How To Top Rope
Want to learn how to top rope? This style of climbing is possibly one of the easiest. Top rope is exactly how it sounds, a rope at the top of a route supports the climber. The rope runs from a belayer at the bottom of a climb through a carabiner at the top, which is supported by an anchor system, and then back down to the climber. Top roping is usually done on routes that cannot be lead climbed for whatever reason. Many climbing schools have a top rope areas set up during good weather seasons for students and to just practice climbing and keeping in shape. Climbing gyms also have top ropes set up throughout for climbers safety. In order to learn how to top rope, a climber must have a few basics down.
- Gear: Top rope climbing requires very little gear compared to aide climbing, but more than bouldering. There is a rope, harness, carabiner, chalk bag, shoes and a belaying device. This type of climbing relies heavily upon the gear not failing should a climber fall.
- Knots: The most used knot is the figure eight. This knot is double backed for safety and is connected to the climbers harness either through the belay loop on the harness, or through a locking carabiner. There are a few different ways to tie a figure eight, but the follow through is the easiest for a beginning climber.
- Belaying: Part of top roping is being the belayer so that others can climb too. A proper belay device, such as an ATC is needed. Another safety technique to belaying is to have the belayer be anchored down as well. This can be done by tieing part of the rope to a tree limb or in ground anchor.
- Rappelling: Once a climber makes it to the top of the rope, they need to get back down. This process is called rappelling. Rappelling is mostly controlled by the rappeller, but the belayer is still holding onto the rope in case of an emergency. They can pull on the climbers rope and keep them from going down any further.
- Climbing: Climbing up the route is the main part of top roping. This type of climbing is good for advancing skills and techniques since a climber is less likely to fall and get hurt, as long as they follow all of the safety guidelines to climbing. Top rope climbing can be done on all types of routes, like aretes, cracks and over hangs.