An AMGA week!

I’m just coming off a really busy 10 day stretch.  Aside from some regular guiding gigs, I had an SPI Review day with Keith.  He was looking for some more structured practice, and I applaud him for taking it upon himself for some continuing education and Q & A.  It was a great day, perfect weather with a little breeze.

Keith preparing for the next evolution.

The next event was an AMGA Climbing Wall Instructor course.  The CWI program is a fine skills course and assessment for folks who work in climbing centers in a professional context.  A classic example is the person who teaches the skills courses in a gym, the facility manager, or anyone else working in a professional capacity.  Matt, Anne and Lauren had success being evaluated in the best/better components of lead climbing, group management, lesson planning and implementation, teaching skills, rescuing partners and taking over belays.  It’s a long 2 days.  People often come away from this program with a renewed confidence to tackle the daily challenges that working on a man made structure provides.  Remember that they see more climbers per hour than anyone else!  Prime Climb ( was kind enough once again to let me use their world class facility for this program.

The partner check is often not taken as seriously as it should be!

From here led to my first AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Course of 2012.  We had a full course, and Emilie Drinkwater of CloudSplitter Mountain Guides came down from the Adirondacks to co-teach with me.  Although the weather was a bit wild, all of the candidates had good learning.  We address topics like experiential education as it relates to climbing, rope skills, client and instructor security, instructional technique, professionalism, mountain sense (it does exist in single pitch terrain), climbing movement, terrain assessment, technical application (right technique, right time, right place), technical systems, risk management and others.  It is about a 30 hour course, over 3 days.  What this program does is take a recreational climber through an evolution to produce a skill set that is required for a climbing instructor.  Overall, this was the most prepared group Ive ever worked with.  We got a lot of hands on practice, and had some really great discussions.  This group brought a lot of experience  to the table.

Belay Skills

Instructor belayed rappeling

Rescue skills practice

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 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 who wish to achieve additional training, experience and certification to gain employment as a climbing instructor in the outdoor industry.

Thanks to everyone for their participation in these programs!  They’re a great chance to learn some new skills, and meet some people who have similar career interests.

Coming up over the next few weeks is another SPI course in Maine for Unity College students, a trip to Red Rocks, and then a rescue seminar for NFPA Qualification with the Peak Rescue Institute in Joshua Tree, California.  Oh, then back to Red Rocks!

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