Learn to Lead Trad

Become a Leader

Guide leading a route in Eldorado Canyon State Park during a Learn to Lead Trad Course near Boulder, ColoradoTraditional climbing requires that the leader places removable gear and anchors.  This gear is designed to protect the leader in the event of a fall.  The gear is then removed or “cleaned” by the belayer as they follow the pitch.  Proper techniques for placing cams and stoppers, protecting the follower, and building multi-directional anchors are all critical to becoming a proficient leader on traditional rock climbs.  Colorado Mountain School has a long history of fostering climbers as they learn to lead trad in the mountains.

Rack of traditional rock climbing equipment, including cams and carabiners, at the base The Bastille in Eldorado Canyon State Park in Colorado.The crags of the Front Range played a major role in pioneering rock climbing as we know it today.  In this two-day course, we’ll utilize the same cracks and fissures that legends like Layton Kor used to hone their climbing skills.  To this day, the crags in and around Eldorado Canyon are the ideal classroom for learning to lead trad.  This course includes vital instruction while allowing students plenty of opportunity to practice leading and receive feedback from professional guides.  As a result of this course, students are better prepared to go out and lead trad on their own.  Whether you aspire to climb in Eldo, Yosemite, or The Gunks, this course will help you get there.

Course Details


Topics include:

  • Place quality protection
  • Protect your follower
  • Avoid beginner mistakes and break bad habits
  • Learn proper leading techniques
  • Set bombproof anchors
  • Evaluate hazards thoroughly
  • Clean anchors
  • Understand route-finding issues
  • Utilize extended runners
  • Remove gear
  • Learn basic rescue techniques


Proficient at top-roping, Experience lead belaying


8:00am - 4:00pm


2 Days

Maximum Ratio:


Minimum Age:

Please call to register participants under 18

Price includes & Excludes:


  • Trained and/or certified guide
  • Group climbing gear
    • Technical hardware - climbing protection, carabiners,etc
    • Ropes
    • Technical softgoods - slings, cordellette, etc
  • Personal climbing gear
    • Harness
    • Helmet
    • Rock shoes


  • Food
  • Transportation
  • Lodging
  • Clothing, backpack and non-technical personal items
  • Park Entrance Fees (where applicable)
  • Rescue Insurance
  • Trip Insurance
  • Gratuity
  • Expenses due to unforeseen circumstances beyond the control of Colorado Mountain School

Meeting location:

Boulder Dates:
Neptune Mountaineering
633 S Broadway St.
Boulder, CO 80305


Denver Dates:
Big Daddy Bagels
106 N Rubey Dr # D
Golden, CO 80403


Colorado Mountain School offers a 16 bunk lodge that is conveniently located upstairs from our office and classroom in downtown Estes Park.  The lodge features a full kitchen, WiFi, a lounge and hot showers. Reserve a bed now for just $40 per night (plus tax).


All of our courses can be run as custom outings.  If you're interested in a course, but it doesn't fit into your schedule, please check out our custom guiding options.