Learn This: Save Yourself An Ascent With The Pre-Threaded Toprope

Setting up an anchor-friendly toprope
Pre-Thread-TopropeYou're climbing outdoors with novice friends, and you want to rig a toprope from a fixed-chain anchor. You’re the only one in the group who can safely install and clean a toprope setup, but you loath having to climb each route twice—once to hang the rope, and once to clean the anchor and rap from the chains. It’s tempting to thread the rope through the chains and lower off, letting everyone toprope through the fixed hardware. Don’t—it’s a sin and you know it. Repeated lowering will wear out the chain or rings faster than any other abuse.Instead, go ahead and thread the anchor chains, but then clip quickdraws to the bolts or higher chain links and run the rope up through your draws, so the rope weights your own biners, not the chain links (Fig. A). Be sure to oppose the gates of the carabiners or use lockers. When the last person to climb removes the quickdraws, he or she will already be attached to the anchor through the chains, with no need to untie and re-thread. This way, you’re lowering just one person off the anchor, not an entire gang.

If the chains are shorter than your quickdraws, you can often get away with just clipping biners through higher links and running the rope through these (Fig. B); lockers are best. Watch your angles, and don’t use this method if the chains are pulled at more than a 90-degree angle, or if the rope feeds awkwardly in any way. If the anchors simply have rap rings on the bolts, you’ll have to climb and clean the old-fashioned way.





Previous Comments

What a load of BS. You are still lowering someone through the chains and causing undue wear. Grow up and quit trying to take the easy way out. Repeat the route and do it right by rapping off. WTF is wrong with climbers these days. Faster faster faster.... Screw the safety of others.

NM'er PD - 04/28/2014 11:18:50

I prefer to rap from a dubious tied-off chock stone or a tubing knot stuffed into a crack, just for the added thrill.

John Hillwalker - 04/25/2014 3:51:41

Thanks to this article. I think that this info. is very helpfull for our, Japanese climbers too.

Hiroshi KAMIO - 04/24/2014 6:50:50

It' better not to lower any person off the anchor - wears it out with time

Jan Leyon - 04/24/2014 3:43:55

@meg "leave the noobs in the gym where they belong." So how are the "noobs" supposed to become experienced if they only stay in the gym?

Dan Arles - 04/24/2014 3:21:13

oh hang on, better plan- stop bringing big groups to the crag to hang on top rope all day. leave the noobs in the gym where they belong.

meg - 04/24/2014 1:39:46

Better idea- stop bringing big groups of newbies to the crag and letting them hang on top rope all day.

meg - 04/24/2014 1:38:00

Why chain is open? Ususally chain links have small holes with burr edges in the inside damaging the rope mantle; just be sure it runs fine.

Carlos - 04/24/2014 6:08:13

"Be sure to oppose the gates of the carabiners or use lockers." Why.... if the carabiners fail, the system is still safe.

Nathan - 04/23/2014 8:35:22

I submitted this same tip and got it published in Rock and Ice nearly ten years ago! Not accusing anyone of plagiarism, just a funny coincidence!

je - 04/23/2014 6:03:37

In-te-res-ting. Something like that happened to us and we were doing this crazy anchoring. This solves it.

rush - 04/23/2014 4:45:05

Very helpful

Tobey Unruh - 05/26/2013 5:53:49

pics do not work

Daniel - 05/09/2013 1:01:07