Top roping is the most common style used at indoor climbing walls, and also it is used in situations where other methods would not be safe or environmentally damaging. It is a style of climbing when you climb on rope that has an anchor already set up. There is a rope that runs from belayer up the wall to an anchor and back down to the climber. The belayer pays attention all the time so if a climber falls, he or she falls only a short distance. Additionally, the belayer pulls the rope up and brings it in to take up slack on the climber. Top rope climbing is more secure than lead climbing which helps a climber to try even the most difficult routes.
Lead climbing is a more advanced climbing style. It requires you to clip into protection as you climb, to protect you against a fall. You are setting the rope as you climb, nothing is already set up as with Top rope climbing. It is more dangerous because the potential for bigger falls is much higher because the protection is usually below you instead of above.
Lead climbing can be any discipline ( trad, ice, sport, etc,..) To be able to do a lead climbing you have to pass an additional safety certification. When practising lead climbing indoor the quickdraws are already in place. You start climbing from the bottom of the route and clip the rope into the quickdraws as you climb. Quickdraws are used as your protection in case of a fall.
Written by Michaela