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Thinking of your SPA assessment soon?

Updated: Feb 20

So to continue the advice from folk who have completed their Awards recently, this mini series will focus on the Single Pitch Award. First up is Simon who has completed his assessment and recently gone onto to attend the Mountain Instructor Award Training....

Rock Climbing Instructor Assessment

GO CLIMBING – often!

It’s the best way of preparing of SPA


Retied figure of eight - is it tied to gold standard?

o Properly dressed?

o Correct loop size?

o Correctly tied off, with enough length?

SPA Rope work exercises if you live a long from the mountains.

Find a tree to practice building belays.

Practice building a belay just the rope. Using only slings. A mixture of rope and slings

Get a real understanding of IDEAS

Independent, Directional, Equalised, Angles, Solid Gear / Rock

Building a belay for Bottom Rope, Top Rope and Releasable Abseil

Build your belay with the rigging rope using a 3 point fully adjustable belay

See How to Climb Harder by Mark Reeves page 22

The big advantage is that it is easily adjustable. A sling with is big figure of eight is really awkward to alter the length of it.

Remember your personal safety - A Prussic is the very first thing you do – even when practising using a tree!

Bottom rope

Practice getting the distance right for the two back to back carabiners to hang over the edge

Top rope

Practice rope shortening of your belay, so you can look over the edge. Take into account rope stretch

Releasable Abseil

Double figure of eight, Bunny ears – Make one ear longer ear for the safety rope. This way the moving rope is not so likely to be running against the static rope

Think where you can best position yourself to see down the abseil crag.

Where do you want your clients to stand and then come forward to a safe position?

How do you stop you client not moving their feet when they start their abseil and tipping upside down?

Watch their heels. If they rock onto their heels – take them tight on the safety rope

rock climbing instructor


Are they second nature to you?

o Retied F8

o French Prussic. Ordinary prussic, Kleimheist – What is the benefits of each?

o Overhand

o Double figure of eight – bunny ears


Your runners will be checked on assessment. Practice on a boulder. Are they secure?

Experiment with nuts, offsets, cams and hexs in the same crack. Which works best and why?


Is that harness you have wearing for the past 8 years, really what you should be arriving at you SPA assessment wearing?


You will be spending a couple of hours at the wall

Buy Indoor Climbing by Pete Hill

Its full of useful information, in particular what to do if things go awry

Good luck!

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