Lead Climbing and Anchor Course – Joshua Tree, April 24th + 25th, 2021

$349 $349

Join us for our two day lead climbing and anchor course at Joshua Tree National Park! On the weekend of April 24th + 25th . Learn all the essential skills that will raise your confidence in outdoor lead climbing and anchor building. Our course is packed with information and many hands on applications that our experienced guides will showcase in multiple scenarios. Prior to class you will be provided a complete course manual.

Course Dates:

Saturday and Sunday April 24th + 25th, 2021


8am – 4pm each day (8hrs)


We meet up at our climb sites every morning (see program plan).


8hrs+ each day, 7am till 3pm




Please check our minimum requirements for participating in this course


  • Climb solid 5.8 top rope (gym and/or outdoor)
  • Know top rope PLUS belaying technique (ATC, GriGri or similar device)
  • Be efficient at tying figure eight follow through knots
  • Be familiar with course manual (will be sent to you when signing up)

Here is a breakdown of all skills being presented at our lead climbing and anchor course:


Figure eight knot on a bite

Overhand knot on a bite

“Big honking knot” (figure eight + overhand)

Fisherman knot

Double overhand knot (“stopper knot”)

Double fisherman’s knot

Flemish bend

Rope hitches (9mm)

Clove hitch

Cord Hitches (5-7mm)

Girth hitch


Belaying skills

Lead belaying

“Guide’s mode” belaying (ATC guide, Reverso)

Lead Climbing skills

Placing trad gear + clipping bolts on lead

Clipping rope

Rope management while leading

Anchoring skills

Sport vs. trad anchors

Placing trad gear


Tying off master point (various knots)

Rapelling skills

Transition from anchor to rappelling

Friction hitch back up

“Fireman’s belay”



Lead climbing

This technique is fundamentally different from top rope climbing. Lead climbers start with the entire rope from the bottom compared to having a fixed top rope anchor already fixed on the top of the climb. A lead climber clips the rope to a series of intermediate pieces of protection. The distance between each piece can vary from route to route and ideally is no longer than 10-12 feet.

In sport climbing (where bolts are the only protection), the next bolt dictates the distance between each intermediate anchor point. In trad climbing it depends on the availability of natural features combined with the climber’s choice. Lead climbing comes with a much greater risk since it involves climbing above anchor points and thus creating a potential fall. With every added inch above the last piece of protection, the potential fall length increases (see lead climbing fall distance formula).

Falling is an intense feeling for most of us. Consequences of a fall can be very different from fun to fatal, depending on rock terrain and both climber’s experience and route choice. It is essential to have an attentive belayer who maintains communication and is ready to adjust slack or tension at any given point (see lead belaying article).

As a lead climber, it is important to know how to fall in the best possible way. This can be very tricky and usually imposes a huge mental challenge on us. When falling, the climber has to adopt a “cat-like” style in order to have the least impact on the body. Cat-like means that feet (and sometimes hands) are the first points of rock contact after falling. All limbs have to be spread apart rather than close to each other. When impacting on rock, it is crucial to cushion the impact by bending knees (and elbows if needed). In theory, the steeper the rock, the “cleaner” = safer, the fall is. For example, when falling on an overhanging climb, a leader fall is often a clean drop into open space. On the other hand, a fall on a low angle slab has more potential to be harmful.

In our course we will only practice ‘mock leading’, which allows us to practice all the lead climbing related skills in the safest possible way.