2. Lead Climbing
4. Multi-Pitch Climbing
Having learned to Top Rope and built up their strength, agility, and problem-solving skills, many climbers progress on to lead climbing. In Lead Climbing, the climber is attached to one end of the rope, and the belayer is attached via their belay device 3-4 meters further down the rope. As the climber ascends the wall/pitch they progressively clip their rope through protection points (carabiners on short slings or quickdraws) bolted to the wall. From bottom to top, they may clip the rope through eight or more protection points. In the reverse of top roping (where the belayer removes slack), in lead climbing the belayer threads the rope through their belay device in the opposite direction. They continually pay out the rope, to enable the climber to move higher up the wall. In lead climbing, there is a risk of a greater fall for the climber depending on their distance from the last protection point they clipped the rope through. If they are 1 meter above the protection point, they will fall 2 meters minimum before the rope between them and their belayer starts to become tight. At this point, all slack has removed the system and the rope will stretch to provide a “gentle landing” for the climber. When executed in a controlled environment (a gym or maintained climbing area) having received proper training, lead falls of such distance are exhilarating but safe, save for the rare bump or scratch. Lead climbers have been taught advanced skills enabling them to perform technical ropework, safe falling, and belay techniques safely.