Lead Climbing and Belay Certification

Advanced Sport Climbing

What is Lead Climbing?

When two people go up a mountain, someone's got to head up first. The first person to go up is the leader, or lead climber.

When lead climbing, you have a rope and partner, but your rope isn't yet anchored at the top.

Instead, the climber has to climb up to a place where they can hang in a controlled position, grab the rope that is attached to their harness and clip it into a "draw" which you'll see is hanging on the walls in key places along their climb.

Your partner remains on the ground, feeding or taking slack as necessary to both allow the climber to progress but also protect the climber from falling.

A row of rock climbing draws for securing a climber's rope, hanging high along a climbing wall.

Though this is the more advanced form of the sport people can train in here, it is necessary to point out that indoor lead climbing proficiency does not equate to calling oneself proficient for outdoor climbing without additional training.

Inquire at Front Desk for Eligibility and to Reserve a Class

Unlike Top Rope, Lead Climbing and Belaying are advanced climbing activities.

Those wishing to take a class must have been consistently climbing for 4 months, be Top Rope Belay Certified for at least two of those months (as well as show comfort, confidence, and proficiency with top rope belaying) and be able to flash Top Rope climbs of at least grade 5.9 on the Yosemite Decimal System.

Reservation Timeslots

Be advised that you cannot simply show up for these times as the instructor is only scheduled to arrive for reserved classes.

You may reserve a two-hour, 10am spot with a partner on Tuesday or Thursday mornings as well as the 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month.

Proficiency Check Eligibility

To test, a climber should be consistently climbing for at least 6 months and be able to flash Top Rope climbs of at least grade 5.10b on the Yosemite Decimal System. Candidates should also be belay certified for at least 2 months by the time they take a class or test. We encourage learning properly early on and having development time to practice (as with Mock Lead Climbing and Belaying) before taking the exam.

Participation in the class DOES NOT automatically certify you. The proficiency check must be taken at least 24 hours after taking the class provided you meet the above Proficiency Check Eligibility criteria, though we recommend patience and a few practice sessions on mock lead while secured by Top Rope before taking the exam.

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