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Is Top Rope a part of Sport Climbing?
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climbernewbie


Jan 10, 2013, 9:33 PM
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Is Top Rope a part of Sport Climbing?
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Is top roping a branch of Sport Climbing?

Can someone give the breakdown of the climbing categories and which are parts of the others?


healyje


Jan 10, 2013, 10:13 PM
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No, top roping is not a part of any other kind of climbing other than free climbing in general.

Though a big part of the argument for sport climbing - as opposed to trad climbing with gear - is usually that it allows you to dispense with dicking around with all the gear and just focus on 'movement'. But given most, but certainly not all, sport climbs are single pitch climbs - and if 'movement' is really your focus - then why dick around with the clipping? Just TR it and dispense with the clipping nonsense as well. But, there's obviously great mystery around sport climbing and the distinction between the two involves a lot of really deep semantics. (But kidding aside, there are a lot of places that don't have cliff top access for setting up TRs).

In general, there's aid climbing and free climbing. Within free climbing there's trad climbing and sport climbing. The major distinction actually isn't that one uses gear and the other uses bolts, however. The broader, and essential, difference it tactics: in sport climbing you hang on the rope resting after you fall off and then get back on the rock (derogatorily known as 'hangdogging'), in trad climbing if you fall off you lower to the ground or to the anchor on multipitch and go again with purest pulling their rope and releading and less-than-purists just going again without pulling the rope.

These days a lot of folks crossing from sport to trad bring those sport tactics of hanging over to trad climbing essentially sport climbing on gear - kind of pointless (and somewhat dangerous) and better referred to a 'sprad' climbing.

You could also add ice climbing, drytooling, free soloing, bouldering (essentially low free soloing), roped soloing, aid soloing, TR soloing, deep water soloing, big wall climbing, and alpine climbing.


(This post was edited by healyje on Jan 10, 2013, 10:46 PM)


jt512


Jan 10, 2013, 10:37 PM
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healyje wrote:

Within free climbing there's trad climbing and sport climbing. The major distinction actually isn't that one uses gear and the other uses bolts, however. The broader, and essential, difference it tactics: in sport climbing you hang on the rope resting after you fall off and then get back on the rock (derogatorily known as 'hangdogging'), in trad climbing if you fall off you lower to the ground or to the anchor on multipitch and go again with purest pulling their rope and releading and less-than-purists just going again without pulling the rope.

And, believe it or not, there are people who actually think that distinction is important.

Jay


dagibbs


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No, top-roping is not a branch of sport climbing.

For now, let's assume we're talking about rock climbing. (There's also alpine climbing, ice climbing, and mixed climbing. Alpine is, generally, associated with making it up peaks, and may include technical rock and ice climbing, but often is extended scrambling and usually dealing with various snow conditions, etc. Ice climbing is climbing near vertical to overhanging ice with ice axes and pitons. Mixed is climbing a mixture of ice and rock with ice axes and pitons.)

First major break-down: aid vs free climbing.

In aid, you use gear to make progress up the rock -- whether it is clipping a bolt and pulling on it, hauling up on a rope from above, or placing nuts or cams, and stepping up them on etriers.

In free climbing all progress up the rock is achieved using only your own body -- primarily hands and feet, but knees, elbows, butts, shoulders, or whatever are all fine. Free climbing is generally sub-divided by how you protect yourself in case of a fall. They are:

Free-soloing: no rope, no gear, no protection. If you fall, severe injury and death are to be expected.

Bouldering: no rope, but restricted height to limit risk from fall. Often pads (cushioning) in the landing zone to reduce impact force and protect. Often a spotter or spotters to help control the fall. (High-ball bouldering is bouldering to a greater height than might be normal, increases the risk -- the line between high-ball bouldering and Free-soloing is very fine.)

Deep-water soloing: Essentially bouldering over water deep enough that a fall will be cushioned/protected by landing in water, rather than on something solid.

Leading on gear (often called Trad climbing): rope is attached to the climber, and as the climber progresses up the wall, she attaches gear -- mechanical devices range from simple (nuts, hexes) to complex (spring-loaded camming devices) -- and then attaches the rope to the gear, with hope that on a fall, the gear will stay attached to the wall, and limit the distance of the fall. (Fall generally will be amount of distance above the most recent protection point x2, plus slack in the system, plus rope stretch.)

Leading on bolts (often called Sport climbing): rope is attached to the climber, and he progresses up the wall, he clips the rope to bolts that are emplaced in the rock. Generally easier to do, and taking far less time than place gear.

Top-rope climbing: the rope is anchored at the top of the climb, and the rope is always above the climber with minimal slack. Falls are (generally) of the most limited length, and smallest impact force, in this case. Fall will be generally slack in the system (very little to none) plus rope stretch.


BillyCrook


Jan 10, 2013, 11:26 PM
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TopRope is a binary adjective to describe a climb. It is not exclusive from Trad or Sport. You could TopRope on bolts or pro, though the latter would be a poor idea. Most often, a TR will be on bolts, underneath florescent lights, in a gym.

TopRope is essentially the opposite of Lead. Wikipedia has a good index of climbing terms that covers all this.

Unless your guidebook specifically mentions you can walk-up to the top to set up a TopRope, you should assume someone must send the route first on lead, and establish an anchor to TopRope from. You're never just going to find a TR dangling there, waiting all alone for you outside.

The first time I climbed outside, I walked up and tied webbing to a couple sturdy-looking trees to form my anchor. I set up a TopRope, belayed myself down, and took turns climbing with my partner.

TopRope usually elicits an upturned nose from elitists, because it's more inviting to n00bs. TopRope makes for good exercise though, and it is almost always how professional competitions are held because no time or energy is wasted clipping.

TopRope is particularly worthwhile if your gym has good autobelays that you don't have to wait on/coordinate with.


potreroed


Jan 10, 2013, 11:32 PM
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No, top roping was practiced long before sport climbing was conceived.


jt512


Jan 10, 2013, 11:47 PM
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potreroed wrote:
No, top roping was practiced long before sport climbing was conceived.

So, do you agree with me that top-roping is a legitimate form of traditional climbing?

Jay


JimTitt


Jan 11, 2013, 12:15 AM
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The person following a trad route might well think so.


gosharks


Jan 11, 2013, 12:42 AM
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BillyCrook wrote:
TopRope makes for good exercise though, and it is almost always how professional competitions are held because no time or energy is wasted clipping.
Not sure if serious.


brian_h


Jan 11, 2013, 12:59 AM
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climbernewbie wrote:
Is top roping a branch of Sport Climbing?

Can someone give the breakdown of the climbing categories and which are parts of the others?
also not sure if serious.


healyje


Jan 11, 2013, 2:29 AM
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Hmmmm....not sure about some of that.


dagibbs


Jan 11, 2013, 7:35 AM
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JimTitt wrote:
The person following a trad route might well think so.

I would say that following a trad route is distinctly harder than top-roping the same route.


bearbreeder


Jan 11, 2013, 8:14 AM
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Does it matter?

Just go out and climb ... Its sunny and just above frezing today yipeee!!!

To the OP ... It only matters for people who wont lead ... If you never lead youll be very limited in what you can do and will usually be dependant on others to lead up for you in the many climbing areas that dont have top rope access for most climbs

If you want to climb the good stuff you need to lead or be a biatch to someone who does and hope they dont get tired of it/you

Wink


climbernewbie


Jan 11, 2013, 8:26 AM
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Definitely a serious question. And from the array of responses it looks as if this could be a slightly grey area.


Kartessa


Jan 11, 2013, 8:49 AM
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climbernewbie wrote:
Definitely a serious question. And from the array of responses it looks as if this could be a slightly grey area.

Those who are making it a grey area are just playing with you.

Sport is sport, trad is ham sammiches, and toproping is for gym rats.


potreroed


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jt512 wrote:
potreroed wrote:
No, top roping was practiced long before sport climbing was conceived.

So, do you agree with me that top-roping is a legitimate form of traditional climbing?

Jay

Yes, I do agree with you.


healyje


Jan 11, 2013, 9:10 AM
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I would as well and would go so far as to say that on steep, overhanging rock where you can't get back on, sport leading is actually easier. There's no hanging out resting and sorting out the moves from a TR on steep rock. On that kind of terrain TR has more in common with DWS as you're either climbing or flying. That means you have to sort out the moves while actually climbing as opposed to resting while you eyeball it all and give various combinations a go.


Partner cracklover


Jan 11, 2013, 12:54 PM
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climbernewbie wrote:
Is top roping a branch of Sport Climbing?

No.

I'll make it simple for you.

1 - When a climber has a toprope, that signifies that the rope and the anchor are above them, rather than below. This can happen in any type of roped climbing in which there is an anchor. (Sport, trad, ice, aid, some mountaineering, etc).

2 - If a climb is set up such that every climber who does it is on toprope, that is a distinct style called "toproping". That style is distinct from any other roped climbing with anchors, in that there is never a leader or a follower.

Hope that helps,

GO


onceahardman


Jan 11, 2013, 3:30 PM
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climbernewbie wrote:
Is top roping a branch of Sport Climbing?

Yes. But sport climbers hate that it is, and contrive all kinds of reasons to justify why it is not.


Partner rgold


Jan 11, 2013, 6:15 PM
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climbernewbie wrote:
Is top roping a branch of Sport Climbing?

At least partially the other way 'round: rap-bolted sport climbing is a branch of top-roping.


d2reid


Jan 11, 2013, 8:39 PM
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Wow, lots of thoughts on the subject. Ok, being a beginner here is the defintion as I have learned it:

Top rope; any climb where the rope is set at the top and you climb to that setting. Safest way to climb. Your only fall is as far as the belayer has let slack.

Sport Climb: preset anchors that the climber hooks into as they ascend. Not on a top rope as that would be redundant.

Trad: Any climb without preset anchors were the climber sets gear to protect themselves.

Have I over simplified this? Smile


shimanilami


Jan 11, 2013, 9:37 PM
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rgold wrote:
climbernewbie wrote:
Is top roping a branch of Sport Climbing?

At least partially the other way 'round: rap-bolted sport climbing is a branch of top-roping.

Some might say that top roping is sport climbing in its purest form.


(This post was edited by shimanilami on Jan 11, 2013, 9:41 PM)


brian_h


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Kartessa wrote:
trad is ham sammiches
Kartessa wrote:
you can't cut out bacon entirely.
stop making me hungry! Frown


curt


Jan 12, 2013, 11:03 AM
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potreroed wrote:
jt512 wrote:
potreroed wrote:
No, top roping was practiced long before sport climbing was conceived.

So, do you agree with me that top-roping is a legitimate form of traditional climbing?

Jay

Yes, I do agree with you.

I also agree.

Curt


climbingtrash


Jan 12, 2013, 1:05 PM
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Top roping just means that the rope is running through a fixed anchor. In some cases the rope can be set by hiking to the top of the cliff, but in most cases it means the climb must be lead first in order to get the rope up to the fixed anchors. I've TR'd ice climbs, crack climbs, and sport climbs. Shocked


jacques


Jan 12, 2013, 9:36 PM
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climbernewbie wrote:
Can someone give the breakdown of the climbing categories and which are parts of the others?

top rope and it opposite bottom up are just terms of climbing like off belay, on belay. It is just a technical terms to identify that the the rope are fixed at the top or at the bottom.

If you talk about categories, you will make a distinction between sport and trad. But they are not opposite. They are different ethic. That means that the skill you need to practice actively one or the other are different. Other ethic is bouldering and aid climbing.

To see how the categories evolve, you have to look at the evolution of climbing. From 1492, the first ascent of a mountain, to the summit of everst, all big chalenge have been done and there is not very places for eroic ascension any more.

The most difficult distinction is the one between sport and trad. Before, the leader brought his client to a small cliff to see if they can follow them on the mountain. Some was to scare and was call coward and some can follow the leader. The distinction was very sharp and those who was afraid was humiliate.

As the popularity of climbing increase, some people from the city, like paris in France, train all years long at Fontainebleau to be able to climb in the alps in their vacation. Those guy aren't coward and were very skill climber. The war between acrobat and coward still persist today. Those guy claimed that they are as good at one or the other style. The fact is that sport climber don't like to suffer for hours in the cliff as they can climb all day long. Trad climber don't like to follow a line of bolt as is it like a dog leach for them.

The results is that we find in sport very fluid climber with a very good technique and we find in trad tacticien who can bring you to the summit without previous knowledge of the route. One problem is that people make the distinction between top roping and leading very easily....but beginer don't make it between sport and trad. And sport climber place there life in danger because they don't train tactic. Notice that I am not very safe with rap at the end of a pitch in sport too. I used sport in my training for trad, but I am a trad climber.


(This post was edited by jacques on Jan 14, 2013, 6:36 AM)


marc801


Jan 13, 2013, 12:54 PM
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jacques wrote:
climbernewbie wrote:
Can someone give the breakdown of the climbing categories and which are parts of the others?

top rope and it opposite bottom up are just terms of climbing like off belay, on belay. It is just a technical terms to identify where the rope is place.

If you talk about categories, you will make a distinction between sport and trad. But they are not opposite. They are different ethic. That means that the skill you need to practice actively one or the other are different. Other ethic is bouldering and aid climbing.

To see how the categories evolve, you have to look at the evolution of climbing. From 1492, the first ascent of a mountain, to the summit of everst, all big chalenge have been done and there is not very places for eroic ascension any more.

The most difficult distinction is the one between sport and trad. Before, the leader brought his client to a small cliff to see if they can follow them on the mountain. Some was to scare and was call couard and some can follow the leader. The distinction was very sharp and those who was afraid was humiliate.

As the popularity of climbing increase, some people from the city, like paris in France, train all years long at Fontainebleau to be able to climb in the alps in their vacation. Those guy aren't couard and was very skill climber. The war between acrobat and couard still persist today. Those guy claimed that they are as good at one or the other style. The fact is that sport don't like to suffer for hours in the cliff as they can climb all day long. Trad climber don't like to follow a line of bolt as is it like a dog leach for them.

The results is that we find in sport very fluid climber with a very good technique and we find in trad tacticien who can bring you to the summit without previous knowledge of the route. One problem is that people make the distinction between top roping and leading very easily....but beginer don't make it between sport and trad. And sport climber place there life in danger because they don't train tactic. Notice that I am not very safe with rap at the end of a pitch in sport too. I used sport in my training for trad, but I am a trad climber.

Someone want to translate this (first into an actual language, then into English - maybe jacques is writing in French and then letting Google translate handle the rest?) and condense it into a reasonable length? I would but I can't decipher it. Right now this will just likely confuse our newbie OP.


JimTitt


Jan 13, 2013, 11:20 PM
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Thatīs one of his easier posts, at least you can roughly work out that it is on topic to some extent.


tomcecil


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"Sport climbing used to have a much more honest name--it was called top-roping"
from Tim Toula's 'A Cheap Way To Die' guidebook to Sedona AZ.--one of my favorite guides and quotes-


bearbreeder


Jan 14, 2013, 12:19 PM
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The funny thing is that many of the "hardcore trad climbers" who degenirate sport climbing ... Refuse to lead harder sport when i say nicely "your lead since yr saying its top roping"

If you are going to say its top roping then just do the damn climb ... Or are ya afraid of TRing

Tongue


jt512


Jan 14, 2013, 12:42 PM
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tomcecil wrote:
"Sport climbing used to have a much more honest name--it was called top-roping"
from Tim Toula's 'A Cheap Way To Die' guidebook to Sedona AZ.--one of my favorite guides and quotes-

So did the the type of climbing depicted in your profile shot. It was called "walking."



Jay


tomcecil


Jan 14, 2013, 1:05 PM
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John Bachar is one who said top-roping is the purest form of roped climbing...
Personally I enjoy al types of climbing, don't really think any one type or style is superior, its all climbing and its all fun--even "walking"


(This post was edited by tomcecil on Jan 14, 2013, 1:07 PM)


Ruff_Dog


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I would, but the last two paragraphs confuse me too much. And I don't speak French. English, some German, and Spanish..... Damn.


Syd


Apr 26, 2013, 1:13 PM
Post #35 of 35 (909 views)
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Registered: Oct 25, 2012
Posts: 300

Re: [bearbreeder] Is Top Rope a part of Sport Climbing? [In reply to]
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Chris Sharma isn't afraid of top roping:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMWc-CKshO8&list=FLNfpuewnfcBUWehtU00e6PA&feature=mh_lolz

A real climber accepts whatever people want to do, from Honnold style free solo, to trad, to sport to bouldering to scrambling.


Forums : Climbing Information : Beginners

 


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