Trad Lead climbing

The ability to lead Trad rock climbing routes in areas like Squamish will open up many climbing options for you. This course will give you the confidence to lead single pitch routes requiring use of traditional (Trad) protection methods. This is also an excellent course for anyone looking to pursue technical Alpine climbing objectives as well. You will spend an intensive day with our expert ACMG Guide/Instructors learning and practicing on skills and techniques specific to leading trad routes.

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Select dates below. Also, Private dates available.
Pre Requisites:
Previous climbing experience required, must be comfortable with basic knots and belay systems; ability to climb 5.8 on top rope. Our Squamish Rock Weekend or Top Rope anchors 2 courses are good prerequisite courses to take in advance of the Trad Lead Climbing course.

  • The Canada West Mountain School Trad lead climbing course is designed for people who already have experience climbing indoors and outdoors and who are comfortable belaying, tying-in, and setting their own basic top-rope anchor systems using pre-existing bolt anchors.

      Skills covered include:
    • how to place trad gear
    • climbing strategies and systems
    • building lead belay systems
    • building top anchors while on lead
    • lead belay techniques
    • seconding and proper cleaning techniques
    • advanced rope management skills
  • The Trad Lead climbing course is conducted in Squamish, BC, located approximately 1 hour by highway north of Vancouver. Participants will be responsible for getting to and from Squamish each day.

    The course meets at the Squamish Adventure Centre, located on the East side of Highway 99 just past the entrance to downtown Squamish. The climbing sites we use are in the Smoke Bluffs Park, all within a short walking distance of the Adventure Centre. You will meet your group at 0800, unless otherwise instructed.

    Squamish Adventure Centre Map:
  • Our Squamish Trad Lead Climbing programs are taught by some of the best climbers and Guides in Canada. All are certified by the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG) and each one has a passion for teaching that will inspire you in your climbing pursuits.

    Visit Guides and Instructors Page for complete details and background on each of our Guide Team.

  • Our Trad Lead Climbing course starts at 0800 with a meeting of the climbing team and your guide. You will spend about 30 minutes going over course objectives, introductions, planning the day, and finishing paperwork, then you will head directly to the climbing site.

      The first half of the day you will learn and review all aspects of Trad Lead climbing findamentals:
    • route selection and planning
    • lead belay considerations
    • gear placement
    • artificial and natural anchor construction (bolts, trees, gear, etc)
    • rappelling
    • guide book interpretation
    • further skills practice and training recommendations

    You will learn the initial skills, then have an opportunity to practice on climbs well within your climbing standard, while climbing on a top-rope system. This allows you to focus on the mechanics of gear placement with the supervision and direction of our Guides. With our low instructor-to-student ratio you will benefit from direct and instant feedback.

    • For the Trad Lead climbing course you will require the following minimum standard personal climbing equipment:
    • harness
    • helmet
    • belay device w/locking belay biner
    • locking carabiner and PAS, sling, tether, etc.
    • climbing shoes

    If you have any other of your own climbing equipment, please also bring this along as well, we encourage people to learn and practice with their own gear.

    Canada West Mountain School will supply all other ropes, anchor systems, lead climbing equipment (rack), and safety gear.

    For clothing and other supplies, please come prepared for any conditions, including rain and wind. This is an outdoor course and all skills can be safely taught in most conditions, including rain showers. In the event that the weather forecast is deemed too severe to run the course (electrical storms, heavy rain warnings, etc) our Guides will notify the participants in advance. Due to the ever-changing nature of weather, this decision may not be made until 24 hours before the course start. If you do not hear from Canada West Mountain School staff or Guides before your course, please plan on arriving at the scheduled meeting location and time.

    Here is a basic Rock Climbing gear list for your reference and planning - Canada West Mountain School Rock Climbing Course Gear List

  • Questions about Squamish Rock Trad Lead Climbing courses

    Do I need to bring special gear?

    Is Lead Climbing safe?

    Will the Trad Lead climbing course run if it is raining?