A Resource for Boy Scouts, Scout Camps, Troops and Troop Leaders
cope service provider

HomeLow RopesHigh RopesClimbing TowersClimbing WallsResources Contact Us Today (877) 206-8967

High Ropes C.O.P.E. Courses

A high ropes C.O.P.E. Course, sometimes called a high ropes course or high challenge course, consists of elements suspended between 20ft and 50ft. above the ground between wood poles, steel posts or trees. Participants challenge themselves to climb and/or traverse the elements by themselves in pairs or with support from a larger group, their troop or team. Three types of high C.O.P.E. ropes courses exist: static belay traversing courses, dynamic belay traversing courses and dynamic belayed vertical challenges.

Static Belay Courses


static belay cope course element

Static belay high ropes courses (or maze courses) allow for the whole group or a portion of the group to all experience the ropes course together. All elements are linked together. Participants have options to choose their direction of travel at each transition point.

tresstle bridge highh ropes element

While on the course participants are attached to a belay cable with a dual cope course element1rope lanyard connected to their harness at one end and  two clips to attach to the cable. As participants move from one element to the next, they complete a "transfer" of their rope lanyards at specific transition points at each platform. The transfer process occurs with a partner or trained staff after careful instruction and practice on the ground. Participants remove one clip at a time and transfer their lanyards from one cable to the next.

Static ropes courses can be configured in many shapes and can vary in height (height of platform) from 18ft. to over 50ft., although most courses are around 30-36 ft. in height.

Typical staff to participant ratio is 2:15 or two staff for every 15 participants.

cope course element2

Dynamic Belay

dynamic belay cope element

high ropes course dynamic belay systems

Dynamic belay high ropes course elements typically involve one participant at a time climbing up the pole, traversing across an element and being lowered down. Some elements are designed for two or more participants at once. A few elements involve jumping or running instead of traversing. This style of ropes course allows the group tocope element 3 focus more on one person (or just a few people) at a time. These types of courses can be one single element or a series of single elements sharing poles or trees for support.

Course participant's are attached to a belay rope which climbs high cope element 4above and over a belay anchor installed overhead. The rope then runs back down to their belayer or belay team. The belayers keep the rope tight and take in slack while the participant climbs up , and traverses the element. Once the participant has completed the task the belayer(s) lower thechallenge course element5 participant back to the ground. Once on the ground the participant is detached form the rope and a new participant is attached.

Dynamic ropes courses can be laid out in many configurations and can vary in height (height of platform or element) from 18ft. to over 50ft., although most elements are installed at about 30-40 ft. in height.

Typical staff to participant ration is 1:1 for staff belay and could be 3:1 with team belay systems (as illustrated above).






Vertical Challenges


bead climb high ropes course element

Vertical challenges (or vertical climbs) require participants to climb up various types of ropes course structures including cargo nets (climbing nets), rope ladders, firecracker ladders, caving ladders, giant ladders and more. These vertical challenges cab be used as independent stand alone elements or as access elements for static or dynamic belayed ropes courses. The belay for the vertical challenge elements will be a dynamic belay.

Belaying for vertical challenges is the same as for dynamic courses. A belayer or team of belayers keep tension on the rope and control the descent of the participant after the activity is completed.





redpoint descender auto belay

Copyright 2006, Experiential Systems, Inc.