Lead Climbing School

This is an advanced climbing class.  All the fundamentals 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 second and lead belayer.  There will be no “true” lead climbs during the class – all lead climbing experiences in this class will be mock leads protected with a top-rope.

Students - For Instructional materials, see Lead School Manual

Experience required:

AMC Outdoor Rock Climbing School, AMC Anchors School or equivalent experience, and significant Outdoor rock climbing experience. This includes:

  • Demonstrated solid outdoor top-rope rock climbing experience, including standard climbing calls and partner checks.
  • Climbing at the 5.6 level, minimum
  • 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.

October 2024 Lead School Dates and Locations:

Date Time Location
Tue  Oct 1 6:30pm – 9:30pm TBD Phoenix area location
Thur Oct 3 6:30pm – 9:30pm TBD Phoenix area location
Sat   Oct 5 8:00am – 4:00pm Sullivan's Canyon (Chino Valley)
Sun  Oct 6 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.

  • Harness, belay device, at least 3 locking carabiners
  • Helmet – mandatory for all on-rock sessions
  • Additional soft gear
    • 2 x 20′ slings (untied length), preferably different colors
    • 10′ sling (untied length) or 48" sewn runner
    • *Nut pick
    • *Quickdraws  – 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, DON'T run out to the store.  You can borrow it from generous volunteer instructors and find out what you like before you buy it.

Cost:  $125.

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


  • Contact Scott Kuchman at amcleadschool@gmail.com to indicate your intent to register.  Scott will add you to the list in the order in which your request is received and waitlist you if the max class size has already been reached. Note: the class size is limited to 10 students!
  • 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.
  • If selected for enrollment, you must remit your payment of the $125 class fee to secure your spot on the class roster within the time frame specified.  Payment may be made by credit card (via PayPal) or personal check.
  • Refund policy: The cost of the class is fully refundable if you decide to cancel; however, due to the cost of transaction fees, you are strongly encourage to defer to a later date rather than reguest a refund if possible.  Please note that the AMC Membership Fee is non-refundable.


  • Scott Kuchman will contact those on the enrollment list to provide detailed payment instructions.  Please follow these instructions carefully, as payment in a timely manner will be required to finalize your registration and secure your spot in class.
  • Please be sure to add amcleadschool@gmail.com to your contacts to ensure it is not flagged as spam as you will only have a short window to complete your payment.

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

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