The Rock Skills Intermediate course is your stepping stone to developing into a competent second climber so you can get out climbing with more experienced lead climbers and build your experience. We’ll also look at setting up bottom ropes so you can climb independently. With an extra day on this course and lower ratio than the Rock Skills Intro, we’ll get even more rock climbing in and develop your movement and climbing technique.
By the end of this course you’ll have;
- An enjoyable time climbing on real rock
- Have the skills to competently second a lead climber and climb with others independently
- Look at the skills to set up top rope systems to climb on
- Be ready to move on to a sport or trad learn to lead course
Below is a rough idea of what we’ll cover, as ever we’re flexible and adapt to different needs and experiences.
- Background and Planning – choosing a suitable venue, how to use guidebooks and mobile devices to find crags and routes, crag etiquette and the work of the mountaineering councils.
- Climbing Skills – warming up and injury avoidance, developing your movement skills and widening your repertoire of climbing moves.
- Footwear and Equipment – rock boot fit, selecting the right equipment for improved performance and an introduction to climbing protection.
- Technical Skills – building anchors, selecting runners, ropework, belaying, holding falls, lowering, seconding a route and personal abseiling.
- Environmental Knowledge – the impact of climbers at the crag, ethics, access and environmental considerations.
- Hazards and Emergency Procedures – identifying hazards, managing risk when climbing, abseiling and bouldering, understanding common injuries, how to get help and the role of Mountain Rescue.
Being an intermediate course you’ll need a few basic skills to be up to speed. Either you’ll have attended the Rock Skills Intro course or already have a little experience climbing inside or out:
- 10 routes climbed indoors or outside and 10 belays of a fellow climber.
If you’re unsure, consider booking on a Rock Skills Intro course first to build your experience and confidence.
The itinerary below isn't set in stone; by design we're flexible to adapt to the weather and varying group experience. Below is a rough plan for the course:
Being a great second
Course Start 08:30 - introductions and discussion of your aims & aspirations with a tea or coffee at Basecamp.
Planning Information - looking at weather forecasts, guidebooks, access and venue choice.
Collect & Check Kit - technical equipment handed out (e.g. helmets) and personal kit check.
Travel to Crag - we’ll organise lift-shares to reduce impact and ease parking. There’s a great deal of climbing nearby; though we may drive up to 30 mins to escape rainy forecasts.
Outdoor Climbing - walk in to the crag, safety briefs, warm-ups then climbing rock! Refreshing basic skills such as tying-in, belaying, all whilst coaching your movement. We'll then start developing your lead belaying, look at trad gear, cleaning routes, ropework and being organised as a second.
Return to Basecamp - return to Basecamp for around 16:00, grab a well-earned brew and review the day.
Theory session - background information on hazards, emergency procedures, ethics and crag etiquette.
Day Finish - usually we’ll wrap up the day around 16:30.
Morning Brief 08:30 - weather brief and facilitated group plan for the day with a tea or coffee at Basecamp.
Consolidate Skills - consolidation of newly learned skills, put into practice with you seconding routes and stripping gear. We'll start to look at gear placements, attaching into & constructing belay systems, and personal abseil skills.
Return to Basecamp - return to Basecamp for around 16:00, hand in kit, grab a well-earned brew and review the day.
What Next? - your instructor will discuss a personal development plan and we'll email out post course resources to help you on your climbing journey.
Course Finish - usually we’ll wrap up the course around 16:30.
The Rock Skills Intermediate course is one of 4 courses in the Mountain Training Rock Skills scheme. By registering you’ll also receive;
- Certificate of Completion
- Accreditation with Mountain Training
- The Rock Skills Scheme handbook
- The BMC New Climbers handbook
- Ongoing access to the Mountain Training Digital Logbook – a great place to record your climbing endeavours – especially if you’re considering pursuing any of the Mountain Training qualifications in the future.
If you would like to be registered with Mountain Training (not obligatory) for the Rock Skills scheme for our Intermediate course then we’ll need the Name, Date of Birth and email for each participant to be able to add their registration details.
There’s no requirement to register with Mountain Training if you’d prefer to just join the course but you won’t receive the extras listed above.
For more generalised questions please visit our FAQs page or for questions specifically relating to the Rock Skills Intermediate course see below.
Rock Skills Intermediate FAQs
The geography of Snowdonia means that although the mountains themselves can attract their fair share of rain; we have a range of crags outside the national park with unique & differing micro climates. Often, travelling up to 30 minutes North or South can mean climbing in a t shirt vs getting a good soaking!
However, if it's torrential rain we'll head to one of the excellent local indoor climbing walls to escape the worst part of the day inside, before heading outside for at least part of the day; the aim is to climb on real rock. It's a uniquely British temperament to climb in the rain, fun for a short while so we'll plan to minimise this and get back to Basecamp for a well earned brew!
We'll use our specialist local knowledge and years of experience to pick the best place to climb and stay as dry as possible. If the weather is extreme, we'll have a conversation with you about potentially rescheduling though this is rare.
Unfortunately we don't accept under-18s on our open courses. We can however run this course as a private family booking, with dates to suit you and your own dedicated instructor for the course.
This is an intermediate course. We aim to make it as inclusive and accessible to people of all abilities. We'll coach good technique, which is more important than physical strength or fitness though obviously these can be helpful; and we'll head to crags with relatively easy climbs.
See the Prerequisites, you should have a little personal experience already. This is focused on the technical skills of belaying as opposed to ability climbing.
If you're still unsure, consider booking on a Rock Skills Intro course first to build your experience and confidence.
We love climbing and want this course to inspire. We've worked with people with severely impaired vision and other disabilities too, so if you have any concerns or special requirements, please drop us a line and we can give you advice. We always strive to accommodate, check out our Inclusivity page for more info.
Climbing is often perceived to be a high risk activity. This is a beginner course and the climbing we will be doing will be bottom & top roping, and perhaps a little easy bouldering which are all less risky forms of climbing. You can be assured you'll be in good hands as we only use suitably Qualified and Professional Staff, as well as taking Safety seriously.