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Craig & Jimbo on SPA assessment @ Holyhead Mountain - is the belay set up in line with the pull? ;o)
© David Hooper, Feb 2007 The Single Pitch Award (SPA) qualifies you to take groups of people climbing in the UK. It does not cover large mountain crags, sea cliffs or multipitch venues. It is ideal for single pitch crags like many of the gritstone outcrops of the Peak District.
This article details the remit of the award, how to register for it and what exactly it covers. This article has been produced in conjunction with the Mountain Leader Training Association (MLTA).
VIDEO: Single Pitch Award
Gaining your SPA award will qualify you to supervise and instruct climbers on single pitch crags and climbing walls. As well as climbing routes, the award covers bouldering, using top and bottom ropes and group abseiling.
It's important to note that passing the SPA requires much more than good personal climbing skills. As you work towards assessment you will develop group management skills, learn how to choose suitable routes and venues to suit a group/individual under your supervision and become adept at setting up efficient abseils, top ropes and bottom ropes to suit different situations. You will also learn how to minimise climbing risks and solve basic climbing mishaps. The SPA also covers equipment, use of climbing walls, crag etiquette, crag access and conservation responsibilities.
Even if you never plan to work as a climbing instructor, completing an SPA training course is a very worthwhile experience. It will give you confidence in your own personal skills, and will prove invaluable if you find yourself in the responsible position of climbing with less experienced friends than yourself.
For the purposes of this scheme a single pitch route:
"I started climbing four years ago at a wall, was instantly hooked, met climbing friends and quickly made the transition from plastic to classic. The next summer was spent getting numerous sport routes under my belt at the local sandstone quarry, and honing my experience by learning from everyone and everything. Not much later, I was introduced to 'real' climbing and the thrill of placing my own protection.
After leaving the army (where I completed SPA training), I was looking for a new direction. I decided on a career outdoors and the first stepping stone was the SPA. I'd read all the literature on it more than twice and was determined to get the award. Racking up the required number of trad climbs before my assessment was a wonderful time: spending all those days on the rock and learning so much. The assessment course at Glenmore Lodge was a fantastic experience and really rewarding. Receiving the award was the culmination of six months hard gained experience and fantastic times. I would recommend doing the SPA to anyone.
As for work, I now take the occasional instruction course in and around Angus and Tayside. I am keen to expand my experience and aim for the MIA, so I am currently working in a normal job to cover the cost of my next few awards. I know that the next few years will be rewarding, and look forward to being able to share more of my passion for climbing."
You can find out what Adam's up to at http://adamclimbs.blogspot.com
How to register for the SPA:
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