Weekend Whipper: Wrecking Ball (a.k.a. How Not to Top-Rope)
“I came in like a wrecking ballll. I never hit so hard…”
Gravity works in mysterious ways. When top-roping the steeps, this is a perfect example of what you should NOT do. The climber was on the wrong
end of the rope (i.e. the end that hung cleanly from the anchors to the ground and not the end that passed through the quickdraws, which
serve as directionals).
Had she been climbing on the other end, she would not have become a human wrecking ball.
Lesson: When climbing an overhanging route, after the first climber leads and sets the anchors for top-roping, always pull the rope through
to the other end for the climber who follows. The climber who follows should be on the rope end that passes through all the
gear. The climber must unclip each piece—or can clean the gear—as he or she climbs higher. On really steep routes, this
is usually the only way to clean.
Back to the whipper, the bigger question is: What did she hit?
Stay safe out there!