Top roping has fast become one of the most popular adventure sports worldwide, with professionals and amateurs alike taking to it with utmost enthusiasm. Most beginners are doing it on rock walls within the safety of the gym, while seasoned pros are flocking to spectacular outdoor locations.
However, one should remember that top roping climbing must not be done carelessly, even if it is less risky than lead climbing. There are certain key safety measures that you should follow to enjoy a climbing experience without worry and uncertainty.
Here are some critical safety tips that will come in handy on your first climb.
- Research and Plan
It is preferable to do the first few climbs in a gym to get the hang of the sport. Once you are comfortable and confident enough, you can try it outdoors. Research and fool-proof planning are critical to a safe and successful outdoor top-rope climb. Scout for a location with well-established routes and dig out as much information about the place as possible.
Remember, multi-pitch climbs are more challenging and require more planning and preparation than single-pitch climbs up a crag.
- Use High-Quality Gear
Skimping on quality safety gear and settling for subpar ones is among the biggest mistakes a climber can make. You must always buy customer-reviewed, reliable, and reputed equipment for maximum security. Along the same lines, using quad anchors is better for safety as they offer extra locking carabiners. If you are confused with the options you encounter, you can ask an experienced climber for advice.
Climbing requires sturdy knots that will not fail you once you begin climbing. To become familiar with the knots, you need to put in as much practice time as you can before the actual climb. Focus on perfecting your techniques on overhead knots, stopper knots, and follow-through knots. It will make you a stronger climber-cum-belayer. Also, the more practice climbs you make, the better you will do during the actual climb. Moreover, climbing will make you fitter as well.
- Avoid Jagged Edges
Before you zero in on a location for your first outdoor climb, ensure to survey the area and its surroundings carefully. If there are any dangerous overhangs, jagged edges, and sharp turns, it is best to pick another spot. That’s because your rope could easily snag in these areas, even if it is made from a highly reliable, strong material. So, look for a spike-free path that will help you enjoy the experience without falls and other untoward incidents.
- Rely on Experienced Friends
The top rope climbing community is often a tight-knit one that offers support to newcomers instantly. So, rely on your more experienced friends or teachers to help you through the very first outdoor climb. Trust their advice, take their help in planning the climb, and let them make the first climb to set up the top-rope anchor. With time, you will learn to do this yourself and will be able to do the first climb.
Besides the tips detailed above, ensure to communicate clearly with your belayer during the climb. Establish hand gestures to communicate efficiently in conditions where you cannot hear each other with clarity.
Note that if you are not yet ready to climb outdoors, you can use all of these tips while practicing on indoor rock walls as well.