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Five Reasons Why Top Roping is Cool

Top roping has a bad rap and it’s time to come to terms with the fact that it’s way cooler than climbers give it credit for.

In 2011, one of the winners for the Reel Rock Tour 2010 two-minute film making competition was Top Rope Tough Guys. It’s a brilliant short film, watch it below.

The film poked fun at top roping and those who do it, which didn’t help top roping’s already-bruised reputation.

Top roping can only get you so far in climbing, but it’s a fine way to enjoy a sunny day at the crag. Across Canada there are many crags with trails to the tops of climbs that allow you to set-up a top rope.

Rigging a top rope can often be the most dangerous part of the day depending on where the anchors are. Be sure to have the proper training before trying to set one up.

Always be sure to protect the rope from any edges at the top of the cliff. And don’t be a lazy belayer because if the climber falls, the loads on the anchor dramatically increase.

Top roping on overhanging or traversing routes is more difficult than on vertical ones. Keep that in mind when you go to set one up this year.

And don’t be a route hog, if there’s others a round then do a lap or two and move your rope to another climb.

Here are five reasons why top roping is cool.


Top roping isn’t fool-proof and you can still get hurt, but it’s often more safe than lead climbing.

As long as the belayer is keeping the rope tight then the climber can enjoy rope-stretch falls only.

There are a number of dangers that come with lead climbing, from ground-falls and back-clipping to Z-clips and rope-behind-the-leg flips.


Even the professional climbers top rope, often when they’re projecting a route.

Sending hard grades isn’t about having great head space, it’s about linking difficult moves.

Perfect the moves on top rope to avoid adding to the whipper count onto bolts or cams.


Not everyone can lead climb and not everyone needs to know how to lead climb.

We all have friends and family we’d like to take climbing, so fire up a top rope and let them have a try.

Even experienced indoor climbing should start on top rope outdoors, it’s a great way to learn how to read rock and moved on cold/hot stone.

No Pressure

Don’t be pressured to do anything you’re uncomfortable with at the crag.

Just because your partner, boyfriend, girlfriend, bust buddy or dog thinks you should pull the rope and try it on the sharp end, doesn’t mean you should.

There’s no pressure in top roping to run it out to the next piece or risk a ground fall.

It’s Fun

There’s nothing better than a few stress-free laps on a an enjoyable climb.