Getting started
The four courses in the Rock Skills scheme are designed to provide progressive learning opportunities for new and developing climbers. Before you can attend a Rock Skills Learn to Lead Sport Climbs course you need to register on the Rock Skills scheme.

Registration is free for 12-17 year olds and £20 for adults and it gives you access to all four courses. To register, create an account on our candidate management system or log in if you already have one.

Courses are delivered by approved tutors who will introduce you to the skills and techniques required to lead sport routes on rock. You will have plenty of opportunities to practise these new skills as well as learning more about the environment and how to manage the risks associated with lead climbing.

Rock Skills participant handbook

Rock Skills Participant Handbook
Minimum age: 14.

Course length: 2 days.

Climbing experience required:
Essential
Have logged 20 indoor or outdoor climbs
Have belayed on at least 20 occasions
Desirable
Completion of a Rock Skills Intermediate course
Course content
Background and Planning. Choosing suitable venues and routes, how to use guidebooks and mobile devices to find crags and routes, crag etiquette, the importance of the climbing partnership, the work of the mountaineering councils.

Climbing Skills. Safe and assured movement on the lead and optimising natural rests for clipping bolts.

Equipment. Ropes and technical equipment for sport climbing.

Technical Skills. Fixed equipment, anchors, ropework, belaying, holding/taking falls in a controlled environment, lowering, lower offs and abseiling.

Environmental Knowledge. The impact of climbers at the crag, ethics, access 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 the role of the Mountain Rescue.

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 appropriate crag; and
  • Be in a strong position to lead bolted sport routes on rock and indoors, using appropriate techniques and safe practice.
Training
Rock Skills Learn to Lead Sport Climbs courses are typically 2 days, although some providers may deliver the course over 3-5 days.

There are approved tutors across the UK and Ireland. A variety of cost packages are available depending on what's included; food, accommodation etc. so you can choose one that's right for you.

Find a course

What next?

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

A Learn to Lead Trad Climbs course is the next step in the Rock Skills pathway.

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