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AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Course

  • Price: $699.00
  • Duration: 3 Days
(2 customer reviews)

The AMGA Single Pitch Instructor (SPI) Course teaches climbers and aspiring climbing instructors to proficiently facilitate and instruct the sport of rock climbing in a single pitch setting.

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Don’t see a date and location that works for you? We offer custom guiding 365 days a year. 


The AMGA Single Pitch Instructor (SPI) Course is not just the quintessential course for aspiring guides.  It is also a course that many recreational climbers take to ensure that when they take friends and family out climbing, they are doing so in a manner that is consistent with professional rock climbing instructor standards. Regardless of your ultimate goal, the AMGA SPI Course is packed with valuable information and techniques for even the most seasoned rock climber.

Developed to fit in the AMGA Rock Program and greatly improve the climbing instructor’s skill sets, the three-day AMGA SPI Course covers all the required skills sets for managing a single pitch site from the base or top of the cliff. SPI Candidates can either access the top by non-technical terrain or by leading.

The AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Course teaches climbing instructors to proficiently facilitate and instruct the sport of rock climbing in a single pitch setting. The AMGA SPI certification is the only internationally recognized single pitch climbing instructor certification program in the United States.


  • It significantly improves the instructor’s skill sets and integrates into the next level of training, the AMGA Rock Instructor Course.
  • The program is for current, active rock climbers who have a real desire to teach rock climbing to novices in a single pitch setting.
  • The AMGA SPI Course is a 27-hour training course that normally runs as three consecutive nine-hour days or day classes with evening sessions.
  • The AMGA SPI Exam is a minimum of 16 hours run over a two-day period.
  • SPI Certification lasts for three years as long as the candidate keeps current AMGA Membership and First Aid Certification.
  • After three years, current SPI certified instructors can re-take the SPI Exam to regain the SPI certification.
  • Taking any higher level AMGA Course also recertifies the SPI certification for another three years.

Sample Itinerary:

Day 1:

  • Session 1: SPI and AMGA Program Overview
  • Session 2: Professionalism
  • Session 3: Equipment
  • Session 4: Knots and Hitches
  • Session 5: Belaying
  • Session 6: Protection and Anchoring
  • Session 7: Teaching
  • End of Day Debriefs

Day 2:

  • Session 8: The Climbing Site
  • Session 9: Site Organization and Group Management
  • Session 10: Base Managed Sites
  • Session 11: Assistance Skills – Base Managed Sites
  • Session 12: Programming and Risk Management
  • End of Day Debriefs

Day 3:

  • Session 13: Instructor Demo Lead Climb
  • Session 14: Top Managed Sites
  • Session 15: Lowering
  • Session 16: Assistance Skills – Top Managed Sites
  • Session 17: Rappelling
  • Session 18: Climbing Movement
  • Session 19: Review Sessions
  • Final Individual and Group Debriefs

Meeting location:

Colorado Mountain School
5958, 633 S Broadway unit a,
Boulder, CO 80305


Upon successful completion of the AMGA SPI Course, candidates that meet SPI Exam prerequisites are eligible to take the AMGA SPI Exam.

Our SPI Courses can be run as custom outings.  If you’re interested in taking an SPI Course, but it doesn’t fit into your schedule, please check out our custom guiding options.

All Upcoming Dates and Locations:

  • June 21, 2024 - June 23, 2024 - AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Course - Boulder, Colorado
  • July 19, 2024 - July 21, 2024 - AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Course - Boulder, Colorado
  • August 23, 2024 - August 25, 2024 - AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Course - Boulder, Colorado
  • September 13, 2024 - September 15, 2024 - AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Course - Boulder, Colorado
  • October 11, 2024 - October 13, 2024 - AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Course - Boulder, Colorado
  • November 8, 2024 - November 10, 2024 - AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Course - Boulder, Colorado
  • SPI and AMGA Program Overview
    • The participant will be able to articulate an understanding of the AMGA SPI Program, AMGA organization, programs, certification levels, history and mission.
  • Professionalism
    • Candidates will be able to describe the traits of a professional instructor and embody those traits
      as an instructor.
  • Equipment
    • Participants will have comprehensive knowledge of equipment and materials used in single-
      pitch climbing instruction, and will be familiar with its use, care, applications, and storage.
  • Knots and Hitches
    • Candidates will demonstrate proficiency in tying and understanding of the application of the following knots and hitches: Figure 8 family, Overhand family, Double overhand on a bight (BHK), Ring bend, Clove hitch, Girth hitch, Bowlines, Münter hitch, Münter mule, Friction hitches (autoblock, Prusik, Klemhiest), Double fisherman’s bend, Flat Overhand (Patagonia Knot)
  • Belaying
    • Candidates will demonstrate a thorough understanding of belay devices, techniques and
      communication. Candidates must also exhibit the ability to teach belaying clearly.
  • Protection and Anchoring
    • Candidates will demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of anchoring principles and risk management strategies for single pitch crags.
  • Teaching
    • Candidates will demonstrate an understanding of different learning styles and proficiency in both instructing in a group setting and coaching on an individual basis.
  • Selecting the Climbing Site
    • Candidates will be able to research climbing areas and interpret guidebooks, topos and
      climbing web sites in order to select appropriate sites for institutional climbing. Candidates
      will be familiar with the various land management structures in the US and their varying
      permitting requirements.
  • Site Organization and Group Management
    • Candidates will demonstrate proficiency in site organization and group management in both
      top and bottom managed situations. Candidates will demonstrate an understanding of both the
      environmental and social issues involved in commercial guiding in single pitch settings.
  • Base-Managed Sites
    • Candidates will demonstrate an understanding of the rationale for working at the bottom of
      single pitch crags and proficiency in the skills required to operate in this setting.
  • Assistance Skills: Base-Managed Sites
    • Candidates will be able to perform a variety of assistance skills that may be required when working at the base of a single pitch crag.
  • Programming and Risk Management
    • Candidates will demonstrate an understanding of programming and risk management issues involved in single pitch instruction.
  • Lead Climbing
    • Course instructor completion of a single-pitch trad lead climb demonstrating sound leading
      practices and considerations for student belaying of lead climbs.
  • Top-Managed Sites
    • Candidates will comprehend the rationale for choosing to operate from the tops of crags and display proficiency in the skills needed to execute these systems.
  • Lowering
    • Candidates will demonstrate proficiency at lowering clients and the use of appropriate back-
  • Assistance Skills: Top-Managed Sites
    • Candidates must possess the skills to assist climbers from the top of a crag in a single-pitch setting.
  • Rappelling
    • Candidates will be able to set up and manage institutional rappels, employ appropriate back-
      ups and execute assistance/rescue techniques.
  • Climbing Movement
    • Candidates will understand the principles of climbing movement and be proficient in teaching climbing movement skills in a group setting and coaching individual clients.


  • A genuine interest in rock climbing and instructing novices on single pitch crags.
  • At least 18 years old at the time of the course.
  • At least 12 months prior climbing experience.
  • An active climber with traditional lead climbing experience (leader placing pro).
  • Have trad lead climbed a minimum of 15 graded rock climbing pitches (any grade).
  • Are capable of comfortably climbing 5.8 while on a top rope.
  • Must be an active member of the AMGA.

2022 Climbing Instructor Program Policy Updates

12 month SPI and CWI Certification re-entry period:

SPI’s and CWI’s will have 12 months from the date of certification expiration to pursue an exam for recertification. If they do not pass an exam for recertification within the 12 month re-entry period, they will be required to retake the entire SPI Course or CWI Program.

2 Year SPI Course sunset time:

Starting January 1, 2022 the SPI Course will have a two year sunset time. After two years, if the SPI Course graduate has not passed an SPI Exam, they will need to retake the SPI Course prior to pursuing the SPI Exam.

SPI Program make-up guidelines:

Make-up options will be available for students/candidates who receive an “incomplete” final mark on any SPI or CWI Program because of factors limiting attendance including but not limited to weather or an emergency.


8:00am - 5:00pm


3 Days

Maximum Ratio:


Minimum Age:

Experience Level

Intermediate, Advanced

Activity Level



Rock Climbing



Price Includes:

  • AMGA Certified Guide and Program Provider
  • Digital AMGA Course Manual

Price Excludes:

  • Climbing Equipment
  • Park Entrance Fees (where applicable)
  • Food
  • Lodging
  • Transportation
  • Gratuity
  • Misc. Charges
    • Rescue Fees
    • Helicopter Rides
    • Trip Insurance
  • Expenses due to unforeseen circumstances beyond the control of Colorado Mountain School

Item Description Quantity Example Purchase At Rent At Equipment Type
60m Dynamic Rope

9.5-10.5mm; suitable for leading and top roping


Sterling Evolution

Neptune Mountaineering

Alpine Quickdraws

24” (shoulder-length) runners with 2 non-locking carabiners per runner (Alpine Draws).


CAMP 11mm Express Dyneema

Neptune Mountaineering

Approach Shoes

These are “hiking” shoes specifically made for approaching and descending from a climbing venue where scrambling is necessary, or even for climbing an entire route. They have sticky climbing rubber on the bottom and a formed fit to influence better climbing abilities while scrambling. Consider high-tops for additional ankles support if needed. Regular hiking boots or athletic shoes may be acceptable for many climbs.


Men: La Sportiva TX3 Men
Women: La Sportiva TX3 Wmn

Neptune Mountaineering

Auto Block

This is a small sewn loop to assist in rappelling. The #1 choice on the market is the Sterling Hollowblock, or the Sterling Autoblock.


Sterling Auto Block

Neptune Mountaineering

Belay and Rappel Device

Plaquette style devices with auto-block mode are ideal.


CAMP Piu 2

Neptune Mountaineering

Belay Gloves

Leather gloves, either full fingered or fingerless. These protect your hands from rope wear when belaying or rappelling and keep your hands warm at belays.


CAMP Axion

Neptune Mountaineering

Chalk Bag

Holds climbing chalk, which is usually made from Magnesium Carbonate. This is the same compound that gymnasts, weightlifters, and other athletes will put on their hands in order to improve friction and grip.


CAMP Patabang

Neptune Mountaineering

Climbing Harness

UIAA or CE approved; With belay loop and gear loops. The waist belt should fit over multiple layers of clothing.



Neptune Mountaineering

Colorado Mountain School

Climbing Pants, Shorts or Capris

For all seasons, cotton, loose-fitting (or tight, stretchy) pants are usually acceptable for rock climbing. Shorts are acceptable during the summer – though shorts expose the knees and shins to abrasions. New climbers are encouraged to wear pants or capris. A synthetic material (like in softshell pants) may be required by your guide due to potential rain storms.


Men: Rab Sawtooth
Women: Rab Womens Sawtooth

Rab Stores

Climbing Rack

1-2 sets of cams, 1 set stoppers.


Black Diamond Camalot, CAMP Pro Nuts

Neptune Mountaineering


5m section of 7mm diameter nylon cord. 7mm nylon is the standard for rock climbing, while 6mm cord is acceptable for certain applications in alpine climbing and ski mountaineering due to the lower forces involved.


Sterling Cordelette

Neptune Mountaineering

Double-length Sewn Runner

48″ or 120cm. Used for rappelling, making leashes, and improvised rescue.


CAMP 11mm Express Dyneema

Neptune Mountaineering

Face Mask – PPE

Optional; Look for a mask with a bendable border at the top so you can mold the mask to fit the bridge of your nose and prevent your glasses from fogging.

1 Clothing
First Aid Kit

Your guide will have an emergency First Aid Kit. You should bring a small kit including blister prevention and care products such as a role of athletic tape and Moleskin. Your kit should also contain a few Band-aids, some Tylenol and Ibuprofen.


Neptune Mountaineering


Proper lunches that are prepared ahead of time are recommended (sandwich, burrito, leftover pizza, etc), along with an assortment of snack bars, gels, or trail mixes. Feeze-dried meals are acceptable on overnight trips, but not day trips.


Made in Nature, Thrive Tribe

Neptune Mountaineering


Load with fresh batteries. Critical for hiking before sunrise and great to have in the pack in case you are caught out after dark.


Neptune Mountaineering

Lightweight Baselayer Top

Synthetic or Merino Wool; Worn against the skin and is considered a “wicking” layer that facilitates the movement of moisture away from the skin and through the layers. Hooded base layers add extra versatility.


Men: Rab Syncrino Base LS Tee
Women: Rab Syncrino Base LS Tee


Lip ScreenSPF 15 or higher.

Non-SPF rated lip balms can actually increase your chances of getting burned.


Rocky Mountain Sunscreen Lip Balm

Neptune Mountaineering

Locking Carabiners

Pear shaped carabiners are most versatile – screwgates or twist locks are acceptable.


CAMP Guide Lock

Neptune Mountaineering

Long and Short Sleeve T-shirt

Cotton or Synthetic and Merino Wool; Bring a variety of short-sleeve or tank tops, and a few long-sleeve. Synthetic shirts are not required, but many prefer the feel and quick-dry performance. If your program includes crack climbing, a long sleeve cotton shirt adds a layer of comfort.


Rab Mantle Tee

Rab Store

Mechanical Pencil

Great for taking notes in the field.

1 Optional
Midweight Baselayer Top

Synthetic or Merino Wool; Adds extra warmth and protection from the cold and wind without creating a moisture barrier as a jacket would. Having at least one base layer that is hooded adds versatility, protecting the neck and ears from cold winds.


Men: Rab Ascendor Light Hoodie
Women: Rab Ascendor Light Hoodie


Non-locking Carabiners

Most climbers prefer wire-gated carabiners due to their light weight, among other useful characteristics.


CAMP Nano 22

Neptune Mountaineering

Nut Tool

For removing rock protection.


CAMP Nut Tool

Neptune Mountaineering

Prussik Cord

1m of 6mm nylon accessory cord. Tech cord (kevlar, spectra) is not acceptable.


Sterling HollowBlock

Neptune Mountaineering

Releasable Assisted Breaking Device

Belay and rappel device that applies force to the rope to assist with breaking.


Petzl Gri-Gri, Trango Cinch

Neptune Mountaineering

Rock Climbing Helmet

UIAA/CE approved; Should be large enough to fit over a beanie. Plastic helmets are more durable, but heavier. Foam helmets are lighter, but more easily damaged when carried in a pack.


CAMP Titan

Neptune Mountaineering

Colorado Mountain School

Rock Climbing Shoes

Technical rock shoes are required. For beginning climbers, having a looser fit is advisable. In this case, loose means that toes are touching the front of the shoes when standing, but are not forced against the front of the shoe. In colder weather, thin socks inside climbing shoes are a great option. On long routes, rock shoes should be comfortable enough to wear for day.


La Sportiva TC Pro

Neptune Mountaineering

Colorado Mountain School; Neptune Mountaineering


Great for taking photos and videos. Smartphone batteries tend to shut down in freezing temps – keep your phone in a warm inner layer. A tether is ideal in the mountains to protet against dropping your phone.

1 Optional
Softshell and Fleece Jacket

Water-resistant, windproof, yet it “breaths,” which means it allows moisture to move through. Hoods are ideal. There are multiple thicknesses of Softshell jackets. A lightweight or medium-weight jacket is preferred. Fleece jackets are acceptable.


Men: Rab VR Summit Jacket
Women: Rab VR Summit Jacket


Sports Bra

Provides support and allows for full range of motion


North Face Beyond the Wall

Neptune Mountaineering

Static or Semi Static Rope

9-11mm, 30m+, for setting up anchors and fixed lines


Sterling HTP

Neptune Mountaineering

Sun Hat

A billed hat to keep the bright mountain sun at bay.


Rab Trucker Logo Cap



“Wrap-Around” style sunglasses with 100% UV Protection.



Zeal Optics 

Neptune Mountaineering

SunscreenSPF 30 or higher.

Travel size.


Rocky Mountain Sunscreen SPF 50

Neptune Mountaineering

Water Bottles

1 liter bottles are the standard. Bladders such as Camelbacks and Platypus are acceptable for above freezing temps, but only in conjunction with another bottle. Bladders are not acceptable during sub freezing temps. Sports drinks are also acceptable.


Nalgene, Hydro Flask

Neptune Mountaineering

Waterproof Shell Jacket

Non-insulated, Gore-Tex, Dermizax, Event, or other waterproofing system is required. Mostly, this jacket sits in the bottom of your pack and comes out when the weather gets nasty with precipitation. This jacket should fit over all other layers.


Men: Rab Khroma Cirque GORE-TEX Jacket
Women: Rab Women’s Khroma Cirque GORE-TEX Jacket




Q: Will COVID-19 impact my course?

A: 2020 made it clear that running programs while managing the risk of COVID-19 transmission is a challenge. It is a challenge that the Colorado Mountain School team tackled creatively and courageously. We may need to shift our classrooms to virtual settings at a moment’s notice. We may need to put on masks unexpectedly. We may need to go outside and distance ourselves. No matter what though, we are committed to running programs, providing education, and serving our mission, while also maintaining the highest standards of risk management. Please visit our FAQ page or contact us for more information.

2 reviews for AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Course

  1. A. Ricci

    Steve is without a doubt one of the best teachers I have had the pleasure of learning from. He presents the material in a thought provoking way and challenges the student to be not only technically proficient, but a great instructor and guide as well.

  2. Sarah Engel (verified owner)

    I debated whether I was really ready for the SPI course before signing up for it. If you are out climbing, and the one in the party responsible for the technical stuff regularly, I highly recommend the SPI Course for both technical training and SPI exam requirements. You will learn a lot about managing sites, instructing climbers, and best practices with gear along the AMGA guidelines. You will sharpen anchor skills, and get a deep understand of how to be the most efficient with your processes. My guide/instructor was Buster Jesik. I could not have asked for a better learning experience. I feel a lot more confident now, and look forward to working toward the SPI exam in a couple of months.

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