Courses | Learn to Lead (Climbing 401)
The “Sharp End” is calling, and you must go. A competent lead climber knows more than just how to place gear; route finding, anchor placement and safely guiding the team to the top and down again are all the responsibility of the leader. Are you ready?
Our Learn to Lead course will introduce you to the fundamental skills necessary begin lead climbing with cams and chocks.
This two or three-day course is geared toward people who have at least two years of climbing experience as a second. To get the most out of this course, you should be comfortable and competent with a figure 8 knot, water knot, and double fisherman’s knot, voice commands and modern belaying and rappelling techniques. You should also have a good understanding of the objective hazards of climbing. The longer you can stay, the more we can teach you.
Here are a few topics we focus on during the Learn to Lead course:
- Properly placing/evaluating passive and active gear
- Rope positioning/managment on lead
- Building and evaluating anchors
- Belaying and assisting a second from above
- Route finding skills
- Climbing movement and technique in advanced terrain
- Rope management at belay stations
- Time management
- Team assessment and efficiencies
- Managing multiple rappels
- Intro to self-rescue skills
- Backup rappel techniques
- Risk assessment, evaluation and mitigation
All necessary equipment is provided. We also have a full service climbing shop next door, so anything you might want to purchase is available. If you have your own equipment and wish to use it, by all means do so. It is best to learn on the gear you will use. All gear must be inspected first to ensure its appropriateness and safe condition.
This is a general description of our Lead Climbing Course. We routinely customize courses based on our students’ needs and wishes. If you don’t see a technique or skill that you would like to learn contact us, chances are we can make it happen.
This curriculum begins with a demonstration and assessment climb. During this climb the instructor leads and discusses the climb from a leader’s perspective, and assesses the student’s abilities. Once the group is back on terra firma we demonstrate, discuss and practice the placement of artificial protection at the base of the cliff. Once students show proficiency with placements, anchor building is covered in the same thorough manner as gear placement. We then bring these skills together and the students “practice lead” pitches on the ground, allowing them to get a feel for the entire process before taking it to the vertical. If time allows we begin mock leading on day one.
On day two we jump into mock leading in earnest. This technique allows students to lead one- and two-pitch routes on lead while also being belayed by a top rope. Once the student completes a pitch, he/she establishes an anchor and belays the instructor and other student up. The top rope backup between instructor and student is maintained at all times for safety. Instructors discuss each placement, the anchor, and objective hazards with the student before the student sets off on pitch two.
Transitions, continued belay station management, multipitch rappels and basic rescue skills are added to the mix as students continue practicing what they have learned from day one and two. We feel like this third day is often critical to students walking away from the course “owning” the skills they have been taught. Please note the enormous amount of information to be learned is best suited to a three day course. This course is taught with a maximum of a 2 to 1 Ratio.
Rates & Dates
Single person class
- 2 Day Version: $595
- 3 Day Course: $795
Register a full class of 2 and save up to $300 a person!
- 2 Day Version: $375 (per person)
- 3 Day Course: $495 (per person)
Our courses begin each Tuesday and Saturday, from mid-March to mid-November.
If you have a group of two, these courses can begin any day of your choosing.
Maximize Your Experience
The better you prepare for this course, the more you will get out of it.
Read, Rock Climbing Anchors: A Comprehensive Guide by: Craig Luebben, The Mountaineers 2007
All the techniques featured in this text are useful, but it is most important that you concentrate on the following:
- Natural & fixed anchors……………..pg. 57- 71
- Chocks…………………………….pg. 76-87
- SLCD’s…………………………….pg. 102-110
- Rappel anchors……………………..pg. 129-134
- Carabiner orientations………………pg. 142-143
- Traditional belay anchors……………pg. 152-168
- Traditional leading…………………pg. 180-191
Even if you are familiar with some of the skills listed above, please review them before reading on.