Essential Toprope Climbing Equipment

Here's the Gear You Need to Go Toproping

Toproping climbing at the Garden of the Gods requires only a minimum amount of climbing equipment for a fun afternoon. Photograph copyright Stewart M. Green

Toprope rock climbing does not require as much equipment as other types of climbing like traditional climbing and sports climbing. This makes top roping a great way to start out climbing, especially for beginners, since you do not have to invest a lot of money to get out climbing on the rocks.

Basic Toprope Anchor Equipment

  1. Climbing Rope: One 165-foot (50-meter) or 200-foot (60-meter) 10.5mm or 11mm rope.
  2. 9/16-inch sewn slings: 6-10 24-inch slings; 2-4 48-inch slings. The slings are used to create an equalized anchor system.
  3. 1-inch tubular webbing:
    1 length tied in a 10-foot loop; 1 length tied in a 20-foot loop. Use the webbing to create an equalized anchor system. Long lengths of webbing are ideal for tying off trees or other natural anchors.
  4. Oval carabiners: 6-10. Always double them up with gates opposed for safety.
  5. Locking carabiners: 2-6. I prefer to always use locking carabiners on my entire top-rope anchor system rather than regular ovals.
  6. Locking steel carabiners: 2. Steel carabiners are the strongest gear to thread the rope through for the rope which goes from the belayer on the ground to the climber above. Aluminum wears much faster, leading to grooves in the carabiner.

Personal Toprope Equipment

  1. Rock shoes: 1 pair per climber. Snug sneakers can also work for beginners.
  2. Harness: 1 per climber. Ideally, each climber wears their own harness. If not, make sure you have harnesses for the belayer and the climber.
  3. Belay and rappel device: At least 1 with a locking carabiner to attach it to your harness.
  4. Climbing helmet: 1 per climber. Essential cranial protection when climbing, belaying or standing at the cliff-base.
  5. Chalk bag and chalk: Optional for sweaty hands when you're climbing. Dip your hand in the chalk in your chalk bag, dust it over your hands, and problem solved.