Late spring is usually the time climbers start to venture outside, especially this year! This 2 day trad lead course with Ali Taylor is a comprehensive course that includes everything you need to know about placing gear on lead, building belays, belaying from above to bring up the 2nd and abseiling off. Ali introduces skills in isolation in a non challenging environment and gradually builds up the skill and confidence with increasing difficulty. Once you take the step to lead on your own gear Ali is alongside you on an abseil rope to reassure, offer advice and put bomber gear in for you if necessary.
It is a completely personal course with no more than 2 clients so that both the belaying and climbing is done in complete safety, and enables you to develop your own decision making and judgement skills.
The day begins with understanding how trad gear actually works – nuts, camming devices and hexes and how to extend them to keep the rope perfectly straight, which spreads the force throughout the placed gear.
Learning to build bombproof belays is crucial to a trad climbers skills, as it may have to take the force of a falling climber as well as the weight of the belayer. Once the skill is mastered on the ground, as well as placing gear on the lead, the next step is to build a belay at a stance or at the top of the cliff. Again Ali is right next to you to give tips on directional force, ABC and keeping tight on the belay as well as belaying correctly.
Bringing a second up is a completely different technique to any other type of belaying and takes lots of practice to master. You will complete several single pitch routes and possibly multi-pitch too.
Depending on how well you progress through the skills you may develop from single to double ropes and from single to multi pitch climbs, but you will move at your own pace and will never be pushed beyond your comfort zone, although your Comfort zone will move towards the Adventure/Optimal Performance zone as your confidence grows.
Joe, who is featured in these photographs had NEVER climbed outdoors before. He led climbed indoors so understood belaying techniques but everything was new to him and he and Katharine did amazingly well.
In some ways learning from scratch from a qualified and experienced instructor is probably the best way to learn to trad lead climb as it reduces the risk of making mistakes and of buying the wrong gear.
Check out the Calendar for trad lead courses or if you prefer you can book a bespoke course at dates to suit.