Intro to Trad Leading: 2-Day Workshop




Sliding Scale Course Fees  |  Women’s Wilderness has created a sliding scale for all its Women’s programs in an effort to keep our courses affordable to a wide range of people.  All our pricing scales are significantly below the prices of for-profit companies. The top price represents the actual cost to run the course, and the second two tiers represent scholarships.  We set forth no criteria and trust that each individual will pay what they feel is appropriate.

You stand at the base of the climb, looking upwards at the crack, noticing places where it is narrow, where it is wide, where there are ledges for rest, and finally a large ledge with a tree to belay at.  Based on the crack size and variation, you carefully choose your gear – a variety of cams, a set of nuts, twelve trad draws and an anchor for the top.  You rack your gear on your harness in a way that you will be able to reach it as you climb, put on your shoes and helmet, and do a safety check with your partner.  And then you’re off.

As you climb, you place gear confidently, trusting your movement on the rock, your judgement as you select a cam to place in a small parallel crack, seeing that up higher there are better placements for nuts.  Excitement bubbles in your stomach as you climb above your last piece – “I trust it! I trust myself, my movement and my judgement!” runs through your mind.

When you get the top, you build an anchor with pieces remaining on your harness and set up to belay your partner.  You gaze out across the canyon and think, “This is magic.  I am magic!  I can’t wait to see what my climbing future holds!”

This is trad climbing, and we want you to take part in the magic, to trust YOUR own judgement, movement, and skill.

Our 2-day class will teach you:

  • How to place traditional gear (nuts, cams, hexes)
  • How to choose gear for a climb and organize it on your harness
  • Judgement and decision making while on lead
  • Managing rope drag, the art of using runners
  • Reading topos and routes while on lead
  • Building trad anchors at the top of climbs
  • Belaying from the top of a climb


  • Experience lead belaying
  • Can top-rope in a gym confidently at a 10a level
  • Experience leading in a gym setting

Did you know that our Rock Technicians are AMGA SPI certified? And that they are trained in our custom curriculum by professional Big Wall climber Madaleine Sorkin? Yep, they are rad women!

2019 Dates: September 14-15

Time: 9am – 4pm each day

Location: Near Boulder or Golden, CO

Topics Covered: Placing trad gear, organizing a trad rack, sling craft, lead theory, risk assessment while on lead, judgement and decision making while on lead, reading climbing guide books and topos, building trad anchors, mock trad leading

This course is appropriate for: Participants should know how to top-rope belay, tie a figure 8, and can tope-rope 5.8 in the gym.  Some outdoor top-rope experience is helpful.  Sport leading experience can be helpful but not required.

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