Rock IV: Introduction to Traditional Lead Climbing

The heart of lead climbing is solid protection and anchoring skills. It is vastly different from following. You are in charge of protecting yourself, route finding and belaying your follower. This course will give you the skills to climb single pitch traditional and sport climbs.

Program Outline

Skills covered during the course include:
• Active and passive gear placements
• Anchor construction
• Lead climbing and belaying considerations and strategies
• Rope management
• Anchor station management
• Anchor cleaning

Notes and other information

We recommend reading the following books.
Long, John. How To Rock Climb: Climbing Anchors, Falcon Press, 1993
Long, John. How To Rock Climb: More Climbing Anchors, Falcon Press, 1996
Luebben, Craig. How To Rock Climb: Knots for Climbers, Falcon Press, 1996


We vary the location some depending upon the weather conditions and will be the Mammoth or Bishop areas. We will confirm the exact location prior to the start of the program.


Our guides are American Mountain Guides Association trained so you can expect the highest level of climbing and safety knowledge combined with solid instructional skills and professionalism.



Please refer to our Planning for Success info sheet for more info.

Return to SMC Rock Climbing School

Day 1

We will work with gear and equipment, placing and removing it in a “laboratory” setting (on the ground) so that you can experiment. Then we will explore ways of connecting placements together to create anchors. We will also work on belay stance management and increasing efficiency. Participants will practice leading with various backups involved. This may include a top rope while practicing and/or pre-placed gear.

Day 2

Today we put it all together with you on the front end of the rope leading. For this segment we generally have backup protection systems in place so that you can focus on the mechanics of what you are doing and relax the mind a little. Sometimes we use a backup rope or pre-placed protection to start with and often have you doing the same route several times looking at it in different ways.


Program Prerequisites:

Rock III or equivalent and ample time seconding climbs

Program Inclusions:

Price includes guiding, permits and all climbing gear. If you have your own equipment by all means bring it. Local accommodation is not included in the program.

Please Read before you go

We feel the following information is essential... (links open as PDF in new window)

  1. Details, itinerary, and equipment list for your trip
  2. SMC Cancellation Policy
  3. Suggestions on preparation - get the most out of your trip!
  4. Tips on physical training for your trip
  5. LNT - Let's work together to protect our precious mountain environment.

Rental Equipment:

Need to rent equipment for your trip? We can help.