/ NEW ARTICLE: VIDEO: How To Rig a Top Rope
With the most up top date info possible it uses the stunning images of Mike Robertson, video clips from Get Out On Rock and diagrams from Rock Climbing – Essential Skills and Techniques.
Here professional mountain guide Libby Peter shows us how to rig a top rope.
Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=2263
Like forest gump, this will run and run.
Trolling on your own site, an interesting development!
Articles promoting top roping, I presume, Mick.
Just anticipating the usual suspects ranting about topropes, a little early in the year for the annual TR rant season to start or it could just be that we have had the best drytool rant season for over 20 years?
Shall we get the spelling pedant out too, while we're at it?
> Just anticipating the usual suspects ranting about topropes, a little early in the year for the annual TR rant season to start or it could just be that we have had the best drytool rant season for over 20 years?
Yes, Jack and myself discussed that this morning before the article was published. How long would it take before someone rants about top roping?
Setting up a top rope is as we know an essential skill for every climber and mountaineer irrespective of ability or experience.
> Yes, Jack and myself discussed that this morning before the article was published. How long would it take before someone rants about top roping?
Does my ranting about the ranters prevent their ranting?
> Setting up a top rope is as we know an essential skill for every climber and mountaineer irrespective of ability or experience.
I guess one problem with articles like this is that the bit that really needs some experience:
"...you need to find two or three bombproof anchors that are appropriately located in line with the climb, avoid cams and small wires where possible. "
is covered in two sentences.
I haven't seen article no.1 or watched the video yet so my concern may be highlighted in there.
There is no mention in the article of safeguarding oneself whilst building the system for a bottom or top rope.
As an MIA holder, teaching building belays whether it is for a bottom or tope rope, the issue of self protection at the top of a crag is crucial.
This is an aspect I would cover before even going into the actual belay construction.
A good article but this aspect of personal safety (if not in article no.1 or the video) should have been included.
> There is no mention in the article of safeguarding oneself whilst building the system for a bottom or top rope.
Like clipping into the belay sling whilst working near the edge, as in the video for example?
Thanks for the suggestion, I hadn't thought of that myself!
Unfortunately, I don't have access to video at present as I'm accessing this on my mobile. However, when back home after work, I will do just that.
> As an MIA holder, teaching building belays whether it is for a bottom or tope rope, the issue of self protection at the top of a crag is crucial.
I think it is dreadful that so-called "mountain leaders" would think about trying to make themselves safe at the top of a crag without first making sure it safe to do so.
Kids: always tie to a belay before building a belay prior to arranging a belay.
Thanks Chris, don't need to watch the video now.
I've been climbing for about 5 years - indoors, cragging, winter, alpine - all at a moderate level and I'm not sure I have ever set up a top rope.
I have however soloed easy routes, built a belay and brought up a beginner. Does that count?
"Setting up a top rope is as we know an essential skill for every climber and mountaineer irrespective of ability or experience."
I go on refresher courses every few months ... doesn't everyone?
Never been on the course, think I had better do so.
Perhaps 'setting up a bottom rope' would be more accurate.
Top top-rope or bottom top-rope?!
it's the first part of the article read fully before post maybe?
> Like clipping into the belay sling whilst working near the edge, as in the video for example?
A note of caution about the forces both on the anchor and climber generated falling onto a static sling may be well worth mentioning though Mr Craggs.Thats why industrial lanyards have shock absorbers.
> A note of caution about the forces both on the anchor and climber generated falling onto a static sling may be well worth mentioning though Mr Craggs.Thats why industrial lanyards have shock absorbers.
It is mentioned.
It is mentioned - with the fuzzy logic "it's not a good idea to fall on a sling so try not to fall" statement. Use something that will work or don't fall in the first place then! Not a good example in what is supposed to be (I assume with the input from a Guide and top level climber) a best practice article.
> It is mentioned - with the fuzzy logic "it's not a good idea to fall on a sling so try not to fall" statement. Use something that will work or don't fall in the first place then! Not a good example in what is supposed to be (I assume with the input from a Guide and top level climber) a best practice article.
Yes it is explicitly.... "slings have virtually no stretch so at all cost avoid falling of on to a cow tails sling as it would create a very high impact loading"
> Yes it is explicitly.... "slings have virtually no stretch so at all cost avoid falling of on to a cow tails sling as it would create a very high impact loading"
It is explicitly mentioned, we've both expressed that view; why show it then? It's contradictory and potentially confusing for those to whom this "educational" video is meant.
Slings are great for work positioning. If you need to arrest a fall then you need something dynamic.
I think the use/pitfalls of the Italian Hitch need a bit more explanation for newbies.
> It is explicitly mentioned, we've both expressed that view; why show it then?
The sling is clipped to a dynamic rope at the other end.
> The sling is clipped to a dynamic rope at the other end.
Not in this instance it's not.
I look down on you bottom ropers.
No, both ends of the rope should not be going down. You still need to be able to lock of the rope behind the ATC. If you can't do this then either you or the ATC, or both, is in the wrong position. You will never be able to hold a fall with the arrangement you descibed (as I understand it...)
so you've just laid into the video's failures, but haven't watched the video?
I agree that good practice should be shared, but why do people with some level of qualifications go about assuming other's teaching is bound to have mistakes in it that only their level of qualification or wisdom will correct.
I guess people who stand up and say, "do it this way" are probably ready and capable of dealing with such flak, but come on. Constructive criticism!
That being said, and though it's outside of the scope of this article, top-top rope belaying from a harness really sucks, especially when there is the lovely solution of setting up a Reverso/ATC guide in auto-block mode directly from the anchor. It's been a while since I've belayed a second from my harness.
Actually, I think that belaying from the harness is intrinsically safer. Belaying directly from any anchor depends entirely on the security of that anchor. Yes, you need to know how to escape the system (not relevant in this case) but it's an extra level of security (that also works when the available anchors are few and/or poor).
A really serious accident in a 'traditional' toproping scenario requires not only for all the anchors to fail but also for the belayer to be pulled over the edge. Actually, in most cases, almost no extra force is put on the anchors by a fall because the belayer absorbs most of it (and doesn't get pulled over the edge). In fact, I've never heard of it happening.
Bottom-roping belaying directly from an anchor at the bottom is a particularly poor idea unless the anchors both top and bottom are beyond doubt (ie massive threads at the bottom and equally irreproachable threads or bollards at the top). How often does that happen? Couple this with the lack of experience commonly associated with bottom-roping and it's not, in my view, the safest way of doing it.
I agree about direct belaying from a bottom anchor, bad idea except in very specific situations.
Of course, but how can you know for sure? This is all about reducing the risk for the inexperienced and I've seen some pretty scary belaying. I've never had an anchor fail but how often have I ever really had to rely on them? If there were a general move to direct belaying it seems obvious to me that sooner or later there would be a catastrophic failure or misjudgement. It just doesn't need to happen.
Are you referring to the diagram labelled 'Direct Belay 2' or the photo of the little kid climbing a slab on a toprope? In the photo, the belayer is in the middle of taking in slack, which is why the belay device isn't fully locked off. The perspective isn't helping either; the rope is actually taking a 90deg bend out of the device towards her hand, but this is hard to see in the picture because of the angle.
It just confirms that reading a book or watching a video isn't a substitute for some decent training and practice. Even in such a short article there are various trivial and not so trivial errors and omissions.
- Protecting yourself whilst rigging. The method Neil shows is certainly better than nothing but isn't ideal as two better methods exist, either tying into an end of the rigging rope or using a prussic which you adjust to keep your sling tight.
- Lateral stability. There is no mention that one of the main reasons we use multiple anchors with top and bottom ropes is to provide lateral stability. The bottom rope Neil rigs has poor lateral stability and the situation shown in the last picture with the belayer connected to a single anchor is appalling in this regard.
- Lowering Off. The hand position in the lowering off graphic is not the one I would teach. It shows the assisting (right) arm coming over the top of the rope instead of underneath. If the belayer may be pulled off his feet this is potentially dangerous as is using the same arm position in normal belaying. There is a real risk of the arm being trapped against the body by the rope in the event of a fall leading to an increased chance of dropping the climber. No mention is made of standing close into the rockface to reduce the inward forces or bracing yourself against it for extra stability.
- Using Cams as anchors for bottom ropes. Neil uses a 1 and 2 Camalot as his second anchor despite this being a poor idea where anchors will be out of sight and the text specifically advising against this.
- Use of blocks and boulders. Placing a rope or sling underneath a gritstone boulder is generally a poor and unnecessary idea even when using a wire to reduce jamming. The rope or sling can generally be brought round onto the top of the boulder quickly resulting in a more secure anchor with less chance of jamming. Given the pronounced notch in the left side of the boulder Neil uses this would clearly have been possible. Also a bowline is quicker to rig and easier to adjust than a figure-of-8.
More trivial issues:
- Belaying. In the 3rd picture the HMS is clipped to the wrong part of the rope loop and the rope is threaded through to wrong half of the belay device.
- Using clove hitches. When using clove hitches in rigging ropes I would ideally expect them to be tied off with a couple half hitches clipped back to the screwgate. This may be overkill but is a useful belt and braces measure when dealing with stiff rigging ropes.
- Lowering off graphic. The top krab is the wrong way round, the gate should be facing away from the rock as clearly shown in the video.
- Direct Belay 2 graphic. It does not seem to show the belay device correctly threaded so the rope is on the back bar side of the belay device.
- Direct Belay graphic. The artist can't draw knots correctly.
Realistically Mark, how amazing can you make an article about rigging a top rope?
The diagrams are out of Libby Peters' book. Look at the copyright.
I don't understand why I need to be able to rig a bottom rope, though. I can lead a climb and build a belay, hence I know about the top rope belaying, but why is the bottom rope technique important for all climbers? (I do understand that there are situations in which it is useful.)
It isnt; that claim stuck in my throat too. But there are a growing number of climbers who would prefer to fanny around top-roping 'ard stuff than get on the sharp end and lead a mere severe. Ken Wilson called them "crag exercisers", other even less complimentary descriptions are available.
> - Using Cams as anchors for bottom ropes. Neil uses a 1 and 2 Camalot as his second anchor despite this being a poor idea where anchors will be out of sight and the text specifically advising against this.
Phew! What's happening to this old sport I knew as rock climbing? I was first 'rigging top ropes' on SE Sandstone when I was 16, and I hadn't a clue what I was doing. And all through the 70s down there, and I think into the early 80s, we never used belay plates, because that just wasn't the tradition. Just the rope running round the back of your bum when you leant backwards. At somewhere like Bowles, which is more overhanging, I think we wore gloves, but the norm was to let someone down very rapidly to within inches of the deck, and then hold them. The extraordinary thing is that I don't remember anyone getting hurt, ever. Mind you, none of us by that stage, were really top-ropers in any sense, and spent most weekends up in N Wales leading big routes.
The sad thing is that I could probably write something a good 5-6 times longer and significantly more detailed. Will your next question be asking why we have a qualification for rigging top ropes that needing 20 hours training and 20 hours assessment?
Unless you've got a sudden urge to start headpointing hard grit routes I don't know why either. It might be worth asking Mick, since I assume it was his comment about the universal relevance of article that you are referring to.
However if you want a bit of paper so you can get paid for taking kids climbing and abseiling, I can tell you exactly why you need to be able to rig one; the SPA syllabus says so.
The article falls between two stools in that it fails to clearly meet the demands of either recreational climbers or potential instructors.
I'm sure we've had this discussion before.
At the simplistic level we are talking about here, the hierarchy of anchors for belays that is widely taught in the UK is:
1 - natural (threads, boulders, spikes, trees)
2 - passive (nuts and hexes)
3 - active (camming devices).
Therefore I wouldn't expect any instructor to use cams where perfectly good boulders, threads or solid hex placements exist. I also wouldn't expect an instructor with the freedom to select any location for a bottom rope to routinely pick routes where the only anchors are cams.
a) this was an instructional video supposedly portraying best practice
b) belay anchors other than cams probably exist for that route
c) other routes with natural anchors certainly do exist in that area
then it is certainly not a trivial issue.
> Will your next question be asking why we have a qualification for rigging top ropes that needing 20 hours training and 20 hours assessment?
Well it wasn't going to be... but do tell!
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