Lead climbing is considered to be an advanced type of climbing in that it involves more risk, and technical expertise, than top-rope climbing.

In lead climbing, the climber must attach their rope to quick-draws in the wall as they climb. The rope is clipped into protection points that limit how far they will fall as the belayer feeds rope from the ground.

In order to lead climb at Mesa Rim, experienced climbers must pass our Lead Climbing Test and you must bring your own lead rope.

Because lead climbing requires a certain level of skill and experience, we recommend completing our Lead Climbing Series (Lead 101 and 102).

Have questions? Check out the FAQ section below.



Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I become lead certified?

In order to lead climb at Mesa Rim you must take and pass our Lead Test. You can become certified as a Lead Climber, Lead Belayer or Lead Certified (both climb and belay).

To take the test you must have a lead climbing partner and bring your own lead rope. The test involves climbing to the top of our designated test route (up to 5.10 in difficulty), taking a fall from above the last clip, clipping the anchors and lowering back to the ground. Proper belaying and climbing technique must be demonstrated (e.g. clip all draws, no z-clips, no back-steps).

What equipment do I need?

You must bring your own lead rope (at least 40 meters long), climbing shoes, harness and belay device. We require that you use a brake-assisted belay device such as the Jul, GriGri or Cinch.

What experience do I need for the lead classes?

Previous climbing experience is highly recommended. The test is given on a 5.1o, so it’s recommended that you be able to top rope a 5.10a comfortably and without hanging on the rope.

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