AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Course and Exam
SPI Certification Program
The AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Program is the only nationally recognized single pitch climbing instructor certification program and is recognized by many land managers, insurance companies, 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 skills and integrates into the next level of training, the AMGA Rock Instructor Course. Many of the SPI Program Instructors teach higher-level courses for the AMGA and serve on the AMGA’s Technical Committee — 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 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.
Pre-requisites for SPI Course
You meet the prerequisites 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 prerequisites 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.
The SPI Assessment is two days in length (minimum of 16 hours assessment time) and will take place at a single pitch climbing area where there are a selection of traditional lead routes in the 5.6 range and top roping routes in the 5.8 range. The assessment will examine all aspects of institutional single pitch climbing that the Single Pitch Instructor may encounter. Day one will look at climbing movement and all aspects of technical systems from anchoring to assistance skills and general climbing competence. On day two the examiner may arrange for volunteer novice clients (non-paying) for the candidates to instruct in a group setting. This is not required but is a great benefit to the assessment process as the examiner can see candidates interact with real novice climbers and the examinees do not have to ‘pretend’ to teach novice climbers who are actually other examines on the assessment.
The examiners job is to bring out the best in the candidate, and give the candidate a comfortable and stress-free assessment. The candidate must show the examiner they have the technical and instructional skills to pass the AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Assessment. The SPI Assessment is broken down into four distinct evaluation sessions; climbing movement, technical skills, teaching ability and group management skills and candidate are evaluated by the AMGA marking system categories as explained below.
Exam Assessment Categories:
- Risk Management
- Client Care
- Technical Systems
- Terrain Assessment
- Movement Skills
- Mountain Sense
- Instructional Technique
For more information about the American Mountain Guides Association and AMGA education and certification standards, visit http://amga.com/single-pitch-instructor/
Pre-requisites for SPI Exam
The SPI Exam can be taken directly following the SPI Course if the candidate successfully completed the course and meets the Assessment prerequisites. However, it is highly recommended that the SPI Course candidate takes time practicing and consolidating the skills learned on the course before assessment (6−12 months).
Here’s an opportunity for a fun day of guided rock, while our SPI candidates demonstrate their skills.
$660 – 3 Days
$470 – 2 Days
$1 – 1 Day
Price does not include
- Hotel accommodations
- Restaurant meals
- All personal equipment
- Travel insurance with trip cancellation, medical and evacuation policy
- Guide gratuities
- Full payment at time of registration by credit card, which includes $200 non-refundable registration fee
SPI Volunteer 2022
- Nov 6, 2022
SPI Course 2023
- May 27, 2023 — May 29, 2023
- Jun 17, 2023 — Jun 19, 2023
SPI Exam 2023
- May 13, 2023 — May 14, 2023
- Jun 3, 2023 — Jun 4, 2023
SPI Volunteer 2023
- May 14, 2023
- Jun 4, 2023
Custom Dates Available — Contact Us
Cancellation / Refund Policy
- MMI strongly recommends trip cancellation/interruption and evacuation insurance for all trips. Our insurance partner, Ripcord, offers comprehensive travel insurance including trip cancellation, as well as rescue/evacuation policies and can assist in answering any questions. In addition, Participant is expected to have sufficient medical insurance as prescribed by their country of origin. Participant understands that MMI does not include anytype of insurance with the cost of the trip.
- If you decide to cancel your trip or change your itinerary, MMI must be notified in writing. Your trip will be cancelled from the date written notice is received. If proper written cancellation notice is not received, amounts paid and reservations made will be forfeited.
- Non-refundable fees may apply for certain trips in order to secure permits and other services. MMI must strictly adhere to cancellation policies outside MMI’s control.
- Due to the personalized service we offer on our trips, MMI reserves the right to waive any fees. We will attempt to accommodate changes and cancellations, waiving certain fees when feasible.
- Circumstances outside the control of MMI and its partners, may require amended cancellation/refund policies. Such circumstances may include, but are not limited to COVID-19, natural disasters, terrorism and so forth.
- Full refund, less the non-refundable registration fee, will be provided 91 days or more before the departure date
- No refunds will be provided 90 days or less before the departure date
We strongly recommend the purchase of travel cancellation insurance to protect you from the unexpected. You aren’t likely to think of it now, but people do get ill, break a bone, have a family emergency or get assigned to a last-minute business trip. If you are in remote areas, please note that emergency rescue & evacuation can be very expensive.
We also strongly urge you to consider rescue and evacuation insurance if your own policy does not provide the coverage needed. Services available may include, but are not limited to, helicopter evacuation, medical care, etc.
If you choose not to purchase insurance, you assume full responsibility for any expenses incurred in the event of a medical emergency and/or evacuation, as well as for trip cancellation, interruption, lost luggage, etc. We are not the experts and therefore ask that you please consult our travel insurance partner directly with any specific questions.
To protect against losses due to illness, accident, or other unforeseen circumstances, Mountain Madness strongly recommends the purchase of travel insurance as soon as possible after making a deposit. Mountain Madness has partnered with Redpoint Resolutions as our preferred travel insurance provider. Redpoint’s Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance™ is designed for adventurers.
For a quote, or to purchase travel insurance, please click this link Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance™ or call +1 – 415-481‑0600. Pricing varies based on age, trip cost, trip length, and level of coverage.
Critical benefits of Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance include:
- A completely integrated program with a single point of contact for emergency services, travel assistance, and insurance claims
- Evacuation and rescue services from your point of injury or illness to your hospital of choice
- Comprehensive travel insurance for trip cancellation/interruption, primary medical expense coverage, baggage loss or delay, emergency accident and emergency sickness medical expense, emergency dental, accidental death and dismemberment, and more
- Optional security evacuation coverage in case of an unplanned natural disaster or other security events
- Waiver for pre-existing conditions (must be purchased within 14 days of tour deposit)
- Optional “Cancel for Any Reason” coverage (must be purchased within 14 days of tour deposit)
For scheduled courses and climbs, you should fly into Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SeaTac). You are responsible for your transportation to downtown Seattle. You will meet as a group with your guide(s) early morning on Day 1 for an orientation meeting and equipment check.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- SPI and AMGA Exam Overview
- SPI Assessment Criteria
- Session 3: Technical Skills Assessment
- End of Day Debriefs
- Mock Guiding / Instructional Day with Student Volunteers
- Group debrief with volunteer students
- Group Exam Debriefs
- Individual Debriefs with Exam Candidates
Equipment for AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Course and Exam
Should be a UIAA/CE approved climbing helmet
Climbing Harness with Belay Loop
Should be a UIAA/CE approved climbing harness
Should allow candidate to climb up to 5.7
Nut Removal Tool
Sold by a variety of different climbing brands
Standard “Lead Climbing Rack”
An assortment stoppers/nuts, SLCD's, tri-cams, etc
Assorted 24” and 48” Runners
Must have at least one 48” runner
Non-Locking Carabiners (10+)
Standard non-locking carabiners
Locking Carabiners (6+)
Recommended that they are larger HMS/Pearbiners
Manual Braking Belay/Rappel Device
Such as the Petzl “Verso” or Black Diamond “ATC”
Assisted Braking Belay Device
Such as the Petzl “GriGri” or Trango “Cinch”
2 Prussik Loops (1m)
6mm nylon accessory cord
Sterling Hollow Block
2 Cordelettes (5m)
7mm nylon accessory cord
Dynamic Rope (50-60m)
9.5-10.5mm single rope. Suitable for leading and top roping
Static Rope (30m+)
9-11mm. For setting up anchors and fixed lines
Sterling 3/8" HTP Static Rope
Separate from the climbing shoes listed above
Client to guide ratio