Rock Skills Learn to Lead Trad

Who is this course for?

This course is all about learning trad climbing skills including how to place protection, build belays and move in an assured manner on rock. It offers participants a great introduction to leading simple trad climbs.

Minimum age: 14.

Contact time: minimum 16 hours.

Climbing experience required:
Have belayed on at least 20 occasions;
Have seconded a minimum of 20 outdoor rock climbs at Very Difficult (VDiff) or above;
Have led 20 sport climbs (indoors or outdoors).

Completion of Rock Skills Intermediate and/or Rock Skills Learn to Lead Sport course.

Placing gear on the lead

What does the Rock Skills Learn to Lead Trad course cover?

Background and Planning. Selecting suitable venues and routes, how to use guidebooks and mobile devices to find crags and routes, crag etiquette, the importance of the climbing partnership and the work of the mountaineering councils.
Climbing Skills. Safe and assured movement when leading climbs and optimising natural rests for placing gear.
Equipment. Ropes and technical equipment for lead climbing, contents of a lead rack and how to carry it, selection and function of gear.
Technical Skills. Selection and placement of suitable gear to protect leader and second, choosing anchors, effective ropework, attaching to multiple anchors, belaying, holding leader and second falls in a controlled environment.
Environmental Knowledge. The impact of climbers at the crag, ethics and environmental considerations for climbers.
Hazards and Emergency Procedures. Identifying hazards, decision making and managing risk, understanding common injuries, what to do in the event of an incident, managing common problems, how to get help and learning how Mountain Rescue works.


By the end of the course you can expect to:

  • Have covered the course content in a safe and enjoyable outdoor environment and classroom-style setting;
  • Have climbed outside for a good proportion of each day on an accessible crag; and
  • Be in a stronger position to lead trad routes on rock, using appropriate techniques and safe practice.

What next?

Progression from this course could involve gaining further climbing experience with friends or through a climbing club.

A Learn to Lead Sport course is the next step in the Rock Skills pathway if you haven't already done one.

Once you are a competent trad leader you may want to consider becoming a Rock Climbing Instructor.