Single Pitch Award

The Single Pitch Award (SPA) is a national qualification administered by Mountain Training, providing a level of basic competence for those who are in a position of responsibility during single pitch rock climbing and abseiling activities. It focuses on good practice which allows safe and quiet enjoyment of the sport, and it is valid throughout the UK and Ireland. Chris is approved by Mountain Training as a course provider for the SPA. 

There are a huge number of SPA providers throughout Britain, so why should you book with us? 

  1. We present the course syllabus in a relaxed, fun atmosphere, with the emphasis on interactive learning to encourage you to ask questions and get the most out of your time with us. 
  2. We view the assessment course as an opportunity for extending your learning and competence. 
  3. We offer discounts to returning clients: 5% off to any candidate who has previously done an SPA or MLA course with us. 
  4. Our clients think we do a great job! Check out some of their comments on the Client Testimonials page

Pre-Requisites for the SPA Scheme

Before booking a place on a training or assessment course, please download and read our detailed course notes to ensure you meet the minimum requirements:

SPA course notes

Useful Blog Posts

You might find the following blog posts useful for information on topics relating to Single Pitch Award courses:
SPA assessment day one, 9th February 2015
Cow's Tails: Dynamic Rope or Sling?
How To Build Good Belays Part 1: Selecting Your Anchors
Build your first climbing rack
How To Use Prusiks
How To Build Good Belays Part 2: Tying In To Your Anchors
Confused? You’re Not Alone
7 Ways To Make Your Goals More Achievable in 2017
What Should You Expect On Your Single Pitch Award Training Course?
Do You Know The Ropes?
Rope Skills & Rescues #1: Escaping The System
Rope Skills & Rescues #2: How To Pass A Knot
7 Top Tips For Rock Climbers & Mountaineers
Top Tips From The Experts For Aspiring Outdoor Professionals
Rope Skills & Rescues #3: In-the-System Hoists

Outline Programme for Training and Assessment Courses

We operate a flexible programme, allowing us to make the most of the weather conditions. We send you a question paper to complete at home and bring to the course.

Day One

Start 9.00am. Crag 1: group session skills - top & bottom belays, anchors, abseil set up, problem awareness and solving, bouldering.
Evening session: use of climbing walls, discussion of climbing ethics. Finish around 8.00pm

Day Two

Start 9.00am. Crag 2: personal skills - leading, stance management. Uses and abuses of equipment. Review of the weekend as needed. Finish around 4.30pm.

Course Dates

Dates for all our courses and guiding are listed on the calendar

If you have a group of four or more, we can put on a bespoke training course on a date to suit you. If you have a group of two or more, we can put on a bespoke assessment course on a date to suit you.

Fees 2018

£160 non-residential
5% off to any candidate who has previously done an SPA, ML or LL course with us.
Entry to the climbing wall is included. 

Equipment List for SPA courses

You can download a full kit list here

11.03 SPA training 013.JPG

Travel, Accommodation and Venues

Info and ideas for accommodation can be downloaded here:

Lake District travel and accommodation

Ambleside is a good base, as all our listed courses are run in the South Lakes area. We use single pitch crags in the Langdale Valley, Little Langdale, Tilberthwaite, Lower Eskdale, North Yorkshire and Lancashire. Our choice of crag varies with each course, depending on the weather conditions and the participants. We can also provide courses in other parts of the country on request.


If you need a review before undertaking your assesment, there are three options:

  • one day as part of a scheduled training course - either the group skills day or the personal climbing day. £80
  • full training course: see above
  • private guiding, max ratio 1:4: see rates on Summer in the UK page.

Interested? Please call for a chat on 07775 630 488