Learn to Lead

rock climb montana

Guide Chris Russell leading up the blast tubes on a road cut route, Stone Hill.

This is the perfect follow-up to our Intro to Rock program and a safer way to learn what it takes to lead on rock.

Many climbers find themselves on the “sharp end” without fully understanding the basic principles of solid anchor construction. This haphazard approach isn’t only scary, it’s dangerous! In this program, you’ll be safely taught the most important principles of protecting yourself while leading outdoor rock. Our guides have decades of experience and will provide essential instruction as you move into real climbing.

This intensive two-day course begins in the classroom, where you will become familiarized with anchor-building principles and the equipment needed to protect a rock route. From there we will spend an afternoon in the field doing mock sport leads. Day two will involve getting to the crag early and reviewing what we learned. We will then build a series of anchors and practice rappelling. The rest of the day will be spent placing trad gear on top rope and having an instructor check your placements. By the end of the day you will understand the fundamentals of leading rock outside.

This course is designed for those who’ve had some experience climbing or have taken our Intro to Rock course.

rock climb montana

Working the moves on Room With a View (5.8), Stone Hill.

We will teach you:

  • Anchor systems

  • Lead Belaying and Rope Work

  • Rappelling

  • Sport and Trad Protection

  • Communication

  • Lead climbing techniques

**PLEASE NOTE: DO TO INSURANCE REASONS, YOU WILL NEVER ACTUALLY LEAD A ROUTE DURING THIS COURSE. WE WILL PROVIDE ALL INSTRUCTION WITH A TOP-ROPE  BELAY**

ITINERARY:

  • Day 1: Meet at the Glacier Adventure Guides office at 9 a.m. to finalize course paperwork. After a brief classroom session the group will head to Stone Hill to begin the day’s field instruction. We will cover sport climbing fundamentals, clipping techniques and rope work. The day will finish around 5 p.m. We will then set up camp nearby, go for a swim and have dinner.

  • Day 2: After a power breakfast,  students will begin a full day of climbing at Stone Hill. This day includes anchor building, belayed rappelling, and placing trad gear on top rope. The day will finish with anchor cleaning and a safety talk. Return to the office in the evening.

EQUIPMENT LIST

CLIMBING GEAR - INCLUDED
PERSONAL GEAR
CAMPING GEAR

This program takes place exclusively at Stone Hill, due to the area’s diverse climbing options and fantastic weather.

rock climb montana

The black, quartzite bluffs distinct to the Lake Koocanusa area.

The crags at Stone Hill above Lake Koocanusa offer some of the highest quality rock climbing in northwest Montana. Soaring, black quartzite bluffs distinguish the area from the densely forested foothills surrounding it. Stone Hill is known for its smooth texture, thin holds and dead-vertical faces. If you’re looking for a unique climbing getaway, let us show you the best of what Stone Hill has to offer.

90-MINUTE DRIVE FROM COLUMBIA FALLS
BEST SEASON: MAY – OCTOBER
ROUTES: 500+
DIFFICULTY: 5.7 – 5.12d

Participants will stay the night at the crag, which offers great camping options and swimming nearby. The nearest town, Rexford, is very close and offers a general store, swimming beach and pub/restaurant.

*Transportation fees will apply for those opting to return to the Valley for the night.

 

Columbia Falls is located in northwest Montana and is known as “The Gateway to Glacier.”

The town is also a short drive from the North Fork of the Flathead River, and is surrounded by the Whitefish, Livingston and Swan mountain ranges and several national and state forests. While small, it’s a prime destination for skiing, hiking and camping, with enough amenities to keep you more than comfortable.

Drive times to Columbia Falls:

Glacier International Airport (FCA): 15 min.
Missoula International Airport (MSO): 2-3 hrs.
Whitefish Train Depot: 20 min.

Hotels: River Rock Hostel, Historic Tamarack Lodge, Whitefish Lake Lodge, Grouse Mountain Lodge, call us for more suggestions!

Cost includes:

Guide(s)

Group gear

Food

Transportation from the office

Does not include:

Hotel costs before, during, or after the trips

Transportation from lodging to office

Equipment rental

Ready to book? You have the option to either call and book via phone or through our secure Online Reservation System.

Need more information?

Free inquiries can be made by calling us at 877-735-9514 or emailing Greg Fortin, owner and lead guide.

All participants must read and sign an Assumption of Risks/Liability Waiver, fill out our Guide Questionnaire and agree to our Reservations and Cancellations Policies.