Why are some climbs listed as Top Rope?


Original Post
Cari Evans · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 0

Hi, we are two British climbers who have visited and climbed in the Adirondacks and Little Falls NY. We are looking to visit family in Ohio and are looking into climbing there.

Why are some routes classed as Top Rope? ...is it possible to lead these routes (we are trad climbers), or are there restrictions why we can't?

Thanks,

Cari

Ryan McDermott · · Pittsburgh, PA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 70

Because you are British, the answer is probably, Yes, it is possible to lead these routes. They would just need an appropriately high E grade. But seriously, these are probably routes with little or no protection in areas where bolting is either prohibited or frowned upon. And they probably have lots of trees at the top for easy TR anchors (unlike most crags I've been to in the UK). 

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275

There wouldn't be restrictions, but there might not be any opportunities to place protection. 

amarius · · Nowhere, OK · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 20

Perhaps restrictions related to the area? 

For example - Whipps Ledges near Hinckley is managed by Metroparks, the only type of climbing allowed is TR, and bouldering. I see some routes listed as gear protected, but I never climbed there, can't comment. You also need a permit - free, but you must present proof of insurance to the tune of ~500k.

Dave Kos · · Temecula, CA · Joined Jan 2011 · Points: 55

Because someone hasn't bolted them yet.

Ancent · · Reno, NV · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 42

It just means there's no way to adequately protect the climb, and people have usually top roped the climbs--perhaps after leading an adjacent climb or walking to the top.

Doug Hemken · · Madison, WI · Joined Oct 2004 · Points: 5,452

In this modern age of outdoor venues becoming more like indoor gyms, there are in fact places where the land manager only allows TR climbing - Carter Caves in Kentucky comes to mind.  I wouldn't know the details in Ohio, but you are smart to ask!

MojoMonkey · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2009 · Points: 68
amarius wrote:

Perhaps restrictions related to the area? 

For example - Whipps Ledges near Hinckley is managed by Metroparks, the only type of climbing allowed is TR, and bouldering. I see some routes listed as gear protected, but I never climbed there, can't comment. You also need a permit - free, but you must present proof of insurance to the tune of ~500k.

My first thought was Whipp's Ledges since the OP mentioned Ohio. It may be perfectly possible to climb on gear but not allowed by the land owner. I see MP mentions gear climbing but I thought the metroparks policy was TR only (and that permit business).

Jon Nelson · · Bellingham, WA · Joined Sep 2011 · Points: 4,695

Routes can be listed as TR and sport or TR and trad. 

In the cases I know about in WA State, having TR listed just means that one can easily access top anchors without any difficult or dangerous climbing, even when the top anchor is a tree. For example, TR may be listed if one can walk around to the top and clip the anchors or set up the anchors. Whether the route is commonly led isn't relevant, again, in the cases I know about. 

Zachary Rahe · · Stow, Ohio · Joined Jul 2017 · Points: 0

As an Ohio climber its for two reasons. One is in the vast majority of places, bolting is illegal and would revoke access if someone did. The second is most of the rock is weak sandstone and won't take gear. Where will you be at in Ohio? I can give you some recomendations for climbing based on where you are.

Cari Evans · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 0

Hi Zachary, my sister lives in Cincinnati, so whatever crags are closest to there would be good. Thanks

amarius · · Nowhere, OK · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 20

Check out the Red River Gorge - definitely a must go place, roughly 2 hour drive from Cinci

Here is what mp has to say about it -

Red River Gorge on MP

Their own database -

 RedRiverClimbing.com database

Zachary Rahe · · Stow, Ohio · Joined Jul 2017 · Points: 0

Mad River Gorge is about an hour from you and has sport, some trad and bouldering.

Doug Hemken · · Madison, WI · Joined Oct 2004 · Points: 5,452

If you are coming all the way from Britain, you should at least sample the RRG.

Austin Baird · · SLC, Utah · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 95

If you're coming from Britain, you should bypass the entire eastern USA and come climb out West, where we don't have to drive for hours to set up top ropes on 40 foot chosspiles and then pretend that we're having fun.

Doug Hemken · · Madison, WI · Joined Oct 2004 · Points: 5,452

But Austin, if they are British they know how to have fun on a 40-foot choss pile.

David Gibbs · · Ottawa, ON · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 6
Cari Evans wrote:

Hi, we are two British climbers who have visited and climbed in the Adirondacks and Little Falls NY. We are looking to visit family in Ohio and are looking into climbing there.

Why are some routes classed as Top Rope? ...is it possible to lead these routes (we are trad climbers), or are there restrictions why we can't?

Thanks,

Cari

Perhaps for the same reason that most climbs at Harrisons Rocks (https://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=57) are top-rope climbs?  The rock is not appropriate for lead climbing, so is top-roped instead.

Eplumer400 · · Cleveland, OH · Joined May 2016 · Points: 100

Ohio is mostly sandstone and not high quality sandstone at that. Therefore it's a lot safer to top rope. 

A lot of places in Ohio aren't developed enough to really have people come and bolt up routes also.

Ohio has a lot of access issues that prevent route development. It's illegal to climb in more places in Ohio than legal.

As for recommendations from Cincy, Mad River Gorge is becoming the go to spot in Ohio. Haven't been yet, but I've heard it's nice. I'd definitely make the drive and go to Red River Gorge. 

And amarius it's $300k now.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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