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 Trad 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 traditionally protected rock climbs (trad climbs). 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 belayed on at least 20 occasions;
AND
Have seconded a minimum of 20 outdoor rock climbs at Very Difficult (VDiff) or above;
OR
Have led 20 sport climbs (indoors or outdoors).

Desirable
Completion of Rock Skills Intermediate and/or Rock Skills Learn to Lead Sport Climbs course.
Course content
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 appropriate crag; and
  • Be in a stronger position to lead trad routes on rock, using appropriate techniques and safe practice.
Training
Rock Skills Learn to Lead Trad 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 Sport Climbs 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.



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