Hi @BenHiggins - Thanks for reaching out! It sounds like you’re in a neat spot. There are a few different ways to self belay, but each technique requires a very specific process for it to be done safely and there really is no room for error.

There are two areas where you’ll need to dig in. One is the necessary gear and the other is understanding how to use it. We strongly recommend finding a local guide to teach you the process before doing it on your own. As you’ve seen, there are many differing opinions that can get confusing.

Gaining an understanding of this practice can open up a world of opportunity for days out at the rock. As a climber myself, there have been countless times where top rope soloing allowed me to enjoy time at the wall when I could not have otherwise. If you have a climbing gym nearby, we recommend reaching out to them for suggestions on how you can learn more. If you live near an REI store, you can also contact them for guiding service recommendations in your area.

Let us know if you have any further questions. Hopefully this helps!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.