Learning to lead climb is the culmination of skills within the discipline of rock climbing. This course has been designed to teach the basics of leading to climbers who already have a solid foundation of movement skills and rope-management. It is ideal for climbers who have some top-roping experience and want to learn how to lead sport climbs and be exposed to the fundamentals of trad climbing. It’s also a great program for those who have sport climbing experience and are ready to learn about placing gear on the way up a route.
You will learn many fundamental skills, including:
- Lead belay
- Racking gear efficiently
- Avoiding (or managing) rope drag
- Protecting traverses and downclimbs
- Selecting stances for placing protection
- Top-belaying for multi-pitch climbing
This course incorporates mock leading techniques as a stepping stone between top-roping and leading so new lead climbers can practice the skills they learn in a controlled environment; this allows them to become comfortable with lead climbing techniques before they risk taking a lead fall. Our instructors choose from a handful of areas that are great venues for learning to lead. Our guides will take you to areas with solid rock, plentiful protection options, secure stances and fun routes that will give you a real sense of accomplishment as you work through the mock-leads on your way to your first real lead-climb.
If you are looking for the opportunity to step out onto the sharp end of the rope, this course is an excellent way to do so with a highly qualified guide who can coach you through all the aspects of a solid lead, and remove a great deal of the uncertainty that often accompanies your first time climbing above your gear.
This course can take place at Spiderman Buttress, Solar Slab, Cinnamon Slab or one of several sport climbing areas around Smith Rock State Park.