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Trad Leaders Seminar

Multipitch Climbing
August 8, 2017
Desert Rock & Crack Climbing Camp
August 9, 2017

Learn to Lead Trad

Do you have a poster of The Diamond on your bedroom wall? If your interest in rock climbing extends beyond the single pitch sport crag you’ll eventually find yourself plugging cams and slotting stoppers in cracks before making moves above those pieces of pro. If there’s one area of rock climbing where we have to make clearer judgment we’re not aware of it. Our Trad Lead Seminar is crafted to give you the foundation for placing your own pro and making informed decisions about climbing above it. We’ll get into anchors, belaying off the anchor, rappelling multiple stages, and some basic self-rescue all with the idea of giving you the skills to go do it on your own on the big stone.

This course is for climbers with demonstrated capability to confidently climb 5.8 or harder rock climbs on top-rope and have previous experience leading sport routes. Clients must also have reasonable command of the skills outlined in the Advanced Rock course. The goal of the course is to educate you on the skills needed to lead traditional rock climbs and the emphasis will be placed on gaining leading skills rather than learning climbing techniques.

For fixed date courses, the venue for this program is Boulder, CO and the classic Eldorado Canyon which offers a wide variety of terrain and climbing routes of various difficulty. We will also utilize routes at Lumpy Ridge in Rocky Mountain National Park. We can also offer this course in both Ouray and Durango, CO on a private/custom basis.

Participant Goals for the Course

At the conclusion of the 4 day Trad Leaders Seminar participants will have gained proficiency in the following skills:

rexerDefeat a weighted plaquette and lower
rexerImprovised rope ascension techniques
rexerShort hauling systems, 3:1 etc.
rexerLead Traditional climbs up to 5.8
rexerAssess risk on lead and determine frequency of gear placement
rexerDevelop good gear placement habits and strategies
rexerBuild multiple types of traditional anchors
rexerPerform basic self and partner rescue techniques

2024 Dates

Reach out to set up custom Trad Leader Seminar course. Minimum 2 people.



$999 per person

rexerNo Hidden Fees

  • Guiding and instruction with an AMGA Certified/Trained Guide
  • All rock climbing gear (harness, helmet, rock shoes, etc.)

Trad Leaders Seminar Itinerary

Day 1

Meet your guide at 0800 at the entrance to Eldorado Canyon State Park. Your Course Leader will give you a quick briefing, help you fill out a couple forms, and fit you in whatever demo equipment you might need.

A short hike will take you to the rock climbing venue where you will begin the days instruction. We’ll start with a review of some concepts that participants should already be familiar with – traditional anchors, knots, rope management, belay methods, etc.. The day will progress with plenty of climbing and “hands on” application of the topics for the course. The day will finish up no later than 4:00 pm.

Day 2

Course participants will meet at 0800 at the entrance to Eldorado Canyon State Park. Review fundamentals from Day 1, then the group will move into a few mock leads where the instructor will evaluate your protection and overall leading movement skills. In the afternoon we will cover defeating a plaquette, short hauling systems, and partner rescue scenarios.

Day 3

Course participants will meet at 0800 at the Lumpy Ridge parking area and the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. Today you will participate in a few more mock leads, while also integrating additional elements of multi-pitch strategies, rope management, and block leading. We will also cover additional self and partner rescue techniques.

Day 4

Today your and your instructor will determine a route choice for you to perform a comprehensive lead and “put it all together”. At the conclusion of the course, your instructor will give you personal feedback regarding your potential next steps in the climbing progression.We have honed our curriculum and itinerary through many years of ice climbing instruction.

These courses offer a great way to introduce yourself to the sport of rock climbing in a fun, more affordable group atmosphere.

Rock Climbing Equipment List

BackpackDescriptionGuide's Pick
The Osprey Mutant 38 represents an excellent all around performer for Ice Climbing trips in the Ouray Ice Park and surrounding San Juan backcountry.
Water BottlesDescriptionGuide's Pick
We recommend wide mouth Nalgene (or similar) water bottles for the majority of our programs. Two 1 liter bottles is the standard for days in the mountains.
Personal FoodDescriptionGuide's Pick
Lunch begins when breakfast ends and ends when dinner begins. Bring what you like to eat and consider the length, relative difficulty, weight, and other factors when deciding what to bring in the mountains with you. A variety is always best. Don't be afraid of Mr. T.
SunscreenDescriptionGuide's Pick
Essential for all of our programs. SPF 30 would be our minimum recommendation. Typically a 4 oz. bottle will suffice but consider trip length when deciding how much to pack.
Belay DeviceDescriptionGuide's Pick
A belay device is a required item on any of our technical climbing or mountaineering courses. While not necessary to have the Guide ATC specifically, we think owning one of these offers additional versatility as you progress and gain additional knowledge about the various levels of functionality provided by a device of this type.
HarnessDescriptionGuide's Pick
The BD Aspect Harness is a great all around performer for all types of climbing - ice, rock, alpine etc. The adjustable leg loops and integrated ice clipper loops make this a solid investment as your do-all harness.
Locking CarabinersDescriptionGuide's Pick
We recommend at minimum 2 - 3 personal locking carabiners on our climbing courses and any technical private guided program. We prefer classic screw gate carabiners over other types of locking mechanisms.
Climbing HelmetDescriptionGuide's Pick
A versatile, hybrid-shell helmet for lightweight protection in any discipline, the Vector features excellent ventilation and a ratcheting adjuster.

Training & Follow Up Climbs

As always, being in excellent physical shape is an important component of our our programs. A good mixture of cardiovascular fitness, muscular fitness, and especially core strength will help you to maximize the potential rewards that are possible on a great climbing trip.

Before Your Trip

Specific to the Trad Leaders Seminar – participants should be comfortable top-roping climbs rated 5.8 or above and should also be familiar with the concepts taught in our Intro through Advanced Rock Course progression.

Follow Up Climbs

Boulder, Colorado: Getting There

Boulder, Colorado is located in the Northeastern part of Colorado and approximately 30 minutes from Denver International Airport. A mecca for climbing, hiking, cycling, and foodies; make sure you plan to spend some time in town before and after your SJMG trip. Boulder, CO serves as the launching point for all of our rock climbing courses and climbs in the Front Range.

*If you are planning to combine additional days of climbing in Eldorado Canyon or The Flatirons then Boulder, CO is also a logical place to base your lodging for your trip.

plane-icon The best option for flying to the area is to fly into Denver, CO. Many airline options exist, and because Denver is a major airline and travel destination there are typically many one-way flights to choose from.


suv-icon You will likely need a to organize a rental car to drive to Boulder, CO from Denver. Typically in the summer months you can choose any type of vehicle but in the spring and winter months please consider that weather can change rapidly in the mountains so an All Wheel Drive or Four Wheel Drive vehicle is worth considering. Below are some approximate driving times to get to Boulder, CO.

  • Denver, CO: 30 minutes
  • Estes Park, CO: 45 minutes
  • Colorado Springs, CO: 2 hours


hotel-icon-2 Boulder, CO also has a number of great hotels, suites, and vacation rentals for you to stay in while you’re in the area. Give our office a call at 800-642-5389 if you have any questions about what would suit you best for this trip!

Program Policies

Registration & Cancellation

Advance Registration is required for this program.  You have the option to either call our office and register via phone or utilize our secure Online Reservation System.  All participants must read and sign an Assumption of Risks/Liability Waiver and agree to our Reservations and Cancellations Policies.


  • Guiding and Instruction with an AMGA Certified/Trained Guide
  • All rock climbing gear (harness, helmet, rock shoes, etc.)



  • Transportation to Boulder, CO
  • Hotel costs before, during, or after the program
  • Guide gratuity
  • Lunch food or snacks
  • Personal hiking/climbing clothing
  • Trip Cancellation Insurance (recommended)
  • Costs associated with weather delays or other variables beyond the control of San Juan Mountain Guides

Book This Trip!

We Offer Online Registration

  1. Click on Book This Trip
  2. Select your Program dates
  3. Enter your Info and Payment


Or, call 800.642.5389 to register