Lead Climbing


In this lead climbing class you will learn traditional climbing using camming devices and nuts.  Protection placement skill is a pre-requisite for this course. We recommend taking the Anchors 1 Class first, or equivalent.

8 hours
October 2, 10, 16, 23, 30  November 13, 20, 27. December 4, 11, 18, 22, 27  January 1, 4, 5


per session

Max 3 students to 1 guide ratio


We suggest taking this class twice due to the complexity of the subject matter.  On the second day you will do more mock leading, practice different methods of belaying and lowering from the top,  transitioning to a rappel, and hanging belays.

Learn lead belaying techniques, as well as how to belay from above using a variety of belay devices.  Learn multi-pitch skills such as how to transition from climb to rappel and how to keep your rope organized.

You will lead climb while being belayed on toprope.  Your guide will climb along side you on a different rope and provide detailed coaching as you climb.  This will give you the realism of the lead rope as well as the safety of the toprope.

Learn the correct use of quickdraws.  Backclipping and gate orientation problems will be discussed.  Your instructor will explain when to use a sport quickdraw, an alpine draw, or no draw at all.  You will learn when to extend your alpine draws to minimize rope drag.

Practice setting your anchors to withstand multiple directions of pull, and discuss when this is necessary.  Learn how to give a great lead belay with a GriGri or a plate style device like an ATC.  Learn how to belay from above with several different methods: direct, indirect, and re-directed. Practice belaying the follower with a GriGri, ATC guide, Reverso, or munter hitch.  Discuss the pros and cons of the various techniques to belay the second.

Rappel with increased confidence by practicing extended rappels backed up with a friction hitch as a third hand.  Practice leashing in with a variety of tools, such as a sling, a cordelette, or a PAS.  Learn how to transition from climb to rappel and avoid common errors like rappelling off the ends of the rope.

Many lead climbing accidents happen because of a mistake made in the belay chain.  We discuss the most common types of accidents and how they could be prevented.  Rappel/lower off the end of the rope, failure to set up a proper belay/rappel, belayer distraction, etc.

We will discuss the importance of route finding and how to look for subtle clues to keep you on route.

Have you ever noticed your rope often behaves like a two-year old?  Always causing trouble when you don’t pay enough attention to it?  We will discuss and practice ways to get your rope to work for you instead of against you.  Your rope can get especially cranky at transitions like belay changeovers and going from climb to rappel.  We will look at ways to smooth out these transitions so you can get down off the climb before it gets dark!


To prepare for the Lead Climbing class, check out our video on how to belay from the top with an ATC guide.

Have Questions?

Reach out to us if you’d like to know more details