Toproping: Rock Climbing for the Outdoor Beginner

Gearflogger reviews Toproping Rock Climbing for the Outdoor Beginner by Bob GainesFull disclosure, when I was getting started rock climbing I took some beginner and intermediate classes in Joshua Tree with Bob Gaines through his company, Vertical Adventures, way back in the early 1990s. Bob was already a legend in the rock climbing community, both for his climbing exploits and for his devotion to teaching the sport. Anything he writes is worth reading, especially if you're a beginner looking to get off on the right foot. And handhold.

Toproping, even more than bouldering, is the safest way to get started climbing and the best way to learn the fundamentals. When I think of climbing I think of getting to the top of a rock, setting an anchor, rappelling down and belaying a friend. These tasks are the essence of climbing and provide the foundation for a lot more, most of which can be practiced on toprope: lead, ice and mixed climbing for example.

I don't have the 2012 first edition of Toproping, but I suspect the 2020 second edition of Toproping is just a re-issue with a different cover to match the Falcon Guides series formatting better. It doesn't matter, it's still the same great book that covers basic equipment, technique, anchors, knots, rappelling and risk management. Falcon has books that cover all of these topics in greater detail, but for a beginner looking for somewhere to start this book is fantastic. It's a great review for the advance climber who might be looking to start teaching as well.

The book has clear organization, text and pictures. It also makes great use of anecdotes from Bob's extensive climbing history, and has gorgeous photos mostly taken around Joshua Tree, often featuring titans of the climbing world, such as Peter Croft and John Long (another great outdoor writer and a truly funny guy). If you're looking for a one-volume book of knowledge, or for a gift for the beginner climber in your life, this is the book.

$17.58 at Amazon



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