Learning to lead climb is a huge step, but it's a step that every climber should endeavor to make...at some point. Being on the sharp end demands total concentration, and it also offers by far the biggest rewards and the greatest sense of satisfaction. There is nothing like the feeling you get after sending a climb that is right at your limit. Leading is also dangerous and committing, and therefore something that should be learned under the watchful eye of an experienced guide.
We'll start by teaching you the intricacies of placing good protection. You'll learn the right and wrong ways to place cams, nuts and tri-cams. We'll also instruct you in anchor-building, equalization, belay transitions, rope management, route-finding, and everything else you'll need to know to successfully lead your own climbs. You’ll also need to remember that leading a climb means more than just getting the rope up there; you may also need to take full responsibility for less-experienced companions, who will be looking to you to protect them while they are seconding, while they are traversing, and while they are descending. Learning to lead encompasses the whole package, with a huge amount of problem-solving thrown in.
A good way to cut your teeth is with a mock lead, where you are backed up by a toprope. As you gain confidence, the toprope can be left slack, so that it still protects you from a groundfall, but does not give the sense of total security. SMG is one of the few guide services that does allow students onto the sharp end - once you've proved that you're ready. We can help you to find the right pitches that are appropriate for your skill level. The goal of this course is to create self-sufficient climbers who are capable of leading and descending multi-pitch routes, while keeping the security of their companions always in mind.
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