The SPA is designed for those wishing to take groups out and support novices rock climbing so a decent understanding of trad climbing, ropework and group management is required. There's no requirement to climb a certain grade on your training but on your assessment you want to be comfortable leading a Severe. Take a look at the minimum requirement for SPA training and make sure you fit into that. The more experience and knowledge before you go for training, the better, so you can get a lot more out of it.
Take a look here for more info http://www.mountain-training.org/award-schemes/spa
You will find most of the answers to your questions on the mountain training website.
From pg 9
4.1 To register you should have a genuine interest in rock climbing and the supervision of groups on single pitch crags. You should have at least twelve months rock climbing experience and be at least eighteen years of age.
4.2 You should be an individual or club member of a mountaineering council.
4.3 Candidates with particular requirements or special needs may wish to contact Mountain Leader Training staff for advice and guidance (see Appendix 3).
4.4 Candidates should allow up to fifteen working days for their application to be processed and returned.
4.5 On receipt of the registration form and appropriate fee, the home nationTraining Board will issue a logbook. Candidates' personal details and progression through the scheme will be recorded on the national Mountain Leader Training database.
....And from Training:
5.1 Before attending a training course, candidates must be registered on the Single Pitch Award scheme (see 4 above) and must have led at least 15 graded rock climbs outdoors on routes where the protection is leader placed....
Fooof, you're right on the borderline there, I think maybe wait till you can at least spend an hour fumbling about on a VDiff.
I have used it at my school since 1996, after school weekly outdoors or at RATHO etc. Just in from being at RATHO now.
Go for the SPA with the Remit - you can outdoor climb, abseil, indoor climb and you can lead outside and a climber can second you, great experience for kids. So a big step up, you can add-on the Indoor leading module later.
I also Teach Outdoor Learning during my timetable, which I do Climbing as well.
In terms of the Assessment, best practice 3 anchors all equalised and independent - if possible, be slick with setting up top rope routes and abseil management. And be able to lead a Severe and empty a rack of nuts, hexes and friends. Obviously not all routes will take all that protection but practice on routes where you can put lots of gear. If your Assessor seconds you on assessment day, if you can empty your rack, it's great evidence for them to see.
Every time you lead after the SPA Training, keep practising the 'best practice' you see.
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