Top-Rope and Lead Tests

Sportrock Inc. 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. 

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!

If you would like to lead climb at Sportrock you must take and pass our lead climbing and lead belaying test.

Please inform Sportrock staff if you would like to take a Belay Test or Lead Test.

Top-Rope Belay Test Requirements

Must be at least 14 years old to take the Top Rope Belay Test

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 safely and immediately catch at least 3 simulated top-rope falls, and lower safely 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

Must be at least 14 years old to take the Lead Climbing & Belay Test

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 safety concerns and the ability to correct them immediately which include back clipping, Z-clipping, and back stepping.

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

Failure to demonstrate any part of these requirements will result in failing the lead test. Safety first and always!

Policies and Rules while Top-Roping and Lead Climbing

Bowline, double bowline and Yosemite finishs are not allowed in Sportrock.  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. Both are required to climb at Sportrock. 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.

Scheduling Top-Rope and Lead Tests

Let our staff at the front desk know that you would like to take a top rope or lead belay test. 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 be impossible to perform.