Friends don’t let friends toprope

by We didn't write this


It starts so innocently. Your at the crag, and someone just got off the climb you want to get on. They offer, with a dangerous, yet innocent sparkle in their eye. “Do you want to run a lap on TR? The rope is all set up and stuff.”

You bite your lip, mulling over the offer. Why not, you ask yourself? I’m not too close to sending, what harm could another toprope burn do? You’ll just TR one more time, and then you’ll lead send fore sure. Just a taste, how bad can it be?


Having tasted the sweet, sweet nectar of toprope pleasure safety, you don’t really want to get on the sharp end. The sharp end, with its dangers, its discomforts, its real plausibility of failure, maybe even pain and injury. Who wants that? You want, no you need, to be in that fuzzy bubble of the rope above your head. You’re sending your project on toprope every time, but still haven’t led it. You can stop anytime, yes, but just not yet, not now.


Its big wall climbing season, but you haven’t led a climb in months. You want to send your wall project, but you just want to do it safely, on TR. You find yourself up late at night, red eyed and breaking a cold sweat, browsing bulk rope suppliers on the web. You are concocting a mad scheme to hang a fixed line spanning 1300 feet of wall. Your palms are rope burned and biceps are flaring from hauling out 120 pounds of rope on every attempt, yet fingers frail and nimble from lack of actual climbing.


You kicked your girlfriend out of the house to make more room for your ropes. Your friends are worried sick about you. They hold an intervention. It’s a somber event. In the corner a large, blocky object. Your friends have kicked in 20 bucks each to get it. Its a crashpad. You stroke it, amazed at its simplicity. They make you give up ropes forever. You robotically say yes. You spend the rest of your life bouldering.

It could happen to anyone, and I’ve seen it happen to the best. So friends, next time you think about an innocent TR run, consider the dark road that may lie ahead. Just say “fuck that” and lead that shit. Remember, friends don’t let friends toprope.