/ spa - mia gap
Is there or should there be something between to allow instructors to teach trad climbing on single pitch inland crags? Is anything like this on the cards with mlta?
I don't think there needs to be an intermediate step for the MIA: there is already a surplus of Instructors and having another qualification will only dilute the available work further. The requirements for the MIA aren't that unacheivable if you are truely after becoming an MIA and compared to some other qualifications, isn't that expensive.
I hold the MIA and agree with the comment above. However I do feel there are potential instructors who are talented rock climbers who can't progress to an MIA because of the requirement to hold anML. I know an ML isn't to tricky but what if you live in Cornwall or Devon for example.
There isn't any requirement to have a qualification to teach anything on crags. It just comes down to being able to defend and back up your actions in a court should something go wrong.
The SPA assessment assesses not only your ability to manage groups, build appropriate anchors and to problem solve but also your personal competency as a trad climber and belayer and ability to place gear. If you can demonstrate good practice in teaching lead climbing and have evidence that good practice has been followed then why not?
However, I am not a lawyer. Your choice.
My opinion to answer your question: no, there is no need for another qualification.
A geographical limitation to people's ability to attain an award such as the ML is not a good argument for an intermediate step to the MIA. If you want to become one (an MIA) you will do what's necessary to attain it. I moved to Wales to pursue the award (among other things).
I'd like to see an SPLA... much like the CWLA but for single pitch crags only...
So that I could teach my students lead climbing outdoors without the full Monty of multipitch techniques. Quicker to pass, no need for ML, shorter training and assessment... probably cheaper.
Why do you need 40+ qmd's to take someone climbing on gogarth for example? It just seems a little over qualified if you ask me.
You don't need 40 qmds to take anyone on gogarth. You don't even need an MIA!
Maybe a bolt-on for SPA's?
The award scheme serves the voluntary as well as the commercial sector. We need to remember that climbing is a sport and commercial interests should not be allowed to dictate the structure of the scheme.
In the commercial sector the good will survive, the weak should not be allowed to use the award scheme to stifle competition.
I'm a freelance MIA. Outwith the winter I would estimate that about 50% of my work is at ML and not MIA level, and of MIA work that I do about 70% is in mountain or upland environments where my ML is crucial. I would also guess that these figures are not untypical for other freelancers.
Getting enough work to keep food on my table can be challenging enough with the full award, if I only had some sort of "outcrop teaching award" as suggested above I would have no chance.
I expect the guides have the same view of people with ML´s and MIA´s and would prefer to protect their poor business model as well!
With a more modular scheme you would still have the option of gaining as high a level as you wanted or needed. Others in the voluntary sector or working in the commercial sector with a different business model would be able to pick the level of award that they needed for their own situation.
Although many voluntary sector organisations (used to?) have their own, intermediate qualifications, the equivalent of in house certification by an outdoor centre - so it's not really a huge issue unless you want to work freelance as far as I can see?
In the last I have encountered plenty of people, some of whom were employed by or represented MLT, that expressed the view that the voluntary sector should use their awards or that in houses schemes would be overseen by award holders.
Maybe they should decide whether they want to serve the voluntary sector, the commercial sector or both. If they want to make in roads into the voluntary sector they need to ensure that volunteers within full time jobs can realistically how to advance beyond the SPA
Personally I think the ML is a far more valid qualification than an SPA. Most climbers with broad experience already know 95% of what is required for an SPA but I suspect that many of those same climbers would struggle with the requirements for an ML. I have doen both by the way.
To the best of my knowledge and at least up until about 5 years ago you didn't need any of the above to instruct over 18's.
Indeed, you don't need to have completed the SPA to go for MIA.
I hear this discussion a lot. In fact. I was asked about it on the last SPA course I ran.
This is purely my personal opinion.
The key point about teaching leading is that the instructor makes the appropriate judgement as to when to let the client go on the lead. How do they get that judgement?, by having loads of experience which comes from lots of climbing, instructing and general mountaineering skills. (ie the pre-requisites for MIA).
Whilst I accept that there may well be people who are capable of teaching leading without the MIA, I do not think there is a need for an intermediate award.
Mountain Training respond to significant demands for new awards (hence the new Lowland Leader award) but it isn't worth them creating an award that does not have a reasonable demand. Having said all that, the climbing awards review is coming up so who knows.
I live in Sheffield and have no interest in teaching navigation and taking groups hill walking. Also the ML is such an unclimber friendly award.
I also don't want to spend £2790 gaining my MIA (cost of training and assessments for summer ML and MIA at PYB).
What I would like is a qualification that allows me to teach leading indoors and on single and multipitch crags. I would also like to be able to take people climbing on multipitch crags and sea cliffs.
Obviously there would be limitations to this award. Ie you could take clients to the Mot and the Cromlech, but not to proper mountain crags like Cyn Las or Cloggy.
Perhaps the pre requisites should be a bit higher. ie 40 multipitch routes at VS or above, at least 10 of which were on sea cliffs. 40 single pitch leads at E1 and above.
Tom - who really doesn't want to learn to navigate / go hill walking.
Where would the cut off point be though, to distinguish between a crag in a mountainous area and a crag in the mountains?
Assuming a holder of hypothetical award could take someone up The Cracks on Dinas Mot, could they also take a client up *Ardverikie Wall for example, as despite the latter being at a lower altitude, it's surely more of an adventurous area given that you can't see the road & potentially will have to navigate to get out of there? (*there's probably better examples).
What constitutes a proper mountain environment?
It's a valid point, but a bad example! Binnean Shuas is not very challenging to get down or out from. I'd be surprised if anyone ever got map and compass out for it.
Good luck making a year-round full-time living out of that.
True, it would be an embarrassing spot to get lost!
As we have CWA/CWLA, it would to me make sense to add an SPLA as well. The Scout Permit system handles this, so why not the national awards?
I wonder if there's the same volume of demand for it as there was for the WGL, though?
Isn't that the same with the current SPA though?
I looked into this a while back and as a result found this on offer from the national centre at Tollymore:
Presumably there is a demand for this course, they've been running it for at least a few years that I know of, someone on here will no doubt know exactly how long.
Looks like how to guide up multipitch but not teach multipitch...
Before I got my MIA I might have agreed.
Now I've gone through it all and work as an MIA, I know how much more knowledge and experience and judgement teaching leading requires. I don't think a little bolt on to SPA would be enough.
I don't think there's a need for a modular system. It's quite achievable in a year (training to assessment).
I got my ML and did my MIA training whilst living in Swanage, if you want it enough you'll put the effort in.
As I've said before, SPA is a certificate of "minimum competence" and also has a bias towards group instructing.
I hold SPA for several reasons, but I, and many others, can and do confidently and competently teach lead climbing on both single and multi-pitch routes. In fact, I was doing this long before I got my SPA.
There is no "legal" requirement in climbing to have any qualification to teach anything. The only thing that tends to dictate it are insurers and selling points on commercial/youth group work.
If you're only planning on teaching your mates and want to check your skills, then go on a course/courses by all means, but you don't "need" MIA.
I don't see how hill walking and navigation give the relevant knowledge, expirence and judgement.
I do agree that there is a fair amount of judgement involved in teaching leading and I don't think an SPA bolt-on would be appropriate.
What I am suggesting is a new Rock Leader Award, where one could take people climbing/teach leading on crags and sea cliffs that do not have a complicated mountainous approach.
I don't see why you need to be a hill walking instructor before you can become a rock climbing instructor.
That is essentially what set sets the MIA apart - the ability to impart good, safe knowledge on without (hopefully) bequeathing bad habits which invariably plague most competent climbers.
I want to agree with TRip about the necessity of the requirement of the ML for most climbing instruction but from a financial POV, I think the introduction of another stepping, stone so to speak, will make finding work a nightmare (it's already a competitive market).
You have to remember that not too long ago, there was no MIA and now there is and now there's more people going for it, there seems to be more people wanting another step which can only really be a bad thing for the MIA's already out there.
I strongly believe it is relevant, especially to judgement, although not necessarily the only route to building judgement.
I'd need to give it more thought to clearly articulate my reasons.
I "think" most MIA people would agree - and not just because they want to protect their income...!
Lots of folk have pointed out that you don't need to hold MIA to work teaching leading on any crag in the UK. Remember, the HSE recognises four routes to competence, of which NGB qualification is only one. Some insurers will (for a higher premium) give you 3rd party and professional indemnity insurance to run activities for which you are not formally qualified. Once you have insurance, all that remains is marketing - if you can persuade people that you have the skills and experience to give them a safe, enjoyable time and that they'll get what they expect from you then Bob's your uncle!
However I work for a school and no matter how competent I say I am my employer won't recognise anything other than an NGB cert... I don't teach or coach climbing for money but an experience for school kids. Having the SPA and ML, I was pleased to do the CWLA and now look to MIA in the near future to help extend the experience I can deliver. They soon out grow a tiny wall... but realistically it'll be used to supervise leading on single pitch crags.
True, but it is not MLTE etc's role to limit availability of skilled/qualified instructors to keep rates up, like some Councils do with taxi licences.
I had no idea id get so many replies to this.
The idea of SPLA is pretty much exactly what I was thinking. Simply something that says you are competent to teach people how to place protection on a single pitch crag.
Leading multi-pitch mountain routes is a whole different kettle of fish that I think should be taught by an MIA but I really don't need navigation skills to take a group from the car park to the bottom of Birchen.
....but this is the point. It isn't just about placing protection is it? It is about good judgement and knowing when to let the client off the ghost rope, knowing when it is OK to leave the belayer unsupervised, being able to deal with any problems that occur, being in a position to help as required etc etc. All of this require more than just a weekend bolt on.
Why not get an SPA and then teach them placing gear skills from the safety of a top rope? If they want to buy a rack and go leading for real, they can do that in their own time. Cajoling your mate into his first lead is very different to cutting the apron strings with a paying client.
"It is about good judgement and knowing when to let the client off the ghost rope, knowing when it is OK to leave the belayer unsupervised, being able to deal with any problems that occur, being in a position to help as required etc etc."
So is teaching indoor leading, though in judgement terms to a lesser extent. CWLA does not appear to have caused problems by existing.
I don't think an SPLA would be a weekend bolt-on, it'd be more than that, just as SPA is more than CWA. But it also has nothing to do with hillwalking.
I once would have been keen to get a qualification ticket for teaching authentic trad climbing (as opposed to the sterilised climbing-flavoured activity of the SPA) but the thought of having to take children on a camping trip in order to do so was utterly ridiculous and effectively discouraged me from doing so.
Thankfully the requirement for a formal ticket has never been mandatory in the UK and I could easily justify higher level coaching on the basis of amassed experience.
If your employer won't accept anything other than an NGB cert, and they also want their pupils to learn to lead climb, then they should look at the cost of employing an MIA for the required number of sessions, and compare that to the cost of paying for you to do the training and assessment. If they are unwilling to fund neither, then you will just have to do as Gwilym has suggested and do everything within the remit of SPA. Either that or a charm offensive, quoting the advice from the HSE and AALA about appropriate experience and writing a benefit/risk assessment for the environment and activity you wish to lead.
For those who are keen to teach leading skills but only have SPA or equivalent, there is plenty that can be done short of pupils actually leading. This can include gear placing and clipping while on a top-rope, constructing top anchors and belaying at the crag top, lead belaying peers who are also on a top-rope, following you up climbs you have led, etc. All the individual lead climbing skills can be taught and coached within the SPA remit. This can still be a highly rewarding activity for young people.
I forget the name of the provider, but "Turbo SPA" sessions are advertised through MTA fairly frequently and seem to be available at most MTA regional CPD events.
Indeed, the formal awards are logbook awards, and should be considered in conjunction with an up-to-date log of what you have done.
You could get the schools technical advisor to make a call on this?
I believe that the rock climbing scheme is fairly sorted as if you wish to teach leading as a SPA you can always go for CWLA but only teach leading indoors. If you want to teach leading outdoors then do the MIA. However my complaint is the need to be MIA to take people scrambling. I would like to see and scrambling module to be added after a consolidation period after passing the ML. Why do you need to be able to multi pitch just to take people scrambling on a graded scramble like Crib Goch? I know you would need to build anchors but surely when you pass your SPA you know that?
Isn't that the same thing, just the other way round? I.e. MIA is all very well if you want both skillsets, but if you only want one of them it's a bit of a faff?
If anything I think it's more justified to need both skillsets for scrambling than I do for the sort of single-pitch leading you might do in the Peak.
This is a different thread topic. I think there are very good reasons for the minimum standard for roped scrambling to be the MIA. if you can't see what they might be, I suggest you go and do some grade 2/3 scrambles in poor weather!
From my understanding that in recent years this courses at Tollymore have failed to run. I'm not sure how many people hold the award, but it doesn't appear to be many.
This same conversion comes up every couple of years, and once many moons ago I would have been jumping on the band wagon asking for such an award. I think that it could have its place, and to be honest I don't think that it would effect many people (MIAs and above) as most people still aren't willing to pay to learn to lead. I would also suspect that the up take won't be that high, but even if such an award was established people would still moan about the pre-reqs being too high etc.
He won't, but he will pay for MIA :-)
So that sounds like a win to me!
Scrambling is probably the hardest part of the MIA (in my opinion of course), the judgement needed on a scrambling day is continuous and you're balancing the speed you and your clients are moving and the safety aspect. Rope or no rope - pitch or move together - climb down or lower down etc.
I love taking clients on a scrambling day, routes like Cneifion Arete, but it's quite mentally tiring, so much going on.
If you had an award to take people on stuff like Crib Goch and N Ridge of Tryfan, they would push the boundaries and end up on harder stuff, like ML's end up on Crib Goch etc.
It's great, but hard to juggle home, work and qualify...
in a grade sense the gap is only one grade. in an experience sense its worlds apart and should be. going for the MIA should be the large commitment it is, every step up is double the financial cost and at least double the experience. This is the way it should be I prefer this method than all these "bolt-ons" at lower qualification levels. CWA+Abseil+CWLA+coaching award. Its seems a lot for a little I'd hate the outdoor awards to go this way.
I think Mountain Leader before Mountain Instructor makes sense, and hill walking teachers you a lot about approaches and navigating easy terrain it is the bridge between SPA and MIA.
The Northern Ireland Board deliver RCLA-MP, which I completed back in 2004. A great follow-on from SPA if you wish to progress.
The bolt-ons definitely make sense to me at the lower end. I am looking to get CWA within the next year or so - I'm probably at least 3 years off SPA if the weather carries on like this!
You can introduce people to lead climbing without being MIA, e.g. indoors with CWLA, outdoors on single pitch crags with SPA (simulated leading, i.e. on a bottom or top safety rope with another person lead belaying and the climber practicing placing gear, or alternatively - you leading someone up a climb (the best way to learn about lead climbing initially is undoubtably to second an experienced climber). Obviously these require working with very small groups and need careful management, and I suspect the people asking the questions and suggesting a lead climbing module, are probably used to working with more than 2 or 3 people at a time. In terms of introducing people to full trad lead climbing in a professional capacity, the MIA is the appropriate qualification. I was SPA for many years before becoming MIA and I did at times share some of the frustrations voiced here, as I felt that I was experienced enough to introduce people to lead climbing. Having gone through the MIA process, I now know that I was wrong. Contrary to some beliefs, introducing people to lead trad climbing is a big deal, in terms of responsibility, duty of care, management of the session and the skills required to run a safe, effective teaching session. There will be very experienced SPAs out there, who like me at the time, will feel like they are more than capable of introducing people to trad climbing in a safe and effective way, but the problem is that there are plenty that just aren't and some that would introduce people to lead climbing before they were experienced enough to do so. Yes, a new module could include a log of experience and in depth training and assessment, but it would have to be a very lengthy process and be much more stringent than many current SPA assessments, becasue of the level of responsibility associated with the outcome, the skills needed, and to avoid question marks over competency. There are no question marks over the MIA. I know, becasue I've been through the process and know the level of experience and competence required to hold the award. If you really want to teach people lead trad climbing professionally, then aim to do your MIA, or just introduce people in an informal/non-professional way, i.e. take someone under your wing as a friend and get them to become your second or link in with a club etc. Remember most MIAs spent time as an SPAs and there aren't many MIAs who think that adding a lead trad climbing module is a good idea. In my case, this honestly isn't becasue I'm thinking about protecting my own work oportunities, it's becasue I can reflect back on my time as an SPA and identify that, from a professional point of view, it is right that I couldn't teach lead trad climbing until after I'd completed the MIA process.
Regarding the MTNI/BoS RCLA:
An interesting nuance on this one. I did the training in 2012 when the course stated that it had a UK remit. However, it was not recognised by the then MLTUK (now MTUK). I have yet to assess and now have my doubts as the remit has now changed. The award now clearly states it is applicable to Ireland and NI only.
So what is the problem with that?
With a MTUK recognised award you can use the 'cheap' MTA insurance.
With the award as it stood the BMC 'in remit' insurance would have been appropriate but a bit more expensive.
Now the BMC 'out of remit' cover would be needed, at a premium cost. Also, if push came to shove, I might have to show that the crag I was operating on was not 'different' to an Irish crag. Food for thought.
That said, I think the training was great and I would recomend it to anyone who climbs multi-pitch, whatever their motivation and especially to members of college clubs taking out less experienced members.
In addition to my earlier comments and in response to some of the others on here and on the freelance outdoor instructors fb page:'Independant progression' should be a key consideration as an outdoor practitioner. From an SPA point of view though, that should be progressing them using the methods I highlighted in my previous post and directing them either to the next step via a club, climbing with another climber in their own time, etc etc. In a group session, which is how the majority of SPA's work and are employed, teaching lead trad climbing isn't often appropriate. My recommendation for school/youth/commercial groups (who are deamed to have people ready to get on the sharp end in a trad climbing environment) would be for the group organisers, to bite the bullet and bring in an MIA in addition to the SPA. I regularly work alongside an SPA and run a lead climbing workshop within a typical SPA bottom/top roping session. This way everyone is busy and I just concentrate on 2-3 people at a time, often jugging up alonside the novice lead climber on a chosen route. The SPA supervises the rest of the group and we rotate the students who are 'ready' through the lead climb. Before they get to this stage with me however, they will have practiced placing gear in previous sessions, completed simulated lead climbs, seconded an experienced climber) all of which can be done under SPA. They will have all also lead climbed, and importantly - lead belayed, indoors. There may be an argument for tweaking the SPA to include teaching lead climbing indoors, as this would help aid progression further, but for me that is where it should stop. Quite simply - there would be too many SPAs running lead climb sessions, because it's what they want to do and becasue it's more interesting for them as opposed to what is appropriate for their group and the individuals within that group. This would undoubedly result in accidents. There are enough ways for people/'ordinary climbers' to get into trad climbing and most will do it the traditional way, but if a client group are looking for professional input/teaching, then an MIA is the way forward! Re. the argument on having a separate award for teaching lead climbing on non-mountainous multi pitch crags... this just confirms to me the lack of experience/knowledge of some people asking for this award. Even multi-pitch crags next to the road, often require mountaineering skills in relation to decents with clients and it would be near impossible to decide where the cut off is in relation to which crags may need ML navigational skills in poor weather. If you really want to become a professional instructor in lead trad climbing, then do the graft and become an MIA. The journey that you will go on will be long, and at times hard, but at the end of the journey you will be a different person, with the appropriate levels of competence, experience, and skills to safely and effectively teach others in a trad environment.
"and it would be near impossible to decide where the cut off is in relation to which crags may need ML navigational skills in poor weather"
Let's not get off track here. There is a difference between requiring MIA type access skills and ML navigation skills. There is no question that remote crags, be they moorland or mountain, need an ML level of navigation and group management. But that is not the issue. For instance, the RCLA training recognises the fact openly that you are being trained to get safely up and down the crag, not to and from it.
The issue raised is progression to the teaching of lead climbing. Route selection is a key skill and top and bottom access important criteria in that selection. If a SPLA were to exist, then surely this would be an important part of the syllabus, not a reason it couldn't work.
Haven't read all of this, but what could work here is the Sea Cliff Instructor Award, MIA without the navigation (inland crag rules as for SPSA).
Suggest you read the original post again. Sea cliffs are just about the last place we are talking about. MIA territory, no quibble.
I think it a little bizarre that an SPA can run a climbing wall on a day to day basis, but in order to run NICAS you need an MIA as a technical adviser. Also with NICAS the wall has to be registered rather than the provider, with so many climbing walls in schools these days and youth organisations looking to do Nationally recognised awards it seems a little limiting.
I also had a schools outdoor education adviser tell me once (as an SPA) that I am not qualified to teach someone how to tie a knot?
So are sea cliffs not covered by MIA?
Wow, there's some odd views on this thread! And it's telling that the people moaning are people that haven't been through the scheme and show a lack of understanding about it all.
I think this could definately be a workable idea. As long as the remit was specific to include Single pith crags with an easy approach an no nav decisions to be made. The climbing pre requisites could be exactly the same as MIA meaning people who want to teach climbing get the appropriate skills without having to spend a fortune gaining their ML
Essentially to me it would be to SPA what CWLA is to CWA. So if you'd be within your remit top-roping on that crag using SPA, you'd be within your remit leading on it using SPLA. If not, it would remain in the remit of MIA.
I'm SPA, have been for a while and have my MIA training this summer, I can't say Ive ever felt the need to be more qualified than SPA without going down the pathway of MIA, SPA provides a good foundation of experience and knowledge for the holder to safely operate and instruct/supervise people who often take their first experiences into climbing.
Those who then want to move onto the next steps head into MIA territory and should be passed into the MIA system, as an MIA would give them an experience set to their needs, the right crag, conditons, route with the right gear, safety, progression and limitations, it works well and the reason the pathway can take some a fair while is because the MIA has a host of variables to consider and control, which usually is done so effectively because the experience has been gained over time.
As said, I'm not MIA, I've enjoyed my time as an SPA and very much look forward to the busy few years ticking through the MIA scheme and respect those who have done already.
Its a little more complex than that. The MIA alone isn't enough. You need an MIA who is competent to give Technical Advice to a Climbing Wall. This usually means one who has extensive experience of working at and often managing a wall and who has probably undergone further training or has experience of giving Technical Advice. The MIA bit is about the overall experience of instruction/coaching, often working on syllabus based courses and providing training and assessment to other Award holders as much as the hard technical skills involved. Its just a base line. If the SPA was that base line look at the minimum requirements in terms of sessions and climbing to pass the Award. Would a person with only that be good starting place to find a TA? Now look at the minimum experience requirements to pass MIA. I'd suggest that that is a better starting place to look. Then add in Wall specific experience and knowledge. Now you are beginning to have someone who looks like a TA for a scheme like NICAS.
For the record there are people who hold the SPA or even no Award (take Ian Dunn for example) who would probably make good TAs. But it is difficult for NICAS to assess each an every individual without some kind of benchmark of competence to work from. The MIA is a more appropriate starting point than the SPA or even CWLA.
But that is just bizarre. Was he an SPA? ;-)
Yes, a large and ridiculous one. A gap that was recognized in the services and addressed many years ago. There have been rumors over the years that the civvies might catch up, with something similar, alas no. Plus there are masses of MIAs out there now who understandably want to protect their business model.
Look at this from a client's point of view. There are loads of MIA holders giving lead courses; they're not difficult to find. Why would I go to an "SPLA"? Would it be the budget option for people wanting instruction from people with less experience? I don't think it would fly.
Exactly Neil: I dont want to take anything away from MIA's the work they do in the mountains and on multi pitch crags is definitely more serious and therefor requires more experience. However as you say, as long as the remit is the same as if you were an SPA top roping there then I see no problems.
There are numerous course at PYB to help people gain skills which are usually covered in MIA training, so its not as if the 'SPLA'S' would have to be under-experienced.
The problem is how these qualifications are being used by the industry. the SPA was never meant to be for paid teachers, the notion was a level which could allow senior club members to obtain indemnity insurance to
introduce newbies to climbing on a casual basis without the risk of being sued. its fair to say its been widely misused by the outdoor ed market to get cheaper staff.
the MIA was designed as a more accessible first step to professional instructing as the full guide status is hard to achieve for many outdoor
"its fair to say its been widely misused by the outdoor ed market to get cheaper staff"
Do you have any evidence that that "misuse" has actually caused issues?
(sorry to bump a much earlier post but)
Technically Dartmoor counts as a 'mountainous region' for the purposes of the ML, although I don't know what the assessors would think if you turned up with 40 QMDs on Dartmoor :P
And on a more current topic, you can do the CWLA from the SPA. What seems an obvious extension to me would be to add sport climbing? This would seem much more straightforward than teaching trad leading.
How does that work then? One person is as likely as the next to get sued regardless of their formal qualifications and not too many years ago (7 or 8) it was possible to get insurance to instruct without any certificates. If you are sued it is because the claimant believes you have been negligent not because you are unqualified. At least that's my understanding.
I wonder how many SPA's have done the cwla to further their remit a bit?
> So are sea cliffs not covered by MIA?
As I said, no quibble. i.e. They are within the MIA remit and there they should stay.
Well it was certainly a significant factor for me.
And yes, if there was a SPLA I would probably do it.
And no, given the rate I am clocking up post ML QMD's in sole charge etc. etc., I don't anticipate following you to MIA any time ever :-(
SPLA? Why do people assume that the middle ground would have to be single pitch?
The services equivalent is multi-pitch, more than one client, teaching people how to lead. Its almost MIA, but without all that tedious mucking around on multipitch crags that are firmly in ML territory, of which there are plenty.
Probably because MTUK never takes big steps. It would appear that the RCLA is now firmly 'unrecognised' to such an extent that even BoS/MTNI have removed the UK reference from the qual. What chance therefore that they would reverse that trend AND add lead instruction to the remit. Not a snowflake's in hell I would think.
100% of the people I know hold the SPA are doing the CWLA (albeit that number is 1) :P
I've come to this rather late, but I see the thread's still going.
The post above talks about paying clients. If you want to make your living out of mountain instruction them MIA is surely the way, and it's not overly expensive, in time or money, as training for a career.
But I think, as others have said, the greatest call for a "SPLA" award may be from teachers and voluntary youth group leaders.
In that context the poster I've quoted is wrong IMHO. What he's suggesting is that you (with your SPA and lots of personal experience) carefully chaperone your keen young novice all the way up to the point that they're ready to go for their first real lead, and then you dump them - leave them to their own devices - because your employer says you can't actually let them lead without the MIA. So their actual first lead is the first time you're not around to give them advice and support. Having worked in a school setting, and advised schools on adventure activities, this has always seemed to me to be something of an issue.
So yes, if only for this reason, on balance I'd support an SPLA, or perhaps better, a modularisation of the MIA - recognising that it shouldn't be just a quick bolt-on to the SPA, but an integral part of the MIA, open as a module to those whose depth of personal rock climbing experience is appropriate to MIA, but who are not hill-walkers, or have no reason or wish to jump the hill-walking hurdles that the full MIA requires.
That's just a load of alphabet soup to me I'm afraid.
This idea sounds similar to the forces version of the advanced summer ML award. A mix of summer and spa that allows an individual to lead a party on grade 3 scrambles.
At a clubs day by the BMC I went to a few years ago it was made very clear that the tradition of experienced climbers introducing newcomers to climbing was absolutely fine from an insurance point of view, and BMC members would be covered by the standard 3rd party cover which comes with membership while doing this. Only professional instructors need specific PII.
Qualified or not, you're still at risk of being sued if you are negligent. It's also possible that a qualified person might be judged by a higher standard of competence than the average club climber.
In Poland we don't need to be tested in navigation skills and map reading but instructor has to be a really good climber.Check out our entry requirements.It would be interesting to see some others criteria form Italy,France,Spain or Czech etc.
The criteria for the degree of rock climbing instructor PZA( Polish Mountaineering Council):
*Completing the instructor course with specialization in sport climbing.
*Recommendation of the club affiliated to PZA.
*Having good health, certified by GP.
*The practice of climbing at a sufficiently high level and of sufficiently large practical experience and comprehensive knowledge theoretical and practical.In particular, the candidate should :
*have at least four years climbing experience
*at least 20 outdoor sports routes, the difficulty of not less than VII+ UIAA (6c/6c+)in on-sight style
*at least 20 outdoor sports routes , the difficulty of not less than UIAA VIII (7a/7a+) in red point style
*know at least five areas of climbing of various nature (including at least two outside Polish borders )
*documented a reliable list of 20 climbs on single and multi pitch routes when placing gear in the crags and in the mountains , about the difficulties of at least VII (E2/E3) in on- sight style.
How that compare to UK or others? Any one has a idea?
That's quite interesting, as getting to 7a is very much a physical ability thing rather than just a skill thing. I wouldn't be surprised if I never reached 7a, yet that doesn't make me a bad instructor.
Hi, the E2/3 standard is, I believe, the current standard for UIAA guides. In the UK the entrance requirement for Mountain Instructor Award is 'substantial climbing experience', generally regarded as 100+ multi pitch, 30 of which have to be named multi-pitch climbs at VS 4c (c. UIAA V+) on mountain crags and sea cliffs. For the Single Pitch Award, it is 15 or more climbs for training and 40 including a substantial number of climbs at Severe or above (c. UIAA IV+) for assessment. In all cases, this is trad gear, on-sight.
Well for a start we have no instructor course in sports climbing... is trad climbing in Poland a much more 'advanced' activity whereas in the UK it is (as far as the MLT are concerned) the 'only' outdoor climbing?
VS 4c seems a sensible level - but again I think pressuring people into E-numbers is too much, particularly given that many of us have no interest in poorly protected routes.
I suspect that while bolts and hangers continue to fail in an unpredictable manner (all be it not too often), MLT will continue to steer clear of sport climbs.
That said, there is no specific mention for or against sport climbs in the SPA handbook regarding the remit of the award. However, the entry requirements do specify climbs with leader placed protection.
I can see where you are coming from. In practice, anyone not climbing at least HVS will have a hard time on the MIA I think. They expect fluid progression at VS, not thrutching and grunting. As for the Guide, you need to be fast and confident in very exposed situations. I think in this case the E2/3 capability is a fair request. It is all about personal reserves, not the ability to blow away your clients :-)
> That's just a load of alphabet soup to me I'm afraid.
I'm sure you are not alone in thinking this. Anyone who is confused or interested can find an expanation of all (well nearly all now there is a new one)the awards and accronyms. Wherever you see MLT... chage to MT... now though as the Leader bit has gone.
The National Guidelines can be found at http://www.mountain-training.org/downloads
For that reason, I think for qualifying as a British Mountain Guide the requirement is comfortable at E1/5b.
Both trad and sport are well recognized as outdoor climbing.
So maybe there should be more bolted areas which are easily accessible.
Where you can go and expect 20-30 routes at 4+ - 6a and some multi pitch and the same standard.
There's plenty of well-protected E1/2s around. I can think of E1 routes that have more good runners than some VS climbs.
But so does trad gear (including trad anchors for top ropes i.e. SPA), and rather more often than bolts? Personally I can't see this as a good justification for not doing something 'sport climbing'. Whereas I can imagine that a) the SPA is quite an old award, predating most sport I guess? and b) the CWLA is fairly recent, so given that SPAs couldn't teach leading there was no need for a 'sport leading' add-on, but I think such a thing would now make sense. You can then leave the much more serious teaching of trad climbing to MIAs.
After all if you can teach indoor lead climbing, you are only three skills away from teaching the basics of sport climbing (clipping quickdraws into bolts, setting up a top rope through two quickdraws/screwgates, threading an anchor and lowering off).
> After all if you can teach indoor lead climbing, you are only three skills away from teaching the basics of sport climbing (clipping quickdraws into bolts, setting up a top rope through two quickdraws/screwgates, threading an anchor and lowering off).
Actually, you might want to add a fourth into that "How to safely retreat off a route that you can't finish".
I think you've missed the point here. Teaching folk requires experience and the MT awards are a process. The whole point of the scheme is a ladder of progression; time spent in the relatively low risk environments leading in the mountains (compared to a sea cliff for example) and teaching say navigation is all 'people' time that goes a long way. If you are truly a mountaineer than the ML process will be a quick and valuable part of this progression. Cost is also a poor argument... after all there are tons of very good providers, you don't have to do the ML at PYB and so can shop around! You can also make money whilst progressing onto the MIA once you have ML/SPA. Personally having gone through the process it isn't about how hard you climb but time working with people and a broad range of experience in the mountains. Lots of people seem to rush the ML leading which is a pre-requisite of MIA training and I don't agree with this. I don't see the need for another intermediate award.
Where we probably disagree is that I don't see why you need to have broad mountaineering experience to teach single-pitch lead climbing. Scrambling, yes, multipitch, yes, but not single-pitch leading of the kind that goes on in the Peak etc.
You also assume everyone wants to make money from it. Many of us are volunteers and can't treat it as if it were a career.
This is why I support the idea of a SPLA.
It'll never happen because the MI's hold the cards. They didn't mind swelling the ranks of CWA/WGL to the same market as SPA/ML because that's not infringing on their livelihoods. SPLA would be direct competition to their market at single pitch venues. Turkeys voting for Christmas.
There's money to be made in training... But only an idiot would put into place a scheme that cut away at your clientele.
And if you aren't? Getting enough QMD is ~40% of the weekends of an entire year.
Most people tend not to decide to be an ML one day and devote each weekend to gaining the QMD requirement to do the training and assessment asap - it took me over 5 years to gain what I thought was enough (not just the minimum) for the training and a further 2 years consolidating the training.
I once had the discussion with a well known and respected instructor at a national outdoor center (no names), the conclusion being, grade 1 scrambles within the remit of and ML with a logbook showing a good mountaineering background.
N face of Tryfan, Bristly ridge are both Grade 1 scrambles. I wouldn't dream of taking a group up BR as an ML but I have lead groups up Tryfan.
conclusion being - no two Grade 1s are the same.
That's right ;)
The point that you have totally missed is that we're not all in it for the money! If the scheme wishes to serve the voluntary sector it needs a more modular approach.
Most grade 1's are escapable, you can walk round the awkward bits on BR if you want to. It depends on the group as well.
I appreciate that Neil, volunteers do a valuable job at introducing people to the sport. I wasn't suggesting everyone wants to make money just that the costs are there yes but that it is possible to defer some of them by working whilst going through the process. I can see your point about the Peak but teaching leading outside is a massive judgement call, and requires lots of experience. A huge amount of MIA is anchor selection; You can do a lot as an SPA but I think 'SPLA' isn't really a viable option as would require a much higher level of training, understanding, consolidation and assessment, whilst MIA exists as it is I can't see how this would work in parallel. I also expect that most volunteers work with young people and I know (from experience) how difficult this is to do (teaching leading). If you work with adults you could argue you don't need an instructor qualification BUT a qualified, current professional guarantees a quality, safe experience.
If we believe that we are left with an interesting question.
Why the hell did they choose to create 2 awards below the already rather basic SPA rather than one above it?
Because the SPA isn't really designed with Indoor climbing in mind. There's no coaching for instance.
Could have made it a bolt on....
Then that becomes part of the training and assessment process for a new SPLA. Plenty of SPA I know and work with are cranking out E7. How is their judgement?
Just because someone climbs hard, doesn't necessarily mean they can place gear safely, let alone teach someone how to do it.
I would have thought climbing E7 and placing kit so you didn't deck was pretty crucial and that there was a skill to it...
But yes, you're not wrong.
Like I said, you make certain of these things a condition and pre-requisite of any new scheme. Can't see a problem myself.
But SPA plus fundamentals gives better coverage of coaching than CWA.
Why would coaching be seen as more necessary for indoor climbing than outdoor climbing?
If the aim of MT is to promote good practice in the instruction of climbing then it's schemes must evolve to serve the voluntary sector better. That should mean a more modular scheme that allows organisations to use volunteers qualified at a level above SPA but below MIA to deliver awards such as the CWA.
we need a good progressive scheme that serves the sport rather than commercial interests.
You are overselling your skills, placing gear is pretty simple. It's not some form of witchcraft ;)
I thought the coaching award came about to take advantage of Olympic funding(following the BCU structure), the purpose being to coach indoor comp climbing.
Why would you bother with the scheme if not for use in a professional context?
I'm sure that fundamentals came in before the dive for Olympic glory.
Either way it is short sighted to sums that coaching is only applicable indoors.
Dedicated volunteers seek to do their best for those that they are instructing. It's not all about money!
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