LEARN TO LEAD TRAD

As low as:

$670.00 / person

(at 2:1 ratio)
  • STRENUOUSNESS
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  • TECHNICAL DIFFICULTY
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About


This course is an excellent entry-point into the world of traditional (trad) leading. Under the eye of a qualified instructor, you’ll learn the fundamentals to lead safely and efficiently outdoors using removable protection. Instructors will focus on technical systems and provide detailed feedback and coaching. All techniques learned meet an internationally accepted standard, providing a solid and necessary foundation as you progress in your climbing. 

Our standard course is two days and the curriculum covers basics of both sport of trad lead climbing. If you already have some leading experience, you may consider requesting a 1:1 Single day Learn to Lead Trad course. 

Curriculum

  • Placing removable protection
  • Anchor building with removeable protection
  • Rope & station management
  • Selecting & carrying a rack
  • Protection strategies
  • Safe and efficient lead belaying and climbing techniques

Included in the price

  • 2 days of instruction with an ACMG guide
  • Group technical gear

Not included in the price

  • Transportation to and from meeting point
  • Food
  • Accommodation
  • Personal gear (including harness, helmet, carabiners, belay devices, climbing shoes)

Questions? Check out our FAQ page for details about our booking and cancellation policy, and other commonly asked questions.

Locations

 

Possible course locations include: 

  • Comox Lake Crags
  • Nanaimo River
  • Mt Wells

If you would like to request a specific location and date prior to booking, please reach out.

Please note that certain crags may be more suitable depending on the weather and time of year. If weather dictates that the course will be delivered more optimally elsewhere, we may suggest moving your course to a more suitable location. We encourage you to maintain some flexibility in your plans to allow for this.

Exact meeting details will be provided in a pre-trip email sent one week before your course.

Questions? Check out our FAQ page for details, or send us an email. 

Itinerary


A typical day starts at 09:00 and ends around 17:00. 

Curriculum delivery will depend on the students, the instructor and other factors such as weather and conditions, but below is a general idea of what to expect:

Day 1 

09:00 – Meet at the location specified in your pre-trip email. Upon arrival you will sign waivers (please note that anyone under 19 needs to have their waiver signed by a parent or guardian and sent in prior to the course).

The crags are usually a short hike from the parking lot. You will set up here for the day, progressing through the curriculum at a pace that works for your group. Expect to finish around 17:00.

Day 2 

09:00 – Meet at the location specified by your instructor the day before. Day two is typically devoted entirely to students leading trad routes under supervision. 

17:00 – Debrief to complete the course.

Exact meeting details will be provided in a pre-trip email sent one-week prior to your course. Questions? Check out our FAQ page for details, or send us an email. 

Requirements


This is an intermediate-level course. Prior to registering, participants should:

  • Have a general knowledge of what grade they can climb reliably without falling
  • Have completed an Intro to Rock course (or have equivalent experience)

Pre-course homework:

Please ensure you are comfortable with the following basic knots: 

  • Figure 8 follow-through 
  • Figure 8 on a bight 
  • Overhand 
  • Double overhand 
  • Double fisherman’s 
  • Clove hitch 
  • Prussik 
  • Munter hitch 

We recommend checking out the “Animated Knots” website for instructions. 

Questions about the suitability of this course? Send us an email. We’re happy to help you find or customize courses to suit your needs. 

Gear List 


Your instructor will provide all group gear (or “the rack” -- ropes, slings, carabiners, etc.). Please bring the following, and reach out if you have any questions:

Technical Gear

  • Harness 
  • Helmet 
  • Belay device & locking carabiner 
  • Climbing shoes 

If you require any of the items on the technical gear list, please email us to request it (along with any sizing requirements such as shoe size). 

Clothing

  • T-shirt or long-sleeve (ideally loose-fitting)
  • Pants (ideally loose-fitting, tapered at the ankle) 
  • Rain gear (jacket and pants) 
  • Mid-weight insulating jacket 
  • Approach shoes (something that will provide some support on trails to the climb)
  • Toque and/or sun hat 

Other

  • Sunglasses that block 100% UV 
  • Sunscreen 
  • SPF lip balm 
  • Lunch (pre-prepared) and snacks 
  • Water bottle 
  • Notebook and pencil (Rite in the Rain recommended) 
  • Chalk bag (optional)
  • 30L backpack 

If you own any additional equipment, you are encouraged to bring it along so that you can learn more about the gear you already own.

Questions? Send us an email or read our blog for advice on choosing appropriate gear. 

Testimonials

It was a great course! Learned a ton and Andrew was a phenomenal guide. Despite the weather being mostly horrible but we don’t feel we missed out on anything. Great experience. Jamie Saby,
So great!! We learned a ton and our guide was more than awesome. I will definitely be taking more courses with IAG in the future. Natasha H ,
I started lead climbing after a course taught by Jan Neuspiel. We covered gear placement, anchors, rope management and multi pitch climbing techniques. This professional instruction proved priceless to me on so many levels. I noticed my base technical skills were at a higher level compared to more "seasoned" climbers. There is just so much ground level knowledge I gained that would have been impossible to replicate without professional instruction. As I progressed in my climbing, I teamed up with Jan as a climbing partner four years later on a 3000ft big wall on Baffin Island. I highly recommend this training to anyone serious about climbing safely and effectively. Guy Ridler, Courtenay, BC.
The introduction to lead climbing course was a learning experience of a lifetime. The teaching was superb and brought the best out of me at a pace that was suitable to my needs and compatible with my goals. Perhaps most importantly, it challenged me to think logically about working with the gear, rock and my climbing partners in the safest way possible. Upon finishing the course, I feel comfortable working independently at my level and taking appropriate risks to further my goals in the mountains. It was one of the most satisfying classes I have taken. Michelle Hawkins, Courtenay, BC.
Christophe and the course were amazing! We got to climb multiple routes (wet but fun) on the safety of top rope but also while placing our own gear. The feedback from Christophe on every piece of pro we placed while we belayed him up was really good. Then coming back down every route we got to remove and re-examine our placed gear. Of course, as with any guide, we got to hear some real-life experiences and stories on which systems have worked well for that guide, gotta love the personal touch! I would and have recommended this course to people in my similar circles, familiar with climbing and some of it's practices, but needing to place more pro and be able to evaluate and be confident on the placing of that pro. A definite must-do course for those looking to head out into the mountains and get into slightly more technical climbs. Ryan Smith, Nanaimo, BC
Thanks for teaching us the ropes last weekend. You are helping to bring my mountaineering dreams into reach. You rock! Matthew Lettington, Nanaimo, BC
Thanks again for the awesome course and weekend. A real pleasure hanging (pun intended) with you over the weekend. We'll keep in touch. Russell Henry, Nanaimo, BC.
This was a great course, highly recommended! Patrick Horsfield, Nanaimo, BC.
I started lead climbing after a three-day course taught by Jan Neuspiel. We covered gear placement, anchors, rope management and multi pitch climbing techniques. This professional instruction proved priceless to me on so many levels. I noticed my base technical skills were at a higher level compared to more "seasoned" climbers. There is just so much ground level knowledge I gained that would have been impossible to replicate without professional instruction. As I progressed in my climbing, I teamed up with Jan as a climbing partner four years later on a 3000ft big wall on Baffin Island. I highly recommend this training to anyone serious about climbing safely and effectively. Guy Ridler, Courtenay, BC
The introduction to lead climbing course was a learning experience of a lifetime. The teaching was superb and brought the best out of me at a pace that was suitable to my needs and compatible with my goals. Perhaps most importantly, it challenged me to think logically about working with the gear, rock and my climbing partners in the safest way possible. Upon finishing the course, I feel comfortable working independently at my level and taking appropriate risks to further my goals in the mountains. It was one of the most satisfying classes I have taken. Michelle Hawkins, Courtenay, BC
Christophe and the course were amazing! We got to climb multiple routes (wet but fun) on the safety of top rope but also while placing our own gear. The feedback from Christophe on every piece of pro we placed while we belayed him up was really good. Then coming back down every route we got to remove and re-examine our placed gear. Of course, as with any guide, we got to hear some real life experiences and stories on which systems have worked well for that guide, gotta love the personal touch! I would and have recommended this course to people in my similar circles, familiar with climbing and some of it's practices, but needing to place more pro and be able to evaluate and be confident on the placing of that pro. A definite must-do course for those looking to head out into the mountains and get into slightly more technical climbs. Ryan Smith, Nanaimo, BC
The course was very good. Christophe has an excellent teaching style. His knowledge is obvious but he delivers it in a calm, relaxed and non-pretentious manner. A true teacher. I felt safe the entire time. And, I left with much more knowledge than I arrived with. Also, I have a greater awareness of my limitations. This is a good thing! "What the mind doesn't know, the eye doesn't see!" I now see a lot more! Thanks for sending us such a great instructor. Tom Roozendaal, Nanaimo, BC
I had a great experience with IAG. Jan takes the time to explain things and makes sure that you understand what he is saying through hands on practice. He is also very patient and very knowledgeable. I wouldn’t hesitate in taking another IAG course or recommending them. Hope to see you on the rocks!! Thanks again for everything. Tim Turray, Courtenay, BC.
The course was great, another very useful tool to add to my alpine toolbox. The individual critique of each piece of protection by Jan was invaluable for learning. I left the course knowing what I needed to practice and feeling confident to lead. Peter Blencowe, Victoria, BC
The introduction to lead climbing course was a learning experience of a lifetime. The teaching was superb and brought the best out of me at a pace that was suitable to my needs and compatible with my goals. Perhaps most importantly, it challenged me to think logically about working with the gear, rock and my climbing partners in the safest way possible. Upon finishing the course, I feel comfortable working independently at my level and taking appropriate risks to further my goals in the mountains. It was one of the most satisfying classes I have taken. Michelle Hawkins, Courtenay, BC
Thanks for teaching us the ropes last weekend. You are helping to bring my mountaineering dreams into reach. You rock! Matthew Lettington, Nanaimo, BC
The course was fantastic. Money well spent and I would recommend this course to others. Graeme was a great guide as well. I felt challenged and pushed my comfort zone while maintaining a confident level of safety with him leading the way. Blain Turner, Victoria, BC
I started lead climbing after a three day course taught by Jan Neuspiel. We covered gear placement, anchors, rope management and multi pitch climbing techniques. This professional instruction proved priceless to me on so many levels. I noticed my base technical skills were at a higher level compared to more "seasoned" climbers. There is just so much ground level knowledge I gained that would have been impossible to replicate without professional instruction. As I progressed in my climbing, I teamed up with Jan as a climbing partner four years later on a 3000ft big wall on Baffin Island. I highly recommend this training to anyone serious about climbing safely and effectively. Guy Ridler, Courtenay, BC