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Rock Climbing Instructor, the new SPA!

Updated: Feb 2, 2020

Rock Climbing Instructor, the new Single Pitch Award

So the SPA has been around a long time, especially when you consider it was the SPSA before that (the extra S was for supervisor), but it’s days are numbered! In April ’18 the award will be replaced by the Rock Climbing Instructor scheme. We’ll be continuing to provide the SPA until then, after which we will be providing RCI training and assessment courses.

If you’re already registered for the SPA scheme, you’ll have received an email (if you’ve kept your email address up to date!) from Mountain Training explaining the changes.

The first thing is there’s nothing to worry about, change is good!

– If you’re already an SPA, great! You will continue to be an SPA, plus you’ll also be an RCI. Mountain Training will update your details.

– If you’re an SPA trainee, you can either do your assessment before April ’18 and qualify as an SPA, you will then also be an RCI, or you can do your assessment after April ’18 and pass as an RCI.

– If you’re yet to do your SPA training, you can still do it prior to April ’18 and this will count as your training for your RCI.

– If you’re registered for the SPA, but won’t don the training before April, no drama, your registration for SPA is valid as registration for RCI too.

You’ll see that the change won’t alter your timeframe, nor will they alter the scope of the scheme, where you can work or what you can do with the award. You won’t be paying any more registration fees and assessments will be the same price (with us, other providers may alter their prices, who knows), training courses will increase in cost though (our price will be £190) because…..

The new RCI training will differ in that it is an extra day, now three days, to incorporate a full day indoors at a wall. If you already hold your CWA (to be renamed CWI) or are CWA / CWI trained, you’ll be able to attend a two day training, if a provider is running one where all candidates are CWA / CWI trained or assessed. The extra day is a good thing, means we can cover more and consolidate skills more during the course too.

More indoor fun times on the RCI, great news!

The scope of the scheme: – Teach climbing skills. – Take people climbing, bouldering and abseiling. – Manage groups safely in these activities.

The pre reqs to do the RCI training course: – Lead 15 trad routes (as per SPA) – Lead 15 routes at a climbing wall – Lead 5 sport routes – Plus the normal 18 years old, member of a Mountaineering Council etc

The consolidation period stays pretty similar but specifies a minimum of 20 group supervision sessions – 10 indoors, 10 outdoors.

The assessment pre reqs again stay similar to the SPA: – 40 trad leads (20 must be severe or higher) – 30 climbing wall leads at F4 or above – 10 sport routes at F4 or above – 20 group sessions (10 indoors, 10 outdoors)

You’ll find the syllabus will change slightly, but for the most part this’ll just be wording to clarify the points. The RCI will though look at how to manage other staff (assistants), and also consider the use of fixed gear like lower offs on sport routes.

So I guess put simply, the Rock Climbing Instructor scheme is for the most part the same as the SPA, but better! We’ll have time to cover more and help you become a better instructor.

In addition to the RCI, there will also be a Rock Climbing Development Instructor qualification allowing people to teach leading at single pitch crags, this will be a great award, but expect the pre reqs to be high (rightly so!), maybe 60 VS trad routes, 60 6a sport routes, 20 days as an SPA / RCI and for a 4 day training course and a 3 day assessment. We're providers for this too.

If we can be of any help with your qualification journey, or if you have any questions just get in touch!

You can check out the Mountain Training website for further updates.

As usual check out our Facebook, and Insta feeds for what we’ve been up to.

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