What secures when climbing

Climbing: Top rope - the perfect introduction

© Alpine Club
Climbing is booming and great fun - here are the first safety tips for beginners.
Climbing is enjoying increasing popularity and not only the bouldering halls are getting fuller, more and more people want to go high and go to lofty heights in the halls, but also on the rock. Before you dare to lead the way and so that the pleasure does not end suddenly or even dramatically, we dedicate ourselves to the basics beforehand.
Top rope - the perfect start
For beginners, climbing in the top rope is suitable for learning to climb with little risk, in most halls there are now countless routes that are secured with this technique and can be mastered. In top rope climbing, both ends of the rope reach the ground and the partner secures the climber from the ground. The belayer must continuously hand over rope while his partner is climbing. The advantage is that the climber can hang himself on the rope at any time without falling to rest, or if his belaying partner is unsure or tired, he can be lowered back to the ground. If you have an experienced climber with you who has mastered the safe lead and knows how to attach the deflector correctly, you can also enjoy this uncomplicated technique on the rock.
Roping up the climber is a simple but sensitive matter, as any mistake can lead to serious accidents. Often, direct integration in the top rope area of ​​many climbing halls is no longer possible because the top rope ropes are provided with fixed figure-eight loops and. This of course makes the procedure less complicated for climbing students, less error-prone and you can climb faster. Nevertheless, everyone who is interested in climbing should be able to connect their climbing harness to the rope with a figure-of-eight knot. The figure eight knot has the advantage that it tightens under load, but is still relatively easy to loosen after a fall. The clear knot pattern, which makes mistakes easily recognizable, is very much appreciated by beginners and professionals. It is also important that the loose end of the rope from toplropes that do not reach the ground is tied with a knot on the belayer's side. Otherwise there is a risk that it will slip through the belay device when it is lowered.
First, a simple figure eight is placed in the rope (Fig. 1; 1-3). In the next step, the rope is pulled through the rope loop so that the knot is directly in front of the rope loop. Now you follow the same rope through the knot (Fig. 1; 4-6). At the end there should be two ropes next to each other and the end of the rope should protrude at least two hand's breadth from the knot
If you are involved and the belayer has connected himself to the top rope, nothing stands in the way of fun. You can make your first experiences with the height and gain your first experiences with the technical requirements and the physical aspects in a playful and without great risk. What you have learned in the process forms the basis for learning how to lead later.
Never forget: partner check!
Trust is good, control is better! When climbing, inattention, a lack of concentration and blind trust can quickly change a drama, which is why you always, and we really mean ALWAYS, do the partner check. Usually you climb in a team of two and can therefore control each other perfectly - you always have to check the following things before you start climbing:
Is the rope tied directly into the harness, either in the securing ring or in the waist belt eyelet and leg loop web. The rope knot (figure eight or double bulin) is properly tied and tightened. Rope protrusion approx. 20 cm. Small "knot eye" in the rope point. In top rope climbing, there are often eight loops in the ropes, these should be connected to the harness with a Safe-Lock carabiner or two opposing carabiners.
If the hip belt is correctly attached (over the iliac crest) and correctly closed. Please also note the instructions for use here!
* Belay device & carabiner locking device? The rope is correctly inserted into the belay device, the familiar belay device is correctly attached to the belt and the carabiner is locked, one hand always surrounds the brake cable in the correct position. When using a semi-automatic belay device, the climber also checks the blocking function of the belay device by pulling the load rope. Checking and checking always means that it is not only checked visually, but also checked by pulling. This is to ensure that the safety chain really holds in the event of a load.
The end of the rope is knotted or fixed to the rope bag. Always pay attention to the length of the rope, is the rope long enough to lower it?
Tips for the climber
Do a partner check before every start! Checks each other: belt fasteners, rope knots, rope point, lobster clasp, belay device and whether the end of the rope is untied. Below we explain in more detail how this works and what you should pay attention to.
Clear communication is also important in order to control misunderstandings and sticky situations. Agree on simple communication rules before you start climbing and inform your partner if you have problems or want to hang yourself on the rope. In the hall you don't normally have to pay attention to this point, but if you install a top rope yourself, then yes: no top rope on a single carabiner. The top rope anchorage must consist of two independent securing points and the rope must also be attached to at least two carabiners. If there is a fall, it is a rather unspectacular thing in the top rope, provided that the belaying partner is attentive. It is only important that you do not grab the rope, do not try to catch quickdraws and take your arms and legs forward protectively.
Full attention when belaying is a prerequisite, because belaying is precision work! Not only for the sake of safety, the climbing partner also has more "freedom" and fun when he can weigh himself in competent hands. No slack rope, so no slack rope when belaying, as a fall into a slack rope is much deeper. There are of course situations that require more rope, but in top rope the rope should always have a certain tension. The handling of the belay device is another crucial point. Familiarize yourself with your belay device and observe the "brake hand principle": one hand always surrounds the brake cable. And position yourself so that you don't get the rope in the way of the climber and you keep the fall area free.
Once you have reached the top, you have to descend from the lofty heights and that's easy with top rope climbing, but you have to trust your partner because you have no control over the way you get back to the ground. It is important that you establish good communication and understandable commands with your partner so that you can clearly communicate what you want at all times.
While lowering you should put your hands on the rope knot to get more stability and to brace your feet against the wall. A lot of people want to jump down the wall like they see the SWAT teams do on TV, but it's better to run because you never know how far the jumps will be.
In the climbing halls you can usually rely on the material on site, in nature you should avoid hanging ropes and always use your own material. You can check the quickdraws while you are climbing and to be on the safe side, you should always take one or two exes with you on your climbing harness to replace worn out fixtures. You also have to make sure that you never lower rope on rope, as this creates a considerable risk of tearing due to melt burns, and the deflections should always be made of metal.
Another point, especially in the hall, is that you watch out for other climbers on the wall and let your partner down slowly and evenly.