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Lead Certification


What is Lead Climbing?

Lead climbing and lead belaying are complex activities that require the anticipation of a number of factors not present in top-rope climbing and a greater understanding of and ability to manage risk while using more complex belay methods and protection systems. Those wanting to lead climb at the AppState climbing wall must demonstrate the ability to safely and comfortably lead climb at the 5.8 standard or higher, as well as properly belay a lead climber with a "Gri Gri" using the "new technique" as demonstrated in the video on this page. 

Outdoor Programs can provide a rope for the lead climbing workshop and challenge or for general use by lead climbers. If you choose to provide your own rope, you should ensure that the rope you select and use at the climbing wall is manufactured for lead climbing and has been cared for, stored and used in a manner consistent with manufacturer recommendations. Our staff will ask to inspect your rope and reserve the right to prohibit the use of any rope determined to be unsatisfactory for use in the AppState facility.

Those interested in becoming lead certified at the AppState wall are encouraged to practice mock-leads prior to attempting the certification to become familiar with the lead process and protocol at AppState. A mock-lead is performed on a top-rope while trailing a separate rope that is clipped into the draws and top anchor. This also presents a great opportunity for someone to practice lead belay using a "Gri Gri". Feel free to speak with a Climbing Wall Supervisor regarding mock-leads.

What You Will be Tested On:

  • Understanding of  common hazards to avoid while lead climbing at the AppState climbing wall
  • Proficiency in fitting a harness and tying the figure-8-follow through
  • Ability to stack rope in preparation for climb
  • Safety pre-climb check (between belayer and climber)
  • The use of common commands including “Belay Contract”
  • Ability to lead at 5.8 standard or higher illustrating confident, smooth, and controlled movement
  • Properly clip all draws and top anchor avoiding basic clipping errors (i.e. back-clipping, z-clipping, back-stepping)
  • Belay skills to include: loading belay device, evaluating pros/cons of anchoring, spotting, belay technique that maintains brake hand on rope, catching a climber’s fall, and lowering climber
  • Cleaning rope by pulling through draw

Lead Climbing Clinic

  • Lead Climb workshops is required regardless of experience to lead climb at the App State Climbing Wall

Lead Workshops will teach you the basics of proper clipping techniques and avoiding basic clipping errors (i.e. back-clipping, z-clipping, back-stepping). Lead belay skills will include loading belay devices, evaluating pros/cons of anchoring, spotting, belay technique that maintains brake hand on rope, catching a climber’s fall, lowering climbers, and much more.  

  • Cost: $15.00
  • Registration Required: Come to the Outing Center to register and inquire about times