01690 720214

Lead Climbing Developer - 5 days

Course Overview

Spend time on the sharp end, consolidating and expanding your leading skills. Under the watchful eye of our expert coaches you'll pick up tips and techniques from their extensive experience.
Whether you want to lead harder routes, or explore more adventurous places, this intensive course could take you further than you dreamt possible.

Experience Required

competent lead climber

Scheduled Dates

Detailed Course Notes

You should be 18 years old to attend this course.

Is it for me?

Simply, if you want to improve your leading this week is for you. You should already have experience of leading unsupervised. It doesn't matter at what grade you lead, whether you are an established V. Diff climber or whether you are pushing into the E grades.

Course Content

You will be paired up with a partner of similar ability and aspirations and together with your instructor will organise a programme to suit you. Before we let you loose we make sure you have the basic techniques needed to keep you and your partner safe while out leading. We normally spend most days climbing on multi pitch crags. Areas we may try to cover include:

  • Essential crag skills - belaying, communication, ropework

  • Route selection

  • Getting sorted for a lead - racking up and psyching up

  • Placing 'bomber' protection

  • Judging hazards and dealing with them

  • Making and managing safe stances

  • Falling off - the leader

  • Holding the falling leader

  • Getting back down a crag mid-pitch or multi pitch

  • What to do if it all goes wrong

The emphasis is about getting you leading and doing all your own ropework. We supervise and are always close at hand, often clipped to a rope next to you on the climb.

What's Included In The Price?

Whether you choose to stay with us or you have alternative accommodation nearby, the following items are included in the total cost.

    Free tea, coffee or selected hot drinks for the duration of your visit
    Afternoon tea & homemade cakes
    Equipment hire
    Free (low-speed) wifi access in the bar & dining room
    In course transport
    Railway station pick up & drop off (please call to arrange)
    Parking with CCTV surveillance
    Free use of climbing wall, gym, MTB skills course & rolling pool

    If you choose to stay with us, these items are also included in the total cost:

    Accommodation the night before your course
    Accommodation during your course
    Breakfast & evening meal
    Bar Lunch/packed lunch

Accommodation For This Course

Plas y Brenin Main House

Your course is based at Plas y Brenin, The National Mountain Sports Centre in Capel Curig, North Wales, LL24 0ET.

If you are staying with us,

If you have chosen to add accommodation onto this course or holiday it is usually in the main house in a comfy en-suite room (normally shared with another guest). Each room has tea and coffee making facilities and all bed linen and towels are provided.

This includes accommodation the night before your first day. Your room will be available from 6pm. On your last day you will need to vacate your room by 10am. It is sometimes possible to arrange to stay an extra night please phone 01690 720214 for availability and cost.

Secure storage facilities, showers and toilets are available for you to use on your departure day once you have checked out of your room should you need them, please ask at reception.

Also included, if you chosen to add accommodation, are all your meals - breakfast, packed lunch, afternoon tea and freshly baked cakes and a three course evening meal. Please bear in mind an evening meal is not provided on the night before your course or on the last day of your course but our bar will be serving meals from 7.00pm until 8.45pm.

If you are are not staying with us but coming in each day,

If you choose to come in daily for your course or holiday you will need to arrive ready for a 9am welcome talk on the first day. For the rest of your course or holiday you will need to be here for 9.15am. We return from a full day of activity, usually in time for tea and cakes at 5pm (included).

There are more activities from 5.30 - 6.30 on some days of your course or holiday, please check on the first day.

For most of our awards and qualification courses there will be further evening sessions on some days which you need to attend, please check on the first day.

There is an 8pm adventure talk by one of our coaches on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday evenings which you are welcome to come to. Find out more about the upcoming talks here.

On the final day you will be finished by 5pm.

For courses based on-site our bar will be serving lunches from 12pm until 2pm or you are welcome to bring a packed lunch.

If your course is based away from the centre then you will need to bring a packed lunch with you. Each evening our bar serves evening meals from 7pm until 8.45pm if you wish to eat here.

You can arrange to have any of the following meals - breakfast, packed lunch and a three course centre dinner, by contacting our customer services team on 01690 720214 or

follow this link for more details

What Equipment Do You Need To Bring?

  • Warm outdoor wear which is comfortable to climb in - at all times of year e.g. walking trousers (shorts in summer), thermal layers/base layers, fleeces which are comfortable to climb in

  • Warm hat, gloves, neck gaiter/buff, sun hat

  • Trainers or approach shoes

  • Day rucksack (approx. 40-50 Litres)

  • Rucksack liner (e.g. rubble bag or dry bag)

  • Small personal first aid kit

  • Drinks bottle

  • Flask

  • Waterproof jacket and trousers

  • Lunch box/bag

  • High factor sunscreen

  • Midge repellant

  • Notebook and pen

If you already have:

  • Rock boots

  • Chalk bag

  • Harness

  • Helmet

  • Belay device

  • Climbing rack

The following items are available for you to borrow from our equipment stores so you don't need to rush out to buy them. Ropes are always provided by Plas y Brenin.

  • Rock boots

  • Chalk bag

  • Harness

  • Helmet

  • Belay device

  • Climbing rack

  • Day rucksack

  • Waterproof jacket and trousers

Customer Reviews For This Course

Learning to Lead 5 day


Does exactly what it says on the tin


Excellent week that delivered exactly what the course description promised - from recap on the key technical skills(belaying, rope work, protection placement, building belays), through undertaking a number of supervised multi-pitch lead climbs of increasing difficulty, to learning how to escape the system in case things go wrong. Everything tailored to our individual experience and goals and delivered with great support and sense of fun and challenge throughout. I would definitely recommend this course and may even come back in a year or so to help me push through to the next level.



This course does what it says on the tin! I've been seconding Trad routes around the UK for a couple of years now and have tentatively led a few easy ones and built a few belays. I was looking for a course that would help consolidate what I knew, stop bad practices and habits in their tracks and equip me with skills and knowledge I needed to progress, Oh and a big dollop of confidence too would be nice! I was a little wary that "lead developer" was punching above my weight, but I didn't really want to go back to the beginning and learn from scratch either. So I was relying on the personal touch and "tailored to my needs" bit of the course description. I had nothing to fear, the instructors were great! From day one we were paired up with an instructor so spent the week in our little trio. Dave seemed to know exactly where I was at, and how to stretch me without pushing me so far that I lost my confidence or couldn't take stuff in. His amazing knowledge of the area and climbs meant that despite the weather we always seemed to find dry rock and appropriate routes. He was relaxed, friendly but most importantly supportive and patient. Each day was accompanied by laughter and smiles and vast amounts of learning, which never felt like hard work. From Day 2 we were leading on multi pitch routes with Dave swinging around on a top rope besides us, like a constant little voice in your head - advising on route direction, critiquing gear placements and general cheerleading. As the week went on his input lessened, but he was ever present peering at your gear such that you knew he wouldn't let you get a way with a poor placement. Having him there really inspired confidence but meant every gear placement and move was a learning opportunity not to be missed. On the really wet day we had rope skills, rescue techniques and movement coaching inside- all well worth it and no doubt will have ongoing dividends for my climbing in the future. I can't recommend this course enough, its been a great week full of laughter smiles and achievement. Thanks go to Dave and Mike

A great experience

Daniel Michoux

As a French climber, living close to the Pyrenees Mountains, I am mostly used to sport climbing on limestone, with the odd conglomerate thrown in. In these parts of the world, what we call trad routes “à la française” are actually semi equipped, with bolted belays.   I discovered an ad for Plas y Brenin in an issue of Climb magazine I bought at Heathrow airport, while held up by bad weather. Small causes, big effects. I went on the web site and checked the climbing courses. The choice was large, either 2 days or 5 days. 5 days would make the trip worthwhile. “Performance climbing” looked a bit ambitious, which left “lead climbing developer”. Phrases like “Expanding your skills”, “expert coaches”, “extensive experience”… certianly caught my attention.
The course:
The experience was everything I expected, and more. For a start, the organisation of the course is unique. For such a course, the ratio is one instructor for two students, pretty close to private lessons. It turned out we were only two students. For the first day we seconded the instructor but started to set up belays. For the rest of the week, we climbed as a team, swinging leads, but far from being left to our own devices: as we climbed and placed our own gear, the instructor, on a fixed rope, climbed next to us, checking our placements, giving advice, and being always very supportive. I felt totally safe, and this way of approaching real trad climbing was a great confidence booster. For reasons of schedule we had 3 different instructors during the course of the week. And each one of them was  great! On top of their technical skills, they were supportive, patient, in good spirits.   During the course of the week, we were able to climb on all sorts of rocks in a variety of settings, from the heart of Snowdonia to the sea cliffs. A week of sunshine and warm weather was the icing on the cake.
Added bonuses:
I booked a climbing course, and was prepared to put up with Spartan accommodation, bunking with 15 snoring blokes, eating beans on toast and corned beef. How far from the truth! The rooms were clean and airy; the food was abundant and fresh, continental or full breakfast at 7, packed lunches with fresh sandwiches with cake and fruit (well, to be honest I shied away from marmite, but this a personal taste…). Tea and biccies at 5 awaited the weary climbers, followed by dinner at 7. Soup, a choice of 3 main courses, a vegetarian dish, curry night on Thursday. Good beer and friendly staff at the bar to chill out after a hard day of outdoor activity, in front of one of the finest views of the area.
Cons? Quite frankly I did not see any, and would recommend the course to anybody wanting to improve or discover trad climbing.

A Great Course!

Rachel Woodward

A great course, tailored to individual need with experienced and motivational instructors. Lots of different rock and climbing styles. Instruction on mental and physical aspects of climbing to take you to the next level. And an amazing sunny and warm week!

an ideal course for improving technique, confidence and experience

Jonathan Gregory

This course was exactly what I needed to improve my competence and confidence as a trad lead climber on crags and mountains. It was immensely helpful to spend so many hours actually leading, at grades which were challenging for me, with the instructor alongside giving advice, feedback and encouragement about gear placement, climbing, and other aspects of technique. My climbing partner and I took the same course and we appreciated the experience it gave us of climbing multi-pitch routes together. The evening sessions on building belays and climbing efficiently were very useful too. The whole course benefited from the friendly environment of Plas-y-Brenin, good tea and cake, and continuous excellent weather, although the last aspect cannot be guaranteed.

Not found what you were looking for?

You can hire one of our coaches instructors or guides from only £250 per day. They'll tailor the day to suit your aims and aspirations perfectly.
You can enjoy one to one coaching for that cost or if you get together as a group, depending on the activity, you can split that cost between up to 6 of you. If you are a group we can run any of our courses on a date that suits you and your friends. Or you could just write your own agenda for a week or weekend and we'll price it up for you - with or without accommodation. What's more, just like out normal course fees, our private instructor hire charge covers all your equipment too. Click on the link below to fill in a request form and one of our coaches will call you back (or e-mail if you'd prefer) to discuss things in detail with you.

Fill in a Callback Form

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