How to Set a Bolted Top Rope Anchor

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The first few times you venture outside of a climbing gym, chances are your climbing partners will be the ones setting you up and helping you climb—but just like you should always bait your own hook, it’s better to get your hands dirty right away.

Setting up a bolted top rope is a pretty easy and essential lesson as long as you have safe access to the top of the cliff where the bolt anchors are placed. Even if you have stable footing, always anchor yourself to a deep-rooted tree or crack nearby with a safety sling before you begin (because when you’re looking down from the top of a cliff, it’s always better to be safe than sorry). And remember to practice with an expert before trying this on your own.

Gear you’ll need: Four carabiners, two pre-sewn slings, and a climbing rope.

All photos by Brandon Scherzberg.

Step 1: Check your bolts…

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