Lead Climbing FAQ

Updated: Apr 4






Why do I need to take a Lead Test?

Belay tests, lead belay tests, and lead climb test have become commonplace in climbing walls around the world.


We work hard to ensure the wellbeing of our members and team, and to keep Mountain Extreme a safe environment for all. To this end, the competence of all lead climbers and lead belayers must be checked before we let them practice without supervision.


What belay device can I use at Mountain Extreme?

The only permitted belay device for top rope and lead belaying is the Petzl GRIRI.


Can I use a belay device from XYZ brand?

Until such time that other equipment manufacturers provide a PPE Inspection Course, the only brand permitted for use at Mountain Extreme is Petzl.


I don’t normally use a GRIGRI, can you give me some tips during the test?

Our Lead Test is strict but fair. During the test, the assessor may offer some tips/advice if you’re belaying safely and to a high standard.


If you’re not confident using a GRIRI, members are invited to join a Lead Belaying Clinic to get some instruction and advice on how to safely use the device before taking a Lead Test


The GRIRI is hard to belay with, can I use a VERSO instead?

The GRIRI was designed with lead belaying in mind, and as such, when used properly, is a highly effective and efficient belay device.


Members are invited to join a Lead Belay Clinic to get familiarized with the GRIRI and get some pointers on how to use it correctly.


Can I tie-in with a bowline?

Bowline knots are not permitted due to the number of variations and difficult nature of checking them


I’ve not lead climbed/belayed in a while, can I take the test and see if I pass?

Please do not attempt to pass a belay test if you have not climbed or lead belayed in a long time. The Lead Test is just that, a test. If you’re not confident or have had some time off, please take a class instead.


Why do I need to wear a helmet when taking a Lead Climbing Test?

Helmets don’t just protect your head from falling objects. Flipping upside-down whilst lead climbing is a very real risk. As such, helmets are mandatory until you have demonstrated competency in lead climbing.


In an effort to foster good habits and reduce the risk of injury, helmets are encouraged at Mountain Extreme. Members are offered complimentary use of rental helmets. Please ask Reception for details.


Can I wear Belay Glasses?

Wearing belay glasses limits peripheral vision when belaying, and has been noted as a potential cause of accidents at other climbing venues.


The use of Belay Glasses is not permitted at Mountain Extreme


What is the minimum age for lead climbing?

16 years old.


What is the minimum age for lead belaying?

16 years old.


What is the minimum age for top rope belaying?

16 years old.


What does a belay test cost?

We don’t charge for Belay Tests or Lead Tests.


What does a belay class cost?

All belay classes are free for Members.


I don’t have a membership at Mountain Extreme. How can I learn to Lead Climb?

Keep an eye out on our website and the GLOFOX App for upcoming Lead Climbing courses, or contact us to register your interest.