Colorado Mountain School is a leader in guide training and certification, so a large portion of our staff also instruct for the AMGA.  Our examiners bring out the best in each candidate. Providing each candidate with a comfortable and stress-free assessment is our objective.  SPI Exams are based in sunny Boulder and Denver, Colorado.  As a result, we are able to offer them nearly year-round.


The Single Pitch Instructor Program teaches climbing instructors to proficiently facilitate and instruct the sport of rock climbing in a single pitch setting. The SPI is the only internationally recognized single pitch climbing instructor certification program in the United States. It was developed to fit in the AMGA Rock program.  More companies, institutions, and agencies are requiring that their instructors have some American Mountain Guide Association training and certification.


  • 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 SPI Course is a 27-hour training course that normally runs as three consecutive nine-hour days or day classes with evening sessions.
  • The SPI Assessment is a minimum of 16 hours run over a two-day period.
  • Certification lasts for three years as long as the candidate keeps current AMGA Membership and First Aid Certification.
  • After three years current SPI’s can re-take the SPI Assessment to regain the SPI certification.
  • Taking any higher level AMGA Course also recertifies the SPI certification for another three years.



1) You have successfully completed an AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Course or AMGA Top Rope Site Manager Course.
2) You have trad lead climbed a minimum of 40 rock climbing routes. A large number of these should be at 5.6 grade and hopefully on a variety of rock types.
3) You are capable of comfortably lead climbing 5.6 traditional routes (leader placing protection). You will demonstrate your leading ability on a variety of routes on the assessment.
4) You are capable of comfortably climbing 5.8 while on a top rope.


8:00am - 5:00pm


2 Days

Maximum Ratio:


Minimum Age:


Meeting location:

Colorado Mountain School
633 S Broadway St.
Boulder, CO 80305


During the exam, the candidate must show the examiner they have the technical and instructional skills to pass the AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Exam.  The SPI Exam is broken down into four distinct evaluation sessions; climbing movement, technical skills, teaching ability and group management skills. Candidates are evaluated by the AMGA marking system categories as explained below.

Exam Categories:

  1. Risk Management
  2. Client Care
  3. Technical Systems
  4. Application
  5. Terrain Assessment
  6. Movement Skills
  7. Mountain Sense
  8. Professionalism
  9. Instructional Technique

To gain SPI Certification candidates must:

  1. Successfully pass the SPI Exam
  2. Hold current AMGA Membership at Associate level or higher
  3. Hold current First Aid Certification

For more information about the AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Program, click here.


Colorado Mountain School offers a 16 bunk lodge that is conveniently located in downtown Estes Park (1 hour north of Boulder) and features a full kitchen, WiFi and hot showers. Reserve a bed now for just $40 per night (plus tax).


All of our courses can be run as custom outings.  If you’re interested in a course, but it doesn’t fit into your schedule, please check out our custom guiding options.

Day 1:

Will look at climbing movement and all aspects of technical systems from anchoring to assistance skills and general climbing competence.

Day 2:

The examiner may arrange for volunteer novice clients (non-paying) for the candidates to instruct in a group setting.

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