Lead Climbing at Devils Doorway, 4.28.2013
I love the way climbing progresses you through a series of skill levels, each one building upon the last. Jeremy and Shannon took an Anchors II course with me in the September, and after a a fall filled with climbing weekends, they were back this spring for a Lead Climbing course. So we started by going right back to our Anchor courses skills: building placing gear, thinking about anchor geometry, and refining our top-rope anchors. It was a fun opportunity to see where these two were with their anchor skills after a long winter, and we had fun reviewing, adjusting, and making things just-so.
Like lead climbing itself, a Lead Clinic takes a lot more gear than a Top-Rope climbing trip. All our lead climbing courses use a "mock-lead" setup, meaning the leader is on a lead rope with a lead belayer, but I am also backing them up with a top-rope belay. On top of that, I'm jugging a static line next to them, providing critique and answering questions along the way - and trying to stay out of the way. So that means we need two top anchors and three ropes per climb. Once it's all set up, it's not too complicated; the most critical piece is making sure the ropes are aligned properly before we leave the ground, otherwise it can become a messy web 30 feet up.
Looking forward to more Lead classes in 2013. We don't have Lead Climbing as a course option yet on the site, but if you're interested please ask and we'll put a course together for you.