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Lead Ice

Ready to try leading on ice, but want to learn safely? This 1-2 day course is for ice climbers with experience leading on rock, who want to learn about screw placement, anchor construction, retreat, lead preparation, and more.

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Intermediate to advanced, significant experience ice climbing required


Ability to top-rope WI5



December to March

Group Size:

1-4 participants


1-2 days; each with 6-8 hours of field time


Rock Creek & East Rosebud, Montana


Rental climbing equipment, group equipment, & instruction from a professional guide 


Ice climbing boots, food, transportation, lodging, personal items, and guide gratuity

Course Details

This course is built to set ice climbers up with the skills they need to start lead climbing on their own. Expect to spend time focusing on screw placement from stances, mock-leading, and reading the ice. This course is a great way for experienced ice climbers to break into lead climbing or refine their skills and move up in difficulty.

Skills Covered:

  • Preparation for lead climbing​ 

  • Review of knots, hitches, and lead belaying

  • Movement refinement

  • Cold management

  • Anchor construction (v-thread, screw, & natural)

  • Ice screw placement

  • Reading the ice & forecasting conditions

  • Rappelling and retreating

  • Cleaning an anchor

This course is typically 2 days long and starts with a briefing at our office in Red Lodge; lead climbing is inherently dangerous and no participant will lead climb without the protection of a top rope on this course. Day 1 takes us to Silver Falls, where we spend the day refining movement, mastering screw placement, and understanding a variety of anchor types. Day 2 takes us to East Rosebud, where we can apply the skills from day 1 through mock leads on a variety of grades. Participants can build and use their own anchors, practice retreat, and receive direct feedback on conditions forecasting and ice "reading". The main goal of this course is to provide participants with the skills and experience needed to consider lead climbing on their own. 


**Don't see a course date listed? Email our office to see if there is one coming up, or start a course of your own! Many of our courses are custom and low ratio, built to your needs.

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