Learn to Lead

Look no further.  We’ve been delivering our progressive two day Learn to Lead courses for almost two decades and couldn’t be prouder that so many seconds have used our expertise to become competent single pitch leaders.


  • Duration: 2 Days
  • Ratio: 1:2
  • Type: Non-residential
  • Location: Peak District
SKU: Learn to Lead Category:
  • All technical equipment included
  • Low instructor/client ratios to maximise progression
  • Transport available from local transport hubs
  • 15% discount voucher from Cotswold Outdoor


Our Learn to Lead Climbing Course is perfect for any climber wanting to progress from being a confident second to a confident leader.  We’ve been delivering (and continuing to develop) this course for decades and know it leads the industry.  We’ve helped hundreds of climbers make the transition to trad climbing and it is our privilege to help their journey.  Lead climbing has brought much joy to our lives and we want to share that passion with you.  Our Learn to Lead Climbing course is our baby and we are very proud parents!

The Peak District National Park is undoubtedly the best possible venue to lead how to lead climb. Beautiful countryside, accessible climbing venues and thousands of user friendly climbs.  Add to that the easy accessibility of the Peak District National Park and the well established visit infrastructure (our Hope Valley Guide will give you some useful info if you are a new visitor).  Believe us, we really do have it all.

Your course will be run by one of our team of local Mountaineering Instructors.  They are passionate climbers, highly experienced and local to the area.  Being local is important.  You want an instructor that knows all the best venues and who can choose climbs to maximise your learning.

We deliberately keep ratios on these courses to 1:2.  Although suitably challenged, you certainly won’t be pushed to do things you aren’t comfortable with.  This is your journey and we make sure the progression rate works for you.

If you aren’t quite ready for a Learn to Lead course please consider attending our Intermediate Rock Climbing course first.  This would make perfect prior training.  If you aren’t sure what to choose don’t hesitate to Contact Us or call us first.  We always want to make sure the course best suits your needs.  All participants for this course must be over 16 and under 18’s must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Our scheduled Learn to Lead courses are based in the Peak District but we love to offer bespoke courses in different areas.  If two climbers book together you have a ready made group.  If you wish to attend alone just get in touch and we’ll try to pair you with another client.

Course Syllabus

Who is the course suitable for?
Our 2 day Learn to Lead Rock Climbing Course suits anyone who has a reasonable amount of experience climbing outside as a second who now wants to develop the skills to lead safely and efficiently. It also suits anyone who’s previously attended one of our introductory or intermediate climbing courses.

The specific focus of this course is to introduce the skills needed for safe lead climbing on single pitch crags. The course is suitable for adults of all ages and we are happy to have participants as young as 16 although under 18’s need to be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. If you want us to arrange a similar event for groups under 16 please get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.

What is the format of the day?
We will meet at 9.00am in at the village of Hathersage which is right in the heart of the Peak District National Park (full joining instructions will be sent with your booking confirmation). We are very keen to help protect this precious natural environment (details of our Environment Policy are here) so if you don’t have a car we can collect you at the local train station and if you are travelling by bus we can also pick you up and drive you to the venue. Once introductions are complete we’ll head out to one of the many world class venues around the park and get started.

After kitting everyone up with safety equipment and introducing some key climbing skills we’ll focus on getting plenty of time on the rock. Climbing venues are always selected to ensure there is a range of challenge levels so you won’t be left struggling on climbs that are too difficult or be short of routes to challenge you either.

We stay out for the full day so be sure to bring food and drink for lunch at the crag.

The ratios for our Learn to Lead courses are very low (1 instructor to 2 clients) so participants get the maximum chance to develop their skills.

During the 2 days you’ll try a selection of climbs and learn a broad ‘toolbox’ of essential lead climbing techniques to ensure you leave the course confident that you can safely lead climb on shorter climbs under your own steam. Lead climbing skills are introduced safely and progressively by highly experienced instructors to ensure you get the most from your course. We’ll also visit a variety of venues to give you a thorough taste of the amazing climbing the Peak District has to offer.

The selection of techniques covered will include:

  • Developing a thorough knowledge of suitable equipment for lead climbing and learning to manage it while climbing
  • Developing a full understanding of climbing grade systems for single-pitch climbs and learn how to select appropriate initial lead climbs
  • Crag etiquette and best practice when climbing at busy venues
  • Skills for efficiently placing protection
  • Skills for building efficient belay stances on single-pitch climb
  • Efficient rope management and belaying on lead climbs
  • Developing movement skills to aid lead climbing
  • Dealing with common problems that might occur while leading
  • Plenty of climbing!

The days will typically end at about 4.00pm.

Who will be looking after me?
Peak Mountaineering prides itself on the quality of its instructors and our excellent reputation. The instructor that leads your day will be fully qualified and fully insured. They will be also be one of our close knit instructor team and personally known to us. We only use instructors who know the area well so they can ensure you visit the best climbing venues and get the most from your day.

Having said all that, we know that the views of past clients are probably your best guide to the quality of our provision. Please take the time to read the independent reviews clients have left before you book.

Where can I stay?
The Peak District has a wealth of accommodation options to suit all budgets. There are plenty of ideas in suitable locations available on our accommodation guide here.

What do I need to bring?
We provide all the technical equipment including harnesses and helmets (although you are welcome to bring your own if you have them) so all you need is suitable clothing and lunch. Long trousers that you can move in freely and warm upper layers are ideal.

The best footwear is climbing shoes specifically designed for rock climbing. We have a selection of climbing shoes in various sizes which we will happily lend you free of charge. You will also need a pair of boots or supportive shoes suitable for descending difficult terrain.

Please also bring a set of waterproofs as the weather can change significantly over the course of a day.

Other benefits for Peak Mountaineering customers
We have negotiated some great discounts with a selection of great retailers for all course participants. Full details will be sent with your Joining Instructions.


Our Peak District rock climbing courses run around the Hope Valley – the very heart of gritstone country. Gritstone is a coarse sandstone that is fantastic to climb on and forms part of the rich history of the area.  There is a reason climbers call it God’s rock!

We centre our courses around the buzzing village of Hathersage as this gives us access to dozens of great venues and thousands of climbs within just a few minutes drive.

Hathersage makes a good base and, as well as being easily accessible by car, it is also well served by the Manchester to Sheffield rail line and regular buses from Sheffield. If you are travelling by public transport we are happy to provide local transport.

Hathersage has plenty of shops and other amenities, but it is also worth mentioning that a host of nearby villages also make a great base for your course.  Bamford is just a couple of miles from Hathersage, Hope is really close and the lovely villages of Grindleford, Eyam or Castleton are also nearby. One of the beauties of the Peak District National Park is that a huge amount is packed into a small area.


Here are a list of questions clients frequently ask about our climbing courses.  We hope you’ll find the info you need but, if there’s something you want to know that we haven’t covered, please call or email us and we’ll be more than happy to help.  Infact, if you’ve thought of it then the chances are other people have too – so we’ll add it to the list!

What equipment is provided and do I have to pay to use it?
We supply all the technical equipment you’ll need for your course completely free of charge.

Do I need insurance?
We have professional indemnity insurance and for all UK courses we are all lucky enough to have free access to mountain rescue services and healthcare (although you may still consider it worthwhile purchasing your own personal accident and cancellation insurance).  The following companies provide appropriate mountaineering insurance:

British Mountaineering Council www.thebmc.co.uk 0870 010 4878
Snowcard Insurance Services www.snowcard.co.uk 01327 262 805

What if I have a specific objective or want to learn things not offered on one of your courses?
That’s what we specialise in!  Just get in touch and we will happily tailor an itinerary to suit your requirements.

What about under 18s?
For climbing courses we welcome participants over 16. For younger children we can still offer a great range of family climbing options – details on these are available on our family climbing page. Please note that under 18s must be accompanied for the duration of the course by a parent or guardian.

Will you give my details to other people?
All information supplied to us remains completely confidential and we will never pass it on to third parties.

Why is the instructor to client ratio so important?
You will get more out of your time with us if you work in a group where the numbers suit the activity.  We favour small instructor to client ratios so that you benefit from quality time and instruction, where you have time to ask all the questions you want, the routes chosen can be tailored to suit you, and we can take plenty of time to show you specific techniques and skills.

What if I need to cancel a course booking?
If you cancel over 26 weeks in advance of a course start date we refund all the money you have paid us so far.  If you cancel within 26 weeks of a course start date, you forfeit the deposit, but we refund any other money you may have paid.  If you cancel within 8 weeks of the course start date you forfeit the full amount unless we are able to resell your place. See the Terms and Conditions page for more detailed information.  To cover this eventuality we recommend you take out an insurance policy that includes cancellation of your trip or holiday.

Can you guarantee good conditions?
Unfortunately we can’t control the weather.  However, we do always try to plan areas and routes that should be appropriate and in good condition.  One of the advantages of being in small groups with flexible itineraries is that we can make the best of the conditions on the day.  This does mean that we reserve the right to change the itinerary for safety reasons if required.  Please follow the kit lists and be prepared for all the ‘interesting’ weather the U.K. has to offer.

What is the timetable for courses?
For non-residential courses we will meet somewhere convenient on the first morning of the course and a typical day lasts from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. Full joining instructions will be provided with your booking confirmation.

What about transport arrangements?
We ask you to provide your own transport to and from venues although we can quite often organise car sharing to minimise environmental impact and reduce fuel costs.  Once we are there we will try to use car sharing to get us around during the course. We can usually collect you from a local station if you are travelling to your course via public transport.

How do you try to reduce your environmental impact?
We are passionate about protecting the natural environment.  Please take the time to read our Environment Page.

How fit do I need to be?
It goes without saying that arriving fit and well is important if you want to get the most out of your course and it is essential for succeeding on many of our objectives. Please take note of the guidance on the Course Syllabus before booking and contact us in advance if you need more information.

Do you need to know about medical conditions?
It is essential that you let us know about any medical condition or injury when booking and that you also let your instructor know on the starting day of your course.This information will remain completely confidential but is essential to allow us to tailor our activities to suit you and to ensure the safety of other group members.

Accommodation Options


The Ramblers Rest, Millbridge, Castleton, Hope Valley, Derbyshire S33 8WR. Tel 01433 620125

The Swiss House, How Lane, Castleton, Hope Valley, Derbyshire S33 8WJ.  Tel 01433 621098

The Cheshire Cheese Inn, Edale Rd, Hope, Derbyshire, S33 6ZF.  Tel 01433 620381

Thorndene B and B, Hope Road, S33 6RU, England.  Tel 01433 623743

The Plough Inn, Leadmill Bridge, Hathersage, S32 1BA. Tel 01433 650319

The Millstone Inn, Sheffield Road, Hathersage, S32 1DA. Tel 01433 650258


YHA Castleton, Losehill Hall, Castleton. Tel 0845 371 9628

YHA Hathersage, Castleton Rd, Hathersage, S32 1EH. Tel 0845 371 9021

YHA Edale, Edale, Hope Valley, Derbyshire, S32 5QP. Tel 0845 371 9021


North Lees Campsite, Birley Lane, Hathersage, S33 1BR. Tel 01433 650838

Laneside Campsite, Hope, S33 6RR. Tel 01433 620215

Hardhurst Farm, Hope Valley, S33 6RB. Tel 01433 620001

Rowter Farm, Castleton, S33 8WA. Tel 01433 620271


Kit List

Of course we always hope that your Peak District Climbing Course will take place in stunning sunny weather, but this is the UK and so anything is possible!  We will always try to adapt the course venue to the weather conditions, but our courses always take place outside and many of the local crags are quite exposed.  Please also be aware that, unless there is a significant safety risk, our courses will always run regardless of the weather.  So, the key message is to please come well equipped to climb in all conditions and to be warm, dry and comfortable for extended periods outside.  It is also worth mentioning that venues in the Peak District are always close to a road and so don’t worry about packing light – it is worth bringing more than you think you might need rather than being uncomfortable during the day.

  • Rucksack large enough to carry all your clothing and lunch items.  We will also ask you to carry a helmet, harness and rock shoes and so it helps to leave some spare capacity for these items.
  • Waterproof jacket and trousers
  • Walking boots, approach shoes or sturdy trainers. The walk ins to crags is likely to be over challenging ground and it may be wet or muddy.
  • Thermal base layer (synthetic fibres rather than cotton)
  • Fleece mid layer
  • Another spare warm layer
  • Trousers that allow a full range of movement (not jeans)
  • Hat and gloves
  • Lunch and drink
  • Spare food
  • Personal first aid and medication
  • Sunglasses and sun cream
  • Rock climbing shoes or trainers

We can provide all specialised climbing equipment but if you have your own feel free to bring them along.  The key items are a climbing harness (with belay device and screw gate carabiner), helmet and rock shoes.  If you have any other climbing hardware you are welcome to bring that too.  We will always provide ropes.