When it comes to choosing the right pair of belay glasses, there are several factors to consider. Here are some key things to keep in mind:

  1. Prism Angle: One of the most important factors to consider when choosing belay glasses is the prism angle. This determines the amount of tilt required for the climber to be visible. Most belay glasses have a prism angle between 60 and 90 degrees, with 70-75 degrees being the most common. It’s important to choose a prism angle that is comfortable and effective for you.
  2. Frame Style: The frame style is another important factor to consider. There are several different types of frames available, including plastic, aluminum, and titanium. Plastic frames are lightweight and affordable, while aluminum and titanium frames are more durable and long-lasting.
  3. Lens Quality: The quality of the lenses is also important. Look for lenses that are scratch-resistant, anti-glare, and provide clear visibility. Polarized lenses are also a good option, as they can reduce glare and improve visibility in bright sunlight.
  4. Fit and Comfort: The fit and comfort of the belay glasses are also important. Look for glasses that fit snugly and securely, without being too tight or uncomfortable. Some glasses come with adjustable nose pads and temple arms for a customized fit.
  5. Brand Reputation: Finally, consider the reputation of the brand. Look for brands that are known for producing high-quality belay glasses and have positive reviews from other climbers.

By considering these factors, you can choose a pair of belay glasses that are comfortable, effective, and reliable. In the next section, I’ll explore some tips for using belay glasses effectively.

How to Use Belay Glasses Effectively?

Using belay glasses effectively requires some practice and attention to detail. Here are some tips to help you use your belay glasses more effectively:

  1. Adjust the Prism: Start by adjusting the prism angle to the appropriate setting for your climbing situation. This will allow you to see the climber clearly without straining your neck.
  2. Use Proper Technique: To use belay glasses effectively, it’s essential to maintain proper belaying technique. Keep your brake hand on the rope at all times, and use your other hand to adjust the belay glasses as needed.
  3. Stay Focused: While using belay glasses, it’s important to stay focused on the climber and the climbing environment. Avoid distractions and maintain good communication with the climber at all times.
  4. Practice: Like any new piece of climbing gear, it’s important to practice using belay glasses before using them on a climb. Spend some time using them in a safe environment, such as a climbing gym, to get comfortable with them.
  5. Take Care of Your Glasses: Finally, it’s important to take care of your belay glasses to ensure they last as long as possible. Store them in a protective case when not in use, and clean them regularly with a soft cloth and lens cleaner.

By following these tips, you can use your belay glasses more effectively and safely during your climbs.

Pros and Cons

Like any piece of climbing gear, belay glasses have both advantages and disadvantages. Here are some pros and cons to consider when deciding whether to use belay glasses:


  • Reduce Neck Strain: Belay glasses are designed to reduce the amount of neck strain that belayers experience while looking up at the climber. This can be especially helpful during longer climbs or when belaying multiple climbers in a row.
  • Improve Visibility: Belay glasses provide a wider and clearer view of the climber, allowing the belayer to see their movements and positioning more easily. This can help provide better feedback and assistance to the climber.
  • Comfortable: Belay glasses are generally comfortable to wear, and can be adjusted to fit different head sizes and shapes.


  • Cost: Belay glasses can be expensive, especially for higher-end models with advanced features. This can be a barrier for some climbers, especially those on a tight budget.
  • Learning Curve: It can take some practice to get used to using belay glasses effectively, and some climbers may find them distracting or uncomfortable at first.
  • Limited Use: Belay glasses are only useful for belaying, and cannot be used for other aspects of climbing such as rappelling or route-finding.

Ultimately, whether or not to use belay glasses is a personal decision that depends on a variety of factors. If you frequently experience neck strain while belaying or want to improve your visibility of the climber, belay glasses may be a worthwhile investment. However, if cost is a concern or you prefer to rely on traditional belaying techniques, then belay glasses may not be necessary.

Some Common Mistakes to Avoid

Using belay glasses can be a helpful way to reduce neck strain and improve visibility when belaying, but there are some common mistakes that climbers should avoid when using them. Here are some things to watch out for:

  • Improper Prism Angle: One of the most common mistakes when using belay glasses is setting the prism angle incorrectly. If the angle is too steep or too shallow, it can make it difficult to see the climber. Make sure to adjust the angle based on the height and position of the climber.
  • Not Paying Attention: Belay glasses can help reduce neck strain, but they should never replace paying attention to the climber and the climbing environment. It’s important to remain alert and focused on the task at hand, even while wearing belay glasses.
  • Distractions: Belay glasses can be a new and novel piece of gear, but it’s important not to let them distract you from the task at hand. Avoid fiddling with the glasses or getting too caught up in adjusting them, as this can take away from your attention to the climber.
  • Improper Belay Technique: Using belay glasses does not replace proper belay technique. Make sure to maintain proper hand positioning on the rope, use an appropriate brake hand grip, and be ready to take action in case of a fall or other emergency.
  • Using Dirty or Scratched Lenses: Belay glasses rely on clear lenses to provide a clear view of the climber. Make sure to clean them regularly with a soft cloth and lens cleaner, and avoid using them if the lenses are scratched or damaged.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can use belay glasses more effectively and safely during your climbs.

How to Clean and Maintain

Proper cleaning and maintenance of belay glasses are important for maintaining their clarity and durability. Here are some tips for cleaning and maintaining your belay glasses:

  • Use a Soft Cloth: When cleaning your belay glasses, use a soft cloth to avoid scratching the lenses. Microfiber cloths or lens cleaning cloths work well.
  • Use Lens Cleaner: Use a lens cleaner designed specifically for eyewear to clean the lenses. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that could damage the lenses.
  • Store in a Case: When not in use, store your belay glasses in a case to protect them from scratches and damage. Some belay glasses come with a case included.
  • Avoid Extreme Temperatures: Belay glasses should not be exposed to extreme temperatures. Avoid leaving them in a hot car or cold environment, as this could damage the lenses or frame.
  • Replace Lenses if Necessary: If the lenses become scratched or damaged, it’s important to replace them to maintain the clarity of the glasses. Some belay glasses offer replaceable lenses, while others may need to be replaced entirely.

By following these tips, you can keep your belay glasses in good condition and ensure they are always ready for your next climbing adventure.

Safety Considerations

While belay glasses can be a useful tool for climbers, it’s important to consider safety when using them. Here are some safety considerations to keep in mind when using belay glasses:

  • Keep Your Eyes on the Climber: While belay glasses can help reduce neck strain, it’s important to always keep your eyes on the climber. Don’t rely solely on the glasses to keep track of the climber’s movements.
  • Use with a Spotter: If you’re using belay glasses while belaying a climber, it’s a good idea to have a spotter who can keep an eye on the climber from a different angle. This can help ensure that you have a clear view of the climber at all times.
  • Check for Loose Screws or Damage: Before using your belay glasses, check for any loose screws or damage to the glasses that could affect their safety and effectiveness.
  • Avoid Distractions: When using belay glasses, it’s important to avoid distractions that could take your attention away from the climber. Stay focused on your belaying responsibilities and avoid checking your phone or engaging in other activities that could interfere with your safety or the safety of the climber.
  • Practice Proper Belaying Techniques: While belay glasses can help reduce neck strain, they should never be used as a substitute for proper belaying techniques. Always follow proper belaying protocols to ensure the climber’s safety and yourself.

By considering these safety considerations, you can ensure that your use of belay glasses is safe and effective for your climbing needs.

Alternatives to Belay Glasses

While belay glasses can be a useful tool for reducing neck strain during belaying, other alternatives can achieve similar results. Here are some alternative techniques you can try:

  • Adjust Your Body Position: One way to reduce neck strain while belaying is to adjust your body position. Try standing closer to the wall or using a ledge or stool to raise the belay device to a more comfortable height.
  • Use a Belay Device with a Guide Mode: Belay devices with a guide mode, such as a GriGri, can help reduce the amount of tension on the rope and make it easier to hold a climber in place. This can help reduce the strain on your neck and make belaying more comfortable.
  • Take Breaks: Taking regular breaks during belaying can help reduce the strain on your neck and give your muscles a chance to rest. Try taking a break every 15-20 minutes to stretch your neck and shoulders.
  • Strengthen Your Neck and Shoulder Muscles: Regular exercise can help strengthen the muscles in your neck and shoulders, making it easier to support the weight of the rope and the climber. Consider adding neck and shoulder exercises to your regular workout routine.

By trying these alternative techniques, you can reduce the strain on your neck and shoulders during belaying without relying solely on belay glasses.


In conclusion, belay glasses can be a useful tool for climbers to reduce neck strain and improve their comfort while belaying. When selecting the best pair of belay glasses, consider factors such as lens quality, adjustability, and durability. Additionally, when using belay glasses, it’s critical to follow proper safety protocols, such as keeping your eyes on the climber, using a spotter, and avoiding distractions. However, belay glasses aren’t the only way to reduce neck strain while belaying. Altering your body position or using a guide-mode belay device can also be effective. Climbers can enjoy a safer and more comfortable climbing experience by using the proper tools and techniques.

Mark Stewart

Mark Stewart is the adventurous founder and CEO of Climb Daily. With a background in marketing and a deep passion for rock climbing, he left the corporate world to pursue his love for the outdoors. Learn more about Mark Stewart here.