AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Course


The 3 Day Single Pitch instructor course is for those who will be working in single pitch environments such as summer camps and gyms. The AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Program is the only nationally and internationally recognized single pitch climbing instructor certification program.

This program requires a minimum of 3 participants to run. We offer this program on scheduled dates only and not on a custom private basis.


AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Course

The AMGA Single Pitch Instructor (SPI) Program is the only nationally and internationally recognized single pitch climbing instructor certification program. In 2009 the AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Program was recognized for meeting the “training standards” of the International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation (UIAA) and was granted the prestigious title of “Approved Association.” No other organization in the United States offering training in single pitch terrain can make that claim. Also, the AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Program is recognized by many land managers, insurance companies, other associations and of course the general public. The AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Program has been created to fit in the AMGA Rock Discipline training program, taking off from the AMGA Climbing Wall Instructor Program and greatly improving the instructor’s skill sets and integrating into the next level of training, the AMGA Rock Instructor Course. The SPI Program curriculum has been designed with this in mind and many of the SPI Program Providers work teaching higher level courses for the AMGA and serve on the AMGA’s Technical Committee so they are actively involved in all levels of instructor and guide training in the AMGA.

The program is for current, active rock climbers that have a real desire to teach the rock climbing to novices in a single pitch setting. Candidates should be passionate rock climbers that have their own equipment, regularly climb and have been rock climbing outdoors for at least 12 months. Candidates could be current University Professors that teach climbing, Climbing Instructors, Scout Leaders, Summer Camp Professionals or climbers that wish to achieve additional training, experience and certification to gain employment as a Climbing Instructor in the Outdoor Industry. The SPI will be able to proficiently facilitate and instruct the sport of rock climbing in a single pitch setting.

For the purpose of the SPI Program a single pitch climb is one which:

  • Is climbed without intermediate belays and presents no difficulties on approach or retreat, such as route finding, scrambling or navigating.


Course Length

The SPI Program is a three-day (27 hour) training course and separate two day (16 hour) assessment. Certification lasts for three years as long as the candidate keeps current AMGA Membership and First Aid Certification. After three years current SPI’s can re-take the SPI Assessment to re-gain the SPI certification. Taking any higher level AMGA Course also re-certifies the SPI certification for another three years.


SPI Program Hours and Ratios

The SPI Course is:

  1. A minimum of 27 hours, normally run as three consecutive nine hour days or day classes with evening sessions.
  2. SPI Courses will not exceed a ratio of six students to one current SPI Program Provider.
  3. The maximum number of students on any SPI Program will be twelve.


Prerequisites for Single Pitch Instructor Course

You meet the pre-requisites for the SPI course if you:

  • 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 trad lead climbed a minimum of 15 graded rock climbing routes (any grade).
  • Are capable of comfortably climbing 5.8 while on a top rope.

The above pre-requisites are absolute minimums and most candidates have way in excess of the above. Without having at least this amount experience you are unlikely to play a constructive part on the course or be able to make best use of the training. If you are unsure of your skill levels we suggest hiring an AMGA/IFMGA certified guide to evaluate and enhance your skills and experience prior to SPI Program enrollment.

 Click here to visit the AMGA website for more information.

SPI Course Overview

The following three day outline is the standard progression for the SPI Course. Your course may have a different daily schedule and it is acceptable for Program Providers to do this as long as the entire curriculum is covered in your course. Program Providers may add to the curriculum on your course but must not omit pieces. SPI Program providers must make it clear when they are teaching outside the curriculum and should not evaluate beyond the curriculum. The course is normally run over three consecutive nine hour days but as long as all the curriculum is covered over 27 hours the course could be run over separate weekends or even as a semester class.  You will need to purchase the Falcon AMGA Single Pitch Instructor manual prior to the start of your cousre. We have some "library "editions available upon request with prior arrangements.
Day 1  
  • Session 1: SPI and AMGA Program Overview
  • Session 2: Professionalism
  • Session 3: Equipment
  • Session 4: Knots and Hitches
  • Session 5: Belaying
  • Session 6: Protection and Anchoring
  • Session 7: Teaching
  • End of Day Debriefs
Day 2  
  • Session 8: The Climbing Site
  • Session 9: Site Organization and Group Management
  • Session 10: Base Managed Sites
  • Session 11: Assistance Skills - Base Managed Sites
  • Session 12: Programming and Risk Management
  • End of Day Debriefs
Day 3  
  • Session 13: Instructor Demo Lead Climb
  • Session 14: Top Managed Sites
  • Session 15: Lowering
  • Session 16: Assistance Skills - Top Managed Sites
  • Session 17: Rappelling
  • Session 18: Climbing Movement
  • Session 19: Review Sessions
  • Final Individual and Group Debriefs

1 review for AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Course

  1. 5 out of 5

    Holy smokes! I don’t know where to start. . . My expectations were greatly exceeded in regards to the amount of knowledge I would gain from your course. Holistically you have improved me as a climber and an instructor. Despite that fact that it felt like I was drinking from a fire hose, the information was conveyed in a clear and interesting fashion. It is clear that you were put on this earth to teach people about life in the mountains. Your passion and knowledge of climbing is inspiring.
    I continue to compare this experience with the recent WMI WFR and the AAI Avi II courses I recently took. Despite the fact that they were both amazing courses that I learned a lot from, the level of intensity and content taken from them seems like nothing compared to your SPI course. Your course provided me with a inner perspective of myself and tested me to my limits. In hind sight that is a positive, but at times during the course I was deeply stressed. I’ve been having nightmares of munter mules finished with a half hitch! Going into the course I was over confident in terms of my climbing abilities. I should have listened to everyone of my friends who recommended me waiting to take the exam.
    I appreciate the extra time and care you allowed in the course, but if your three day course is 34 hours and not 27 I would have liked to know that going into it. I know that you were trying to properly prepare us, and I greatly appreciate that. Not that there was anything you could do about it, but I found the conditions on the first day of the exam difficult to properly convey my skills. The environment on top of the crag felt like I was bailing off an alpine route, not instructing a beginner in a single pitch environment.
    I would like to thank you again for the hospitality. Taking in Jack and four other strangers into your house is a sign of how you and your wife Julie are quality folks. Jack and I both joked that our wife / girlfriend wouldn’t have been as accepting as Julie of five dirtbags sleeping on her floor. The world of rock climbing is a small place, and I feel confident that we will cross paths again soon.

    Thanks for everything!


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