After just completing the single pitch instructor course and exam with the AMGA over the past month, I am more excited than ever to embark on the long and daunting road ahead to become a fully-certified AMGA mountain guide. The SPI course was an incredible learning experience.
I decided to take a course in a different location than my home state of Colorado to spice things up a bit and have the opportunity to climb in some amazing places. The SPI course I attended was in Red Rock Canyon, NV right outside of Las Vegas. This place is legendary. Some of the most sought after big trad lines in the country are here.
I was fortunate to be placed in a strong group of students with diverse backgrounds which really added some richness to the course. Our instructors were Tracy Martin from Red Rock Climbing Guides and Michael Schneiter, Owner/Head Guide of Glenwood Climbing Guides. Having the chance to pick the brains of these experienced guides about their careers and work/life balance was invaluable. I came into the course thinking “this will be a breeze”. I was quickly humbled by the vast knowledge and professionalism of the instructors and realized I have A LOT to learn. Just because you are a competent recreational climber doesn’t mean you will be a competent guide. Instructing involves more than just sound technical skills.
To my surprise, my biggest challenges throughout the three day course were mental. Having instructors and peers critiquing my work was not easy at first but, I found everyone was there to help each other succeed and learn from one another. To be successful in these courses takes some humility, absorbing new skills, and being open to new ways of doing things. This was exactly the type of growth I was after! I believe the AMGA Single Pitch Instructor certification should be the standard for rock climbing instruction outdoors. No matter if you are new to instructing, or a veteran, the SPI has something to offer everyone.