Peer Rock Climb Leader


Peer Rock Climb Leader

Peer Rock Climb Leaders can coordinate rock climbs that are within their technical abilities for intermediate students and above, but not for basic students, graduates, or other novice climbers. The purpose of this role is for aspiring leaders to develop their skills and grow as leaders without taking on the responsibility of leading those with little experience.

Scope - What does this badge allow me to do?

The Peer Rock Climb Leader role is intended for those who wish to climb with their peers of similar experience, and it is a development role for future Climb Leaders. The Peer Rock Climb Leader may run any type of rock climb that is within their technical abilities. The types of trips a Peer Rock Climb Leader runs may include technical travel on rock, including substantial third and/or fourth class terrain or notable navigational challenges or travel hazards. The Peer Rock Climb Leader may encounter some minimal snow travel without significant hazard. Leading on routes with glacier or significant snow hazards requires a Peer Glacier Climb Leader designation.

The Peer Rock Climb Leader has displayed enough experience and competence to run trips with other climbers who have similar experience. This role excludes the coaching and mentoring of novices in a backcountry setting. This leadership role allows someone to gain more experience on the path to becoming a climb leader of a higher discipline. They can run trips with Intermediate students or other climb leaders, but the Peer leader cannot run trips with any basic students or graduates. 

The Peer Rock Climb Leader may run frontcountry outings with basic students and graduates by obtaining a frontcountry leader designation in a separate application.


The Peer Rock Climb Leader is well versed in a variety of skills necessary to lead trips in a range of complex terrain. Leaders are proficient in all of the following skills:

Technical Skills

Rock Movement: experienced in climbing on a variety of terrain and features, and displays fluid and efficient movement technique while rock climbing a grade of at least 5.6. Peer Rock Climb Leaders move efficiently and confidently on 3rd and 4th class terrain and are able to coach novices through this terrain.

Terrain Identification & Management: is adept at identifying appropriate routes and terrain, as well as objective hazards. This includes third and fourth class terrain, terrain traps, rockfall, water hazards, an understanding of avalanche terrain, and more. They are also aware of and manage environmental and weather hazards. Peer Rock Climb Leaders are skilled in using both digital and traditional navigational tools to move through terrain.

Rope Management, Knots & Hitches: displays adequate rope management skills. In third and fourth class terrain, Peer Rock Climb Leaders can employ fixed/hand lines, terrain belays, running belays, and/or manage as fifth class terrain. Peer Rock Climb Leaders are efficient at transitions, and managing the rope through a variety of complex terrain and anchor systems. Peer Rock Climb Leaders may also use more advanced techniques when the route and skill of party deems it to be necessary.

Protection Systems & Anchor Building: adept in selecting, placing, and evaluating a variety of protection types, including terrain itself, in a wide array of climbing environments. Peer Rock Climb Leaders understand the general principles behind an item’s construction and functionality and common mechanisms of failure. They also understand and use appropriate and modern belay techniques.

Avalanche: Peer Rock Climb Leaders have a basic understanding of avalanche terrain and avoid that terrain unless they have the Peer Glacier Climb Leader designation. 

Rescue & Assistance: understands and can execute basic rescue techniques in the terrain in which they operate. Peer Rock Climb Leaders have completed a wilderness first aid course (or better) and understand the concepts of basic wilderness medicine.

Leadership Skills

Communication: excel at communicating in a variety of ways. Peer Rock Climb Leaders convey information that is clear and relevant. They are attentive to questions and can deliver difficult information when needed. They understand the importance of keeping the group informed and the value of good communication. Peer leaders can communicate effectively to group members who may have as much or more experience than they do.

Risk Management: have an understanding of the risks involved in facilitating climbing outings. They also understand and can demonstrate the skills needed to identify, communicate, and manage those risks. The Peer Rock Climb Leader can create and adhere to emergency action plans, determine others risk tolerances and experience levels, and properly set expectations for an outing.

Group Management & Leadership: have skill in various aspects of group management. The Peer Rock Climb Leader is skilled in planning and preparation, is responsive to the needs of the group, and creates a welcoming and inclusive environment for everyone. Peer Rock Climb Leaders can keep a group moving efficiently and can stay attuned to the changing needs of the group.

Trip Planning and Facilitation: are able to facilitate the full scope of a climbing outing, including creation, planning and preparation, execution of the outing, and any communications, debriefs, and reporting. Works with group members to determine appropriate objectives and plan outings.

Route Selection: understands their own abilities and that of the group, and selects routes based on that information.


To apply for Peer Rock Climb Leader, the candidate must have at a minimum the following field experience:

  • 2 years of alpine climbing experience.
  • 1 mentored lead rock climb
  • 4 leadership experience rock climbs. *
    • At least 2 of these climbs must have been done with The Mountaineers.
    • Mentored leads count towards this number.

Requirements if candidate is already a Peer Glacier Climb Leader:

  • Have lead 2 trips as a Peer Glacier Leader
  • Complete 2 leadership experience rock climbs
    • At least 1 of these climbs must have been done with The Mountaineers.

Prerequisites & Training

To apply for Peer Rock Climb Leader, the candidate must have the following training (Mountaineers or equivalent experience):

  • Single Pitch Trad Climbing
  • Multi Pitch Trad Climbing
  • Small Party Self Rescue
  • Outdoor Leadership Seminar
  • First Aid
  • Navigation
  • "Foundations of Leadership" eLearning course

How do I get this badge?

To become a Peer Rock Climb Leader, fill out the application for leadership:

Apply Now

Applications will be reviewed by the branch climbing committee. Under special circumstances, applicants with equivalent experience from outside The Mountaineers who are not enrolled in the intermediate climbing course  may be considered if their skills and experience are extraordinary and the committee deems them ready for this leadership role.

Leadership experience climbs are defined as an outing in which the applicant was not a follower. For example, the applicant swung leads, lead a trip, or otherwise participated in a leadership role. These outings could be Mountaineers trips or private.