This course is intended for people with previous climbing experience (including indoor wall) who want to begin lead climbing on outdoor crags; also for lead climbers who want to broaden their repertoire of climbing techniques and emergency procedures. The main aims are to teach safe lead climbing procedures and to learn to anticipate and solve problems commonly encountered while climbing. You should leave the course feeling a lot more confident to tackle rock climbs on the lead and be able to look after your climbing partner more effectively.
Participants are taught to lead climb by choosing an appropriate route well within their limits and while climbing are closely supervised by the guide. Protection techniques, rope management and related issues are discussed during the climb, and the guide can provide extra security if students do not feel comfortable at any point. This is a very effective way to learn lead-climbing skills and to progress quickly.
This course is good preparation for anyone considering an alpine course, particularly the ISM ‘Technical Alpinism’ week. It also offers an opportunity to discuss your alpine aspirations and how to achieve them.
Skills covered on the course include:
- A review of all the skills covered in the ‘Rock Climbing Introduction’ course (see above)
- Preparation of equipment
- Mental preparation
- Safe leading practices
- Using the full range of natural protection
- Route choice and route finding
- Stance organisation
- Abseiling and retreating from the lead
- Avoiding potential problems (such as rope jams, protection falling out)
- Adequately protecting the second at all times
- Emergency procedures (when things don’t go quite as smoothly as planned), such as abseiling past a knot, hoist systems, escaping the system, evacuating an injured climber.
- Judgement in rock climbing (perhaps the biggest safety factor)
- Next step - how to develop your lead rock climbing after the course