Single Pitch Instructor (SPI)

The American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) Single Pitch Instructor Program is the only nationally and 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. 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 Course is not a 'climbing' course; it is an instructor training course for and active and proficient rock climbers, and for climbing instructors who currently teach rock climbing, that wish to gain SPI Certification. 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 SPI Program is a three-day (27 hour) training course and separate two-day (16 hour) SPI Assessment course is required in order to obtain the SPI certification. The SPI course does not offer a certification. After the SPI course, candidates can take an SPI Assessment, which passing can result in a certification that 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. Appalachian State will only be hosting the SPI Program and will not be hosting the SPI Assessment. The closest SPI Assessment locations are in Brevard, North Carolina.

Course Length: 3 Days, 20 Hours

Recommended for: Climbing wall staff, climbing gym staff, university outdoor education programs


Pre-requisites for Certification at the AMGA SPI:

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

SPI Terrian 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 SPI Program does not cover multipitch guiding. These skills are taught in the AMGA Rock Instructor Course. The above pre-requisites are absolute minimums and most candidates have way in excess of the above. Without having at least this amount of experience you are unlikely to play a constructive part of the course or be able to make best use of the training.

To gain the AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Certification, you must complete the three-day AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Course and seperate two-day Single Pitch Instructor Assessment . Appalachian State University will not be hosting the Assessment course.