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How to start roped climbing

Looking for a thrilling challenge that combines learning with fun? Roped climbing at The Climbing Academy might be just what you’re searching for.


Getting Started

What is roped climbing?

Roped climbing is a versatile sport that can be enjoyed both indoors and outdoors, typically involving two individuals. The climber is secured to one end of the rope, while the belayer manages the other end, ensuring safety and support throughout the climb.


Roped Disciplines

Indoor climbing

Indoor roped climbing encompasses two main categories: top-roping and lead climbing. In top-roping, the rope is pre-anchored at the top of the wall, with the belayer managing the slack as the climber ascends and lowering them upon completion.

Lead climbing advances this further, with the climber clipping the rope into fixed carabiners as they progress upward. The belayer must ensure the climber has enough rope for clipping while maintaining safety in the event of a fall. Additionally, auto belay systems, available at The Prop Store and The Arc, allow climbers to top-rope independently.

Outdoor climbing

Outdoor roped climbing offers even more diversity, with trad and sport climbing as primary categories. These can include single or multi-pitch climbs. Trad climbers place their own protection as they ascend, removing it as they progress, while sport climbers rely on pre-installed bolts for safety. TCA also offers seasonal outdoor courses for those eager to explore outdoor climbing.


Essential Gear

What you need

To begin roped climbing, you’ll need a harness, climbing shoes and a belay device. Chalk for your hands is optional but recommended, especially on warm days. There are various belay devices available, so it’s worth experimenting to find one that suits you. Consider speaking to a professional with experience before using a new belay device.

When top-roping indoors, you won’t initially need to purchase your own rope, as the centre provides fixed ropes. However, if you progress to lead climbing, you’ll require your own rope, along with a helmet for outdoor climbs. Ropes come in different lengths, so ensure you select one suitable for your intended environment.


Starting Out

Learning the basics

Unlike bouldering, roped climbing requires learning specific skills for safe belaying and climbing. Consider a taster session or beginners’ course to kick start your journey. Our courses cater to all levels, assuming no prior climbing experience. Take advantage of TCA’s super affordable new member deal for your first month of climbing.


Climbing with Friends

Harnessing experience

Alternatively, If you already know an experienced climber, they may be willing take you along and guide you through your first climbs. Groups of three are ideal, allowing one friend to back up the rope while you belay and the other to climb. While many climbers learn this way, formal courses are always recommended for comprehensive learning.


Book a course

Ready to ascend to new heights? Book your roped beginners' course at The Prop Store in Glasgow, The Arc in Chippenham or The Church in Bristol today and embark on an exhilarating journey into the world of roped climbing.


Top tips

11 tips to help you start climbing

Finally, if you’re looking for some tips at the start of your climbing journey, check out these from world renowned climber Adam Ondra