Front Range Mountain Guides of Colorado

Rock V
Learning How to Lead

Where : Boulder, Colorado Springs
Length : One or Two long days
When : April - Mid November. Any day of the week.
Max Climbers : Up to 2
1 Day Cost : $ 145 ea / $ 190 Private
2 Day Cost : $ 250 ea / $ 340 Private

General Class Information Gear List Sign Me Up Home

Steep rock above. Rope trailing below your feet, flowing downward to your partner in the distance below. There you are; alone, studying your line of ascent, making decisions on where you should climb, where you should set your gear; enjoying the upward progress and the satisfaction of figuring it out as you go.

The rewards of leading a traditional climb are unsurpassed, and a wonderful feeling is in store for anyone on the “sharp end of the rope”. However, this kind of climbing requires you to have mastered all the basics of movement on a variety of rock, along with a sound knowledge of placement skills and “rules of engagement” if you plan to be around very long on this good earth.

The ” Learning to Lead “ course is one of the most popular classes we teach and has a high level of referrals by participants to fellow friends and climbing partners. Prerequisites for this class are Rock II, and a day of guided multi-pitch ascents with us, or previous climbing experience that we deem appropriate to allow you into this class. If you haven’t climbed with us previously, you will need to call us on the phone and have a good conversation through which we will determine if you are truly ready for this class or should spend the time with us following some leads to learn a little more first. We don’t cut corners here and you will appreciate that.

Bill Morris, the owner of Front Range Mountain Guides, and a technical climber for more than 29 years personally instructs this class.

On the morning of the first day, we spend a great deal of time on the ground learning proper gear placement for every type of gear currently available on the market including stoppers, tri-cams, various flex cams, Camalots, micro cams, three cam units, sliders, Big Bros, and utilizing slings. We will show you the various ways each piece can be set and which works best in each situation. We also show you the advantages of some cam designs over others and the difference between good and bad placements. We promise you will be fully exposed to the true art of placing and cleaning gear.

We then take this knowledge and teach you to set anchors made of several pieces equalized properly and show you how to set multi-directional anchors. You will do a few of these before ever leaving the ground too. Next, we will utilize an excellent traditional type route of easy difficulty, and set up a top rope to protect you on our first simulated “lead”. Under this safety net, you can feel much more comfortable handling the gear while you consider hanging on the rock and setting your pro.

We highly encourage partners to take this class together so they can “be on the same page” and have a “ backup of knowledge” on the belay end of the rope. With a second person belaying the leader on top rope, we can use ascenders to move up alongside you and steer you in the right way of thinking as well as immediately evaluate your placements.

After a lead or two like this, we put you on the same route for your first real lead. It's something no one ever forgets. The balance of mental concentration, curbing emotional interference in the forms of fear and doubt, and accomplishing the task at hand while climbing rock is a real kick! We have time on the one day class to have you lead several climbs even with two students. The day usually begins at 8am and doesn’t finish until around 4:30-5pm so bring lots of food and liquid.

Those students taking the two day class will spend the second day moving on to some slightly more difficult leads than the first day and will have more time to smooth out their game. We also introduce them to the concept of multi-pitch leads and do at least one of these during the afternoon time. This day is long and well worth the extra time. It’s a great advantage to push your leading level a little with a skilled and experienced guide’s instruction.

If you have a friend who you have been following, or have spent a good deal of time on top ropes and are anxious to get on the front end of the rope, give us a call.

We are sure you will be more than satisfied.

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