AMGA Single Pitch Instructor - SPI

The SPI is the only internationally-recognized single-pitch climbing instructor certification program in the United States. Photo: Leading Seventh Seal on Whitehorse Ledge.

The American Mountain Guides Association Single Pitch Instructor (SPI) Program teaches climbing instructors to facilitate and instruct proficiently 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.

We offer the SPI Course and SPI Assessment frequently throughout the season, and make room for individuals and small groups to choose private dates. If you need to get a course or exam finished this season but can’t make any of the scheduled choices, then just give us a call and we’ll try to arrange something that works.

Make sure to read over the information and prerequisites on the official AMGA SPI page before booking. Please contact SPI instructor Charlie Townsend with any questions.


  • AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Course (three days) – $525 per person
  • AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Assessment (two days) – $350 per person

Course Information

All of our SPI courses and exams are run by Charlie Townsend, who has been involved with the AMGA’s Single-Pitch Program since its inception. He brings a great deal of experience and insight to the material, but is open-minded and eager to consider alternative approaches. As one of only ten SPI Provider Trainers in the country, he has been exposed to a wide variety of techniques and concepts, and in many cases, has “trained the trainers” offering some other programs out there.

Details regarding the AMGA Single Pitch Program
* 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.
* Successful completion provides a tangible, recognized certification to reassure potential or current employers, insurance carriers, and land managers.
* 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.

Prerequisites for the AMGA SPI Course:
•You have a genuine interest in rock climbing and instructing novices on single pitch crags.
•You are at least 18 years old at the time of the course.
•You have at least 12 months prior climbing experience.
•You are an active climber with traditional lead climbing experience (leader placing pro).
•You have led a minimum of 15 traditional rock climbing routes (any grade).
•You are capable of comfortably climbing 5.8 while on a top rope.
•The above prerequisites are absolute minimums. Without having at least this amount experience you are unlikely to make best use of the training. Documentation/climbing resume should be provided at time of enrollment.

Mountains, Cliffs, & Routes

The SPI course and exam are conducted at various cliffs in the White Mountains including:

  • Cathedral Ledge
  • Whitehorse Ledge

Intermediate to Advanced


SPI Course - 3 Days | SPI Exam - 2 Days


Spring to Fall



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