Trad Rock Climbing Course

This 3-Day course is for the intermediate climber wanting to learn how to place traditional rock gear for lead climbing the right way: from the ground up. Learn how to do it safely from our professional mountain guides.

Difficulty rating and Skill requirements

Difficulty Rating System Explained

good physical fitness, prior sport climbing experience

  • Category: Rock
  • Type: Instructional
  • Ratio: 4:1,8:2

* Required Fields

Sport climbing is one thing, placing gear on lead is another. The act of placing protection while lead climbing is a skill set in itself and can test ones mental strength. In this course you'll be introduced, very systematically, to the progression required to become a safe trad climber. The course has you place all kinds of gear on top rope, on mock lead, and on real lead. You will learn to trust your own work by falling into the gear you placed in mock lead situations and you will get a chance to hang into belays that you just built in the vertical arena.
Course Itinerary

Day 1: We will travel to Vantage in the morning and set up camp in the Feathers area. By late morning we can get to work on learning skills as Vantage is the perfect venue for everything we will be doing.
Day 2: We will continue to learn and practice skills in Vantage.
Day 3: We will cap off the course with a moderate multi-pitch climb in the granite mecca of Index, WA

Course Curriculum

1. Introduction to Gear
• Selecting trad gear
• Racking trad gear on your harness
• Principles of gear placement
2. Anchors and Belay Techniques
• Static and dynamic belays while climbing trad
• Equalized anchors
• Self equalizing anchors
3. Leading on Trad Gear
• Mock leading on trad gear
• Falling into your gear
• Leading on trad gear
4. Multi-pitch Climbing and Station Management
• Building a hanging belay
• Multi pitch climbing on trad gear
• Belay station management
5. Rock Rescue Skills
• Escaping the belay
• Basic rock rescue
• Knot pass


  • T Shirt - midweight or lightweight

  • Windshirt, Soft Shell, Fleece, Jacket - only one of these is necessary

  • Comfortable Pants to Climb In - soft shell or nylon pants

  • Shorts - if weather permits; longer shorts are better

  • Warm Hat

  • Sun Hat - baseball type or visor

 Personal Gear

  • Pack – 25 to 30 liter

  • Hiking Shoes - approach or running shoes work well

  • Rock Shoes - comfortable for all day climbing

  • Chalk Bag

  • Chalk

  • Water Bottles - 1 or 2 liters

  • Sack Lunch

  • Snacks for the day

  • Sunglasses

  • Sunscreen - SPF 25+, waterproof

  • Lip Balm - SPF 15+

Technical Gear

  • Climbing Helmet - UIAA approved only

  • Climbing Harness

  • Belay Device - any type

  • Locking Biners (3) - (1) large HMS style and (2) regular lockers

  • Non-Locking Biners (4) - any type, we prefer wire gates

  • Daisy Chain - nylon or spectra

  • Cordelette (1) - 7 mm diameter, 18 to 24 feet in length

  • Sewn Slings (2) - 1 single, 1 double

Optional Items *We highly recommend these items, but do not require them to participate

  • Any Trad Gear - cams, nuts, hexes, etc.

  • Belay Gloves

  • Camera - we’re always looking for some shots for the PGS website!

  • Note Pad and Pencil - Rite-in-the-Rain brand waterproof notebook works

 Group Gear Provided By PGS

  • Technical Group Gear (Ropes and Trad gear)

  • Group 1st Aid Kit




Should I tip my guide? And how much should I tip them? Although tipping is not a requirement it is considered standard practice in the guiding industry and is appreciated by our guides. We generally recommend roughly 10%-15% of your course or trip cost or flat price tip that you are comfortable with.