/ CWA, CWLA and SPA

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TomDisomma - on 18 Aug 2013
First of all, seeing as I am new to this forum I'll introduce myself, I'm Tom, a 20 year old climber, living in Chamonix for the past two years.

My question is, for the SPA CWA CWLA, how does it work? Can I skip the training and head straight for an assessment? Not to make myself sound something that I'm not, but I feel I have all the relevant knowledge to go straight for an assessment, I've had the fantastic opportunity to climb with some amazingly talented people while living here and have been surrounded by climbing ever since I arrived.

I've got the the stage where I can lead a 7c sport clean, and can safely trad and multipitch.

Therefore could I bypass training or is their minor things they'll pull me on that I would only find out through the training days?

Tom

highclimber - on 18 Aug 2013
In reply to TomDisomma: There are minimum requirements for each award. have you familiarised youself with these? if not you can find them on the Mountain Training Assoctiation website Mountain-training.org.

Just being a good climber will not get you through the assessment and everyone will benefit from doing the training as the courses will generally cover more things than are required for the assessment. Don't be tempted to go for assessment until you know you will pass.
Dave 88 - on 18 Aug 2013
In reply to TomDisomma:

Here's the link for exemption-

http://www.mountain-training.org/faqs/exemption
simondgee - on 18 Aug 2013
In reply to TomDisomma:
the awards arent about climbing...the prerequisite climbing standard is very low...the key aspects are about management...group, ropes, etc. There was an article in the MTA's magazine recently identifying the most common reasons for failing.
As a gauge how would you deal with a student abseiling who gets her hair stuck in her abseil plate belay device? genuine question...and one that may help gauge where you are at.
highclimber - on 18 Aug 2013
In reply to simondgee:
> (In reply to TomDisomma)
> the awards arent about climbing...the prerequisite climbing standard is very low...the key aspects are about management...group, ropes, etc. There was an article in the MTA's magazine recently identifying the most common reasons for failing.

I was about to ask the OP about their reasons for wanting to do the awards as you will not be climbing much!

martinph78 on 18 Aug 2013
In reply to TomDisomma: I looked at this as I know that I can answer and deal with any of the questions/problems that are likely to be tested during assessment but...

There is a 50 exemption fee, and that may or may not be successful (and non-refundable). Then there is a higher chance of failure on the assessment. I personally think that paying for the training is worthwhile (about 100 more than going for the exemption) as there are far less chances of failure (in assessment or application).

I also don't have enough supervision of groups days in my logbook yet, and hope that the training will help me get a few more of these

TomDisomma - on 18 Aug 2013
In reply to simondgee: It's something that shouldn't happen to start with, hir tied back being first and with students helmet being on top of that, but if it did manage happen, abseiling down on a separate rope would seem most logical, you wouldn't be able to come down on the same rope and you couldn't lower them while still stuck, my guess would be tieing off when next to them, easiest and quickest would be to cut the hair. Guessing it's somewhere with foot access to the bottom if used for teaching so placing tension on the rope from below would prevent the person further jamming.

You've made me realise it's not about my own compentance but more to control and manage groups.

Tom
TomDisomma - on 18 Aug 2013
In reply to TomDisomma:

I'd like the awards as they're small stepping stones to my real goal of eventually being a mountain guide, but that will be many years yet.
highclimber - on 18 Aug 2013
In reply to TomDisomma:
> (In reply to simondgee) It's something that shouldn't happen to start with, hir tied back being first and with students helmet being on top of that, but if it did manage happen, abseiling down on a separate rope would seem most logical, you wouldn't be able to come down on the same rope and you couldn't lower them while still stuck, my guess would be tieing off when next to them, easiest and quickest would be to cut the hair. Guessing it's somewhere with foot access to the bottom if used for teaching so placing tension on the rope from below would prevent the person further jamming.
>
> You've made me realise it's not about my own compentance but more to control and manage groups.
>
> Tom

Do the training.
TomDisomma - on 18 Aug 2013
In reply to TomDisomma:

I'll be on a tight schedule, can it be done in under a month ? Ill be back in the uk for only 1 month before flying to Sweden for prep for winter. Sorry for all the questions
highclimber - on 18 Aug 2013
> (In reply to TomDisomma)
>
> I'll be on a tight schedule, can it be done in under a month ? Ill be back in the uk for only 1 month before flying to Sweden for prep for winter. Sorry for all the questions

In reply to TomDis

I thought it was norway where you types like to visit, in particular the underside of bridges?
TomDisomma - on 18 Aug 2013
In reply to highclimber: The company I work for is Swedish, I have the pleasure of teaching young Swedish guys and girls how to ski guide. Although it might be completely illegal before the season starts :o
Jimboandrews. - on 18 Aug 2013
In reply to highclimber: I second HC's comments,. Do the training.
simondgee - on 18 Aug 2013
In reply to TomDisomma:
As HF says do the training...your solution to the problem is a clear fail (which is not a criticism) but rather highlights the need for the right skills, acquired from the training...It would be money well spent.
Ill leave it to you to start a thread on the best practice solution:-)
martinph78 on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to simondgee:
> I'll leave it to you to start a thread on the best practice solution:-)


I'll look forward to yet another UKC debate ;)


Dave 88 - on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to Martin1978:

Other end of the rope should be on a tied off plate with plenty of rope behind it. Simply lower the individual to the ground.

Did I pass?!!
simondgee - on 19 Aug 2013
isi_o - on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to TomDisomma:
Ok, sounds like the training would be of benefit for group management, dealing with problems that arise when you are dealing with groups etc. You can do the SPA and then do the CWLA off the back of that - CWA is an optional extra, although if you are likely to be working in walls it is useful as it looks in a more structured way at games, warm-ups, a bit of coaching whereas the SPA is really all about knowing how to safely deliver a session. There are experience requirements in terms of group sessions you need to have worked on/ lead teaching you need to have done for these awards, see the MTA website for more details, you can download the handbook for each award from there which should tell you everything you need to know. There is a recommendation that 'all but the most experienced' candidates leave 6 months between training and assessment for SPA for instance, and in this time, to have led 40 climbs on trad (not sure how many of these need to be UK based, might be worth you checking up on that as you may find you need to do some climbs before assessment), and to have assisted with 20 group sessions. I know people who have done training and assessment in a few months, much less than the 6 recommended, so it is certainly doable... A month is not a lot of time though!
tom_in_edinburgh - on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to Dave 88:
> (In reply to Martin1978)
>
> Other end of the rope should be on a tied off plate with plenty of rope behind it. Simply lower the individual to the ground.

So if you are a damsel in distress hanging off a rope the CWA will lower you to the ground with no drama but the Chamonix guide will ab down to you, slice your hair and rope with a big knife, dangle you by the belay loop of your harness with one hand and ab safely to the ground with the other.

You might have passed the CWA but you'll never get a job in movies.
martinph78 on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:
> You might have passed the CWA but you'll never get the girl.

Fixed that for you :p


I'd have a safety line in place, as well as a releasable abseil. So you can lock off the safety line, release the abseil line, then either free the hair/whatever, or lower on the safety line.

I'm sure there are other options but think that's what they'd be looking for on the SPA?

Andy Say - on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to Martin1978:
> (In reply to tom_in_edinburgh)
> [...]
>
> Fixed that for you :p
>
>
> I'd have a safety line in place, as well as a releasable abseil. So you can lock off the safety line, release the abseil line, then either free the hair/whatever, or lower on the safety line.
>
> I'm sure there are other options but think that's what they'd be looking for on the SPA?

Top marks :-)

Of course you could have cut the girl's hair off to start with and avoided the problem completely....
simondgee - on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to Andy Say:
or dont climb with girls...
AlH - on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to Andy Say: Maybe I should be considering recommending to candidates that they carry battery powered clippers and scissors on their harness at all abseil sessions then Andy ;-)
martinph78 on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to Andy Say:
> (In reply to Martin1978)
> [...]
>
> Top marks :-)


Cool :)
Dave 88 - on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:
> (In reply to Dave 88)
>
> You might have passed the CWA but you'll never get a job in movies.

I haven't got any MLTE quals. In my line of work you actually do ab down and start chopping, much more dramatic!

Jonny2vests - on 21 Aug 2013
In reply to TomDisomma:

I went straight for SPA assessment, didn't have the time or inclination to do the training, or wait the enforced minimum 6 month gap, but I did do some research and knew what was coming. I'd done plenty of group management in the past which helped. I have no experience of the other courses. I was forced to do SPA to tick some box towards teaching lead climbing, so I wasn't that enthused, but as it turned out I ended up using it a fair bit.

My opinion, if you're solid and have the right kind of experience, don't do the training (for SPA).
poigol5043 - on 21 Aug 2013
I've had 5 sessions working with a group on a climbing wall working for an outdoor education centre using their NOP, will they count toward the 20 sessions you need working with a group??
Mike Nolan - on 21 Aug 2013
In reply to poigol5043: I think they will, but they will count as indoor sessions. The majority of your logged sessions should be outdoors.
poigol5043 - on 21 Aug 2013
In reply to TomDisomma:

The walls were outside... but they had artificial holds if you know what i mean, will they have to be crags to be classed as outdoors??
Mike Nolan - on 21 Aug 2013
In reply to poigol5043: Good question... ;-)
ads.ukclimbing.com
Jonny2vests - on 22 Aug 2013
In reply to poigol5043:
> (In reply to TomDisomma)
>
> The walls were outside... but they had artificial holds if you know what i mean, will they have to be crags to be classed as outdoors??

Yes.
Mike Nolan - on 22 Aug 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests: Reading that this morning, I agree. Although I'd assumed he meant one of those crags where holds have been added on to rock. Similar to the one in the Eden Project.
poigol5043 - on 22 Aug 2013
Pete Pozman - on 22 Aug 2013
SPA is about being a climber who is capable of supervising a complete range of abilities and age groups in complete safety. Being a climber is way the easy part. I can imagine someone who has worked in a (climbing/supervising) professional capacity in another country wondering whether the training would be being taught to suck eggs and finding out. But simply being able to do one finger pull-ups is way short of the mark. SPA is a prestigious qualification and in my (bitter) experience they don't give it away.
machine - on 30 Aug 2013
In reply to TomDisomma:
Hi tom

As a CWA and SPA myself I would recommend doing the course. Its not just about climbing. its about safety on the crag, rescues, group management, legal obligations, teaching techniques and much more.
simondgee - on 30 Aug 2013
In reply to Mike Nolan:
If the Eden Project add tree belays, a selection of loose flakes, a sprinkling of gravel, a big slopey boulder bit where the smokers can try to hide behind, slippy paths, access across farmland, and a bunch of other crag users ready to hurl abuse at groups greater than 3 then it will probably count...;-)
jonnylowes - on 31 Aug 2013
In reply to TomDisomma: dude I can't be arsed to read everything that has been posted above, but I'd imagine they'd say something like:
The OP was like saying, I've learned to drive from world class rally/F1 drivers, do I need to bother with lessons? How do I apply for a test.

It's all about learning how to 'teach' safely. Replace 'teach' in that last sentence with how to pass a test.

Seriously though, I wouldn't even go to an assessor without attending their training sessions. That's the best way to get the measure of what they are looking for, I've had training off one and been assessed by another and it's hard work.

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