TOP ROPE 101
To climb the tall walls, you must use proper safety equipment and have a partner who is top rope belay certified.
If you are new to climbing you’ll want to sign up for our 1-hour Belay Lesson. You’ll learn how to tie basic climbing knots, how to use a belay device to manage the climbing rope, perform safety checks and more! At the end of the class you’ll receive a provisional belay certification for the day, and will be able to take our Top Rope Belay test on your next visit. Classes are offered daily and we recommend reserving a spot in advance.
If you know how to tie a figure-8 follow-through knot and are familiar with the P.L.U.S. method of belaying, you don’t need to take our belay lesson; just ask our front desk staff to administer our Top Rope Belay test. This test can be requested at the front desk any time during normal business hours and usually takes less than 5 minutes to complete.
Have questions? Check out the FAQ section below.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens during a belay lesson?
- How to manage the climbing rope using a belay device in order to protect the climber by pulling up slack rope, catching a fall, and lowering the climber back to the ground.
- Harness safety checks, knots, and climbing commands.
- Basic climbing technique
After taking the class you’ll get a temporary Belay Certification that allows you to climb and belay for the day. In order to ensure proper safety and knowledge of the belay techniques, all participants will be required to take our Top Rope Belay test on a later visit to obtain a permanent Belay Certification.
Do I need a climbing partner?
A belay partner is necessary to top rope climb. If you don’t have a belay partner there are several ways to find a buddy to climb with:
- Let the front desk staff know that you’re looking for a partner. They will make an announcement and you can oftentimes find someone else looking for a partner.
- Take a belay lesson. New climbers need to take lessons in order to belay so you can usually find a partner there.
- Ask around the bouldering area. Oftentimes there are others there getting warmed up who want to top rope.
- Forums like Meetup.com can help you find others in the community looking for a belay buddy.
Do I need my own climbing equipment?
You’ll need climbing shoes, a harness, and a belay device to top-rope climb. You can rent all of the equipment for the day or bring your own. We also have a fully stocked pro shop where you can purchase your own climbing equipment.
Do I need previous climbing experience?
Nope! We’ve got climbing routes for everyone from absolute beginners to the most experienced climbing vets. We also offer beginner classes and instruction for those looking to get on the fast-track to stronger climbing. You can learn more about that here.
What should I wear?
Choose athletic clothing that is comfortable and allows freedom of movement. However, we recommend clothing that is somewhat form-fitting; super baggy, loose clothing can get caught in climbing equipment or get snagged on climbing holds.
Climbing shoes are required on the climbing walls; bring your own or rent a pair for the day.
How do I become top rope belay certified?
To become Belay Certified at Mesa Rim you must pass our Top Rope Belay test. During the test you must be able to demonstrate tying a figure-8 follow-through knot and the P.L.U.S./P.B.U.S. method (see graphic below) of belaying.
This test can be requested at the front desk any time during normal business hours and usually takes less than 5 minutes to complete.
What are the age requirements for top rope climbing?
There is no minimum age requirement to climb at Mesa Rim, however, you must be at least 14 years old to take our belay class and belay test. Youth that are participating in one of our youth programs under the supervision of a climbing coach, such as Rock Monsters or Climbing Teams, are allowed to belay at a younger age.
Have questions? We have answers!
Still have questions? Send us a note and we’ll find the answer for you.