Introduction to Trad Climbing

Open the Door to Adventure!

Based at world-renowned climbing area, City of Rocks, this course is for sport climbers looking towards their first trad lead or for experienced leaders seeking valuable knowledge often overlooked by recreational climbers. The course will include instructional topics on crag etiquette and Leave No Trace, the trad climber’s rack, construction and application of a variety of trad anchors, gear placement strategies, and rappelling. Participants will have an opportunity to lead or mock-lead under instructor supervision. The overall focus is to impart foundational risk management skills and introduce best practice techniques for climbing gear-protected crack and face climbs.

Day 1

  • Welcome and introductions
  • Base etiquette and LNT (Leave No Trace)
  • Trad gear overview
  • Gear placement
  • Anchor building
  • Lead and/or mock-lead climbing

Day 2

  • Warm-up and crack climbing technique
  • Lead and/or mock-lead climbing
  • Rappelling review/upgrade
  • Next steps

 Recommended Experience/Prerequisites:

  • Completion of SMG’s Introduction to Outdoor Climbing
  • Already leading sport climbs – 10 outdoor leads
  • Experience belaying a leader
  • Can top rope up to 5.8

 Duration: 2 days

 Meeting Time: 9am

 Meeting Location: City of Rocks Visitor Center in Almo

 What We Provide:

  • American Mountain Guide Association (AMGA) certified and/or trained instructors, operating within industry accepted scope of practice. SMG is an accredited guide service.
  • Recently revamped curriculum to reflect best practices for managing risk in recreational climbing
  • If needed, SMG can provide all necessary equipment. See the equipment list for recommended gear for each instructional program.

 What You Need:

  • Please review the equipment list and stay in touch with any questions.
  • Closed toe hiking shoes. Please no sandals or flip flops.
  • Lunch and snacks
  • Lodging or camping arrangements for programs at City of Rocks

Ratio: 4:1

 Rates: $450/person (based on 3 person minimum)


  • Saturday & Sunday, May 18-19, 2024 (As of May 7, spots available. Please call or email to book.)
  • Saturday & Sunday, June 1-2, 2024
  • Saturday & Sunday, September 14-15, 2024