[[GymClassHell Gym Classes in fiction are torturous.]] There's dodgeball, running, rude gym teachers, and favoritism, but the worst of all these horrors is the rope climb.

Rope climbing is the source of nightmares for nerds, kids with asthma, and people who are just not athletic. It's never portrayed in a positive light, and it will guarantee humiliation for nearly everyone involved. Expect rope burns, laughter, and crying. Sometimes, the rope climb will be a contest to see who can get to the top and ring a bell. Most of the time, however, there will be nothing at the top of the rope.

Fast becoming a DeadHorseTrope, as many schools don't require a rope climb anymore (mainly due to parents taking legal action if it happens).
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!! Examples:

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[[folder:{{Film}}]]
* In the ChuckNorris vehicle, ''Sidekicks'', this is a cause for some of the angst and ridicule that the protagonist suffers through.
* Naturally, this trope is featured in ''Gym Teacher: the Movie''
* Mentioned in ''Film/WaynesWorld'':
--> '''Garth, on Cassandra:''' She makes me feel kinda funny; like when we used to climb the rope in gym class.
* ''Film/INowPronounceYouChuckAndLarry'' mentions this trope:
--> '''Chuck:''' When we climbed the rope in gym class, I would pretend it was a guy.
* A variation occurs in ''Disney/{{Mulan}}'' with the goal being to get to the top of a pole while carrying weights. Mulan slings them around the pole and knots them together.
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[[folder:{{Literature}}]]
* In "The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School" by Creator/KimNewman, the rope climb is a trope-standard pit of horrors, but the protagonist avoids the worst of it by judicious use of her floating-in-the-air superpower.
* In ''Literature/WitchWeek'', Nan is continuously humiliated by her inability to climb the rope. Once, she tries climbing with her eyes closed so she can concentrate without seeing the laughing faces of her classmates, and seems to have gotten high. But when she opens her eyes, she realizes that for all her effort she's still on the bottom knot.
* In ''Literature/TheNeverendingStory'', this was among the many situations in which Bastian was humiliated in school. When he's transported to Fantasia where his wishes are fulfilled and becames physically perfect, he recalls it with amusement.
* In ''Anastasia Has the Answers,'' Anastasia is frustrated because she's the only girl in her class who can't climb the rope in gym, so she practices at home on a rope she hangs from the ceiling. At the same time, her English teacher is having her memorize a poem that begins with "O world! I cannot hold thee close enough!", insisting that she flings her arms out when she says the line. When she is finally able to climb the rope at the climax of the book, she's so happy that she screams, "O world! I cannot hold thee close enough!", flings her arms out -- and falls.
* A rare positive example is used in the first book of the ''Literature/AlfieTheWerewolf'' series to show how becoming a werewolf has changed Alfie for the better. First he had great trouble climbing the rope, but after becoming a werewolf, he is suddenly the best rope climber in his class.
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[[folder:LiveActionTelevision]]
* In ''Series/ThirdRockFromTheSun'', Tommy refuses to climb rope in gym class, asking "What's at the top?" Dick asks the same thing when he later talks to the gym teacher, and doesn't understand why anyone should climb the rope when there is nothing at the top.
* ''Series/StillStanding'': Brian had to climb a rope against a wall or get his gym credit in [[EasyModeMockery square dancing]].
* ''Techno Games'' (a spinoff of ''Series/RobotWars'' which featured Olympic style events rather than fights) had a "natural rope climb" event which was basically for robots built to do this.
* In The ''CompleteSavages'' episode "Tutoring", Sam fails P.E. because he can't climb the rope.
* On ''{{Seinfeld}}'', George and Jerry are said to have first met in gym class during this activity.
* ''FamilyMatters'' gave this its usual preposterous spin: Gangly 97-pound-weakling [[ExtravertedNerd Urkel]] has to race a much more athletic rival in the rope-climb. Urkel uses a jet-pack to get up the rope. The gym coach seems okay with this. Urkel then flies away and [[CrossOver lands in]] ''StepByStep''. [[MakesJustAsMuchSenseInContext It doesn't make sense in context]].
* In an episode of ''{{Frasier}}'' where he's dating a gym teacher, he visits the school and sees her exhorting an unfit girl to climb a rope, and immediately has a horrible flashback to his own schooldays.
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[[folder:WebAnimation]]
* The ''WebAnimation/HomestarRunner'' cartoon "A Folky Tale" opens with Coach Z trying to get Strong Sad to do this. Note that Coach Z and Strong Sad are in the middle of a grassy field, and the rope simply extends into the air offscreen, which is immediately [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]].
-->'''Strong Sad:''' Look, [[ItMakesSenseInContext I'm willing to ignore that "oom-pah down my pants" comment]], but I'm more concerned with what that rope is attached to.
-->'''Coach Z:''' Never you mind! Just get to climbin'.
** An Easter Egg reveals the rope is being held up by [[spoiler:Homsar, who is inexplicably hovering in midair and holding the rope in his mouth.]]
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[[folder:WesternAnimation]]
* In one episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', the students at Springfield Elementary stage an uprising after being trapped in the school by a blizzard. One of the things they do to Principal Skinner is tie him in a sack and force him to do this.
-->'''Skinner:''' "I told you, no one can climb a rope, it's physically impossible!"
** In "Thursdays with Abie," the scheduled gym activity was rope climbing but the ropes had disappeared, so Coach Krupt made Millhouse mime climbing the ropes.
* In the ''BraceFace'' episode "worst first date ever, period", when Sharon walks into gym class, some of the kids are seen in the background, climbing ropes.
* Peter Parker shows up Flash Thompson in an episode of ''TheSpectacularSpiderMan'' by beating him at rope climbing in gym.
* In ''CodeLyoko'', Ulrich climbs up a rope. Everything's just fine, but then his vertigo kicks in, and his vision gets all blurry and he falls off (from almost the very top).
* In the ''WesternAnimation/EdEddNEddy'' Valentine's Day special, the boys are seen climbing ropes in gym class. Eddy gets a serious case of rope burn, Edd climbs the rope using a mechanical apparatus, and Ed... puts on a paper-bag monkey mask and tries to swing around like Tarzan.
* In ''{{Daria}}'', one of Jake Morgendorffer's multiple PTSD moments about his dominating macho father and his miserable childhood involves freezing with fear while halfway up a rope and suffering the consequent scorn of the PE coach ''and'' his father.
* One episode of ''{{Doug}}'' has him climbing the rope. Rare for this trope, he actually does so without being threatened by a PE teacher (He's training for a fitness competition.)! He even makes it to the top...only to slide back down and spend the rest of the episode with his hands in bandages. Ouchies.
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/CatDog'' has Cat being forced to this by gym teacher Cliff after going BackToSchool. It is revealed via flashback that this was the reason Cat dropped out of school due to his inability to climb to the top of the rope and had run out of the school in humiliation.
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