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Top Rope Climbing Anchors

  • Price: $269.00
  • Duration: 8 hours
(2 customer reviews)

This beginner/intermediate level class teaches climbers how to set simple, solid top rope climbing anchors for outdoor rock climbing.

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Don’t see a date and location that works for you? We offer custom guiding 365 days a year. 


If you already know how use basic equipment, know basic ropework like tying the figure-8 follow through, and you know how to belay, this course will open up the whole world of outdoor toproping to you, your friends, and your family.  Anchoring, edge security, and site management will be the primary focus of this one day course.

In this course, our instructors will teach fundamental anchoring principles in a ground school setting and then quickly transition to using those skills to establish toprope setups for a small group.  From the top of climb, participants will learn to position their climbing rope in the best place to facilitate a rock climb, and they will learn how to use a series of tethers and backups to be secure in the process.  If you are just getting in to rock climbing and looking for more independence, these skills are vital to making your first trips out on your own.

Sample Itinerary:

8am : Introductions and Approach

930am : Review Basic Skills and Warm up climb

1030am : Instructor Demo and Site Management Discussion

1130am : Lunch

12pm : Ground School Anchoring Activity

1pm : Student Setup Activity 1

230pm : Student Setup Activity 2

3pm : Q&A and Debrief

Meeting location:

Boulder Dates:
Colorado Mountain School
633 S Broadway St.
Boulder, CO 80305


Denver Dates:
Big Daddy Bagels
106 N Rubey Dr # D
Golden, CO 80403


All of our courses can be run as custom outings.  If you’re interested in a course, but it doesn’t fit into your schedule, please check out our custom guiding options.

All Upcoming Dates and Locations:

  • May 5, 2024 - May 5, 2024 - Top Rope Climbing Anchors - Boulder, Colorado
  • June 2, 2024 - June 2, 2024 - Top Rope Climbing Anchors - Boulder, Colorado
  • June 16, 2024 - June 16, 2024 - Top Rope Climbing Anchors - Boulder, Colorado
  • June 30, 2024 - June 30, 2024 - Top Rope Climbing Anchors - Boulder, Colorado
  • July 28, 2024 - July 28, 2024 - Top Rope Climbing Anchors - Boulder, Colorado
  • August 11, 2024 - August 11, 2024 - Top Rope Climbing Anchors - Boulder, Colorado
  • August 25, 2024 - August 25, 2024 - Top Rope Climbing Anchors - Boulder, Colorado
  • September 22, 2024 - September 22, 2024 - Top Rope Climbing Anchors - Boulder, Colorado
  • October 20, 2024 - October 20, 2024 - Top Rope Climbing Anchors - Boulder, Colorado

By the end of this course, students will have achieved the following:

Every student will get a chance to see at least 3 different toprope setups and do 3 different rock climbs.

Every student will get a chance to build their own anchors with coaching and supervision in three settings: one ground school and two top access toprope climbs.

Every student will learn fundamental anchoring principles and at least two ways to protect themselves during toprope setups.

Every student will leave the course with a clear idea about what equipment they will need to venture out on their own.

Every student will leave the course with a set of independent goals and recommendations from their instructor.

Topics include:

  • Managing a top-rope site
  • Equipment necessary to build top-rope anchors
  • Gain insight into how to assess site hazards
  • Natural protection and fixed anchors
  • Placing clean protection
  • Bring pieces together to distribute the load
  • Protecting yourself near the cliff edge
  • Receive constructive feedback from a professional guide
  • Gain the knowledge to build anchors and climb on your own


Minimally Prepared: If you have only experienced rock climbing one other time, indoors or outdoors, you can still get a lot out of this course.  You will see how the systems work, and you will see the skills more experienced climbers eventually master and the tools they use.  You will likely need follow up instruction before you can achieve the learning outcomes.

Adequately Prepared: If you already know how to use a harness, helmet, climbing shoes, and belay hardware, if you already know how to belay and how to tie in, if you already know how to perform basic climbing movements, you are in a great position to achieve these learning outcomes.

Well Prepared: If you own your own equipment and you’ve been on outings where a friend, mentor, or guide does all the setups, but then you know exactly what to do, you are ready to start learning the setups skills that you have previously relied on others to perform.


Going on a toprope outing with a friend, mentor, or one of our guides is a great way to brush the dust off your rock climbing skill set.  If time is a factor, a trip to a local climbing gym will also work.


8:00am - 4:00pm


8 hours

Maximum Ratio:


Minimum Age:

Please call to register participants under 18
Experience Level

Beginner, Intermediate

Activity Level

Easy Active, Relaxed


Rock Climbing




  • Trained and/or certified guide
  • Group climbing gear
    • Technical hardware – climbing protection, carabiners,etc
    • Ropes
    • Technical softgoods – slings, cordellette, etc
  • Personal climbing gear
    • Harness
    • Helmet
    • Rock shoes


  • Food
  • Transportation
  • Lodging
  • Clothing, backpack and non-technical personal items
  • Park Entrance Fees (where applicable)
  • Rescue Insurance
  • Trip Insurance
  • Gratuity
  • Expenses due to unforeseen circumstances beyond the control of Colorado Mountain School

Item Description Quantity Example Purchase At Rent At Equipment Type
Alpine Quickdraws

24” (shoulder-length) runners with 2 non-locking carabiners per runner (Alpine Draws).


CAMP 11mm Express Dyneema

Neptune Mountaineering

Approach Shoes

These are “hiking” shoes specifically made for approaching and descending from a climbing venue where scrambling is necessary, or even for climbing an entire route. They have sticky climbing rubber on the bottom and a formed fit to influence better climbing abilities while scrambling. Consider high-tops for additional ankles support if needed. Regular hiking boots or athletic shoes may be acceptable for many climbs.


Men: La Sportiva TX3 Men
Women: La Sportiva TX3 Wmn

Neptune Mountaineering

Auto Block

This is a small sewn loop to assist in rappelling. The #1 choice on the market is the Sterling Hollowblock, or the Sterling Autoblock.


Sterling Auto Block

Neptune Mountaineering

Beanie or Fleece Hat

Should cover the ears and fit under a helmet. Hats with fluff balls on top do not fit under helmets.


Filament Beanie


Belay and Rappel Device

Plaquette style devices with auto-block mode are ideal.


CAMP Piu 2

Neptune Mountaineering

Belay Gloves

Leather gloves, either full fingered or fingerless. These protect your hands from rope wear when belaying or rappelling and keep your hands warm at belays.


CAMP Axion

Neptune Mountaineering

Chalk Bag

Holds climbing chalk, which is usually made from Magnesium Carbonate. This is the same compound that gymnasts, weightlifters, and other athletes will put on their hands in order to improve friction and grip.


CAMP Patabang

Neptune Mountaineering

Climbing Harness

UIAA or CE approved; With belay loop and gear loops. The waist belt should fit over multiple layers of clothing.



Neptune Mountaineering

Colorado Mountain School

Climbing Pants, Shorts or Capris

For all seasons, cotton, loose-fitting (or tight, stretchy) pants are usually acceptable for rock climbing. Shorts are acceptable during the summer – though shorts expose the knees and shins to abrasions. New climbers are encouraged to wear pants or capris. A synthetic material (like in softshell pants) may be required by your guide due to potential rain storms.


Men: Rab Sawtooth
Women: Rab Womens Sawtooth

Rab Stores

Climbing Rack

1-2 sets of cams, 1 set stoppers.


Black Diamond Camalot, CAMP Pro Nuts

Neptune Mountaineering

Cotton Socks

Cotton Socks are acceptable for most rock climbing days. Synthetic and merino wool socks tend to be too hot and make climber’s feet sweat excessively.


Point 6 Socks

Neptune Mountaineering

Double-length Sewn Runner

48″ or 120cm. Used for rappelling, making leashes, and improvised rescue.


CAMP 11mm Express Dyneema

Neptune Mountaineering

Face Mask – PPE

Optional; Look for a mask with a bendable border at the top so you can mold the mask to fit the bridge of your nose and prevent your glasses from fogging.

1 Clothing

Proper lunches that are prepared ahead of time are recommended (sandwich, burrito, leftover pizza, etc), along with an assortment of snack bars, gels, or trail mixes. Feeze-dried meals are acceptable on overnight trips, but not day trips.


Made in Nature, Thrive Tribe

Neptune Mountaineering

Lightweight Baselayer Top

Synthetic or Merino Wool; Worn against the skin and is considered a “wicking” layer that facilitates the movement of moisture away from the skin and through the layers. Hooded base layers add extra versatility.


Men: Rab Syncrino Base LS Tee
Women: Rab Syncrino Base LS Tee


Lightweight Gloves

Synthetic; Thin gloves used when hiking the early morning approach. Belay gloves can suffice if full-fingered.


Rab Vapour-Rise Glove

Rab Store

Lip ScreenSPF 15 or higher.

Non-SPF rated lip balms can actually increase your chances of getting burned.


Rocky Mountain Sunscreen Lip Balm

Neptune Mountaineering

Long and Short Sleeve T-shirt

Cotton or Synthetic and Merino Wool; Bring a variety of short-sleeve or tank tops, and a few long-sleeve. Synthetic shirts are not required, but many prefer the feel and quick-dry performance. If your program includes crack climbing, a long sleeve cotton shirt adds a layer of comfort.


Rab Mantle Tee

Rab Store

Midweight Baselayer Top

Synthetic or Merino Wool; Adds extra warmth and protection from the cold and wind without creating a moisture barrier as a jacket would. Having at least one base layer that is hooded adds versatility, protecting the neck and ears from cold winds.


Men: Rab Ascendor Light Hoodie
Women: Rab Ascendor Light Hoodie


Non-locking Carabiners

Most climbers prefer wire-gated carabiners due to their light weight and low bulk, among other useful characteristics.


CAMP Nano 22

Neptune Mountaineering

Nut Tool

For removing rock protection.


CAMP Nut Tool

Neptune Mountaineering

Prussik Cord

1m of 6mm nylon accessory cord. Tech cord (kevlar, spectra) is not acceptable.


Sterling HollowBlock

Neptune Mountaineering

Rock Climbing Helmet

UIAA/CE approved; Should be large enough to fit over a beanie. Plastic helmets are more durable, but heavier. Foam helmets are lighter, but more easily damaged when carried in a pack.


CAMP Titan

Neptune Mountaineering

Colorado Mountain School

Rock Climbing Shoes

Technical rock shoes are required. For beginning climbers, having a looser fit is advisable. In this case, loose means that toes are touching the front of the shoes when standing, but are not forced against the front of the shoe. In colder weather, thin socks inside climbing shoes are a great option. On long routes, rock shoes should be comfortable enough to wear for day.


La Sportiva TC Pro

Neptune Mountaineering

Colorado Mountain School; Neptune Mountaineering


Great for taking photos and videos. Smartphone batteries tend to shut down in freezing temps – keep your phone in a warm inner layer. A tether is ideal in the mountains to protet against dropping your phone.

1 Optional
Softshell and Fleece Jacket

Water-resistant, windproof, yet it “breaths,” which means it allows moisture to move through. Hoods are ideal. There are multiple thicknesses of Softshell jackets. A lightweight or medium-weight jacket is preferred. Fleece jackets are acceptable.


Men: Rab VR Summit Jacket
Women: Rab VR Summit Jacket


Sports Bra

Provides support and allows for full range of motion


North Face Beyond the Wall

Neptune Mountaineering

Sun Hat

A billed hat to keep the bright mountain sun at bay.


Rab Trucker Logo Cap



“Wrap-Around” style sunglasses with 100% UV Protection.



Zeal Optics 

Neptune Mountaineering

SunscreenSPF 30 or higher.

Travel size.


Rocky Mountain Sunscreen SPF 50

Neptune Mountaineering

Water Bottles

1 liter bottles are the standard. Bladders such as Camelbacks and Platypus are acceptable for above freezing temps, but only in conjunction with another bottle. Bladders are not acceptable during sub freezing temps. Sports drinks are also acceptable.


Nalgene, Hydro Flask

Neptune Mountaineering

Waterproof Shell Jacket

Non-insulated, Gore-Tex, Dermizax, Event, or other waterproofing system is required. Mostly, this jacket sits in the bottom of your pack and comes out when the weather gets nasty with precipitation. This jacket should fit over all other layers.


Men: Rab Khroma Cirque GORE-TEX Jacket
Women: Rab Women’s Khroma Cirque GORE-TEX Jacket




Q: Will COVID-19 impact my course?

A: 2020 made it clear that running programs while managing the risk of COVID-19 transmission is a challenge. It is a challenge that the Colorado Mountain School team tackled creatively and courageously. We may need to shift our classrooms to virtual settings at a moment’s notice. We may need to put on masks unexpectedly. We may need to go outside and distance ourselves. No matter what though, we are committed to running programs, providing education, and serving our mission, while also maintaining the highest standards of risk management. Please visit our FAQ page or contact us for more information.

2 reviews for Top Rope Climbing Anchors

  1. Fabricio Montenegro (verified owner)

    This was the perfect course to get started setting top rope anchors. I feel confident that I can go to a top rope crag and safely build simple, strong anchors.

  2. Phil Merrell (verified owner)

    This course was exactly what I was looking for. Bernardo the guide was knowledgeable, patient and attentive, with a strong eye on safety. He answered questions and wasn’t afraid to address real world scenarios. He gave us a good chance to try all kinds of equipment and setups. The course did end a bit early but I think that’s because we covered all the material and practiced plenty. I didn’t feel like I missed out on anything. Great experience with CMS.

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