Lead climbing involves athletes attempting to climb as high as they can on a wall measuring more than 15m in height within six minutes. Within the USA Climbing competition structure, competitors in categories Youth B through Elite will compete in Lead. Competitors in the Youth D and C categories along with Paraclimbing will compete in Top Rope.
In lead, climbers use safety ropes and clip the rope to quickdraws (equipment that allows the rope to run freely while leading) along the route. When a climber attaches their rope to the top quickdraw, they have completed the climb. If a climber falls, the height (hold number) attained is recorded. There are no re-climbs. If two or more athletes complete the climb or reach exactly the same height, the fastest to do so is declared the winner.
Content courtesy of John Burgman, Climbing Magazine