Lead Climbing School

Special Notice - Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and in compliance with public health guidelines, both the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 Lead Schools were cancelled. Please be assured that Lead School will be resumed when the  COVID-19 transmission spread in Maricopa County is reduced to at least the "moderate" transmission level as measured and reported by the AZDHS at https://www.azdhs.gov/preparedness/epidemiology-disease-control/infectious-disease-epidemiology/index.php#novel-coronavirus-community and when club resources and schedules permit.

Note that the class will be limited to 10 students max.  All interested members who have the prerequisites are strongly encouraged to sign up now to secure a spot in the class or be added to the waitlist.  Just follow the instructions below.  Thank you for your patience and understanding.

This is an advanced climbing class.  All aspects of lead climbing will be addressed with a strong emphasis on multi-pitch trad climbing.  Topics include gear (ropes and pro), the dynamics of lead falls, solid gear placement, rope management, anchors, and the mental as well as physical aspects of sport and trad leading. This class is for every competent climber. Even if you do not plan on leading, you will learn and understand the dynamics of lead climbing, and it will make you a more knowledgeable and capable climber and lead belayer.  There will be no “true” lead climbs during the class – all lead climbing experiences in this class will be protected with a top-rope.

For additional class details, see Lead School Flyer Spring 2021

Students - For Instructional materials, see Lead School Manual

Experience required:

AMC Outdoor Rock Climbing School and AMC Anchors School or equivalent experience. This includes:

  • Demonstrated solid outdoor top-rope rock climbing experience, including standard climbing calls and partner checks.
  • Competency with current belay (PBUS) and rappel techniques, including use of autoblock backup.
  • Demonstrated competency with basic climbing knots and hitches, including figure 8, friction hitches (autoblock, klemheist, prusik), clove hitch, muenter hitch.
  • Demonstrated competency with standard top-rope anchors, including application of open and closed cordellettes, pre-equalized anchors (e.g. 2 and 3 point cordellette), self-equalizing anchors (magic X, quad, "web-o-lette", equalette) and extended anchors utilizing bolts, gear placements, and natural features.

Basically, you need top know how to top-rope real rock at a moderate level using current "best practice" techniques and processes (not just what you learned from friends) and be competent at evaluating and building solid, timely anchors.  You will utilize this foundation to learn the fundamentals of lead climbing, including actual mock leads requiring you to use trad gear, as well as provide a lead belay for a partner; the mock lead means you will have a top-rope backup throughout this school.

CLASS SCHEDULE FOR THE Fall 2021 Lead School:

Date Time Location
Tue  Sept 9 6:30pm – 9:30pm Virtual (Zoom)
Thur Sept 11 6:30pm – 9:30pm Virtual (Zoom)
Sat Sept 13 8:00am – 4:00pm Sullivan's Canyon (Chino Valley)
Sun Sept 14 9:00am – 5:00pm TBD


The following will not be needed the first night. You may want to listen to the gear lectures before making purchases.

  • All climbing gear (harness, prusiks, biners, etc.)
  • Helmet – mandatory for all on-rock sessions
      Specifically needed:

    • 2 20′ slings (untied length), preferably different colors
    • 1 10′ slings (untied length) or 48" sewn runner
    • *Nut pick
    • *Quickdraws with biners – at least 5 per person
  • *All pro that you own, which may include cams, hexes, wired nuts, Tri-cams, etc.
  • Hiking boots or shoes with stiff soles for Saturday, climbing shoes for Sunday
  • Optional: kneepads for Saturday ($3-6 at Home Depot, $5 volleyball pads at sporting goods stores)

*If you don’t own this stuff, you can borrow it from generous volunteer instructors

Cost:  $125.

  • Note: You must be a current AMC club member to register for this school.


  • Contact Scott Kuchman at amcleadschool@gmail.com to reserve your spot.  Please indicate your intention  to participate in the school.  Scott will add you to the list and waitlist you if the max class size has already been reached.  Assuming current health guidelines allow the school to proceed on schedule, Scott will notify you with payment guidelines to secure your spot in the school
  • Payment may be made by credit card or personal check.  Scott will provide further instructions as needed.
  • If you are a current AMC club member (i.e. your dues are paid for this year), great!!  If not, please go to the membership page at http://arizonamountaineeringclub.net/membership/ and complete the membership process.
  • Refund policy: The cost of the class is fully refundable if you decide to cancel.  The Membership Fee is non-refundable.

For any questions or additional info contact Scott Kuchman at email: amcleadschool@gmail.com.

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