Top-Roping with Half-Ropes?

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Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2018 9:31 pm
Real Name: Francis Dudley de Klerk

Top-Roping with Half-Ropes?

Post by FrancisDudley »

So I've been wondering about something and could not get a good answer in the few guide books I have. (also tried searching the forum but perhaps its to specific...)

Let's say you climb a single pitch trad route and you set up a top-rope anchor so your friends can climb it. You can repel down and clean the route to just leave the top anchors... You and/or your second can do the last climb to clean the anchor and walk out.
Or say the top has bolted anchors, everyone climbs lekker top-rope and the last climber (you or your second) can do it, clean the top anchors and rappel down, walk out.

So the Q in this case is when you do the lead climbing with half-ropes...

- Do you NOT do it with half-ropes? (better to use a single and extend your draws?)
- If you prefer doing the route with half-ropes, do you take a singel (3 ropes in total) for setting up the top-rope?
- Am I being stupid?
- Do you use only one of the half-ropes for the top-rope (I don't like this idea much as you have two so why not use both)

Now here is what I thought, and where the more specific Q is.

- I thought, let's take the half-ropes, do the route, set up the top anchors and rappel down. Use both half-ropes for the top-rope climbs, finish and clean with half-ropes.

- How would one clip the half-ropes into the anchor?
- A good redundant, bomber, anchor is set up and equalised, two opposed screw gates for the rope... But should each half-rope run through its own set of carabs on the anchor (as you don't want to be clipping both ropes into the same gear when leading) or is it ok to have both run through the top carabs together when top-roping?


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Nic Le Maitre
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Re: Top-Roping with Half-Ropes?

Post by Nic Le Maitre »

Just use one half rope for top roping, you'll be fine. I often climb with two seconds and each is only climbing on one half rope.

When leading on half ropes, if you fall, your fall is arrested, in most cases, by just one rope anyway. Unless you placed two pieces next to one another and clipped one rope to each, there will always be a higher piece with just one half rope going through it that will catch the full force of your lead fall. If they're good enough for lead falls, they're totally more than adequate for top roping.
Happy climbing
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Re: Top-Roping with Half-Ropes?

Post by ant »

'Half ropes' *
- serve the same strength specifications as full ropes, except for a slightly reduced resistance to cutting over sharp edges
- but are skinnier and require more care/strength to belay -so use the appropriate device (and care) - this is perhaps a consideration with newbies

- but will wear out slightly quicker than full ropes for that type of use -depends on your preferences

When using ropes in tandem, take care that they don't rub on eachother or run over eachother at differnt speeds. So either:
- clip both ropes into everything in perfect unison, as if they were one rope OR
- clip each rope into distinct gear / biners all the way from bottom to top. Including that your top anchors are separate enough that the ropes don't rub over eachother.

* marked with a little (1/2) on the label.
As opposed to being marked with an infinity sign which is a 'twin' rope - rare in SA, but twins must be used in tandem in all instances.

I hope thats helpful
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2018 9:31 pm
Real Name: Francis Dudley de Klerk

Re: Top-Roping with Half-Ropes?

Post by FrancisDudley »

Thanks Ant and Nic,

Helpful indeed.
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