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Lead Climbing

Updated: Mar 29, 2022

Lead Climbing Test

All members who wish to lead climb at Mountain Extreme must take a lead test. Members are not being evaluated on climbing ability, but are assessed on risk assessment and decision making within the lead climbing and lead belaying environments.

The only permitted belay device for lead belaying at Mountain Extreme is the Petzl GRIGRI. Please familiarize yourself with its safe use before booking a Lead Test.

Participants are assessed on their risk management throughout the test and should be prepared to repeat some steps to prove competence.

Lead Climbing Tests must be booked in advance through the GLOFOX app.

Members will be assessed on the following:


Put on their own harness correctly

Tie into the rope with a figure eight follow-through knot at appropriate points on the harness, with a stopper knot close to the figure eight.

Perform a safety check of the belayer that includes the harness, carabiner, belay device and rope

Clip quick draws and anchors efficiently and correctly

Manage their body position in relation to the rope

Fall cleanly

Perform appropriate risk management throughout


Put on their own harness correctly

Load the belay device and secure it to their harness in the correct location and orientation

Perform a safety check of the climber that includes the harness, knot and rope

Perform a belay method that adheres to the best practices as specified by the manufacturer of the device. This includes:

Efficient slack management

Control of the brake rope at all times

Keep brake rope in the brake position as often as possible

Manage slack in the system appropriately

Stand in an appropriate position while belaying

Catch a fall safely and softly

Perform appropriate risk management throughout

What to expect at your Lead Test

The Lead Test is split into 3 parts: Ground Check, Skills Check and Live Test.

During the Ground Check, we make sure you can clip quick-draws and anchors correctly, fix common problems (like Back-Clipping and Z-Clipping), and safely pay out rope and take slack using a GRIGRI.

It’s best to get those things out of the way before anyone leaves the ground – for obvious reasons!

Once the basics have been demonstrated, you and your climbing partner will be asked to demonstrate a “simulated lead”, using an Auto Belay as backup.

This gives our instructor a chance to assess your lead climbing and lead belaying skills: We’re looking for buddy checks, good rope management, clear communication, safe belaying and correct clipping technique.

After that, the Auto Belay comes off and you’ll be asked to lead climb a route of your choice. This time, you’ll be asked to take a fall. We’re checking to see if you can take a clean fall from the wall, and also how well your belayer manages the situation.

If all goes well, you will have just spent 30 minutes demonstrating your skills, possibly getting some pointers along the way, and you’ll be given the green light to Lead Climb and Lead Belay at Mountain Extreme. Good Job!


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