Single Pitch Instructor (SPI) Course - American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) accredited

From USD $550.00
  • Product code: DSPI

Single Pitch Instructor Course

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 SPI Course is not a ‘climbing’ course; it is an instructor training course for current, proficient and active rock climbers and for climbing instructors who currently teach rock climbing who wish to gain the 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. 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.

San Juan Expeditions offers American Mountain Guides Association training and certification programs. The AMGA provides training and the only nationally and internationally recognized certifications in the United States for Climbing Instructors and Rock, Alpine and Ski Mountaineering Guides. The AMGA is the sole representative in the US for the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations (IFMGA) and Climbing Instructor Certifications (endorsed by the UIAA). The AMGA is recognized worldwide as the highest American standard of training and certification for instructors and guides. AMGA certification is the standard in the United States.


  • It significantly improves the instructor’s skill sets and integrates into the next level of training, which includes the AMGA Rock Guide Course and the Multi-Pitch Instructor certification.
  • The program is for current, active rock climbers who have a real desire to teach rock climbing to novices in a single pitch setting.
  • The SPI Course is a 27-hour training course that normally runs as three consecutive nine-hour days or day classes with evening sessions.
  • The SPI Assessment is a minimum of 16 hours run over a two-day period.
  • 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 regain the SPI certification.
  • Taking any higher level AMGA Course also recertifies the SPI certification for another three years.

You meet the pre-requisites if :

  • You are a Professional Member of the AMGA.
  • You have a genuine interest in rock climbing and instructing novices on single pitch crags.
  • You are at least 18 years old at the time of the course.
  • You have at least 12 months prior climbing experience.
  • You are an active climber with traditional lead climbing experience (leader placing pro).
  • You have led a minimum of 15 traditional rock climbing routes (any grade).
  • You are capable of comfortably climbing 5.8 while on a top rope.

The above prerequisites are absolute minimums. Without having at least this amount experience you are unlikely to make best use of the training.

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
Upon successful completion of the AMGA SPI Course, candidates are eligible to take the AMGA SPI Exam.To gain the AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Certification you must complete the two day Single Pitch Instructor Assessment.

What To Bring:

  • Technical Equipment:
  • UIAA/CE approved Climbing Helmet
  • UIAA/CE approved Climbing Harness with belay loop
  • Climbing shoes or approach shoes you can climb in to 5.7
  • Standard “lead climbing rack” such as, Stoppers, SLCD’s, Tri-cams, etc.
  • Assorted 24” and 48” runners (must have one 48” runner)
  • 10 or more non-locking carabineers
  • 3 or more “HMS/Pearbiners”
  • 5 or more locking carabineers
  • 1 Plate/tube style belay device such as the Petzl Reverso, Black Diamond ATC, etc.
  • 1 Assisted braking style belay device such as the Petzl GriGri
  • 2 Prussic loops (1m of 5mm Nylon Accessory Cord)
  • 2 Cordelettes (5m of 7mm Nylon Accessory Cord)
  • One 50-60m “single” rope (9.5-11mm) suitable for leading and top roping
  • One static or “semi static” (gym line) rope 10-11mm, 30m+, for setting up anchors and fixed lines
  • All gear will be inspected on the first morning of the course and is expected to be in good condition. Mark all of your gear!
Sample Itinerary:



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