Learn to Lead Climb

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOur Lead Climbing Course is for those who want to see what it is like to be out front, placing gear, where the exhilaration is at it’s best.  A competent leader knows more than just how to place gear.  This course covers traditional anchor building, route finding, organizing multiple rappel descents, as well as risk management and awareness.  All students lead while also being belayed by a top rope, allowing for relative safety while still experiencing what its like to be climbing on lead.

Cost$395 for 2 days, $495 for 3 days.
DatesCourses begin every Sat and Tues, April through October. Call for special date requests.
Class SizeRatio is a max of 2 students to 1 instructor.
DiscountsSee 2013 Rates and Discounts.
Ages17 and Up. Call us for age restrictions.
Times8:30 am on the porch.
PrerequisiteAt 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.


This course is conducted entirely outdoors in a two or three day format.  It is most suitable for climbers with at least two seasons of traditional seconding experience.  We recommend that you take this course with a climbing partner if possible.

It is worth stating that the amount of information presented in our courses can be overwhelming.  While we do offer the Learn to Lead Course as a two day course, students usually walk away with a better working knowledge of the techniques when they take the three day version.

All necessary equipment is provided.  If you have a rack, bring it, as it is best to learn on your own gear.  All personal equipment is subject to inspection and approval by your instructor to determined its’ appropriateness and safe condition.

This course covers in detail:

  • Properly place and evaluate passive and active protection
  • 4eBuild and evaluate anchors
  • Belay and assist a second from above
  • Rope management
  • Manage a belay station
  • Transitions at the belay
  • Route finding skills
  • Constructing and managing rappel stations
  • Manage multiple rappels
  • Multi-pitch communication skills
  • Team assessment and efficiencies
  • Objective risk assessment, evaluation, and mitigation

Detailed Course Itinerary:

This is a general description of our Lead Climbing Course. We routinely customize courses based on our clients’ 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.

Day 1

anchor2This curriculum begins with a demonstration and assessment climb. During this climb the instructor leads and discusses the climb from the leaders’ perspective, and assesses the students’ 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 the skills covered thus far together and the students lead practice pitches on the ground, allowing them to get a feel for the entire process before leaving the ground. If time allows we begin mock leading on day 1.

Day 2

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn day two we jump into the 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 from above. Once the student completes a pitch he/she establishes an anchor and belays the instructor and other student up all while the top rope between instructor and student is maintained. Instructors discuss each placement, the anchor, and objective hazards with the student before the student sets off on pitch two.

Day 3

Continuing practice of techniques with an instructor help students walk away from the course “owning” the skills they have been taught which ensures long term retention. Almost all students need this third day to really cement their new skills but if not our skilled and flexible instructors can seamlessly integrate skills from a higher level course.

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Click here for registration information.

Need Gear?  Check out The Gendarme climbing shop!  We can ship it to you, or you can pick it up when you arrive for your course.