Lead Climbing Skills
Climbers call it the "sharp end" for a reason - leading can be dangerous. Leading requires a lot of specific skills and techniques - be sure you gain proper instruction before attempting it on your own. All of our guides are experienced leaders and can help you learn more quickly through their years of experience (and even trial and error).
We like to be sure our participants have the proper experience and skills set before participating. If you are interested in learning to lead, it is vital you don't rush things. Please talk with us about your experience so we can give you an honest evaluation. We suggest the following as pre-requisites: two or more years climbing experience, experience building top rope anchors; following a minimum of 25 lead climbs.
Lead climbing requires a lot of skill and techniques; heading up pitch two of Madame Grunnebaum's Wulst, Shawangunks, NY
For our lead courses, the skills can be complicated; suggestion of a set number of days needed is not possible (everyone learns differently). We suggest at least two days of training to get you started, and then suggest what additional skills you should work on. In addition to reviewing the basics (knots, belaying, etc), we like to cover the following skills:
• Route finding - route, approach, descent, etc.
• Gear placement and anchor building
• Belay methods - off anchor, harness, etc.
• Lead tactics - stance options, places for protection, etc
• Rope management
• Rappelling & lowering
• Multi-pitch techniques
• and provide you with as much time as possible on the rock practicing the skills and having fun rock climbing
We start our skills on the ground, then move on to a top rope, working up to mock leads and possibly real leads (providing the guide feels you are ready for it).
In addition to self rescue skills, we strongly recommend you take some level of a wilderness medical course to help you be more prepared.
Lead climbing instruction is available daily in the Shawangunks and Adirondacks. We supply all the necessary technical climbing equipment and day passes where required - please check out the Gear List specific for the day for what is actually supplied and what you'll be required to bring.