Level I Top Rope Competency

We all started somewhere, and for most of us, it was top roping ‚ roped climbing distilled down to its essential elements. Before you can move on to the higher competency levels, a climber should, in our view, first master all aspects of top roping ‚ doing so builds a strong foundation upon which the next, more complex levels depend.

The focus of the top rope continuum is to take an inexperienced client and help them through the process of becoming competent in all aspects of top roping. The specific courses that address each benchmark along the top rope continuum are highlighted below. Clients may start at any point along the continuum depending upon their experience and mastery of the skills outlined in the Top Rope Competency Objectives.

Top Rope Competency Continuum

See where you fit in the continuum, then select the appropriate course.

First exposure to the sport.
usually light on instruction since everyone is a little anxious at first, which means information retention tends to be at its lowest. At the end though, you’re hooked. Courses 1-4 (Experience Curriculum)

Time to learn. Roll up your sleeves and focus on the basics, you know, the stuff (and much more) that you were told during your first exposure to the sport that
you immediately forgot when it was your turn to climb. Equipment, belaying, anchors, rappelling, climbing movement; all of these are covered in-depth with the focus on taking the time to make sure you “got it”.  Ideally, you leave prepared to climb with more experienced climbers in a top rope setting. Course 5

I want to be independent. So you’ve been top roping with others more experienced and knowledgeable then yourself, but they always end up doing everything: setting up anchors, making decisions on belay positioning, etc. Now you want to be like them. OK, so where are the gaps in your learning: Anchors? Top belay considerations? Whatever they are (or if you just haven’t been able to connect with more experienced climbers), it’s time to get focused instruction so you can be independent. Course 6 (and sections of Course 5 in some instances)

Climb, Climb, Climb. It’s on your shoulders now ‚ the proverb  ”practice makes perfect” never rang more true. Get out and top rope as often as you can, everywhere you can. Master the set-ups and improve your climbing technique, moving steadily up the difficulty scale. Do this, and we’ll be seeing you at the next level.

Top Rope Competency Objectives

Listed below are the specific skills and knowledge you should acquire to become top rope competent‚ all of the items listed are covered in the Top Rope Competency curriculum. If you already have some top roping knowledge and skills, use this list to identify gaps in your learning ‚ then let us know and we’ll customize any of our courses to fit your particular needs.

  1. Know how to properly select, size, put on, and care for
    a harness.
  2. Know how to select, coil, and care for a climbing rope.
  3. Know how to tie and when to use a figure-eight follow
    through knot.
  4. Know how to set-up (ATC) and back up (belayed, fireman’s,
    auto block) a rappel.
  5. Know how to rappel competently on varied terrain (double
    strand, single stand).
  6. Understand the components of the belay.
  7. Know how to bottom belay with an ATC and a GriGri.
  8. Know how to top belay with an ATC, GriGri and a Munter
    Hitch.
  9. Know the signals used to communicate in bottom belay and
    top belay situations.
  10. Know how to tie and when to use a girth hitch, figure-eight
    on a bight, clove hitch, water knot, stopper knot, and a
    double fisherman’s knot.
  11. Know what constitutes a good anchor. Understand the concepts
    of vectors, pulleys, multiplication of loads, equalization,
    and prevention of extensions.
  12. Demonstrate the ability to properly use and connect natural,
    fixed, and removable anchors for bombproof toprope anchor
    systems (both top belay and bottom belay situations), including
    the use of extensions, and the proper use of carabiners.
  13. Demonstrate an understanding of basic climbing movement
    (edging, smearing, jamming, laybacking, stemming, bridging,
    chimneying, and finding/using rests).
  14. Know what equipment to purchase for top roping.
  15. Demonstrate an understanding of the dangers inherent in
    top roping.
  16. Know how to select and manage a safe top rope site.
  17. Demonstrate a conservative approach.
  18. Know how to use a guidebook.
  19. Understand the YDS for rating difficulty and the grading
    system for rating time required to climb a particular route.
  20. Be able to identify various cliff features.
  21. Understand cliff etiquette.
  22. Have a general sense of climbing history.
  23. Know the various types of climbing that exist.
  24. Know what the Access Fund is and what it does.
  25. Know what resources exist for learning more.
  26. Understand what’s the next step in the progression.

 

Top Rope Competency : Course Descriptions

Course 5
Top Roping I
Course Length: 8 hours
When:   Daily by appointment
Maximum Ratio:   4:1
 
This course starts to build the foundation of knowledge and skills that you will need to climb outdoors in a top rope setting. Equipment, belaying, anchors, rappelling, and climbing movement are all covered in detail.
Please call for pricing, scheduling and pre-course details.

 

 

Top Roping II
Course Length: 8 hours
When:   Daily by appointment
Maximum Ratio:   4:1
 
This course expands upon the material covered in TR I and includes additional content that you will need to climb outdoors in a top rope setting.
Please call for pricing, scheduling and pre-course details.

 

 

Top Roping III
Course Length: 8 hours
When:   Daily by appointment
Maximum Ratio:   4:1
 
This course expands upon the material covered in TR II and includes additional content that you will need to climb outdoors in a top rope setting.
Please call for pricing, scheduling and pre-course details.

 

 

Course 6
Top Rope Anchors
Course Length: Two Days (8 hours each)
When:   By appointment
Maximum Ratio:   4:1
 
Focus on the specifics of anchor building for a top rope setting. By the end, you will be building bombproof anchors an expert will admire.
Please call for pricing, scheduling and pre-course details.