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.

This course is available as a private or pre-existing group.

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    Online Bookings
    Online bookings are subject to guide availability and other factors such as weather and climbing conditions. After receiving your online booking, we will get back to you within 1 business day via phone or email to confirm your booking. In the event that we cannot accommodate your booking, you have the option of having your payment refunded or applied to a future booking.

    SMG accepts credit cards, PayPal, checks, and cash. Payment is due in full 7 days before a booking (or at time of booking confirmation when a course/trip is less than 7 days away). An exception is made for payment by check or these cases, payment is due in full at or before the course/trip.

    If you have to cancel your booking, please give us as much notice as possible. If you cancel 30+ days before the booking, we’ll apply the deposit/payment towards another booking at a later date or you can request a refund. If you cancel from 14-29 days before the booking, we’ll apply the deposit/payment towards another booking at a later date. If you cancel 13 days or sooner from the booking, for any reason, the deposit/payment is forfeited.

    Weather & Winter
    Winter courses/trips are rain or shine. If SMG cancels a booking due to weather, we will reschedule you for an alternate date of your choice.

Pay a 50% Deposit

Course Information

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.

Mountains, Cliffs, & Routes

We often teach the Learn to Lead course at:

  • Cathedral Ledge
  • Whitehorse Ledge
  • Square Ledge

Intermediate to Advanced


One or Multiple Days


Spring to Fall (or as conditions permit) (or as conditions permit)


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