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Learn to Lead 'Trad' Climbing - Peak District
For those of you who have some experience of seconding (or top-roping) 'traditional' rock climbs, and perhaps are experienced indoor lead climbers, here is an opportunity to progress towards leading 'trad' rock climbs. The main difference from sport (or indoor) climbing is that you have to place all your own protection yourself, and create a safe belay at the top for you and your partner. The course will include: • Use of guidebooks and route selection • Crag etiquette • Trad climbing equipment and rope choices • Essential knots • Placing protection equipment - nuts/wires; hexes; cams; slings etc • Building belays at the top • Route 'tactics' and how to plan and climb a route safely • A progression of exercises to take you from seconding to (hopefully) leading your first 'trad' routes. More details of this course and others are available here:- To attend this course, you must: • Have some prior experience of seconding 'trad' climbs and/or of lead climbing at indoor climbing walls or on sports climbing routes outdoors. • Be able to belay a climber who is leading. The total cost is £180.00 and instruction by a fully qualified holder of the Mountaineering Instructor Award, which is the minimum qualification required for the teaching of 'trad' lead climbing. It also includes the use of all ropes and technical equipment and the loan of a harness and helmet should you require it. This course requires two people booking to enable the course to be run. A booking deposit of £90.00 is required to secure your place. The cost of the hostel is additional, and will depend on availability and the cost of the hostel at the time of booking, but is typically £20-30 pppn. In the same way that a driving instructor cannot 'guarantee' that you will pass a driving test, because of the very serious nature of leading 'trad' routes, we can make no guarantee that you will progress to leading by the end of the course. We will only put you in this position if we believe that you can do so safely. This will depend largely on your prior experience, the speed with which you assimilate what is being taught, and your own confidence and acceptance of risk. However, if you do not end up leading during this course, you will be extremely well-prepared to progress to leading at a later date. If you would like to attend please RSVP to the event AND email me on [masked] Note: We can make no guarantee about precise itineraries as these must be decided on the day for safety reasons, according to the prevailing weather conditions. ( You can also follow TheSummitIsOptional on Facebook ( and Instagram (

Stanage Edge

The Peak District · Near Sheffield


What we're about

Welcome to "The Summit is Optional", taken from the first part of a very famous quotation about mountaineering.

This is a group for people who want to get out into the hills, mountains and rocks in summer or winter, and who want to learn a little more as they do so.

If the advertised Meet-Up events don’t quite suit you, then have a look at our website and talk to us about arranging something to suit your own specific requirements: (

You can also follow TheSummitIsOptional on Facebook ( and Instagram (

Typical events will include:

• Mountain walks/hikes, including 'challenge' events, but more often something more unusual where we get away from the crowds a bit on less common routes.

• Scrambling 'taster' trips.

• Rock-climbing 'taster' sessions, indoors and outdoors.

• Introduction to navigation – ideal for keen hill-walkers including those who have only ever followed their friends and are nervous about taking responsibility for navigating.

• Introduction to rock-climbing – suitable for those who want to try rock-climbing for the first time (whether it’s a first step or progressing from indoor climbing).

• Scrambling weekends – tackling some of the classic and more technical scrambling challenges in Snowdonia and the Lake District. There are introductory, intermediate and advanced levels to cater for the complete novice to the aspring leader and alpinist.

• Introduction to multi-pitch climbing – suitable for those with a small amount of prior rock-climbing experience who want to learn how to tackle long, ‘traditional’ multi-pitch climbs.

• Winter mountaineering and climbing - generally based in Scotland, introductory weekends who for those who have never used an axe and crampons before; or more advanced mountaineering and climbing on snow, ice and typical mixed terrain.

• Learning to lead-climb ('traditional') - courses for more experienced rock-climbers who have not yet taken the step into leading, using traditional leader-placed protection.

• Rock-climbing problem solving - courses for competent leaders and seconds, who want to know how to solve the most common problems encountered in 'traditional' rock-climbing, and better still how to avoid them in the first place.

• Navigation masterclass – for the mountain navigator who wants to take their skills to the next level, and really master the art of interpreting contour lines.

Each Meet Up event will have the numbers strictly limited to ensure that you get the most out of it - these are not simply about large groups of hikers being led on the well-worn routes. Rather, they are about building your knowledge, skills experience, and judgement to help you become well-rounded mountaineers.

Mountaineering Scotland have written an excellent article ( on hiring a guide for mountaineering and climbing in the UK and it will give you an indication of what you should be looking for either through Meet Up groups or indeed anywhere else. You can view my professional qualifications and Continuing Professional Development here (, and any other Meet Up leader claiming to be qualified to lead in the mountains should be able to let you do the same. If not, ask why not, and check that they are properly insured.

All climbing and mountaineering events will be run by a fully qualified holder of the Mountaineering Instructor Award ( (member of the Association of Mountaineering Instructors (, with current insurance and first-aid training. This is the same level of qualification that you would find if you booked on a course at the national training centres Plas y Brenin or Glenmore Lodge. Overseas trips will be led by a fully qualified International Mountain Leader (

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