What Should You Expect On Your Single Pitch Award Training Course?

Ideas by Chris, words by Anne

When you sign up for your Single Pitch Award training course, you might not be quite sure what to expect. You may have an idea of the syllabus, and you may have talked to other people who are further along in the scheme. But you will probably still have unanswered questions, so here are some pointers about what to expect.

1. It is a two-day course...

...packed with learning and fun on the crags. It is a challenging but rewarding experience, where you will meet like-minded climbers and form long-lasting friendships.

2. It is a training course...

...so you are not expected to know everything. However, you do need to meet the minimum requirements – you need to have logged 15 lead routes on single pitch crags using leader-placed protection. If you have done a good deal more than the minimum, you will be able to learn more than if you are struggling to keep up with learning the basics.

3. Questions are welcomed

There is only one silly question – the one you didn’t ask.

4. People come from many different backgrounds...

...and bring lots of different experiences to the course. Some might be teachers wanting to take their pupils out of the classroom. Some are doing it to skill up for taking friends climbing, others are pursuing a career in the outdoors – their aim may be to achieve the Single Pitch Award, or they may progress higher up the qualification ladder. 

5. There are guidelines that your course director will have to work within... 

...but at the same time he/she is given a lot of freedom as to how the course syllabus is presented. Delivery of the course content can be adapted to the needs of the group. The programme may be tweaked over the two days to take into account the weather and the progress of the candidates.

6. An overview of a typical training course programme

Every Single Pitch Award training course programme is based around this standard programme designed by Mountain Training.

Day 1
Course introductions and Mountain Training presentation
A day at a single pitch crag, looking at:
- equipment and how to use it appropriately
- managing and organising a group
- personal safety
- top/bottom rope systems using appropriate anchors
- group abseil
- how to avoid and solve problems
- crag etiquette
Evening visit to climbing wall looking at:
- equipment
- belay devices/techniques appropriate to different situations
- personal climbing skills
- how to manage and organise a group in a wall

Day 2
A day at a second single pitch crag looking at:
- personal climbing skills including personal abseil
- consolidation of top/bottom rope systems and group abseils
Logbooks and personal action plans
Consolidation period and assessment outline

7. What do people say about their Single Pitch Award training course?

The best way to find out what a course is really going to be like is to chat with folks who have already done the same course. The next best thing is to read reviews and/or feedback. Here are some comments from some of our Single Pitch Award training course candidates:

Thanks again for an unforgettable couple of days - taken in so much, learned loads and had fun to boot.

Fantastic instruction over a wealth of topics not just specifically related to the SPA. Chris gave his time and experience very generously and freely. A fantastic two days which feels like a week’s worth of activity - that has to be good value. Chris's knowledge and experience was exceptional and his generosity with it was inspiring. Brilliant.

Thank you for an excellent training, and I went away knowing what I need to do before my assessment.

I really enjoyed the programme of the course and the way it was adapted around us/the weather, felt very smooth and well run/planned.  I thought Chris was great. He was an inspiring person to spend two days with. He was clear about what he wanted, extremely friendly and encouraging. I learnt a lot and felt like Chris really cared about what he was doing. Chris was recommended by several people, all saying that he was the best instructor that they had either worked with or been trained/assessed by. Thank you for being inspiring, positive and encouraging.

Find out more info about our Single Pitch Award courses, check course dates, and read more client testimonials