Outdoor Top Rope EssentialsSterling Athlete, Leslie Timms Dec 14th 2017
- Leslie Timms is a professional climbing guide with PCGI and owner/head guide of On the Rocks Climbing Guides in Ontario, Canada.
Ensure that you are properly prepared for your venture into outdoor top roping and purchase the appropriate gear for the job. Remember to take a course from a trained professional and learn our Gym to Rock Transition Tips before attempting to set up top ropes outdoors.
- Personal Kit: Harness, shoes, chalk bag, helmet.
- Rope: 60-70m (length depends on area), 9.8-10.1mm Sterling Marathon Pro//Evolution Velocity. For more information on taking care of your rope, click here. For advice on choosing your next climbing rope, click here.
- Belay Device: Auto-locking device is preferred for easy handling and safety.
- Anchor Building Material: A variety of anchor building materials are approved for setting top ropes on trees, rocks, bolts, trad gear and as a personal safety line while working on the edge. Three 21ft (7m) cordelettes (lengths of 7-8mm static cord) or 1 inch tubular webbing will work in most scenarios. I prefer working with static cord over webbing, and some climbers like working with a long static rope [link to 9mm-3/8 HTP Prime shorts] like 9mm HTP in 15-20m length. Buy and use what you're familiar with and what is practical for the area you are climbing at.
- Locking Carabiners
- Locking Carabiners: 6-8 is a good start, I recommend the Sterling Falcon. You'll need 4 for a bolted anchor and at least one for your personal safety line while working on the edge. Plus 1 for your belay device, ATC and prusik cord. They'll get used up quick.
- Nylon Slings
- Slings: Not a necessity but a small selection of 60-120cm nylon slings or Sterling’s Chain Reactor can work well for a quick personal safety line, rappel device extension, directional, or anchor.
- Trad Gear: If the area requires the use of traditional gear to build anchors, learn these skills and purchase a necessary rack.
- SafeGuard in use
- Tree/Rock/Edge Protection: If the area requires the use of trees/rocks for anchoring or if anchors run over relatively sharp edges/cracks, use something to protect your gear (and even the tree's!) like a pillow case/t-shirt/canvas/etc.If your rope runs over sharp edges or rocks, use the Sterling SafeGuard Rope Protector.
Leslie Timms is a professional climbing guide with PCGI and owner/head guide of On the Rocks Climbing Guides in Ontario, Canada.