Climbers, we have all been there: You top out on a climb (whether it’s a project or just a casual Sunday afternoon) and you reach the anchors and someone says “oh can you throw a TR anchor on that?” For some reason, as climbers, we want to top rope our more sendy friends project. Is it for ego? Maybe? Are we scared of leading a route someone has taken 20+ whips on? Also maybe? Regardless, as the climber you are sweaty-palmed and tired, being asked to set up a top rope. What do you do? Here is a list of the most common top rope anchors. 

Quad: Very common in the trad climbing world. You tie a closed loop with a 6-7mm accessory cord and build an anchor. Pros: most trad dads have 20 feet of accessory cord. Cons: depending on the setup there is a lot you need to consider: do I need to equalize? What about limiter knots? Overhand or figure 8 knot? BFK? How many pieces do you need? That’s a lot of questions so possibly too complicated for the average weekend warrior. 

Sling: Got an extra long sling? Can you tie overhand knots? Tie an equalized three-knot system with all overhands! Pros: easy to tie and set up. Cons: do you have a sling long enough? Are the anchors offset? 

Quickdraw: The everyman’s anchor while cragging at a sport area. Climb a route and bring two extra quickdraws, make them opposite and opposed. Pros: Easiest setup. Cons: Potential rope drag. How long are your quickdraws?

Mussy hooks/cold shuts: The laziest and, depending on the area, the most frowned upon. Does your climb have mussy hooks? Cool just put the rope through and belay off that. Pros: literally takes no skill. Easy. Did I mention it was easy? Cons: Wearing out the anchor hardware. That’s it and if it’s in a managed area, you really should worry about that….

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