Intro to Outdoor Rock and Leading
Whistler / Squamish

Intro to Outdoor Rock and Leading


  • Cost:
  • $299

Location: Squamish or Whistler   Duration: 2 Days   Fitness: Good   Ability: Introductory   Prerequisites: None  

Our Introduction to Outdoor Rock Climbing is a perfect 2-day course for indoor climbers looking to get off the wall, for beginner outdoor climbers looking to develop good technique, and for non-climbers seeking to try something new and exciting in a safe and supportive environment.

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The following dates are available for this course.

We will post up more public dates if there is demand, so please let us know what dates work better for you.

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Course Information

Our Introduction to Outdoor Rock Climbing is perfect for indoor climbers looking to get off the wall, for beginner outdoor climbers lacking a solid foundation in technique, and of course for non-climbers seeking to try something new and exciting in a safe and supportive environment.

This course is designed to provide students with a complete and reliable system to climb rock routes with confidence.

We use a systematic approach to introduce and refine 28 critical outdoor rock climbing lessons.

A comprehensive skill-focused Itinerary:

  • Climbing safety and hazard management
  • Equipment
  • Movement skills
  • Strategy
  • Belaying and rappelling
  • Hazard management
  • Rock climbing terminology
  • Route selection and climbing grades
  • Anchor building
  • Top-rope set up

Our goal is to ensure that all participants will build a strong foundation to allow for ultimate safety, excellent technique and a rapid progression.

To attain this goal we utilize a combination of factors beginning with a fully comprehensive curriculum that has been developed by leading rock climbing guides.

In addition to the essentials, this course will teach you the basics of seconding bolted multi-pitch rock climbing routes – an important element as many sport crags/climbing areas will have several routes that are 2 to 3 pitches and may involve multiple rappels coming off the route.

We will also teach rock climb leading through the safe technique of mock leads – creating a logical progression to the next complex skill of leading.

This course is run over 2 full days and as per our trademark of low student to guide ratios we ensure that each student receives extensive coaching and personalized instruction.

You can take comfort in knowing that our instructors are certified guides who possess a great depth of experience and excel at their trade.

Day One

  • Meet your guide at pre-arranged meeting point
  • Meet and greet, sign waivers, safety discussion and gear check.
  • Discuss current weather and the objectives of the day.
  • Drive to course location.
  • Lessons 1 – 14
  • End of day. Debrief, discuss following day.

Day Two

  • Meet your guide at pre-arranged meeting point
  • Discuss current weather and the objectives of the day
  • Drive to course location
  • Lessons 15 – 28
  • Continuing rock climbing technique refinement with quality feedback and fine-tuning.
  • End of day. Debrief, discussion of course and next step recommendations.
  • Course close.


Weather conditions along the Coast Mountain Range are constantly changing. Plan ahead, look into weather trends, and prepare for all weather conditions.

  • Climbing pants (light pants that allow maximum mobility)
  • Tee shirt
  • Mid layer fleece or wool top
  • Weatherproof shell jacket
  • Down or synthetic insulating “puffy” jacket
  • Warm hat
  • Light gloves
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Approach shoes
  • Daypack 25-35L

Individual Equipment

  • Rock shoes
  • Harness
  • Helmet
  • Belay device
  • Locking carabiner
  • Chalk bag

Group Equipment

  • Rope
  • Anchor building equipment

Food and water are not included.

If you do not have any individual climbing equipment please contact us for rental.

All group climbing equipment will be provided.

If you own your own equipment and choose to use it please let us know in advance.

It is beneficial to practice using your own equipment under the supervision of a professional.

Day One

  • Lesson 1 Equipment: fit for climbing shoes, harness, helmet
  • Lesson 2 Environment : leave no trace and wildlife discussion.
  • Lesson 3 On site safety: objective & subjective sport climbing hazards and safety protocols
  • Lesson 4 Rock Climbing Movement : learn basic climbing techniques and bouldering
  • Lesson 5 Introduction to outdoor climbing specific equipment and use
  • Lesson 6 Introduction to different anchors and assessing anchor/bolt quality
  • Lesson 7 Top-roping: setting anchors and ropes for top-roping
  • Lesson 8 Tying in: use of figure 8 knot for climbing
  • Lesson 9 Belaying: current belay techniques using a belay tube
  • Lesson 10 Communication: climbing commands, proper terminology and communication with your climbing partner
  • Lesson 11 Lowering and Rappelling: using belay devices, system checks and safety
  • Lesson 12 Quickdraw removal and racking gear on the harness
  • Lesson 13 Threading the anchor with various anchor types
  • Lesson 14 Climbing technique: professional coaching and movement skills

Day Two

  • Lesson 15 Safety reminder: current hazards and safety protocols in rock climbing.
  • Lesson 16 Climbing: warm up and bouldering
  • Lesson 17 Learning to use guidebooks and choosing a route
  • Lesson 18 Tying in and Belaying review
  • Lesson 19 Lowering and Rappelling review
  • Lesson 20 Climbing: professional coaching and movement skills
  • Lesson 21 Objective and subjective hazards of outdoor climbing
  • Lesson 22 Mitigating hazards and planning
  • Lesson 23 Basics of Multi-pitch Climbing (designed for seconding bolted 2-3 pitch routes)
  • Lesson 24 Multi-pitch safety considerations
  • Lesson 25 Demonstration, how to second a mulit-pitch and clean gear
  • Lesson 26 Securing yourself at anchors
  • Lesson 27 Rappelling or lowering off of multi-pitch sport climbs
  • Lesson 28 Mock Leads in preparation for the next phases of traditional and lead climbing

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Important Information

We strongly recommend you purchase insurance for Trip Cancellation, Emergency Evacuation and Adventure Sports Coverage (some backcountry adventures are excluded from coverage).

Emergency Evacuation and Medical Insurance

This coverage provides you with emergency air rescue if required and full medical. Parks Canada provides free evacuation within the Parks and if you are a Canadian resident your medical will be covered by your provincial health plan (except ambulance/air ambulance transport). We strongly recommend international visitors purchase this insurance.

Emergency evacuation insurance is compulsory for all our hut trips, as these typically take place outside of Parks Canada’s jurisdiction.

Trip Cancellation Insurance

To prepare for unforeseen circumstances we strongly recommend purchasing Trip Cancellation Insurance at the time of booking your trip. Trip Cancellation insurance covers many scenarios to reimburse you for cancelled trips outside of your control.

Our recommended insurance provider is Tugo.Com who can be reached via the following:

All prices are quoted in Canadian dollars and are exclusive of a 5% tax (GST). Prices are subject to change. Guide gratuities are not included in fees.

Full payment is required at time of registration. Our preferred method of payment is by Mastercard or VISA through our online payment portal. We also accept credit card payment over the phone, bank transfer and cash.

Mountain Skills Academy takes mountain safety very seriously, however there is no way to completely mitigate risk in alpine environments. Prior to undertaking any of our courses or trips we require you to sign a waiver.

Mountain conditions are extremely unpredictable and can change at short notice. Our guides endeavor to undertake the routes and/or peaks that our clients desire, however our decisions will be impacted by conditions. Unfortunately we are not able to offer refunds if conditions are not suitable to undertake a particular route on the day you have booked. We will however make every effort to take you out for the best day possible given the conditions.

Applicable to all tours and courses*: If conditions force us to cancel a course or trip we will do all we can to accommodate you at another date. If this isn’t possible we will offer a full refund. We reserve the right to decline rescheduling dates based on availability.  *Does not apply to First Aid and Wilderness First Aid courses.

Late Arrival Policy

Guests arriving more than 15 minutes late for an activity forfeit 100% of the tour price. Tours leave promptly; it is recommended to arrive 15 minutes early to sort out gear and sign waivers.

Adventures Cancellation Policy

Half Day and Full Day Programs

  • Within 48 hours of start time:  Cancellation will result in a 100% forfeit of tour price, no rescheduling.
  • More than 48 hours:  $25 rescheduling & refunding fee (per booking).
Multi Day Programs
  • 2 Day Programs: Within 10 days cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tuition, Outside of 10 days: $25 penalty to reschedule per booking or full refund.
  • 3+ Day Programs: 30 days cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tuition, Outside of 30 days: $75 penalty to reschedule or full refund.
  • Customized Trips: 30 days cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tuition, Outside of 30 days: $75penalty to reschedule per booking or full refund.

**On all multi day trips pre arranged add-ons are non-refundable (food, accommodation, etc).

Courses Cancellation Policy

1-2 Day Courses

  • Within 10 days: Cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tuition
  • Outside of 10 days: $75 penalty to reschedule per booking or full refund.

3+ Day Courses

  • Within 30 days: Cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tuition
  • Outside of 30 days: $75 penalty to reschedule per booking or full refund.

**If you are able to find someone else to take your place on a course, please let us know as we are more than happy to transfer bookings.

Minors (under the age of 18 for our courses based in Alberta and 19 for those based in BC) and custodial groups (youths affiliated with an institution where the parents/legal guardian are not present on the trip) may register for certain trips and courses with a letter of consent from parents or legal guardian as well as must sign a waiver and have their parents or legal guardian sign a waiver. Further, we abide by the Parks Canada Custodial Group winter backcountry policy as outlined here.

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