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Don’t Top-Rope Through Fixed Anchor Hardware

Watch a video that explains how to rig a safe top-rope off two bolts

Top-roping is a great way to project a route or to build endurance. Always be sure to use your own gear (slings and carabiners) and don’t run your rope directly through the fixed anchor (ring bolts, quick-link, fixed carabiner).

Running your rope directly through an anchor increases wear and decreases the life of the hardware. Longtime route developer Jon Jones has spent a lot of time replacing old anchors in Skaha and shared the below photos and message a few seasons ago.

“Always use your own climbing gear like quickdraws or carabiners and slings to rig top-ropes on sports climbs and be a responsible climber,” said Jones. “Several heavily worn anchors have recently been refurbished at Redtail. The extreme wear is a result of excessive top-roping directly through the anchor, rather than top roping through quickdraws.”

Jones said that if you see a group top-roping directly through the anchor hardware, that you should “politely explain how this wears the anchors out prematurely.” Ideally, only the last person down should lower directly through the anchor hardware.

“The steel wire gate biner from the climb Dogmatism in the photo below is only a few years old,” said Jones. “It seems that although convenient, drop-in anchors encourage top-roping directly through the anchor biner. For this reason, the wire gate anchor biners on: Facility, Tradition, Basic Black and Dogmatism have been replaced with 3/8″ quicklinks as shown in the photos that follow.”

Photo Jon Jones
Photo Jon Jones
Photo Jon Jones
Photo Jon Jones

How to Set Up a Top-Rope Anchor