AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Assessment

SPIThe American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) Single Pitch Instructor Program is the only nationally and also internationally recognized and endorsed climbing instructor certification for single pitch instructors in the USA. The AMGA SPI Program is the sole US endorsed UIAA climbing instructor certification and was created by the AMGA over a decade ago (1998). The certification is now required for permits to work in many areas and is the only certification required by legitimate programs seeking climbing instructors in the USA today.

The AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Program is designed to enable climbing instructors to 'proficiently facilitate and instruct the sport of rock climbing in a single pitch setting'. 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.

To gain AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Certification you must complete the three day (27 hour) AMGA Single Pitch Instructor 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 SPI's can re-take the SPI Assessment or take any higher level AMGA Program to re-gain the SPI certification.

SPI Terrain Guidelines

The SPI will be able to proficiently facilitate and instruct the sport of rock climbing in a single pitch setting. Single Pitch Instructors supervise and teach climbing at any single pitch cliff, working at the base or from the top. They can work at sites where the anchors are accessed by non technical terrain and also by leading. For the purpose of the SPI Program a single pitch climb is one which: 

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

The AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Program does not cover multipitch guiding. These skills are taught in the AMGA Rock Instructor Course. SPI’s that guide clients in multipitch terrain would be guiding outside of their terrain guidelines.

SPI Assessment Candidate Pre-Requisites

The SPI Assessment can be taken directly following the AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Course if the candidate successfully completed the course and meets the Assessment pre-requisites. However, it is highly recommended that the SPI Course graduate takes time practicing and consolidating the skills learned on the course before assessment (6-12 months). 

You meet the SPI Assessment Pre-requisites if: 
  • You have successfully completed an AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Course, AMGA Top Rope Site Manager Course or AMGA Rock Instructor Course at anytime in the past.
  • You have trad lead climbed a minimum of 40 graded rock climbing routes. A large number of these should be at 5.6 grade and hopefully on a variety of rock types.
  • You are capable of comfortably lead climbing 5.6 traditional routes (leader placing protection). You will demonstrate your leading ability on a variety of routes on the assessment.
  • You are capable of comfortably climbing 5.8 while on a top rope. 
To gain SPI Certification candidates must: 
  • Successfully pass the SPI Assessment
  • Hold current AMGA Membership at Associate level or higher
  • Hold current First Aid Certification 
SPI Certification lasts for three years from the date of assessment. There are two options for renewal: 
  • AMGA Certified Single Pitch Instructors can take the two day SPI Assessment to renew their certification.
  • AMGA Certified Single Pitch Instructors who successfully complete any higher level AMGA Course is granted SPI certification for three years from the course end date. After completing an AMGA course please contact the AMGA so they can update your records. 

To keep SPI Certification current SPI’s should seek out recertification before the expiry date of their certification. Candidates that let their certification lapse can take part in the SPI Assessment but they will not hold any certification between their SPI expiry date and successfully passing an SPI Assessment. From a professional standpoint this is not advisable.   

SPI Assessment Overview
Day 1
  • Session 1: SPI Assessment Orientation
  • Session 2: Lead Climbing and Top Rope Session
  • Session 3: Technical Components
  • Session 4: Debriefs 
Day 2
  • Session 1: Teaching Components
  • Session 2: Group Management
  • Session 3: Debriefs
Dates and Pricing

Number on Assessment:       Maximum of 6:1 client to instructor ratio
Assessment length:               Two days
Assessment dates:                Check Out Our Course Schedule Here
Cost:                                     $375


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