I'm just getting into climbing, and I have to say I still find it hard to trust the equipment, bolts etc sometimes (even though I know accidents with that are really rare.). Anyway, I try to understand as much of what is going on, to be able to better judge situations, and wether I feel comfortable about them.

So I went climbing with a friend of mine the other day. And To be able to toprope two different routes that where next to each other he set the diversion up like in the scenario B I sketched in the attached image.

Now, I somehow feel like that will put hella stress on the rope, and possible on the anchors, because the rope is running (almost) horizontally for a few meters. I'm not sure if that's right, though.

Is it a similar scenario force-wise as in the 3rd pictures on Ben's answer on this post: Why should the angle in a rope attached to two anchors be 60 degrees or less? ?

Can anyone tell me what the forces are on the rope and the anchors in the 3 different scenarios I sketched?

Thanks! Diclofenac

enter image description here

What is wrong with my line of thinking here?

  • 1
    "hard to trust bolts sometimes" Even poorly-installed bolts are >40 kN, while top-rope falls are <7 kN.
    – endolith
    Apr 23, 2021 at 20:16
  • 3
    To help you with your trust issues I suggest you do some fall practice at a very low level where there is little risk of you injuring yourself should something break (which it won’t).
    – Darren
    Apr 24, 2021 at 8:11
  • I don't have trust issues, I'm just trying to understand whats going on Apr 26, 2021 at 14:56

1 Answer 1


Going around a 90-degree corner will produce a force on the bolt 40% greater than the tension in the rope. (I.e., greater by a factor of the square root of 2.) The force on the anchor will be about the same as if there had not been a 90-degree bend, but it will be slightly less because of friction.

This is nothing to worry about. The forces generated by toproping are much less than the forces generated in a lead fall, which is what these bolts are intended to withstand.

  • Thanks. How do you get the sqrt(2) factor, though? I added a new sketch, and the reason I'm asking this question is because from my thinking the force in the rope would go towars infinity. Hah! Of course that can'T be the case, I'm just trying to figure out where my line of thought is wrong. And yes, I do trust bolts. Apr 26, 2021 at 14:56

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