Sports & Gaming

Learning the Ropes

Alex Honnold & Tommy Caldwell

Lesson time 11:45 min

Learn the ropes of partnering up, top-roping, and lead climbing safely.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Learning the Ropes • Top Rope Climbing • Lead Climbing •


[MUSIC PLAYING] - The thing that gets me climbing every day is the fact that I still just love the movement of climbing. - That's funny. I'm 42, so I like the movement slightly less because it hurts slightly more these days. But I love the adventure of climbing. That's for sure. And I love the community of climbers. I love my friends that are climbers. I love the culture of climbing. I mean, historically, you have to climb with a partner. The lore of the bond of the rope between the partners is a big, big part of mountaineering and climbing in general. When you do things that are scary with people, you also bond more intensely. For me, it's always been more of a sport of partnership than anything else. - I think our partnership is interesting, because I had a lot of mutual friends who told me I should be climbing with Tommy for years before we actually climbed together. And I was like, no, that'd be crazy. It's Tommy Caldwell. And then we actually climbed together, and I was like, oh, we should have started doing this a long time ago. It was actually totally incredible. [MUSIC PLAYING] Being able to climb together allows us to access terrain that we just couldn't necessarily with other partners. TOMMY CALDWELL: We became friends because of the climbs we wanted to do and the realization that we could go bigger. - Can't choose a more scenic place. TOMMY CALDWELL: But I think what really brings it together in the end is when we go out together, it turns out just the conversation and the hanging out is super fun too. - Yeah, or at least mostly have fun doing it. Because it always winds up crossing a little line at the end where you're like, well, you know, I could be done now. [MUSIC PLAYING] So in this class, we are going to be teaching rope climbing techniques. So that means we're going to be demonstrating top roping and lead climbing. Top rope climbing is anytime the rope is already going up and over the top of a climb through an anchor. So top rope climbing is the safest form of climbing because the rope is already above you the whole time. You will be learning how to top rope because realistically, everybody top ropes. To prepare for top roping, you need to put on your harness, tie into the rope, communicate with your belayer to make sure that you are on belay, and then begin climbing. While I climb this route, Tommy will be belaying, which means he will be holding the rope and securing it so that if I fall, he will catch me. First, I will show you how to put on a harness. So before you step into your harness, it's useful to look at it and make sure that it's oriented correctly, that nothing is tangled, nothing is too twisted. So in this case, I see that my leg loops are on the correct side. It's normally easiest to hold it open in front of you like a belt and then step through the main waist loop and step through one leg loop. I'm going to use my hands to step throug...

About the Instructor

With more than 60 combined years of elite rock climbing experience, Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell have scaled some of the largest—and most extreme—walls in the world. Now, the stars of Free Solo and The Dawn Wall are teaming up to share their tried-and-true techniques for tackling any wall. From the fundamentals of footwork and body and hand positioning to mental exercises and advanced holds and movements, you’ll learn how to take on new challenges and push yourself further on and off the wall.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Alex Honnold & Tommy Caldwell

Stars of “Free Solo” and “The Dawn Wall” Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell teach lessons from more than 60 years of combined rock climbing experience.

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