TOP ROPE AND LEAD TESTING

Everyone who wants to top rope at Sportrock

MUST take and pass

our belay test before being allowed to belay or tie in to climb at Sportrock, no exceptions!
Top-Rope Belay Test Requirements

Climbers must be able to put on their harnesses correctly according to the specifications of the harness manufacturer.

Climbers must demonstrate proficiency in tying into their harness correctly with a retraced figure eight knot and backed up with a double-overhand knot.

Belayers must demonstrate the ability to properly load and set an ATC, demonstrate proficiency and ease of top-rope belaying with an ATC while keeping a constant brake hand in control, demonstrate the ability to properly and immediately catch at least 3 simulated top-rope falls and lower while keeping both hands below the ATC.

Belayers wanting to use a GriGri, Cinch, or other non-ATC belay device must first pass with an ATC and then test again with the other belay device.

Failure to demonstrate proficiency in any part of the Belay Test will result in a fail. You will not be able to belay that day but you can still enjoy climbing with staff or friends who are belay certified (who must tie you in). You CANNOT retest the same day.

Lead Climbing Test Requirements

You must first be Belay Certified to top-rope at Sportrock.

Lead tests require at least 3 people. All lead testing is done with a top-rope back up and for your lead belay test you will need someone either testing with you or someone who is already lead certified at Sportrock.

Lead climbing tests will be done on a 5.9 of the tester’s choosing.

Climbers must demonstrate proficiency in climbing a 5.9 with no falls, clipping errors, clear and audible lead communication, awareness of lead climbing concerns and the ability to correct them immediately which include back clipping, Z-clipping and back stepping.

Lead belayers must demonstrate proficiency and awareness while lead belaying which includes audibly and clearly calling out concerns to their lead climber.

Failure to demonstrate any part of these requirements will result in failing the lead test.

Auto Belay Test Requirements

Climbers must take the Sportrock Auto Belay Orientation.

Climbers must be able to put on their harnesses correctly according to the specifications of the harness manufacturer.

Climbers must demonstrate the ability to properly clip into and out of an Auto Belay, and safety check this setup.

Climbers must demonstrate the ability to climb and lower appropriately while clipped into an Auto Belay.

Policies and Rules while Top-Rope Belaying, Lead Climbing & Using Auto Belays

  • You must be 14 years of age to Top-Rope Belay or Lead Belay/Climb unless participating in a Sportrock program.
  • You must be 5 years of age to use the Auto Belays and children under the age of 10 must use a full body or chest harness.
  • Active adult supervision is required for any child under the age of 14 who wishes to use the Auto Belays and supervising adult must complete and pass Sportrock’s Auto Belay orientation and test prior to usage.
  • The only knot with which you can tie in at Sportrock is the retraced figure eight and the only backup you can tie is a double overhand. No other knots are allowed.
  • Belaying off of any type of hitch is not allowed.
  • GriGri “shuffling” with any belay device is not allowed.
  • Alpine harnesses that lack belay loops are not allowed.
  • Tri-loading carabiners is not allowed.
  • Belaying must be done off of your belay loop. Carabiners loaded through bridge and cross straps are not allowed at Sportrock.
  • Practicing knot tying, belaying or mock leading in Sportrock before a Belay or Lead test is not allowed.
  • Cell phones, Bluetooth devices, headphones and MP3 players are not allowed while Top-Roping, Lead Climbing or using the Auto Belays.

Scheduling Top-Rope, Lead and Auto Belay Tests

Let our staff at the front counter know that you would like to take a top-rope or lead belay test as soon as you arrive at the gym. Be mindful that the top rope belay test must be taken immediately upon entry to the facility. During busy times there may be a wait for the test and a lead test may not be possible to perform.

An Auto Belay test can only be given during Auto Belay operation hours, which are currently:

Alexandria – Monday thru Friday from open to 4pm and on Sunday from 8-10am during members only hours.
Sterling – anytime the gym is open EXCEPT 12-5pm on Saturday and Sunday.

Sportrock is a member of the Climbing Wall Association and several of our staff members are certified American Mountain Guides Association instructors with decades of combined climbing, instructing and guiding experience. Several of our instructors are also WEMT, EMT, and WFR certified.  Our standards and policies are all based upon requirements from the CWA and AMGA and are in fact above AMGA standards for outdoor climbing and guiding.

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