The AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Program is designed to enable instructors to ‘proficiently facilitate and instruct the sport of rock climbing in a single pitch setting’. The program is offered through the American Mountain Guide Association, the oldest and largest organization offering courses and certifications for climbing instructors and mountain guides. Seneca Rocks Climbing School owner and head guide Massey Teel administers all SPI Programs offered at Seneca Rocks Climbing School. Candidates for the SPI course could be current university professors that teach climbing, climbing instructors, scout leaders, summer camp professionals or climbers who wish to achieve additional training, experience and certification to gain employment as a climbing instructor in the outdoor industry.
The Single Pitch Instructor Course is not a ‘climbing’ course. It is an instructor-training course for current, proficient and active rock climbers. The SPI course will significantly help candidates who wish to work toward the next stage, the AMGA Rock Instructor Course (RIC). The course teaches many instructor specific topics such as professionalism, teaching techniques, risk management, group site organization, climbing site conservation/LNT and assistance/rescue skills.
The Single Pitch Instructor Program is a three-day (27 hour) training course and separate two-day (16 hour) SPI Assessment. Certification lasts for three years as long as the candidate keeps current AMGA Membership and First Aid Certification. After three years, current SPIs can re-take the SPI Assessment to re-gain the SPI certification. Any current SPI who attains certification in any Mountain Guide Program discipline attains permanent SPI certification status provided they maintain AMGA membership and the appropriate level of emergency medical certification
A candidate meets the pre-requisites for the SPI course if they:
- have a genuine interest in rock climbing and instructing novices on single pitch crags.
- are at least 18 years old at the time of the course.
- have at least 12 months prior climbing experience.
- are an active climber with traditional lead climbing experience (leader placing pro).
- have traditionally lead climbed a minimum of 15 rock climbing pitches (any grade).
- are capable of comfortably climbing 5.8 while on a top rope.
The above pre-requisites are absolute minimums and most candidates coming to an Single Pitch Instructor course exceed them. Without having at least this amount experience one is unlikely to play a constructive part on the course or be able to make best use of the training. If one is unsure of their skill levels we suggest hiring an SRCS guide to evaluate and enhance skills and experience prior to enrollment in an SPI program. SRCS Private Guiding rates would apply to hiring a guide for SPI course evaluation.
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