Taking rock climbing lessons is the best way to rapidly become efficient at the art of safe rock climbing. Finding the right lesson that best fits you is much dependent on your experience level.
For first time climbers, it is necessary to start with introductory rock climbing lessons. An intro class teaches every first timer how to use a standard Top Rope setup. A top rope is the safest way to practice rock climbing and therefore a great opportunity to learn proper movement techniques. Besides making first moves on rock, the intro class teaches the two following skills that are necessary for using a top rope:
1. Tying a figure eight follow through knot (for the climber to tie in)
2. Applying the PLUS belaying technique with a tubular belay device (a belayer is the person making sure the climber is safe at all times).
If you are already an expert at these skills, you may skip the intro class. When skipping, make sure to also have a history of at least 30-50 climbs (bouldering or top rope, indoor or outdoor). Ideally, this experience will give you the confidence you need for practicing more advanced skills in other rock climbing lessons.
For new climbers, rock climbing lessons are also great for developing an overview on the multitude of equipment that is used in climbing. Most guides are eager to tell you about different rope types, the evolution of modern rock climbing shoes or other helpful information that make you understand how outdoor rock climbing works in general.
After completing your introductory class it is time to practice more. Climb as much as possible (without over-exercising ;)! Take another intro rock climbing lesson and join a local climbing gym to use their top ropes and reinforce your knot and belaying skills. Also do not be shy to try bouldering, which is another discipline in climbing that is great for learning movement techniques. Once you become more solid in your movement and progress up the difficulty scale in rock climbing, it is time to take your next class – Anchors and basic knots.
Anchors and Basic Knots lesson
The anchor and basic knots lesson is a series of two lessons that take place in two days. The first day is a 4hrs ground level training that will explore a variety of knots as well as the main concepts of solid anchor building for top rope climbing and multi-pitch climbing. Students have the opportunity to build different anchors on simulation boards in an outdoor classroom environment.
The comfort of being on the ground is a great advantage when it comes to repeating anchor and knot drills over and over. Since repetition plays a huge role in adopting safe rope and anchor skills, the first day is a great preparation for the second lesson outside on the rocks. The second day is a full day of training (8hrs) which is all about applying the anchor concepts and knots to the real world (away from simulation boards). Students use top rope set ups to safely access anchor locations on the rock to then practice their anchor building skills. A second rope that will be trailed up will also prepare each student for the next lesson – Lead climbing.
Lead rock climbing lessons
Lead climbing is the last step to progress into advanced rock climbing techniques. It is often the only way to get up a rock climb and therefore a very valuable skillset to have. Lead climbing implies that no top rope anchor is used when ascending. Instead, the lead climber will attach the rope to the rock as he or she is ascending – ideally every ten feet (sometimes more or less).
In lead climbing, the willingness to risk a potential fall comes with a much higher mental challenge and therefore requires previous climbing experience. Our prerequisites for lead climbing lessons are as follows:
Be efficient at top rope belaying.
Be efficient at tying clean and well dressed figure eight follow through knots.
Have a climbing resumee of at least 50 climbs (indoor or outdoor) at a level of 5.8 or higher.
During our lead rock climbing lessons, students will learn how to lead climb with traditional gear as well as “sport” climbing equipment. The best way to be introduced to the technicalities of lead climbing is mock leading. Mock leading involves two ropes. One tope rope for ultimate safety and one “lead” rope for practicing lead climbing specific skills. While it is a simulated drill it is an amazing experience to have an opportunity to safely tap into the exciting world of lead climbing.
Here is a breakdown of all the skills you learn at our Lead climbing lesson:
Reading climbing topos