Rock Climbing Instructor FAQs

1/ What is the definition of a single pitch climb as applied to the Rock Climbing Instructor scheme?

For the purposes of this scheme, a single pitch route is one which:
  • is climbed without intermediate stances.
  • is described as a single pitch in the guidebook.
  • allows climbers to be lowered to the ground at all times.
  • is non-tidal and has little objective danger.
  • presents no difficulties on approach or retreat, such as route finding, scrambling or navigating.

2/ Should I choose the Rock Climbing Instructor or the Climbing Wall Instructor?

The Rock Climbing Instructor covers the supervision of groups outdoors (at single pitch crags) and indoors. So if you know you want/need to do both and if you have the personal skills in leading and setting up belays outdoors then the Rock Climbing Instructor is for you.

If you do not lead climb outdoors and don't have the opportunity to acquire the necessary personal skills then the Climbing Wall Instructor may be a better fit. Also, you can start the Climbing Wall Instructor qualification earlier; you can do the training at age 17 whereas the earliest you can do the Rock Climbing Instructor training is 18.

3/ Does the Rock Climbing Instructor include the teaching of leading?

No, that is covered by the Mountaineering Instructor Award.

4/ Are the prerequisites for Rock Climbing Instructor the same as they were for the Single Pitch Award?

No, they were updated as part of the review which took place 2015-2017. The new prerequisites came into effect on 2nd April 2018 and can be viewed on the webpage or in the candidate handbook.

5/ What should I do if I was deferred at Single Pitch Award assessment?

When you feel ready, book a reassessment with a Rock Climbing Instructor provider. They will reassess you on your deferred competencies (i.e. whatever you got deferred on, so you should read your deferral report) and if successful, you will gain the Rock Climbing Instructor qualification.

6/ Why are there two types of training course?

The Rock Climbing Instructor training course lasts for three days and includes one day of training at an indoor climbing wall. Providers can offer a two day training course which misses out the indoor day if ALL candidates have completed Climbing Wall Instructor training as a minimum. These courses will be advertised on the course finder as Rock Climbing Instructor 'Training (outdoor only)'.

It is NOT possible for candidates to attend only two days of a traditional three day course.

7/ Does my overseas rock climbing experience count?

Overseas sport climbing routes can count as all or part of the minimum number required for training or assessment.

Overseas trad climbing routes can count for 50% of the minimum number required for training or assessment.

8/ If I am a qualified Single Pitch Award holder, can I order a Rock Climbing Instructor certificate to replace my existing one?

If you would like one, you can order a new certificate for the renamed qualification. The date on the certificate will be 2nd April 2018 and the provider will show as the national Mountain Training organisation that awarded your original qualification (for example Mountain Training England). This is to reflect the fact that you originally gained the Single Pitch Award and the Rock Climbing Instructor qualification only came into being on 2nd April 2018.

More information about replacement certificates can be found here.

9/ If I have completed Single Pitch Award training, do I have to log 10 sport climbs prior to Rock Climbing Instructor assessment?

The Rock Climbing Instructor qualification superseded the Single Pitch Award on April 2nd 2018. This new qualification requires candidates to have led 5 outdoor sport routes at F4 or above before attending a training course. It also requires the candidate to have led a minimum of 10 outdoor sport routes before presenting themselves for an assessment course.

These new requirements reflect the modern development of rock climbing and its current diversity around the UK and Ireland. Wide consultation amongst the sector resulted in a consensus that Rock Climbing Instructors should now have direct knowledge and experience of sport climbing and be able to advise and instruct participants in the safe practice of this activity, especially as this is now a strong pathway for participants with a climbing wall background. There are significant differences between climbing indoors and outdoors with bolt protection, including access, anchor set ups, risk assessment, climbing style and tactics. Sport crags are increasingly being used for group climbing sessions and the management of these differs from traditional crags and indoor venues.

Mountain Training recognises that these changes to the prerequisites may present challenges for those who have already completed their Single Pitch Award training and wish to attend a Rock Climbing Instructor assessment. Therefore there will be leeway given on the outdoor sport climbs requirement for Rock Climbing Instructor assessment for those who have already completed their Single Pitch Award training, until 31st December 2018. The minimum requirement of 10 outdoor sport climbs can be waived for such candidates during this period, provided that they have met the minimum indoor climbing requirement. It should be noted that this does not affect the standard of the assessment and candidates may be asked to complete a lead sport climb on their assessment course. From 1st January 2019 all of the prerequisites of the scheme will have to be met by all Rock Climbing Instructor candidates.