Key info

Min. age for training: 16
Min. age for assessment: 16
Training: 1 day
Assessment: 2 hours

Average time from training to passing assessment: 1.6 years

Ideal for: Climbing wall staff or outdoor instructors who want to improve the fundamental climbing skills of others, young people who’ve completed NICAS Level 4 or 5.

Entry requirements


To register
  • You must be at least 16 years old
  • You must have a genuine interest in climbing and the coaching of groups on climbing walls.
  • You must have at least 6 months experience of climbing on a variety of climbing walls.
  • You must be a member (club or individual) of a mountaineering council (BMC, Mountaineering Ireland, Mountaineering Scotland). Find out why this is required
  • You must create an account on our system and register for the Foundation Coach qualification (cost: £65)
To book a training course
  • You must be registered on the Foundation Coach qualification
  • It is strongly recommended that you have attended a FUNdamentals of Climbing 1 workshop. Many candidates find attendance of FUNdas 2 is also beneficial at this stage.

To book an assessment course

  • You must be at least 16 years old.
  • You must have attended a Foundation Coach training course.
  • You must be familiar with the syllabus.
  • You must have attended a FUNdamentals of Climbing 1 workshop.
  • You must have updated DLOG* with your climbing coaching experience to include a minimum of 15 coaching sessions since attending training.
  • You must have added reflective comments** in the ‘description’ tab for at least five of these coaching sessions.
  • You must have prepared lesson plans which can be reviewed by the assessor (before the practical assessment).
  • You must be appropriately experienced and qualified to supervise safe sessions in the environment in which you choose to coach e.g. a site-specific sign-off by a technical advisor for bouldering; a Climbing Wall Instructor for roped climbing; Climbing Wall Development Instructor for coaching lead climbing and Rock Climbing Instructor to coach on single pitch crags etc.
  • You must have completed a Safeguarding Children in Sport module.


Training and assessment courses are delivered by our approved providers in public and private climbing walls across the UK or Ireland. A variety of cost packages are available, depending on what's included (food, accommodation etc) so you can choose one that's right for you.



Foundation Coach training lasts for one day and will cover:

  • The Foundation Coach syllabus
  • What to expect at assessment
  • Feedback and areas to focus on prior to assessment



  • Coaching behaviours
  • Planning
  • Preparing and concluding
  • Managing
  • Sporting values
  • Movement skills
  • Physiology
  • Giving feedback
  • Evaluating
  • Equipment
  • Belaying
  • The climbing wall environment



The provider who delivered your training will be able to give you feedback and a personalised action plan for your consolidation period. Use the syllabus to identify areas you need to focus on.

Practise coaching as many different types of individual and group as possible, ideally over a range of time frames and for a variety of objectives.

There is currently no time limit on the validity of a training course and some candidates may take several years to complete the qualification.

Our membership association (Mountain Training Association) offers peer-led learning opportunities and formal workshops on a range of topics, from navigation to leadership skills, to help you during this phase.

Join our association



The Foundation Coach assessment will be practical, with a minimum of two hours contact time per candidate to include observation of a coaching session.

Assessments are usually bespoke and you should contact a provider about arranging your assessment. As a result there may not be many assessment courses listed on the course finder.

 You will be assessed against the syllabus competencies in the candidate handbook. At the end of the assessment you will receive one of two results:

  • Pass
  • Defer (requires reassessment)
Meet a coach