What does the term “Top Out” means in rock climbing? According to online articles, Top Out is:
“To complete a route by ascending over the top of the structure being climbed” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossary_of_climbing_terms#T).
“When a climber reaches the top of a route and is able to climb right over the top and walk back to the base of the climb via a trail instead of rappelling back down on the rope they climbed on” (https://coolofthewild.com/rock-climbing-terms/).
Top Out meaning in Singapore
Those who are familiar with Singapore Climbing Course (
I had been using the SCC Level 2 “Top Out” term for years until my Aussie mate asked me why do I need to top out on the route when I can be lowered down from the anchor? Thinking that maybe is an Aussie thing or different countries have different definitions for climbing terms. I did some research and found that the meaning of top out is to climb past the anchor and over the route.
The correct definition
Top out – “Climber reaching the top of a route and climb right over the top and descend by walking back to the base of the climb via a trail instead of abseiling back down on the rope they climbed on”.
Cleaning anchor – “Setting up a top rope by threading your climbing rope through the fixed anchor in order to clear all your gear and lower down safely to the ground”.
Educate the rest
I can’t change the SCC Level 2 syllabus or the term SMF is using. However, I can educate the climbers I know and climb with. You can do your part by educating your fellow Singaporean climbers.