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Lead Climbing Courses in Spain


Sun rock learn to lead


Lead climbing rock routes in Spain


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Start Lead Climbing - Climbing Courses & Holidays in Spain


Malaga & Marbella- Granada - Barcelona - Picos de Europa



Sun Rock Climbing Holidays in Spain


The aim of this course is to help you start leading your own rock routes in a safe and controlled environment. It is one of our most popular courses as climbers often find it difficult to make the transition from top roping or following climbs to leading them. This is because of the big jump in commitment, confidence and skills that are required.




The course emphasis is about getting you leading and doing all your own rope work, whilst we work alongside you on a fixed line supervising everything closely. The fact that your climbing instructor is right by you on a separate rope as you are climbing; offering advice and ensuring your safety, makes the experience of lead climbing for the first time memorable and enjoyable, rather than traumatic.

If you want to learn to lead sport climbs, you can take part on this course even if you are a total beginner.

If you want to learn to lead on trad -in order to get the most from this lead climbing course- you should already be able to second routes competently and be able to belay your partner from both above and below. However, we can also start from scratch and get as far as possible in the available time.

As always, the content and duration of all our climbing instruction is by arrangement and totally customisable. If you can't see the exact itinerary that you want the simply contact us and we'll try to put together a suitable itinerary.


Poosible Location - Villanueva del Rosario in Andalucia is a rural spanish town in the hills close to Antequera and only 38 km north of Malaga.The town is surrounded by many perfect limestone cliffs,it gets great weather throughout the year and there are both bolted sports routes and -pitch traditional routes at all grades - overall it is pretty much a perfect location for a lead climbing course.

There is a comprehensive outline of the course below plus there is General Climbing Course Information page dealing with common questions on our climbing courses.

Prices are listed in the tab below together with booking details



Learn to Lead Climb Courses in Spain


Start lead climbing with an instructorClimb your first lead routes in stress-free and enjoyable environment with a climbing instructor by your side on a fixed static rope, offering help and advice whilst keeping you safe.

The Learn to Lead course runs best on a 1:2/1:3 ratio and we will always try to run the days so that you get the most out of them - pacing them at a speed that suits you. You can either come along with your own climbing partner(s) or we can match you up with someone at the same level and with the same aspirations.

Initially, we make sure you have the core skills needed to keep both you and your partner safe whilst climbing before practicing some simulated lead climbing with a loose top rope - this is a great way of easing into lead climbing and getting used to having some slack in the rope system.

After running through the various scenarios that can occur when leading your first pitches and we'll then choose some routes for you to lead climb. Initially, we will probably work on routes that are well within your physical and technical ability to get you used to the feeling of leading above gear. This way you can learn the techniques for placing gear and clipping the ropes before moving onto routes where psychological issues start to be involved.

A typical content for the Learning to Lead Climb course is:

  • Belaying, communication, rope work - make sure everything is clear before anybody leaves the ground.
  • Choosing routes and understanding guidebook terminology.
  • Getting organised for the lead - Choosing the correct gear for the route you are about to climb If you are learning to lead Trad is particular important that you can get to it easily and quickly.
  • Placing quickdraws and protection - choosing the best gear and placing it quickly and securely from the correct position.
  • Reading the route - looking ahead, spotting/marking footholds, planning your move and which holds you will use, looking for protection, spotting potential rest positions and moving confidently between them
  • Foreseeing hazards and dealing with them.
  • Constructing and managing safe stances - keeping everything organised and tidy is good practice and safe
  • Falling - inevitable, but intimidating the first few times. We can look at how to fall safely and in control.
  • Retreating down a crag
  • Essential crag awareness - Staying safe and looking for objective dangers such as loose rock

A Learn to Lead Climb course can last from two to four days or longer depending on what you want to get out of it; a two day course should give you the basic skills and experience to lead sports climbs on your own, whilst a longer course will reinforce all the skills that you have learnt and let us work on more advanced techniques such as multi-pitch climbing and placing natural protection if desired.

We base our courses in several different locations, the important point is to have a vast range of crags with routes of all grades starting very easy from grade 3. There are single pitch, multi-pitch, sport and traditional routes - we have it all close by. This is really good because it means that we can help you learn to lead in a multitude of environments; we can just concentrate on climbing bolted sports routes effectively or we can broaden the course to look at leading traditionally protected climbs

Dates, venues and duration are by arrangement and totally customisable. Please do not hesitate to get in touch to discuss your requirements.


Placing Climbing Protection - Hexes


Learning to lead trad climbs and learning to place protection often go together. This section will hopefully offer a few pointers on placing protection correctly, safely and innovatively. Protecting climbs is an art form that is learnt with time, but having a rack of carefully chosen gear and thinking laterally can help you get up pitches that others may find unreasonably bold.




Torque Nuts, Hexcentrics and Rockcentrics


These are amazingly versatile pieces of kit in the right hands, however not all 'hexes' are the same. Hecentric placement in a crackHexes can either work as chocks or if designed correctly can also be used as passive camming devices.

In order for them to be used effectively as camming devices they need to be designed so that when placed in certain orientations and a load is applied to the sling then the chock tries to rotate around a surface rather than pull straight out.

The effectiveness of a hex as a passive cam depends on the units design. The original hexes from Camp make good chocks, but are too symmetrical to cam effectively. The Black Diamond hexes are equally poor at camming and, even worse, are slung on wire. Slinging hexes on wire adds one good advantage - the hex can be paced at full reach, but more than countering this is the fact that the versatility of the nut is vastly reduced - they can't be cammed effectively, they can't be pushed into pockets sideways and they can only be loaded in one direction.

Wild Country Rockcentrics on wire are equally restricted in their use, but Rockcentics on dyneema are good - they give a lot of versatile placements, cam better than the Camp Rockcentrics and are also lighter.

hex camming into a crackThe old HB Quadratics are the real surprise and a testament to Hugh Banners design genius - their elongated shape means that they cam really well and lock into marginal placements. The overall shape is a bit angular and they are heavy and ugly, but the concept is spot-on. The overall winner in the battle of the hexes are the DMM Torque Nuts - I have been allowed to play with the prototype nuts over the last few months and they work very well.

The Torque nuts are essentially a combination of the best features of the Rockcentric and the Quadratic - light units that are really versatile, cam well and with each unit covering an extended range of placement options, They also have a double, skinny dyneema sling that saves on quickdraws and allows one side of the nut to be tied off short to improve camming ability.



Placing Hexes in Pockets and Shot holes


hex placement in a pocketThe image below shows a classic 'outside of the box placement for a hexcentric nut. There are no cracks in the rock face just some gas pocket holes that are too small to take a cam and not elongated enough to take a keyholed wire.

The trick is to just push a hex of the right size into the pocket with the tapes coming out of the top side.

If the nut is loaded it tries to twist around its bottom front edge and the top of the nut cams into the top of the pocket and locks solid - this type of bomber placement can be the difference between succeeding or failing on a route. Tricams can also work well in this type of pocket , but I find they are not as versatile as hexes overall.


There is a sneaky trick that can make this placement even more secure - this is illustrated in the image with the sling tied off short, but works better if the sling is longer - the new DMM Torque nuts are perfect here hex in pocket tied off shortbecause their doubled, long skinny 8mm dyneema sling allows them to be tied off easily.

The trick is to tie off the rear tape short - this creates even more of a camming action of the nut and makes it less likely to walk or be pulled out gradually by the movement of the rope.

This can also be avoided by using long quickdraws that don't transmit movement to the protection.


The image below shows an advanced placement that will perhaps show the potential of using hexes inventively - the flared crack would not take a normal nut - not even an HB Offset, but the Rockcentric loaded as seen in the image was bombproof because loading the sling just pulled the hex tighter into the placement. hex placement in flared crack

Once again using a long quickdraw is good practice and will stop the placement from being dislodged by rope movement.

It is worth stating that long quickdraws rule for trad climbing - less rope drag and less risk of gear being dislodged from its original placement position.

This is one of a series of articles on climbing protection there is more information on the Learn to Lead Climb in Snowdonia pages ( in the tabs below the main text) and a full list of the climbing articles on the Climbing Equipment Advice page











Climbing near Granada


Learning to trad climb in SpainGranada is about 75km from our village, but there are several good reasons to head down the A92 and pay a visit -

The area has a lot of great climbing. The crags of Cahorros are quite remarkable - only 8km from the city centre a series of deep, rocky gorges surround the Monachil river. These gorges are crossed with cable bridges and narrow tunnels that connect a labyrinths of paths. There is climbing at all grades on the buttresses and walls that surround the river.

The crags are in the David Munilla Andalucia climbing guide, but the information is fairly basic with the access instructions especially being fairly dire. The strange grading system here means that you need to add 2 letters/ grades to the grade in the Munilla guide i.e. a 6a is really 6c.

There is a basic topo at this site with an overview of the location.

Los Cahorros, Los Vados, Cogollos, and Alfracar are all close by and within 30 minutes drive from Granada city.


Los Vados has awesome climbing, but the location is above a main road and may be a bit noisy. There are some good topos at Croquis Los Vados, but these have recently become password protected. Desnivel has run several articles on Vados in editions 72,88, 102 and 109. There is also info in the David Munilla guide and two Spanish guides - 'Granada 3 Escuelas' and 'Guía de Escalada en Granada'. The Spanish guides seem to be in short supply at the moment.

Cogollos Vega is another semi-secret area about 15km from Granada that has some really good sectors. The main area of interest is the large cave and buttress up and right of the village with slabby 6's on the side walls and steep 7's and 8's in the cave itself.

Alfracar is a very good, high arealocated within the Parque Natural de Alfaguara. The conditions are that is great on hot summer days or when it is cold and sunny but still and calm days.

The views towards Sierra Nevada are amazing and it has a great selection of routes in the 6's. Ignore the first couple of bays in the low quarries and head up the narrow road to the buttresses that flank the valley. Great views over the city of Granada as well.

Monte Frio is a secret area about 7km east of the village of the same name, close to the intriguing archaeological site of the Penas de los Gitanos, which has evidence of human settlement from Neolithic times to the Bronze Age. The climbing area is pretty awesome and offers good routes in the grades 6a to 7c in an idyllic setting.Please check access restrictions before heading to this climbing area as it is changing at the moment and it might be closed soon.

Loja -sector chorreras -has been closed due to bird nesting. The sectors La Estacion and the walls above are still open are very good on cold winter days as it is sheltered from the wind and gets the sun all day.


Other places to visit and things to do in Granada

the muslim domination of the city for many centuries has left a lasting legacy that is epitomised by the palace of the Alhambra and arabic 'El Albacin' sector of the city. This collision of the muslim and christian cultures has created one of Spain's most interesting and historically important cities.

The wild Alpuharras hills and the mountains of the Sierra Nevada rise straight out of the city and provide a great playground for hiking. biking and climbing.


Pricing and Booking


The table below indicates the cost for a full day of 8 hours duration. A shorter day is also available and the cost is then reduced by approximately 25%. Please contact us for further details with your particular needs and aspirations.

Prices. A list of all prices are found below and all prices include VAT/IVA.

Type of Course
Number of People on the Course
Cost of the Course per Group

Cost of the Course per person

Learn to Lead Climb Course in Spain
1 Day Climbing Course
190 Euros
190 Euros
220 Euros
110 Euros
255 Euros
85 Euros
340 Euros
85 Euros
2 Day Climbing Course
380 Euros
380 Euros
440 Euros
220 Euros
510 Euros
170 Euros
1: 4
680 Euros
170 Euros
3 Day Climbing Course
570 Euros
570 Euros
660 Euros
330 Euros
765 Euros
255 Euros
1: 4
1020 Euros
255 Euros
4 Day Climbing Course
760 Euros
760 Euros
880 Euros
440 Euros
1020 Euros
340 Euros



Online Booking Form

Booking Details and Conditions

Climbing equipment provided: We will provide all the technical hardware and equipment for the Learn to Lead Climb in Spain courses, including ropes, climbing equipment and a helmet and harness for each client.

We have a full range of equipment for clients to use including Prowire wiregate quickdraws, the latest keylock DMM Shadow and Aero quickdraws, a wide range of cams and nuts and several belay devices.

What you will need: You will need to bring suitable clothing for the time of year. This can vary dramically between the vaious seasons, because despite being in southern Spain some of the crags are quite high - over 1000m - and in the shade can become chilly. Thus on cold days or when the wind picks up a a light windproof and a couple of extra layers can come in useful. It does rain here as well so if you are coming over the winter months don't forget you waterproof for general walking around.

On the other hand it can be very hot so don't forget that long sleeve shirt, sun hat and sun protection cream. We don't like suffering so we will try to choose venues that will be comfortable in the prevailing conditions and have plenty of great climbing

Ideally for this course you should have your own rock shoes, although we can arrange hire rock shoes if required.

You will also need a rucksack (40+ litre capacity) and you need to bring along plenty of food and drink for each day on the hill. Don't forget your walking boots / supportive training shoes for the approaches.

What is not included: Prices do not include accommodation, personal insurance or food.

We can provide accommodation in a newly modernised house - full details are in the Spanish Accommodation section

Ratios and course sizes: The Learning to Lead Climb course is best taught at a ratio of between 1 to 3 clients to 1 instructor.





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