By Aubrey Wingo
Many people, when they first walk into the gym get to witness lead climbing for the first time. They see the attentive belaying, the active communication and of course the thrilling whippers. In our facility, if you enjoy rope climbing, many of you make it a goal to get better as quickly as possible just so you can join the "rope elite" and learn to lead as well. However, lead climbing shouldn't be just rushed into; sure, you can probably elvis-leg your way through the route, but wouldn't you enjoy being able to walk up to a route and the difficulty of the climb wasn't a factor? You have enough to worry about in between clipping, leg placement, and those wonderful falls. This article is to teach and prepare you for taking your first lead class, or possibly, making you take a second look at yourself and your climbing to ask yourself if you are prepared. I spoke to our three lead instructors, Dean, Doug, and Alex, to get their insights on the subject as well.