SPI Photo Credit Irene Yee @ladylockoff

AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Program

2024-2025 Schedule

AMGA SPI Course October 8-10,  December 10-12, February 11-13

Cost: $695

AMGA SPI Assessment Oct 5-6,  Oct 11-12,  Dec 7-8,  Dec 13-14,  Feb 8-9,  Feb 14-15

Cost: $495

AMGA Course


The AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Program is designed to enable instructors to “proficiently facilitate and instruct the sport of rock climbing in a single pitch setting”. The program is for currently active rock climbers that have a real desire to teach rock climbing in a single pitch setting. Candidates should be passionate rock climbers who have their own equipment, regularly climb and have at least 12 months of outdoor rock climbing experience.
The SPI Course is not a “climbing” course. It is an instructor training course for active, proficient rock climbers and for current climbing instructors who wish to gain SPI certification. The SPI course presents many instructor specific topics such as professionalism, teaching techniques, risk management, group site organization, climbing site conservation/LNT and assistance/rescue skills.

gym to crag

The SPI Program is a three-day (27-hour) training course and a separate two-day (16-hour) assessment. Below is a sample SPI Course 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

SPI Assessment Overview


SPI Assessments are two days in length (minimum of 16 hours assessment time) and take place at a single pitch climbing area where there is a selection of traditional lead routes of at least 5.6 difficulty and top rope routes of at least 5.8 difficulty. SPI assessments examine all aspects of institutional single-pitch climbing. Day one examines candidates’ climbing movement skills and proficiency with technical systems including anchoring and assistance skills. On day two, the examiners arrange for the participation of volunteer novice clients in order for the candidates to be able to instruct in a group setting to assess candidates’ instructional and group management skills.


“Your disability does not matter. What matters is your ability.” – Rand Abbott


2 Days


April 1-2, 2023


10 Hours 


Guides who are certified Single Pitch Instructor or Single Pitch Guide can begin the process towards a Single Pitch Instructor Adaptive certification. Two more training weekends will be required to become SPIA certified.

Recreational climbers can become a coach/assistants at future adaptive climbing events by taking this course. Must have experience following trade and be able to climb 5.8 on real rock.

Para-lead aid climbing pioneer Rand Abbott will share his ground-breaking techniques to help adaptive athletes succeed in the vertical environment.

The focus will be on how to work with adaptive athletes who have a movement deficiency due to spinal cord injury and/or limb deficiency.

How to assess an athlete’s disability and choose appropriate climbing methods for them. How to address an adaptive climber’s concerns before they get up on the wall so they are prepared and in a positive mindset.

How to use a chest harness and drag pants for adaptive athletes.

How to lower adaptive athletes safely down a wall using tag lines.

How to prevent skin injuries and circulation problems arising from the harness and use of prosthetics.

How to address weight distribution concerns when there is a change to the body mass index due to weight loss or limb deficiencies.

Rope ascension with mechanical ascenders or T-bar ascenders. Arms only ascension. 1 to 1 2 to 1 and 3 to 1 system will be used.

Guides will learn how to rig anchors, top ropes, and fixed lines for the climber, the coach, and the guide using a rigging plate and static ropes.

Adaptive Climbing

“Your disability does not matter. What matters is your ability.” – Rand Abbott


1-2 Days







This is an adaptive climbing clinic, where we will honor your disability, then switch the focus to your individual abilities and how we can apply them to your climbing. Prior to the clinic you will be teamed up with a climbing coach (an experienced climber). Your coach will discuss your present climbing experience and your goals (where do you see yourself as a climber one year from now). They will also discuss what climbing techniques you know and do not know.

Para-climber Rand Abbott will share various techniques he has developed for roped climbing. Each participant will have a guide plus a coach to facilitate their climbs. We are planning for 8 participants, 4 guides, and 8 coaches. Group camping is available at Indian Cove Campground Friday and Saturday night. Meals are not provided. Camping not required. Feel free to book lodging in town if you prefer. If you need help setting up your campsite please let us know and we will provide a helper.

Friday 2:00 – 6:00pm – move into the group campsite and set up your camp.
6:00pm – orientation meeting at Indian Cove Campground
Saturday 8:00am – 4:00pm climbing, with a 2 hour break in the middle of the day
Sunday 8:00am – 4:00pm climbing, with a 2 hour break in the middle of the day

Meet Our Guest Presenter

Rand Abbott

My name is Rand Abbott. I am an adaptive climber.  In 2008 I suffered an injury to my spinal cord resulting in the loss of use of my legs. Prior to my injury I was a climber.  After my injury I wanted to continue to climb, and in 2013 I started climbing as an adaptive athlete and adaptive climber. After a year of adaptive climbing jugging lines, I tried to get back to lead climbing as an adaptive climber.  In 2014 I came out to Joshua tree CA and did my first adaptive aid lead climb on a 5.10 trad climb in the park.  To date, I have first ascents on many 5.12, 5.13, 5.14, A2, A3, and a couple of A4. being a pioneer in adaptive climbing, specifically adaptive aid lead climbing I enjoy working with other adaptive athletes/adaptive climbers helping them expand their climbing experience.