Top-rope climbing, or top-roping, is a form of rock climbing where climbers are supported by a rope that runs up and down a rock face. The rope is threaded through a top-rope anchor at the top of the route, and it is controlled by a belayer standing on the ground beneath the climber.\n\nTop-roping is considered easier and less arduous than lead climbing, which features two variations called trad climbing and sport climbing. To lead climb, a climber must attach the rope to anchors along the crag using a combination of quickdraws and locking carabiners. While trad and sport are popular types of climbing, they are inherently more dangerous than top-roping, which does not require clipping into anchors.\nTo safely and successfully top-rope climb, you will need several key pieces of climbing gear.\n\n1. __Climbing shoes__: Good climbing shoes help you grip the rock face as you climb. Choose shoes that fit snugly and neutral, moderate, or aggressive shoes depending on the difficulty of the rock face you’re climbing.\n2. __Climbing helmet__: Climbing helmets are essential safety equipment.\n3. __Climbing rope__: To climb up and rappel down a rock face, you need a climbing rope—ideally a 9.5 mm to 9.8 mm static rope that doesn’t stretch, unlike dynamic rope.\n4. __Climbing harness__: Choose a harness that fits you properly and comfortably.\n5. __Belay device__: A belay device is essential to managing rope slack and tension. For top-rope climbing, you’ll want a belay device with a locking carabiner.\n6. __Quickdraws__: Quickdraws are two connected carabiners that allow you to attach your rope to anchors, protecting you as you climb.\n7. __Locking carabiners__: Carabiners connect pieces of climbing equipment, such as quickdraws, climbing harnesses, and anchors. You will use four locking carabiners to set up and secure your top anchor. \n8. __Cordelette__: Also called an accessory cord, a cordelette is used for setting up anchors and rappelling. Webbing can also be used to set up climbing anchors.\n9. __Personal anchor system (PAS)__: A personal anchor system connects a belayer to a rock face and prevents them from being pulled away if their climbing partner suddenly falls. When you are belaying another climber, your PAS must be girth hitched to your climbing harness.\n10. __Climbing chalk and chalk bag__: These will help improve your grip on the rock face.\nYou can top-rope on rock walls that have clear summits or overhangs to place an anchor point. From climbing up a crag to rappelling back down, top-rope climbing relies on a sturdy, safe anchor at the top of the route. Only top-rope on walls that can clearly support an anchor on the top of the cliff edge or overhang. You can also top rope at most indoor climbing gyms, some of which feature automated belaying devices.\nA top-rope rock climb requires good judgment, teamwork, physical strength, and confidence. Take the following steps to ensure safety throughout the day.\n\n1. __Plan and research__. Multi-pitch climbs require considerably more preparation than single pitch scrambles up a crag. Select well-established routes and read as much about them as you can. You want to encounter as few surprises as possible on your ascent.\n2. __Practice your knots__. Rock climbing requires sturdy knots to ensure safety. Perfecting your overhand knots, figure-8 follow-through knots, and stopper knots will make you a better climber and belayer.\n3. __Use high-quality gear__. Invest in high-quality equipment for maximum safety. If you are relying on a hanging belay, shop from reliable, consumer-reviewed companies rather than new or no-name brands.\n4. __Communicate at all times__. Communicate with your belayer whenever possible to ensure maximum safety.\n5. __Use quad anchors__. To ensure safety, your top-rope anchor should be a quad. This means it uses a minimum of two anchor points (three is even better), each with two sets of locking carabiners. Attach to these anchors using quadruple-thick cordelette tied in a loop using a double fisherman's bend (also known as a grapevine knot) at the end of the rope.\n6. __Avoid jagged edges that can snag your rope__. Survey your route to make sure your climbing route does not have any jagged edges, overhangs, or spikes that could snag your climbing rope. Although climbing ropes sold at top outdoor retailers are incredibly strong, you do not want to risk compromising their integrity.\n7. __Rely on experienced climbing friends__. The climbing community is close-knit, and experienced climbers are the best teachers. The first few times you go top-roping, bring along experienced friends to help you with every step. Only experienced climbers should go up a rock face first to set up the top-rope anchor.\nClimbing is a high-impact activity with an elevated risk of serious injury. Practice, proper guidance, and extensive safety precautions are essential when attempting a climbing pursuit. This article is for educational and informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional instruction or guidance.\nTake your climbing mastery to new heights with the [MasterClass Annual Membership](https://www.masterclass.com) and exclusive video lessons from Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell, two of the world’s most accomplished climbers. Together they’ll help you get a grasp on climbing holds, balance, footwork, and more, plus teach you the ins and outs of ethical outdoor exploration. \nTop-rope climbing is a fun way to ease into the sport of rock climbing.