01690 720214

Lead Climbing Developer - 2 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 coursed could take you further than you ever dreamed possible.

Experience Required

some experience of leading ?trad? routes and have an understanding of the principles of leading.

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 weekend 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 both 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.

Useful Books

  • Rock Climbing by Libby Peter (MLTUK official publication)
  • Sport Climbing+ - Rockfax publication by Adrian Berry
  • Trad Climbing+ - Rockfax publication by Adrian Berry
  • Classic Rock & Hard Rock by Ken Wilson
  • Way Of the Rock Warrior & Espresso Lessons  by Arno Ilgner
  • 9 out of 10 Climbers Make The Same Mistakes by Dave MacCloud
  • How To Climb Harder by Mark Reeves
  • Masterclass Part 1 and 2 by Neil Gresham
  • Get Out On Rock by Libby Peters and Neil Gresham
  • Self Rescue For Climbers by Steve Long and Olly Sanders
  • BMC Summit Magazine
  • Climb Magazine
  • Climber Magazine

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

Excellet Course

Stephen Burrows

I think of this course as a 'Lead Climber MOT'. Perfect to check out that you are doing things as safely and as slickly as possible. I can't think of any climber, at any grade, I know who wouldn't benefit from this course.
The instructor Mike was extremely professional and tailored the weekend specifically to get the most out of the short time we had. Absolutely essential if you are serious about climbing at any level.
Do it right, do it safely. Get yourself booked on this course!
I'll be back in a few years again. Guarantee I get more out of it next time too.

Great Course for those wanting to improve their leading skills

Kevin Pearce

The course is structured so that 1 instructor works with two clients of similar ability or aims.
The instructor I had (Mike Thomas) quickly judged where I was at with my climbing and expertly found the right climbs and pitches to take me out of my comfort zone. Having the instructor "jugging" alongside me and giving assistance, encouragement and tips as I was climbing enabled me to feel confident pushing through leads at grades that I previously thought beyond me.
Great course, and one I could do time and time again (this being my third time already !)

Ten out of ten


I am now confident to lead after attending this course, which was my primary objective. A valuable and time effective way to form good climbing habits early in your climbing career. Two highly enjoyable days. Now I'm going to have to splash the cash on more gear for my rack...

Fantastic experience

Ken Mason

Having only limited lead climber experience from over twenty years ago and more recently followed sport climbing, this course has totally re-ignited my desire to get back to traditional climbing.
Patient instruction that pushed me beyond my comfort zone, coupled with tips and good practice led to the most amazing weekend of learning, refreshing lost skills and sheer enjoyment of the mountains.
I cannot recommend this course highly enough.
Thanks Dave


paul young

Really enjoyed the course, the instructor was very thorough in all aspects of leading from racking your gear to placing it and safely constructing bealys, I gained a lot of confidence, now just need a regular partner. :-)

10 out of 10

Conrad Smith

Due to the 1:2 instructor:client ratio I was able to be paired with someone of similar abilities and aspirations. This was a load off my mind. This course has given me the confidence to lead climb (within my abilities) I feel I can protect a climb properly set up bullet proof anchors and I have the beginings of a system that has already proven itself. I know where my rack is dificient and what I need to take up the crag and why. I was given the opportunity to even try some advanced techniqes such as prussiking and rigging up a retrievable abseil. The staff at Plas y Brenin are professional, supportive and commited and where not found to be lacking.

Excellent Course

Wayne Gaudin

This was an excellent course that really improved my gear placements so much so that I improved my lead grade from S to VS and felt really comfortable at that as well.

The instructors were very knowledgeable and knew just how to avoid the rain.

Excellent course. I wish I had gone for five days.

Awesome Lead Climbing

Ben Tibbetts

Brilliant course with very patient and experienced instructors. Multi and single pitch climbing on a variety of grades and different rock types.

And ... amazingly ... despite the overcast weather and forecasts at the centre itself the instructors managed to have us climbing in locations with sunshine on both days! Fantastic!

This has hugely boosted my confidence when trad climbing and will probably mean I'm back on the same course next year to further improve my skills and experience.

Thanks again, Ben

Great weekend coaching

Rob James

I attanded the course with my 16 yr old son who enoys HVS climbing but needed someone other than his father to listen to and instill protection, bomb proof anchors and how tp safely belay his old man up the crags behind him! The course provided everything we were looking for all under the experienced hands of the PYB instructors Phil Dowthwaite and Mike Raine, while providing challenging and fun climbing, great personalities and even managing to avoid the rain!

A great course - just make sure you know what you want

Dave Wheeler

As other reviewers have mentioned, the course is built around you and your aims - these are discussed at the start of the first day, so if you have clear aims and can articulate them then the instructor will be able to contour the course around you. If you're not sure what you want, or you can't explain what you want, then the course can't be tailored around you (and my guess is you might come away disappointed). My goal was "by the end of the season I want to be climbing HS", and (given that I'm a geek) I took my logbook to show my experience to date. With that in mind, the instructor was able to make sure I got exactly what I needed to set me off on the right path.

The staff : student ratio is low (1:2) which means the coaching is personal. As an oldie, I really appreciated the fact that the instructor understood that my body doesn't behave like a 20-year olds, and the level of encouragement and push was always just right.

Rain stopped outdoor play on day 1 which forced us to an indoor wall for a full day's coaching on technique: this was so good, I'd almost recommend doing a rain dance before going to PYB so that as a participant in the course you get the chance to get that level of coaching. I'm confident in my ropework, so the tailoring of day 2 for me concentrated on tips for better gear placement to give me the confidence to up my grades.

It all comes back to what your goal is - if you have one, these guys can help you meet it.

Anthea Hawke

I had an excellent weekend on the lead climbing coaching course, helped by some fantastic weather and PYB staff!

The course delivered exactly what I wanted - consolidation of my existing skills, and an opportunity to have a bit a climbing 'MOT', as well as pushing my climbing on to trying harder grades that I wouldn't have attempted otherwise. The instruction was excellent and very well judged to match my ability and confidence, whilst also pushing me a bit outside of my comfort zone, and as a result I feel enthusiastic and able to get out and have more fun with my climbing - safely! Having an instructor on hand whilst you place gear and build belays is a great opportunity to check you're making the most of gear placements you find, and gives you the reassurance to try harder climbs.

I would recommend this course to anyone interested in getting more from their lead climbing at any level. The centre staff and facilities are absolutely excellent and very good value. Everything runs like clockwork and the centre is very comfortable, friendly and well run.

Simply Excellent!

Noel Beale

This course was simply excellent. As someone who has climbed for while, but infrequently (especially in recent years), I was looking for a course to build confidence in my ropework and, building on that, push my leading grade. This course did that and more.

The instructor was amazing. His local knowledge ensured that we avoided the rain on both days and climbed some excellent routes. He took real care to assess my needs (the course was effectively 1 to 1 tuition - it was supposed to be 1 to 2 but the other person had to drop out and one of the centre staff took their place) and climbing ability and chose the routes/venues accordingly so that we got as much climbing done as possible and I refreshed the skills I needed to. The other oher person on the course was excellent as well.

The centre itself is an excellent facility, with excellent food and gear to borrow if you need anything for the course (in my case some waterproof trousers which were not really tested in the end!).

I'm now feeling properly inspired and confident to take my climbing to new levels. If you're looking for a course to help you take leading to the next level I can recommend this one absolutely.

Genuinely 5* (and I'm normally mean with star ratings)

Exactly what I was hoping for

Matthew Spencer

Exactly what I was hoping for. Great instructor who helped us learn the things we said we needed to improve on, and was always enthusiastic and supportive.

Absolutely brilliant!!!

Bubble Rock

I..m one of those people that _hate_ being told what to do and how to do it!! So I was a little hesitant about the course! And the weather was set to be miserable!
The coaching was second to none. Our instructor assessed us quickly and got us climbing the grade that was at the edge of our leading ability without pushing our mental fear factor too much. This meant that I could still learn techniques without being disco on the rocks.
Even though it had been raining the instructors.. magiced up some dry rocks amazingly. We got to second some climbs that were beyond our leading capabilities which were under a nice big overhang that kept the rocks dry ;) by the time we had done that other rock had dried sufficiently.
We learned so much about everything that we needed for our level; tuition to improve existing techniques, gear placement to hanging belays, abseiling and assessing risks.
I think that this is a course that I could keep on coming back to do, no matter what level I get to. These guys are soooo good there is no way anyone can say that they wouldn..t be able to improve their lead climbing on this course.
I have been looking at the pyb website for the next course to do :) cant wait! I think its going to be Scottish Performance Winter Climbing!!! Wooo hooo !!!!

Excellent Course


I found this course extremely helpful. I received valuable feedback on my gear placements and when to place gear, and most of all appreciated the insight into the thought process of a much more experienced leader. The instructors were excellent and in my case having different instructors on the two days meant I benefited from two different perspectives. Since the course I have achieved my objective of upping my leading grade and am also placing gear much more efficiently.

Well worth while


With a 1:2 ratio, the instructors are able to tailor their coaching to the participant's particular level, and they make an effort to pair up participants so that everybody climbs routes that challenge, but are within reach.
In my two days we covered footwork, improving gear placement, multi-pitch stance management and how to escape the belay system. All extremely good stuff, and I heartily recommend the course.

Day well spent

Sarah Thomas

Spent a great day learning self rescue techniques in North Wales. The instructor was experienced and happy to accommodate the wishes of the group who were of a varied ability/experience. Small group of us meant we got a lot of time to practice the techniques and ask questions. The centre has all necessary equipment spare to borrow for the course at no extra charge, including a mini practice crag. Hopefully will never need to use the skills in anger but feel more confident knowing them and taught in a clear and easy way so memorable. Excellent!

Brilliant Weekend!!!

Ellie Bromage

Excellent course, brillaint instructors, great accomodation!

The instructors took time to listen to what each of us watned to get out of the weekend and tailored it to suit us and our needs. Our instructor was ecxellent, very calm and patient and a really nice chatty person. I was put through some new challenges and was able to imporve upon the basic skills that I already had as well as learning a whole new set. I have been able to put more faith in my gear placement since then and I am much more confident that it will hold. This course has improved my climbing greatly, I learnt new techniques and it gave my confidence a much needed boost.

The accoomodatiin was excellent, a really nice clean room with as much tean and coffee as I could drink! All the staff at the centre were really friendly and very helpfull when I got lost.

This was my first time climbing in Wales and stopping at Plas Y Brenin and will definatley be returning to both.

Couldnt have had a better weekend!!

Location, enthusiasm, expertise, weather, and good company

Matt Thomas

Location, enthusiasm, expertise, weather, and good company were the essential ingredients for an extremely productive and enjoyable weekend.

If you are contemplating booking this course take some time to be clear of your personal objectives because the pre-course chat shaped the whole weekend, with the instructor enthusiastically making sure all of our objectives were met. Clearly the weather is a major influence, we were lucky and had two glorious September days, but had it rained I'm convinced a suitable Plan B would have emerged.

The locations were superb, keeping us away from the crowds, chosen carefully to keep us in the sunshine on warm rock and with plenty of options to cater for both of us on the course, even though we had slightly different aspirations.

The enthusiasm of the instructors could be easily passed off as part of their job or 'company' policy, but you get a sense that it's much more than that, especially when you get an offer at the end of the day for a spot of bouldering when they could have clocked off and headed home.

There must be some negatives or areas for improvement? It's worth pointing out that instructors are bound to vary in personality and style which may or may not match yours and could make a difference on a 1:2 ratio course. You can sit back and let the weekend go by or ask questions and keep them challenged, which I'm sure will be met with the enthusiasm it deserves. Finally, to reiterate, go with objectives and let PyB do the rest! I'm going to have to upgrade my guidebook collection, which must be a result!

Leading in the rain

Simon Longley

As usual for a pyb course the instructors were excellent but even they can't do much about the weather!

While this course is aimed at improving your leading it is very difficult to actively work on your leading technique when it is chucking it down and the wind is howling.

Be prepared to be realistic in what you will get if you are unlucky enough to have your weekend a little on the wet side. For my course this meant the course content was restructured around learning advanced rope work and some instruction on climbing technique and leading on the indoor wall.

While this was not what I had hoped for when I booked the course it was still very useful to learn (especially as I have been climbing long enough to pick up far to many bad habits that needed to be ironed out). I felt the instructors worked hard to produce an interesting and relevant program based around my needs within the confines of what they could achieve in the poor weather. My belays are now far better structured than they were, I have revisited skills such as assisted hoists and retreat from a multi pitch route with an injured partner, as well as had some fun a very damp crag.

So if you are looking to book on this course my advice would be as always in climbing, have a plan B in your head so you won't be disappointed if you don't get the weather you were hoping for.................well either that or book a course somewhere hot like Spain instead.

What to learn in the rain

I went on this course on a rather wet weekend, which was probably just as well.

The first day, the drier of the two (stayed dry until late afternoon), I'm not very sure I learnt much. Although comments were made on my gear placements, helping me recognise where I should place a second piece and where I should keep climbing to a good gear spot, whenever I asked questions the answers were rather flippant. For example, I was trying to keep the rope neat at belay stances, and ran it over my leg or the anchor rope in an attempt to do this. The response was 'oh, just pile it on the ground there'. All very good when there is a huge ledge as was the case on this anchor, but not much use for improving my slickness at multi-pitch climbing, which I had already told the instructor was one of my main objectives in taking the course. There is often no ledge to speak of on multi-pitches and I need to be able to deal with the rope neatly and efficiently.

However, on the second day, because the rock was too wet to consider climbing, we did lots of really useful stuff like multi-pitch abseiling on gear, abseiling past a knot, hauling your second up, assisting an injured partner in an abseil, escaping the system. All great stuff to have practiced under instruction. Then we went to the indoor wall to do some technique to finish off the weekend, and the instructor gave me a couple of useful tips and then proceeded to watch some other people climbing and ignore me and my partner. Not the most enthusiastic instructor all in all!

So, overall, I am glad I did the course and I did learn lots of really useful stuff, but I'm not convinced that, had it been dry enough to actually climb, I would have learnt all that much.

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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Contact our team on 01690 720214 or email - they will be happy to help you find something perfect.

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