/ New RCDI Award

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Wren67 on 01 Mar 2019

I was quite interested when the new Rock Climbing Development Instructor award was announced. I already hold the CWDI, and felt RCDI might be more accessible than an expensive MIA, which I'd probably not use much anyway. Glancing through the provisional details about the RCDI, the prerequisites are as follows:

You must be a qualified Rock Climbing Instructor.

You must have delivered a minimum of 20 days as a Rock Climbing Instructor at a variety of venues and with a variety of groups, recorded in DLOG.

You must have led a minimum of 60 named single pitch routes using leader placed protection in three different climbing areas at VS 4c or above and logged them in DLOG. You may include full multi-pitch routes using leader placed protection (up to 50% of the requirement).

You must have led a minimum of 60 sport climbs in three different climbing areas at 6a or above and logged them in DLOG. Up to 50% of this experience can be outside the UK and Ireland.

This is insane! According to the MT website, the prerequisites for the MIA are:

You must hold the Mountain Leader award

You must have gained 20 quality mountain days as a leader since becoming a Mountain Leader, and logged them in DLOG

You must have led 30 named multi-pitch rock climbs of minimum VS 4c standard in at least 3 main climbing areas of the UK and Ireland, and logged them in DLOG

You must have led 10 sport climbs at or above French grade 6a and logged them in DLOG

So a lower award has much more demanding prerequisites than the higher award. WTF is that all about!

Post edited at 19:37
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mrphilipoldham - on 01 Mar 2019
In reply to Wren67:

Why do you have to have led any sport climbs? If you can trad climb, then sport is an easy discipline in comparison. No leader placed protection to worry about etc. I’ve toyed around with the idea of doing it myself but that is hugely offputting. I don’t climb sport and I wouldn’t offer it as a service if I were to work professionally. 

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jezb1 - on 01 Mar 2019
In reply to Wren67:

The MIA pathway is being reviewed soon. It may change the pre reqs.

The MIA prereqs are usually far exceeded.

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Oceanrower - on 01 Mar 2019
In reply to mrphilipoldham:

> I’ve toyed around with the idea of doing it myself but that is hugely offputting. 

Why? If you can trad climb, then sport is an easy discipline in comparison.

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Wren67 on 01 Mar 2019
In reply to jezb1:

Sure, I guess most people registering for any award exceed the prerequisites; no-one wants to turn up on a training course unprepared. Neither that nor a 'possible review' of the MIA alter the above.

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mrphilipoldham - on 01 Mar 2019
In reply to Oceanrower:

Bolt clipping holds zero interest to me. I’ve tried, I honestly have.. but I just get nothing from it. So to be forced to do it in the hope to one day potter with groups on Peak grit or the occasional Snowdonia or Lakes multi pitch seems a bit of a waste of time. 

In terms of an easy discipline, I did of course mean the technicalities of it. Not the climbing itself per se. 

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Wren67 on 01 Mar 2019
In reply to Oceanrower:

Mmmm... ...but why should you have to do so much Sport... ...six time more than an MIA candidate needs to do?

Personally I like Trad, and I don't want to waste my time ticking Sport routes when I could be doing 'proper climbing!' ;-)

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IPPurewater on 01 Mar 2019
In reply to Wren67:

If you are fit, going well and motivated, 60 routes at F6a could be done in three or four weekends if you choose your venues carefully. Treat it like training at a wall.

I sympathise, as I've never been that interested in sports climbing, but for a few years we used to go sports climbing in France or Spain around Easter, for a week as pre-season training to get fit for "proper climbing". I really pushed my trad grade doing this, as I got much stronger rather quickly.

F6a is also about British 5b, so maybe they want to know you can do routes technically harder than 4c too.

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SebCa - on 01 Mar 2019
In reply to Wren67:

I find myself sat on a rather large fence in relation to this one....

It was explained to me that ultimately the bare minimum for MIA training is circa 90 pitches at VS4c (30 routes, 3 pitches = 90) they are teaching people to lead climb so as such to say that a person teaching it should have 90 pitches of their own experience.

RCDI I can't remember the exact figures but they are somewhat similar if not the same as assessment? A minimum of 90 pitches at VS4c. 

If you climb for the reason of you being really psyched to climb then doing that number of routes shouldn't be that much of an issue, Sport wise its simply a similar comparison in some respect, you have to demonstrate competency in a slightly different discipline. If down the line you become an RCDI and you try to get insurance and the companies look at the pre req for sport climbing and its bare min the policy prices are going to be high.

The MIA assessment and award is somewhat of a lifestyle choice, a 9 day training course and 5 day assessment, only held at the national mountain centres etc. Its a pretty big commitment to even be able to get to an assessment of the MIA (this coming from a none MIA trained or assessed person)

I think for the CWDI, was it not 100 leads 50+ had to be above 6a? Then sport climbing is comparable there. Yes there is a gap between the MIA pre req and the RCDI but as Jez says its more than likely to change based on the above. I think where Mountain Training need to tread a difficult line is that ultimately PYB etc have to get people parting with their £1000+ for training and assessment if its going over the top difficult then bums won't be on as many seats....but that a whole different balance/argument.

As a parent, (and an MT award holder) I would expect the person teaching my children climbing to be competent, experienced and 'psyched' about climbing if they were teaching them trad outdoors with the associated risk the sport entails. Personally i think those pre reqs meet my expectation for training and obviously assessment will go a bit further.

....dons the tin hat 

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jezb1 - on 01 Mar 2019
In reply to Wren67:

> Mmmm... ...but why should you have to do so much Sport... ...six time more than an MIA candidate needs to do?

Hopefully the MIA sport pre reqs will increase, or as seems likely in my mind, the RCDI will become a MIA prerequisite in due course - which would address some of the lack of teaching experience when candidates do their MIA assessment.

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mrphilipoldham - on 01 Mar 2019
In reply to IPPurewater:

Why not just request some led trad routes at British 5b then? Leading a 6a on bolts where falling isn’t a worry and an E1 where you might meet the ground at a pace are two entirely different things.

Post edited at 20:41
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spenser - on 01 Mar 2019
In reply to mrphilipoldham:

Perhaps because anyone who might be working at a sport venue should understand not to top rope directly through the anchors, how to thread the anchors (including weird times like rams horns/ pig tails) and judge the quality of bolts.

When I did my SPA assessment a few years ago it was explained to me that it was an award for climbers who wanted to instruct climbing, not for instructors who wanted to climb. Anyone who is scraping by on the requirements might well be a technically safe and competent instructor but surely they are going to struggle to find work (and keep finding work) if they go freelance without the knowledge of a wide range of venues which only comes with lots of climbing.

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derryclimbs - on 01 Mar 2019
In reply to Wren67:

For me, holding SPA/RCI and living in Dorset (i.e. no mountains) I was very keen to see how this award was going to develop.
In terms of the sport requirement, for those saying they'll never take people out to bolted crags, you're mad!!! Think of all those plastic pullers looking to progress outdoors. As much as you'd hate to admit it (I do too), the natural progression these days is to lead on bolts if you learnt indoors.
I am however blessed with copious amounts of good introductory crags on Portland and then not far away to the tors of Dartmoor for both options. All single pitch, lots of variety, and hundreds of miles away from any mountain crags, so this award suits me perfectly.
......Next I want a multi-pitch bolt-on. *winces for the backlash*

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mrphilipoldham - on 01 Mar 2019
In reply to spenser:

I’d consider myself knowledgable enough to know about at least 2 of those 3, and leading 60 routes at a particular grade isn’t going to be definitive of that. I’ve only ever done 29 sport climbs and most of that below the F6a requirement. I’d like to think I could spot a dodgy bolt too, but have never come across one so no direct experience. 

This is the point I’m making.. two of those three are either ‘theory’ or demonstratable away from the crag, it’s not knowledge that is going to trouble a well travelled trad climber. Yet I’d still have to go out of my way to sport climb in three different areas of the UK to prove the point?

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john arran - on 01 Mar 2019
In reply to derryclimbs:

> ......Next I want a multi-pitch bolt-on. *winces for the backlash*

Just take a good stance and do another single pitch route directly above the last one. The whole single/multi division is nonsense and few would ever have considered it significant but for the naming of the SP(S)A.

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Alex Riley on 01 Mar 2019
In reply to mrphilipoldham:

Aside from the comparison to the MIA prerequisites, do you feel the RCDI requirements are unjustified and if so why? 

Saying "cos I don't like sport climbing" doesn't count as an answer ;)

Post edited at 21:18
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mrphilipoldham - on 01 Mar 2019
In reply to Alex Riley:

I’m saying that it’s unfortunate that someone who has a strong desire to become qualified to take individuals out trad climbing, has to meet the sport pre-requisites of ticking a number of routes across geographical areas, even if the ‘theoretical’ knowledge is demonstratable in the classroom. As it stands, I wouldn’t seek qualification, which is a shame as I think my knowledge and experience of Peak District trad would be well received by many a client. 

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derryclimbs - on 01 Mar 2019
In reply to mrphilipoldham:

I think what the MLT are obviously doing, is making an award, that covers all bases.
They could turn into British Canoeing by offering a new qualification for every discipline and skill, and make it the most confusing, expensive and ineffective system possible, but they haven't.
I don't think it's unreasonable to ask people who are predominantly going to teach people how to lead (since they've progressed from RCI) to show that they have a wide variety of experience leading.
 

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mrphilipoldham - on 01 Mar 2019
In reply to derryclimbs:

Yes, I can see that’s what they’re doing. What I’m trying to highlight is that there are many who may like to work in their preferred niche and nothing more. I’ve got 700 leads under my belt, of which about 670 are trad.. reckon someone who’s gone out from scratch to tick 60 trad leads up to VS and 60 sport leads up to F6a is better experienced? 

If you learn to drive and pass your test in an automatic, then that’s what your licence enables you to do. It needn’t be that complicated, if a British government agency can manage it anyone can. Or maybe cases could be done on merit rather than a predefined ticklist.

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jezb1 - on 01 Mar 2019

I've quoted this in another place too... But to put some context to doing some 6a sport routes to become an instructor isn't a lot compared to the equivalent  French scheme.

There on your assessment for a similar award you have to onsight 2 out of three routes between 6c & 7a (6b &6c if you're female), as well as the trad stuff, and even bouldering.

Personally I think these RCDI requirements are about bang on and if MIA was a new award it would have a much higher sport climbing requirement in terms of numbers, and probably grade too.

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derryclimbs - on 01 Mar 2019
In reply to mrphilipoldham:

Yep, but like British Canoeing, they've got white water, sea kayak, canoe, surf, SUP etc awards for skills, coaching and leading. Sheltered water, Moderate water, Advanced water. It's an absolute pain in the hole! And bloody expensive if you want to do a variety, usually meaning you have to specialise or you pay for awards you don't use regularly. What you're suggesting is that there is a separate RCDI trad award and sport award. Perhaps bouldering? DWS? Guiding above say; E3? Sea cliff bolt-on? Multipitch? Obviously I'm exaggerating, but it's all a slippery slope when you start dividing it out. Great money making for the organisation, but for me, I'd prefer something that I get assessed for once, and can then do a host of activities.
I don't doubt you've got more experience than most people applying for the scheme, but MLTUK have to set the number somewhere, and 60 leads is not that many.

Post edited at 22:33
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mrphilipoldham - on 01 Mar 2019
In reply to derryclimbs:

You’re right, 60 isn’t many. But stipulating they must be across three areas of the UK (or indeed, Europe) makes it undesirable. I could quite easily go and fulfill the requirements in a few days at Horseshoe Quarry and don’t feel I’d gain much more than spreading that out across Wales, Lales and Scotland. As people have mentioned, other than lower offs varying, which is testable in a classroom a bolt is a bolt. At least trad gear usage is likely to be more variable across the different rock types. More rock spikes to sling in the mountains, more cams to throw in cracks in on grit etc which makes it understandable that experience in all areas is valuable. Maybe I’m wrong.

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JoshOvki on 01 Mar 2019
In reply to derryclimbs:

> And bloody expensive if you want to do a variety, usually meaning you have to specialise or you pay for awards you don't use regularly. What you're suggesting is that there is a separate RCDI trad award and sport award. Perhaps bouldering? DWS? Guiding above say; E3? Sea cliff bolt-on? Multipitch?

Shhh! MLTUK might hear you get ideas on how to generate more courses to bring in more income to support their business.

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Misha - on 01 Mar 2019
In reply to Wren67:

It doesn’t seem unreasonable for a rock climbing instructor to have done at least 60 trad and 60 sport routes. That’s not a lot, especially considering that it can all be single pitch. As a beginner, you want to know that your instructor is reasonably experienced!

As has been pointed out above, these days a lot of people start out by sport climbing rather than trad climbing. In fact some never do any trad climbing. As an instructor, you might find that sport climbing becomes an important part of your work! Besides, just because you perhaps don’t want to instruct sport doesn’t mean that other people don’t want to do it. The award has to cater for everyone, unless you have two separate awards (which would probably be more expensive overall for those who want to do both types of climbing and it would mean the instructors would be less well rounded in their skill set).

I get your point about the MIA requirements. I wouldn’t be surprised if the MIA requirements get revised in due course. After all, there’s a pretty high assessment failure rate. Probably a number of reasons for that but one of them is that the climbing requirements aren’t that onerous. 

As regards sport climbing, I don’t know when the MIA requirements were set but I imagine it was 15-20 years ago, when sport climbing was probably less popular (particularly at the more recreational end). It’s not surprising that a new award reflects the changing market - while the existing award is perhaps falling behind the times and may be revised as a result.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that MIAs cover a much wider range of skills and terrain. A lot of MIA work is scrambling, multi pitch climbing (potentially in adventurous locations with tricky approaches / descents) and nav training (including for ML trainees), rather than simply single pitch climbing. So the requirements for the MIA are much broader - it’s about being in the mountains, as the name suggests! Whereas the rock climbing instructor award is more focused. Besides, as the name suggests, 30 MP routes is going to be around 90 pitches (at least 60 by definition!). Besides, someone who’s done 30 MP VSs will have done at least some single pitch ones as well. So the only real difference is on the sport side and that’s probably a reflection of the MIA being an older award.

Anyone who isn’t really into sport could just go for the BMG as there are no sport climbing requirements for that ;-)

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derryclimbs - on 01 Mar 2019
In reply to mrphilipoldham:

The way I see it, is making the RCDI a more well rounded instructor, not more experienced. For example, if you (not you personally) took out a group sport climbing to the only bolted crag you've ever been to and they ask you "that was incredible, but we live in South Wales, is there anywhere we can climb around there?" What makes a better instructor is someone who can say "Yes, and you should try this route and that route, and don't get on route x because it's too run out. And you can even do some trad AND sport in the Gower". Or, if you (you personally) took them to Stanage and they said it was all a bit scary, and could you take them to one of those bolt clipping crags that are suitable for their ability, do you know which routes are good for them? Or do you say sorry, here's your part refund, I don't do that.

60 routes at 6a (and probably the same again at 5c and below) means you know the crags AND routes that your clients can be comfortable on to start with, and challenging to progress on to.

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Misha - on 01 Mar 2019
In reply to mrphilipoldham:

A good instructor is one who is familiar with a wide range of areas, even if they mostly work in one area. What if your clients book a day at Horseshoe but because they live down south they ask you to recommend some suitable sport crags on the south coast? It’s good to have a few ideas based on personal experience. Also the nature is sport climbing in different areas can be quite different and it’s good to have an awareness is that. At the end of the day, I think a good instructor or guide has to have well rounded experience and that comes partly from climbing in different areas. 

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derryclimbs - on 01 Mar 2019
In reply to JoshOvki:

I've got shares!  

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Wren67 on 01 Mar 2019
In reply to Alex Riley:

> Aside from the comparison to the MIA prerequisites, do you feel the RCDI requirements are unjustified and if so why? 

> Saying "cos I don't like sport climbing" doesn't count as an answer ;)

I feel that the RCDI prerequisites are unjustified precisely because we shouldn't look at them in isolation from the MIA.

Is the MIA fit for purpose? The evidence would suggest so. There are hundreds of MIAs, all knowledgeable, experienced, competent climbers and instructors. I've worked with several over the years and not yet met many (any) bad ones. Thus the case for the MIA prerequisites being too low appears unproven. (Incidentally I don't get how people are saying 30 multi pitch VSs equates to 90 pitches, or 60 leads... ...it all depends on the route!) Yes, most candidates will exceed these, but the prerequisites are the prerequisites, and the system seems to work well enough.

That being the case, for the RCDI prerequisites to be asking for much more than 30 single pitch VS 4cs and 10 single pitch F6as does seem excessive. Were these the prerequisites, we'd most likely find that candidates would be exceeding these too.

What I completely deplore is any "pulling up of the ladder" once you have achieved a satisfactory standard. The MIA has been around for many years, and it obviously works. RCDI should just be a single pitch version of MIA, without the mountain stuff.

Post edited at 00:12
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Misha - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to Wren67:

The MIA failure rate is pretty high though, which suggests that there are a lot of weaker candidates.

30 MP routes = at least 60 pitches by definition (probably not 60 leads to be fair). Probably more like 90 pitches if you assume 3 pitches per route as average, which must be about 45 leads. Plus anyone who has done 30 MP routes will have done some SP leads first. It’s still not a lot but I think most people will have done at least 60 leads. Most will have done a lot more. So I don’t think the new requirements are any more extensive as far as trad is concerned. In fact less so given you don’t need to do MP, which by its nature is more serious.

At the end of the day, 60 SP trad and 60 SP sport leads really isn’t a lot. If you’re a keen climber who can get out most weekends, you can easily knock that off in a season. If you do all the leading and even if you don’t get that much done per day, that’s about 15 days of trad and 10 days of sport. Let’s say double that if you swing leads, so 50 days in total. That’s less than a year’s worth of climbing if you’re keen. I’d be concerned if the requirements for a rock leading instructor were any less really. 

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John Kelly - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to Wren67:

Another essential seems to be 5yrs experience, so then your 120 pitches becomes 24 pitches a year, that's pretty achievable.

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Wren67 on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to Misha:

> The MIA failure rate is pretty high though, which suggests that there are a lot of weaker candidates.

Sure, but as others have already said, most candidates exceed the prerequisites by a large margin, so it seems unlikely that they are failing (probably more likely being deferred?) on the basis of a lack of experience of leading multi pitch VSs?

> 30 MP routes = at least 60 pitches by definition (probably not 60 leads to be fair). Probably more like 90 pitches if you assume 3 pitches per route as average, which must be about 45 leads. Plus anyone who has done 30 MP routes will have done some SP leads first. It’s still not a lot but I think most people will have done at least 60 leads. Most will have done a lot more. So I don’t think the new requirements are any more extensive as far as trad is concerned. In fact less so given you don’t need to do MP, which by its nature is more serious.

Mmmm... ...I know where your calculations are coming from, but it presupposes the grades of individual pitches and numbers of pitches. Theoretically a candidate for MIA training could have led as few as 30 4c pitches on 30 two pitch VSs (whose other pitch was 4a). They could still go on to become a successful MIA candidate at assessment though, if they worked hard to gain much greater experience after training.

This is another part of what I can't understand; I was only talking about the prerequisites for registering on the award and attending a training course. My OP wasn't even looking at the finished product, a fully qualified RCDI. (Most who've responded to this posted have been talking about the latter.)

My point is the prerequisites for simply registering for the award are too high, especially when compared to those for an MIA.

Post edited at 00:37
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LucaC - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to Wren67:

Perhaps you are forgetting that as well as the stated prerequisites for MIA, you also require your ML, which is an undertaking in its self regarding time spent not (as you put it) 'proper climbing!'. 

60 sport routes at 6a really isn't unreasonable for an instructor for 5 years experience to have. It shows you are confident at a grade which should above that of a novice you might be instructing, and shows a certain awareness of how to move and climb in order to coach a beginner. 

If you are climbing at that level, 4 weekend trips should see you easily over the required number. 

For all of the awards, there are going to be elements which aren't as enjoyable as others. They are professional awards to work with, and when you are working, sometimes you have to do jobs which aren't exactly what you would choose to do in your own free time (eg trad climbing). 

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mrphilipoldham - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to derryclimbs:

I’m sorry but that’s nonsense. There’s thousands of routes at hundreds of crags of both kind - 60 at just three different areas is no where near enough to suddenly be able to say ‘try this route at this crag’ or ‘maybe you’d like so and so on crag x’. Utter, utter nonsense.

Conversley, if they found the break to break climbing of Stanage a bit scary, I’d take them somewhere that wasn’t as tall, and offered a slightly easier angle on the whole.. Windgather maybe. Because yes, if they’d booked on a learn to lead trad course then I wouldn’t be interested in taking them learning to lead sport. I wouldn’t be marketing myself on the basis of getting them up anything, it’d be purely on trad. If they found they didn’t like being on the sharp end then time could be spent learning  about building anchors, ropework, crag etiquette, building up confidence seconding for a bit, placing gear at ground level etc. Learning to lead isn’t all about actually leading, you know.

Post edited at 08:23
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migs493 - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to Wren67: 

Totally agree that the prerequisites seem a little excessive, this is just to apply for the training course after all. I'm lucky, I've already bagged enough routes however, Getting the prerequisites is the easy bit, transferring previous experience on to DLOG is the real challenge! Might give the export function from UKC a go this weekend and see what happens!

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derryclimbs - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to mrphilipoldham:

fine, I'm talking nonsense then. but you are missing the point (as much as you claim everyone else is). It's not about the minimum of 60 leads (for training only remember - by the time you've passed assessment it would be many more), its about having a well rounded experience of all UK lead climbing. I gave you two examples, there are an endless possible permutations of what your clients could ask for. And not having sport in your resume would limit your ability to make a profit. 
Here's a question; do you work in the outdoor industry currently? 

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mrphilipoldham - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to derryclimbs:

My own aspirations would limit the profit I could make, but expertise in my niche would be a better selling point as far as I’m concerned. I’m currently self employed in another field, though it does occasionally cross over in to the outdoor field. As I said before, I’ve toyed with the idea of seeking qualification and have done my research. The pay on offer wouldn’t be worth me travelling outside my area given what my other profession brings in. This is my point. I complete get the point you’re making, but it’s irrelevant to me. I’m locked out of utilising my extensive knowledge of my area because I haven’t sport climbed on the south coast or wherever. It’s unfortunate, is all. 

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Alex Riley on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to Wren67:

How has the ladder been "pulled up"?

It's a new award with new requirements, which apart from sport are comparable to MIA.

Thinking that people are dodging the requirements by doing VS 4a,4c routes misses the mark when compared to reality of how trainers and assessors look at logbooks. If you go for MIA with only VS in your logbook, you would be expected to be able to climb any VS in the UK, possibly in sub optimal conditions, (wet, with a bag or in boots). 

Anyone who thinks all sport is the same shows a lack of experience in the discipline. Yes the mechanics are fairly simple, but if you've climbed in a few different places, e.g. Czech Republic compared to France you wouldn't be saying they were the same.

I don't want to come across as negative or critical (I asked the question above because I'm genuinely interested) and I hope that you aren't put off persueing further qualifications. RCDI is a higher level professional and I feel the prerequisites are an appropriate minimum. MIA and MIC weren't reviewed at the same time as all the other awards and thus perhaps have prerequisites that need modernising.

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derryclimbs - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to mrphilipoldham:

Ok fair enough, but I still think it's not much effort if you really wanted to get the qual, and then just utilise the trad element. We all have to do things we don't want every now and again for the end result (my partner is still banging on about getting married). Go on holiday to south wales, climb a few sport routes, grit your teeth through the pain of clipping a bolt, and then boom, you're off to training. more or less.
The reason I ask if you work in the outdoor industry is that most freelancers and one-man-bands out there have to be proficient at at least a couple of activities to make a profit unless, they've got high level quals like MIA/MIC to specialise. Entry level quals (e.g. RCI) will only get your foot in the door of a centre at minimum wage. RCDI is probably a mid-level qual. I have got climbing, mountain bike, basic canoe and sea kayak and do a good bit of coasteering (yayyy me) but am lucky enough to work at a place where there is other winter work available. 
So yes, I agree its unfortunate in your instance, but for most aspirant RCDIs they would be willing to diversify. MLTUK sadly can't take things on a case by case basis. 

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andi turner - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to mrphilipoldham:

There was also a hardcore of people who wanted a watered down MIA, a sort of "Tremadog Award" without the ML or scrambling aspect. But the thing is, there would end up being too many awards and it would become impossible to moderate properly and to its current high standards. I think this would be the same if it became a Stanage-Leaders award with a Horseshoe Bolt-on. 

I personally don't think the prerequisites are excessive and quite achievable for a well rounded instructor who's "done a bit". Even still, it's just a prerequisite, the applicant could still be terrible or conversely someone who comes up short could be excellent, but there has to be a starting point.

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derryclimbs - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to derryclimbs:

MLTUK sadly can't take things on a case by case basis. 

actually I take that back. They did for me when I was transferring my NZ logbook over here  

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timjones - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to jezb1:

Can you explain why you think that the sport pre reqs should be set so high in a country where the majority of the climbing is trad?

I could handle that number of routes at 6a but why do they need to be logged in the UK?  It is far easier and cheaper to access a decent quantoty of quality sport climbs by getting on a plane and flying to the continent, at the end of the day bolt clipping is bolt clipping regardless of the venue.

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mrphilipoldham - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to andi turner:

I’m not against having to prove you can safely sport climb, I just believe the mechanics of being able to safely do so can be demonstrated at time of assessment and therefore the requirement equal to that of trad seems excessive. The mechanics don’t really change from the south coast, the Peak, Snowdonia, the Lakes etc whereas they do with trad. If it’s about technical climbing abilities then why not be able to have an either/or and include an extra 60 trad leads up to 5b. 

If the requirement was 120 trad leads up to 5b across 6 different areas (including sea cliffs etc) then I wouldn’t have battered an eye lid given then different mechanics each rock type, access etc entail. I’d probably still feel a little annoyed (just a little, mind) I had to go and do them all, but it’d be more justifiable given the differences to leading on just one rock type. In my case.. 95% grit. 

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timjones - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to spenser:

> Perhaps because anyone who might be working at a sport venue should understand not to top rope directly through the anchors, how to thread the anchors (including weird times like rams horns/ pig tails) and judge the quality of bolts.

If you need to lead 60 routes at 6a with half of them in the UK in order to work that out then you are probably not a good candidate for the award.

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timjones - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to derryclimbs:

> The reason I ask if you work in the outdoor industry is that most freelancers and one-man-bands out there have to be proficient at at least a couple of activities to make a profit unless, they've got high level quals like MIA/MIC to specialise. Entry level quals (e.g. RCI) will only get your foot in the door of a centre at minimum wage. RCDI is probably a mid-level qual. I have got climbing, mountain bike, basic canoe and sea kayak and do a good bit of coasteering (yayyy me) but am lucky enough to work at a place where there is other winter work available. 

We see this claim time and time again, the awards are about safety not income and cover both commercial and voluntary sectors. Volunteers have less time or reason to jump through unecessary  hoops.

The trad pre reqs look good but I struggle to see the need for some many sport routes at a higher grade. 

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timjones - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to Alex Riley:

> Anyone who thinks all sport is the same shows a lack of experience in the discipline. Yes the mechanics are fairly simple, but if you've climbed in a few different places, e.g. Czech Republic compared to France you wouldn't be saying they were the same.

I'd 100% agree with that, so why do 50% of the sport leads have to be in the narrow arena of  UK sports climbing?

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timjones - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to mrphilipoldham:

> I’m not against having to prove you can safely sport climb, I just believe the mechanics of being able to safely do so can be demonstrated at time of assessment and therefore the requirement equal to that of trad seems excessive. The mechanics don’t really change from the south coast, the Peak, Snowdonia, the Lakes etc whereas they do with trad. If it’s about technical climbing abilities then why not be able to have an either/or and include an extra 60 trad leads up to 5b. 

> If the requirement was 120 trad leads up to 5b across 6 different areas (including sea cliffs etc) then I wouldn’t have battered an eye lid given then different mechanics each rock type, access etc entail. I’d probably still feel a little annoyed (just a little, mind) I had to go and do them all, but it’d be more justifiable given the differences to leading on just one rock type. In my case.. 95% grit. 

I wonder whether the logged climbs should be spread across more "areas", just 3 areas seems weak given the huge breadth of trad climbing that we are blessed with.
 

Post edited at 10:53
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mrphilipoldham - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to timjones:

Indeed, maybe it’s not that the sport requisite is too high, maybe it’s the trad one that’s far too low.

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meggies - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to jezb1:

Any word what the new MIA standard might be Jez?

I think HVS/sport 6b would fit in well between the new RCDI requirements and BMG requirements of E1/sport 6c (?).

My understanding is that climbing 'hard' skills are often not where aspirant MIAs struggle/lack confidence, but rather with 'soft' teaching skills. Even with experienced MIAs teaching skills courses certainly seem popular as CPD.

I was once advised that I'd stand a good chance of passing assessment as long as I did't kill myself, didn't kill my clients and made sure they learnt something.

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jezb1 - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to timjones:

> Can you explain why you think that the sport pre reqs should be set so high in a country where the majority of the climbing is trad?

Welcome to 2019 where sport climbing is a massive past time. Climbing pathways have changed.  60 sport climbs are potentially more quickly achieved than 60 VS routes, so I don't believe in this case that 60 is the same as 60. I'd like to see a bouldering pre req too to be honest. I think that any climbing instructor / coach should have experience and psyche for all aspects of climbing. 

> I could handle that number of routes at 6a but why do they need to be logged in the UK?  It is far easier and cheaper to access a decent quantoty of quality sport climbs by getting on a plane and flying to the continent, at the end of the day bolt clipping is bolt clipping regardless of the venue.

It's a UK based award, so I don't think it's unreasonable to expect a fair chunk of any candidates experience to be UK based. I love sport climbing (I love trad, winter, bouldering, indoors too..), I don't agree clipping bolts in the slate quarries is the same as clipping bolts at Margalef although they are unarguably very similar.

I think it's important to remember that any climbing qualification in the UK is optional, what with there being to legal requirement to hold a qualification at all.

I hope that loads of people engage with the new qualification, I think it's going to be an awesome course. I'm out of this one now, my fingerboard needs hanging in our new house.

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jezb1 - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to meggies:

> Any word what the new MIA standard might be Jez?

> I think HVS/sport 6b would fit in well between the new RCDI requirements and BMG requirements of E1/sport 6c (?).

Beyond my sphere of knowledge I'm afraid, and it might not change at all.

Worth noting that RCDI providers / directors are required to be actively climbing HVS and 6b.

Really off to hang my fingerboard now..!

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meggies - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to jezb1:

Interesting, thanks.

I'm making a fingerboard today too!

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timjones - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to jezb1:

> It's a UK based award, so I don't think it's unreasonable to expect a fair chunk of any candidates experience to be UK based. I love sport climbing (I love trad, winter, bouldering, indoors too..), I don't agree clipping bolts in the slate quarries is the same as clipping bolts at Margalef although they are unarguably very similar.

Margaret!!!!!!

You have low standards sir ;)

I was thinking of some of the more remote Sardinian crags, Corsica's mountain  crags, Sicily, Montserrat etc.

I would make an exception for slate maybe it should be specifically named as a pre req ;)

There may be a more fundamental ethical question about whether we have enough rock to develop an adequate number of UK sport crags to spread the load that more commercial operations are likely to generate?

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Misha - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to mrphilipoldham:

60 sport routes is hardly a lot to do though, is it? A few weekends. When it’s raining in the Peak, you could be climbing in the sun at Portland or Swanage or on the Gower. Good to discover new areas and you might even enjoy it! If you really want to do this qualification, having to do 60 sport routes really shouldn’t be an issue. 

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Misha - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to timjones:

> I'd 100% agree with that, so why do 50% of the sport leads have to be in the narrow arena of  UK sports climbing?

Well it’s a UK award after all. You’d expect a UK instructor to have some idea of what sport climbing in the UK is like. Not least so they know where the half decent lower grade sport is and where to avoid! 30 UK routes is 3 good weekends of sport around the UK - not a lot really. 

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timjones - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to Misha:

You appear to be labouring under the misapprehension that we all have unlimited time and money to run around the country dodging the weather.

Rainy weekends are the ones where you climb in the rain at whatever crag you can reach ;)

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Misha - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to meggies:

There is no sport climbing requirement for the BMG. When I was putting together my application form, I asked if it was worth including a selection of sport routes and was told that I could do but didn’t need to as they aren’t really interested in it. So I didn’t bother including them and don’t think anyone does (the application form takes ages to put together as it is!).

I think it’s kind of assumed that if you’ve got the requisite experience (trad, winter, alpine and ski touring), you will have done enough (sport) climbing along the way to be able to take clients multi pitch sport climbing (not unusual to do that in the Alps now and then).

The trad requirement is 50 MP E1s in different UK areas, with a focus on mountains and sea cliffs, i.e. adventurous locations. Many applicants, particularly UK based ones, will have plenty more than that and obviously lots of SP leads as well. Realistically, you have to be solid on E2 and ideally to have done some E3s, because you need to be comfortable on E1 in less than ideal conditions (my rock entrance test, the first one you need to pass to get on the scheme, involved climbing a damp E2!). So most people will be climbing harder than E1.

You’re right though that most people going through the scheme will be able to consistently onsight around 6c. Some will climb considerably harder!

I think the French scheme does have sport requirements and they certainly test your sport climbing ability (think it’s more like 7a but not sure).

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mrphilipoldham - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to Misha:

There's always somewhere dry to climb in the Peak. The Gower is beautiful, been to a wedding there, but it's neither good for the environment or worth sitting in the car for that long just for climbing, when there's a lifetime on my doorstep that I actually want to climb.

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Misha - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to timjones:

Well yes, there’s more to life than climbing, especially if you’re limited to weekends and holidays and have a family. I haven’t done much climbing this winter myself due to the poor winter climbing conditions (though Tremadog was great last weekend). But if you’re focused on getting the log book for an award, you either have to dedicate some serious time to it to get there fairly quickly or accept that it will take a few years. It’s not meant to be easy!

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Misha - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to mrphilipoldham:

Sounds like you need to wait for the Single Pitch Peak Grit Climbing Instructor Award ;-)

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mrphilipoldham - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to Misha:

With the option of the multi pitch add on, not to mention limestone trad! In the mean time I'll just have to continue helping out introduce folk to lead climbing by learning in the traditional manner.. taking food off the plate of the hard working professionals, and myself! 

Post edited at 13:50
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Jamie Wakeham - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to Wren67:

I feel really torn about this.  I've been climbing for more than 20 years and I've held SPA/RCI for more than 10 years, and I've spent a lot of that time holding the opinion that there should be a single pitch leading award.  I make my living partly as a freelance instructor, but mostly as a physics and maths tutor - over the last few years my income has been ~ 85% tutoring, 15% climbing.  My climbing work is partly bespoke ropework courses that I offer for beginners in local mountaineering clubs , and partly individual clients coming to me to learn how to climb.  I've always had a strong focus on working with new climbers - it's what I enjoy the most.

Regardless of the requirements of the award, it's never been financially viable for me to get MIA - I make little money from my instructing and I'd never make the investment back.  So when I saw that RCDI was on the horizon I was delighted.  The ability for me to expand what I can offer to new climbers to include genuine outdoor leading - diffs at Windgather, that sort of thing - within an insured and qualified framework would be a real boost.

But I just don't climb that hard!  I've never been one to push my grade, and in 20 years I've probably lead VS 20 or 30 times, with a couple of HVS and E1s that frankly I didn't enjoy.  So I'm now facing up to the fact that if I want RCDI, I need to go and up my game a bit.

I totally get that the intention of RCDI is to be a more wide-ranging and encompassing award than just a ticket for helping people bimble up their first leads.  It's a disappointment to me, though, that in order to take clients leading diffs at Stanage I'm going to have to get absolutely rock solid at VS and 6a.  Those grades feel a touch high to me.  For a qualification that is surely going to focus primarily on teaching safely, Sev and 5/5+ feel enough..?

I'm sure one could argue that I shouldn't be thinking of teaching leading if I don't solidly lead VS/6a myself.  Perhaps that's right, but I've never felt that lack.

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Alkis - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

> I'm sure one could argue that I shouldn't be thinking of teaching leading if I don't solidly lead VS/6a myself.  Perhaps that's right, but I've never felt that lack.

I do not really want to sound elitist but that is right and is the way it should be. VS is a very low level of climbing, I would expect anyone teaching me to be able to either exceed that by some margin or be able to consistently do 30 pitches at that level in a day.

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Misha - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

Sounds like you need another qualification: Single Pitch Grit Diff Leading Instructor Award.

As Alkis says, being comfortable at VS is generally considered to be the minimum level for some kind of all round competence, which would also give you a few grades in hand in case things go wrong on the easiest routes or if conditions aren’t favourable.

I imagine that RCDI is meant to be an all round qualification so they need to cater for that. If someone isn’t solid at VS, they probably won’t have climbed much or at all on many crags or some rock types, might not be familiar with certain types of gear placements and ways if setting up belays and so on (especially if most of thebexperience is on grit). There has to be a line somewhere and VS is surely as low as it can reasonably go.

Most people who climb severe are essentially beginners. Not saying you are - you may well be very experienced in terms of gear placement and ropework etc but the fact is that most severe leaders won’t be anywhere near the level they need to be as a safe and competent instructor. You might be an outlier but national awards can’t cater for outliers. C’est la vie...

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Jamie Wakeham - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to Misha:

>...the fact is that most severe leaders won’t be anywhere near the level they need to be as a safe and competent instructor. You might be an outlier but national awards can’t cater for outliers. C’est la vie...

I think that's probably the crux of it.  MTA is using '60 VS and 60 6a leads' as a proxy for 'is sufficiently experienced', and in the average case I guess that is a reasonable proxy.  I also can see the 'grades in hand' argument.

It's not as if I have ever felt, whilst explaining how to check a nut is well seated, or why you might choose double ropes over singles, or how to set up an anchor in this particular situation, that it's a good job I have lead a number of VS routes; rather, I feel that I have sufficient experience because I have climbed hundreds and hundreds of VDiffs and Severes.  But I accept that the given criteria are a fairly good proxy for this experience, and much easier to measure!  Perhaps I am a bit of an outlier.

Interesting that the requirement for RCI remains at Severe, though, and that has plenty of potential for getting into trouble.  I've not had a good look at the RCDI syllabus yet, but I wonder if it means that MTA are considering it more as MIA-lite rather than a bolt-on to RCI.

At the end of the day it's moot - this is what MTA want, and if I want this ticket then I will have to go pull my finger out!  I simply wanted to say that the OP is not the only person a little surprised at the grade requirements.

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gravy - on 02 Mar 2019

It's a ponzi scheme - you need an ever changing curriculum of new awards to keep the instructors in business. 

If the base (new entrants) doesn't expand enough to keep the apex in business then add new rungs to the ladder and (effectively) charge double for the same level.

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Misha - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

The other aspect of this is what the clients might want. Plenty of people looking to second up to VS. If an instructor can’t lead VS, they would be limited to clients wanting to do easier routes. What if a client is happy to start on a VDiff but climbs well and wants to progress through the day to seconding VS? That’s not entirely far fetched. They won’t have a good experience if their instructor can’t offer these opportunities. If you consider what other instructors and their clients might be looking to do, I think you’ll appreciate why the standard is at VS (as a minimum).

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LucaC - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to Misha:

What Misha says is spot on.

I would also add that I've seen really strong indoor climbers really struggle on strange 3D VDiff corners and then sail up an E1 crimpy face climb which is much more like the indoor wall climbing they are used to. If you are only capable of operating at the bottom of the grades (regardless of quality of instruction etc) then you can't offer these opportunities.

What happens if you turn up at your crag of choice and all the easy routes are taken? Do you really want to have to go somewhere else because you don't like leading above Hard Severe?

A lot of instructors have spent a lot of time improving their own standards and subsequently can offer a great deal from their knowledge of the process.

VS/f6a really isn't particularly hard to climb if you set your mind to it and it does feel slightly lazy to me that folk don't want to put the effort into bringing their physical skills up to the required level. 

If I booked a Ski instructor and they turned out to only be able to snowplough down blue runs, it wouldn't feel good value to me, and I think this is the same sort of issue. 

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BelleVedere on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to mrphilipoldham:

> that I actually want to climb.

i guess as an instructor it's about what your clients want to climb.  You seem to be focusing on your experience not theirs.  Which kinda suggests sticking to climbing for fun

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meggies - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to BelleVedere:

Very true. Heard of a few climbers towards the end of their sponsorship time thinking instructing would still mean being paid to climb, but getting a shock after realising they had to do what their clients wanted.

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mrphilipoldham - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to BelleVedere:

If you read my posts above, I’d be selling myself as a Peak District ‘specialist’. Why don’t people understand that you don’t have to take a client on if they want to learn something you’re not keen on? My main trade is photography, if a client (existing or new) turned around and asked me to do something outside my area of expertise I’d tell them I wasn’t capable/interested/the best man for the job and recommend someone who could serve them better in that instance.

It would be my extensive experience in my area that would be why clients come to me, so of course I’m going to focus on my experience. 

Post edited at 19:02
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mrphilipoldham - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to meggies:

You’re not obliged to take on every client that regardless of their wishes, you know.

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Fruitbat on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to LucaC:

Having grades-in-hand also means that when you find the only free route is a S/HS (as Luca said) then you're not at your max and can get up it in with some style and thus inspire and give confidence to your students/clients. This should also mean that you have spare capacity to give intruction or tips to the clients, keep an eye on what they're doing and what's going on around and above you etc whilst climbing. 

The students probably won't be impressed if it takes you ages to gibber up a fairly short pitch with wide eyes and shouts of 'Watch me!' and they'll be thinking how much value-for-money they're going to get from the day if it takes the instructor half the morning to do one pitch.

Edit: the above is in general terms, not replying or referring to anyone on this thread. Ta.

Post edited at 19:33
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Fruitbat on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to mrphilipoldham

> My main trade is photography, 

> so of course I’m going to focus on my experience. 

I should hope so...😉

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mrphilipoldham - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to Fruitbat:

Touché!

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Misha - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to mrphilipoldham:

> You’re not obliged to take on every client that regardless of their wishes, you know.

Perhaps not if instructing isn’t your only/main job. For a lot of people it is and they don’t have the luxury of turning down work. At least not until they have a well established client list.

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Misha - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to Fruitbat:

Especially if the clients can’t belay properly... you really don’t want to be falling off then!

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Fruitbat on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to Misha:

Very true. Good point.

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mrphilipoldham - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to Misha:

That’s a business decision, and shouldn’t be connected to the question of qualification.

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rachelpearce01 - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to Wren67:

MIA is 30 multipitch routes VS and above on a mountain or sea cliff or something like that isn’t it? For every mountain route you do, you could get 5-10 VS single pitch routes done in a day, so you’d get your 60 routes in a good week, where as the MIA logbook would take a month to accumulate? 

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rachelpearce01 - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to mrphilipoldham:

I personally think 6a is quite a low grade and to teach climbing you should definitely be able to climb this as you will probably find that people taking up climbing will quickly reach this grade!

I’m sure I heard the equivalent for Spanish or French spa is sport 7a. 

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Tyler - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to mrphilipoldham:

> Leading a 6a on bolts where falling isn’t a worry

I think you might have just proven why it's good for instructors to have some experience of sport climbing.

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mrphilipoldham - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to Tyler:

Good job it was in comparison to trad (but don’t quote that, eh?), where it’s generally always going to be that bit more worrying. 

Post edited at 20:36
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Misha - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to mrphilipoldham:

The qualification is intended to enable the instructor to do both trad and sport because that’s what the market wants. That is the reality, especially outside a multi pitch environment. No point having qualifications which don’t cover all the bases. Most instructors will do a bit of both or at least would want to have that option.

It’s good to try to see things how they actually are rather than how we might want them to be. Then again, you don’t actually need a qualification. In the UK there’s nothing to stop you offering paid instruction with no qualifications - it’s just that liability insurance will probably be more expensive and you might struggle to find your own clients or established outfits who would employ you.

At the end of the day, these qualifications are meant to be challenging. If anyone with a modicum of experience could do them, there would be loads more instructors (not all of them particularly good) and that would mean the day rates would be lower, among other things.

Here’s a bit of an analogy. I’m not an amazing skier. Better than average but will need to work hard to get to the current BMG standard. The standard used to be lower - I suspect I would have been fine 20 years ago. Wouldn’t it be nice if they dropped the standard, after all it’s not even climbing! Actually, no. The market has evolved and ski (touring) work is now an important source of income for a lot of guides. At the same time, the average client is now a decent skier and some are very good skiers, just not experienced in a mountain environment. As a guide, you want to be better than your clients so you can show them how to cope with difficult snow and so on. So I’ve got some grafting to do to get better at skiing. That’s a challenge but ultimately it would be good both for me and for my clients. And even if, hypothetically, I had no intention of ski guiding, the standard is still required because other people  definitely want to ski guide.

Back at school, we probably all had to learn stuff which we didn’t have much interest in but we had to do it because there was a common standard required and it’s all part of a well rounded education and personal development (even if we can’t remember much of it now!). It’s the same with many professional qualifications - my chartered accountancy qualification involved a load of stuff which I haven’t really needed for the particular area I work in but I still had to do it.

Qualifications aren’t about what you want or need, they are about getting people to a common standard. Once you have the qualification, you can do what you want with it.

I’ve probably bored people to tears (not uncommon!) - this is what happens when there’s no outdoor climbing to be done...

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Misha - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to rachelpearce01:

...would take a *dry* month to accumulate. Or a crazy February heat wave!

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Misha - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to Tyler:

Good point. To be fair, neither the average 6a nor the average VS are great to fall off on - just not steep enough to be reasonably safe. By the time you get to about E5 and 7a, it’s usually not too bad ;-)

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Richard Bentley - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

""I think that's probably the crux of it.  MTA is using.......""

Jamie, (and perhaps quite a few others..) MTA is the Mountain Training Association. It's an association that leaders (primarily ML / SPA / RCI ) can join. It gives access to gear deals / insurance / workshops ..etc.. IT IS NOT Mountain Training UK or its home nation Boards.

You see people using the the MTA badge as some kind of validation from Mountain Training UK all the time, often on websites.. etc.. Sometimes its through ignorance..other times, well, who knows. Its not anything of the sort.

Your use of it in your comments is a fairly usual misconception.

Mountain Training UK is the Awarding body that manages and governs the awards with and through its home nations boards.

Post edited at 21:17
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Presley Whippet on 02 Mar 2019

In reply to 

Wow! Climber complains about being required to go climbing. 

If you don't like it, don't do it. 

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rachelpearce01 - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to Misha:

Yeah you know what I mean though!! The pre-requisites are no way harder than MIA. 

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adam clarke - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to Wren67:

A key point here is that a RCDI will be the person making tricky calls around when someone is ready to go on the sharp end, assessing whether their mental game is ready for leading, choosing if/when to pre-place a key runner, etc.

In order to be able to exercise that level of judgement, one should have continually pushed the standards of one’s own climbing, over a period of time; experiencing stressful and challenging situations along the way. That ought to require a standard of climbing of VS as an absolute minimum I would have thought. It is unlikely that a climber with the desire/experience to pursue RCDI would encounter such situations sub-VS.

Whilst one might choose not to take on certain types of clients/work; the fact remains that once a person holds a certain award, they are within remit to provide it. The industry therefore needs to ensure that any future award holders are fully capable of managing all of the activities which they will be within remit to provide.

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jcw on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to Misha:

There's always outdoors climbing to be done. That's when the training becomes tough.

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Misha - on 02 Mar 2019
In reply to jcw:

Oh I’m just being soft and not getting out in these cooler temperatures - but then I don’t have any log books to complete. If I needed to get some 6as done, I’d have been out. 

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Wren67 on 08 Mar 2019

OK, I've given this a few days to see if anyone had anything constructive to contribute... ...so far I've had it mansplained why RCDI candidates should be able to climb sport routes, why they should be competent at VS 4c and F6a, why MIA is different because they've got to do an ML (S) as well... ...I could go on.  What we haven't had is a single satisfactory explanation for the disparity between the different criteria for registering for these awards.

Those who paid attention to what I'd written will understand that:

1. I've not suggested that the standard is pitched too high.

2. I've not suggested that prospective RCDIs should not be competent climbers.

3. I've not been complaining that I don't meet the grade requirements; I very much do.

If it were relevant I would have disclosed that I do hold an ML too... ...but it wasn't because we're only considering the climbing aspects of an MIA's remit against that of an RCDI.

I come back to this point; if it is appropriate (which it patently is, as unsuccessful MIA candidates don't generally seem to be being deferred on their personal climbing ability) for one to have led 10 F6as as a prerequisite to MIA training, it does seems strange that a candidate for RCDI training needs to have led 60 F6as.

If it is sufficient (which again it seems to be, for the reason given above) for an MIA candidate to have led 30 multi-pitch VS 4cs prior to training, why does an RCDI candidate need to have done 60 VSs? (Especially since multi-pitch climbs can count for half of them.)

This means our prospective RCDI could have the minimum number of climbs for attending MIA training, but still be 30 single pitch VS 4cs and 50 F6as short of being able to register on the lower level RCDI scheme. That's what I was struggling to understand, and that alone. And so far no-one has provided a satisfactory answer.

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HeMa on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Wren67:

> lf MIA candidates don't generally seem to be being deferred on their personal climbing ability) for one to have led 10 F6as as a prerequisite to MIA training, it does seems strange that a candidate for RCDI training needs to have led 60 F6as.

Yes it's strange... the level and amounts are far too low for both.

Generally  indoor climbers advancing outdoors tend to be quite strong, fit and depending on where they climb also competent at climbing. So if they want to go bolt clipping and hire a instructor to teach them safe climbing... they aren't doing F6as for long, in fact it will prolly be their warm-up. Doesn't look too good, if the teacher is struggling on their warm-up climb.

If they wish to learn trad, then perhaps the F6a/VS is adequate level for the teacher as indoor/bolt clippers might not trust the gear all that much, so they can be rather conservative. But depending on the rock type (ie. amount of gear and how fiddly/tricky it is), they can quickly be cruising E1s and E2s (provided those lines get the grade from being sustained and/or technically hard.... rather than the bold aspect). Again, doesn't look good if the teacher is strugling on what the client sees as a training route.

EDITED TO ADD:
Also I beleive the clientele is a bit different to the RCDI vs MIA. The former is mostly people transitioning from indoors to single pitch stuff outdoors (sport or trad, doesn't matter). So a stated above, might be quite fit and competent. Where as for the latter, the target audience might be ramblers wishing to pick more technical routes to the tops... So the emphasis for the MIA is multipitch/mountain routes, which generally means lower grades as the non cloimbing difficulties add up.

Also the MIA *requires* 30 multipitch VS's. Where as the RCDI does not require a single multipitch climb (or did I miss that?). So while the volume might be higher for the RCDI, skills, and commitment to achieve the minimum level are lower. And as stated, they requirements reflect more of the assumed clientele and skills needed to succeed in the line of work.

Plus considering the RCDI is a new level, perhaps the others will soon get reviced as well...


Oh, and just for reference... where I live the lower level SCI requirement (based on UIAA recommendations) is before you start the course min. 10 F6a routes. Then before module 2 add min. 10 F6a routes and finally before the evaluation min. 10 F6a routes. Meaning that before you can take the exam for SCI, you have to have clocked atleast 30 F6a routes. And in the exam/evaluation, you do have to OS a F6a or so route. This is actually better, as it shows that you have maintened the climbing minimum level during the course... not just that you climbed a bunch in your prime...

Post edited at 06:54
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Luke90 on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Wren67:

> And so far no-one has provided a satisfactory answer.

Well, nobody has provided an answer that satisfied you. That's not necessarily quite the same thing. I was interested in the question you asked and quite a few people have given logical, relevant answers that I found convincing.

I'm not sure how relevant the concept of "mansplaining" is in this context where there's no sign at all of your gender. I guess your profile might give that away but I'm not in the habit of looking at those, maybe other people are. It's certainly no good complaining about people going off topic and arguing about things that weren't exactly your original point, that's the nature of internet forums. In fact, the tangents were largely limited to other discussions about the RCDI/MIA which is pretty focussed by UKC standards!

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SCC Changed - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Wren67:

For the amount of time you've spent on here complaining about the new qualifications, you could probably have gone a long way towards getting the requisite number of routes under your belt.

Sympathy for your position is likely to be limited on this forum as you are being asked to go out climbing, which most of us don't regard as a chore. Really, your hostility towards sport climbing doesn't bode well for you introducing new people to outdoor climbing.

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wbo - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Wren67: For somebody aspiring to be a sport climbing instructor 60 routes of a moderate grade is not much.  Set it much lower and somebody would be instructor level after a couple of busy weekends.

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HeMa on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to wbo:

^^^^
That


In fact, a climbing instructor is also required to teach climbing technique on top of teaching how to belay, clip bolts, place gear or build anchors.

If the comfortable top grade of the teacher is F6a or there abouts... Most indoor bred clients will be better 'climbers'... Not all that easy to teach them tehcnique, if they are casually warming up on the teachers max OS grade...


After all... to get up F6a, not much tehcnique or strenght is required... sad but true, and not elitist... To be honest, skills & technique start to come into play at high F6s (provided were not talking about pump fest stamina routes, where you can get here with good physique), and most of the times F7s is where you start to really need skills.

Post edited at 08:29
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timjones - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Misha:

I don't think anyone is saying that they want it to be easy, it's just that the sport requirement seems a little bizarre given the nature of climbing in the UK.  Any work that you need to put in to earn the award should be relevant to the sport.

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timjones - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to HeMa:

Have you noticed how many indoor bred climbers sstruggke when they move outdoors ;)

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Alex Riley on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to timjones:

If you split the remit of the award into teaching areas it would look like this;

Indoor leading

Sport leading

Trad leading

Two thirds sport, one third trad.

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timjones - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Alex Riley:

Have they dropped the CWLA or whatever it is called today from the scheme?

Is outdoor climbing in the UK really split 50:50 between sport and trad?

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galpinos on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Wren67:

> I come back to this point; if it is appropriate (which it patently is, as unsuccessful MIA candidates don't generally seem to be being deferred on their personal climbing ability) for one to have led 10 F6as as a prerequisite to MIA training, it does seems strange that a candidate for RCDI training needs to have led 60 F6as.

As stated above in many replies is this not because:

  1. MIA is an older award, from a time when sport climbing was a lot less prevalent, and is currently under review, the pre-requisites may change.
  2. They are different awards! The MIA is above moving and climbing in mountains (and sea cliffs) so has a broader remit and there fore a broader set of pre-reqs (inc ML fior example). RCDI is a specific climbing award so the the remit is narrower, so the type of pre-req is narrower but the depth of experience in that area is deeper.

> If it is sufficient (which again it seems to be, for the reason given above) for an MIA candidate to have led 30 multi-pitch VS 4cs prior to training, why does an RCDI candidate need to have done 60 VSs? (Especially since multi-pitch climbs can count for half of them.)

I could easily do 60 VSs in a couple of weekends (say three to get my "3 areas" for RCDI. I would struggle to do the same for the 30 multi-pitch VSs. They don't seem that equivalent to me? A multipitch route involves so much more, in time, experience, walk-in, weather, conditions.

> This means our prospective RCDI could have the minimum number of climbs for attending MIA training, but still be 30 single pitch VS 4cs and 50 F6as short of being able to register on the lower level RCDI scheme. That's what I was struggling to understand, and that alone. And so far no-one has provided a satisfactory answer.

If they have fulfilled the pre-reqs for MIA but not RCDI, then maybe they are going for the wrong award? The "blocker to entry" for most climbers to MIA would be the ML in my opinion, it takes a lot of time to get in the QMDs when a lot of climbers want to be doing "real climbing", not plodding over hills for 5 hrs. The RCDI pre-reqs in comparison for a keen climber are a doddle.

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galpinos on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to mrphilipoldham:

> That’s a business decision, and shouldn’t be connected to the question of qualification.

Is this not the problem though? It should be connected to the question of qualification. Mountain Training aren't creating a bespoke qualification for you (you can set up your "Grit Guru Coaching" business without any qualifications), they are creating a qualification that they think with create instructors who can deliver what they believe clients will want.

I believe that instructors should have a broad range of experience across all disciplines and that will better inform their instruction and guidance to new clients. You know the best climbing in the world is found on the grit within the PDNP boundary but an instructor should be able to help clients come to their own decisions about what they want their climbing to be about by introducing them to all the many facets of our sport and being informed on them.

Then they'll decide themselves to never climb on anything other than the hallowed Derbyshire grit.......

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HeMa on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to timjones:

Only on Grit VDiffs... Never whilst bolt clipping.

Ok, also on granite vdiffs (often wide and wet).


Oddly enough these indoor bred climbers seem to perform quite well on bolts...

And one such bloke desided to practice trad climbing on this:
https://27crags.com/crags/turunvuori/routes/hiidenkirnu

Did it in a session... so worked the gear on TR (well cleaned after a friend and might have also tried to place the gear on TR as well). Then lead it cleanly on his first lead.

And quite a few others seems quite happy with techy E1 and upwards... 

(note, talking about well and easily protected granite crack routes now... not bold/solo kind of stuff).

Post edited at 11:30
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mrphilipoldham - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to galpinos:

Whoa.. you’re making a hell of a lot of assumptions there. If you read even my first post on the matter you’d have realised that I said also days out in Snowdonia and the Lakes, and even mentioned limestone trad at one point. I won’t bother with the rest as my post was about the equivalence of sport to trad in a country where trad is by far and away most numerate in routes and geographical spread.

Besides which, some of the best grit is in Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Staffordshire and indeed, Yorkshire.

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Gwilymstarks on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Wren67:

Let me see if I can help you

I come back to this point; if it is appropriate (which it patently is, as unsuccessful MIA candidates don't generally seem to be being deferred on their personal climbing ability) for one to have led 10 F6as as a prerequisite to MIA training, it does seems strange that a candidate for RCDI training needs to have led 60 F6as.

The MIA is an old existing award that is due a review. Therefore these may change in the future. It would be pointless to create a new award without considering a newer more relevant required skill set rather than just matching it to an award that is due a review.

If it is sufficient (which again it seems to be, for the reason given above) for an MIA candidate to have led 30 multi-pitch VS 4cs prior to training, why does an RCDI candidate need to have done 60 VSs? (Especially since multi-pitch climbs can count for half of them.)

The MIA is an old existing award that is due a review. Therefore these may change in the future. It would be pointless to create a new award without considering a newer more relevant required skill set rather than just matching it to an award that is due a review.

This means our prospective RCDI could have the minimum number of climbs for attending MIA training, but still be 30 single pitch VS 4cs and 50 F6as short of being able to register on the lower level RCDI scheme. That's what I was struggling to understand, and that alone. And so far no-one has provided a satisfactory answer.

The MIA is an old existing award that is due a review. Therefore these may change in the future. It would be pointless to create a new award without considering a newer more relevant required skill set rather than just matching it to an award that is due a review.

I think that covers it

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Alex Riley on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Gwilymstarks:

This might hurt peoples brains a little, but a valid pathway is to do the MIA training course, then do the RCDI assessment...

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Si - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Wren67:

It's likely MIA pre requisites will change in the future I suspect. Personally I don't think the grade needs to go through the roof, but the breadth, currency and quality of the experience does. In reality successful MIA candidates have significantly more than the minimums

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Si - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to HeMa:

That is not the case in my experience. Lots of indoor 6b leaders struggle at first outdoors especially on trad. Walls can't simulate lots of moves ie cracks and the holds are colour coded!

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HeMa on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Si:

Did you read what I wrote... 

I did state that they have more of a gap when it comes to trad than sport. 

And how well walls simulate what, depend on the wall. Not all walls are plywood plus holds. Enterprices used to (and prolly still do) make feature walls... yes even with cracks. Same thing with Rocktopia, and some of them are rather nasty... in fact some of the feature walls were harder than the stuff I climbed in Stanage & Burbage (mostly HVS). And they didn't have a single colored hold on the whole route...

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mrphilipoldham - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to HeMa:

Nobody reads what you write on here, they prefer to cherry pick half a sentence and make up a load of nonsense based on it to suit their own agenda..

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biscuit - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to jezb1:

> you have to onsight 2 out of three routes between 6c & 7a (6b &6c if you're female), 

Only just found this and reading through with interest and then saw the above. Seriously? Wow! Happy International Women's Day! I coach 8 year old girls who can do that. 

Sorry for the thread hi-jack

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Misha - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to timjones:

Sport routes are a decent indicator of basic climbing ability though. As has been noted above, it’s probaly a reflection of where the market is going as well. The RCDI is after all different to the ‘mountaineering’ focus of the MIA. 

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Toerag - on 18:26 Thu
In reply to Wren67:

Speaking as someone for whom this thread is the first place I've heard of RDCI or even RCI here's my take on it:-

There are loads of climbers who have no interest in mountain stuff. They just want to go cragging at home or abroad. There will be loads of instructors / potential instructors who want to be able to instruct in the same environment either because they aren't interested in mountain stuff or they don't have mountains on their patch and the ML QMD experience gathering is too onerous for them.

The word 'development' in the title of the award sounds like its for instructors wishing to take climbers beyond the basics, and as such they'd require some proven ability, experience, and climbing ability. I think the experience prerequisites are fair in this respect.

I think it's fair for a UK award to ensure UK experience is required, although I'd suggest experience of different rock types rather than different areas would be more useful - you could log all your pitches on edgy limestone and have no experience of grit, sandstone or igneous rocks. Would a candidate be deferred for that though?

I think the inclusion of sport is important. It may be technically easier, but it still has its own problems to solve, such as protecting a lower off a bad belay which you wouldn't do in trad.

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john arran - on 20:29 Thu
In reply to Toerag:

> There are loads of climbers who have no interest in mountain stuff. They just want to go cragging at home or abroad. There will be loads of instructors / potential instructors who want to be able to instruct in the same environment either because they aren't interested in mountain stuff or they don't have mountains on their patch and the ML QMD experience gathering is too onerous for them.

Completely agree. I looked into doing MIA maybe 20 years ago or more, but was completely put off by the apparent requirement to take kids camping in the hills as a prerequisite, given that Summer ML was required. I thought that was bollox, since I couldn't - and still can't - see any genuine connection between camping, even navigating with map and compass, and cragging. I would almost never take so much as an OS map with me to go cragging in the UK, even in Scotland, the Lakes or Snowdonia, and I don't own a compass. Guidebooks are good nowadays.

These new awards seem to have finally addressed many of my concerns to the point where it seems possible to achieve some kind of rock climbing instructor certification without perpetuating the pretence that summer climbing in the UK requires extensive knowledge of outback survival techniques. As such, I don't see a requirement to be conversant with a small number of trad and sport climbs in a range of UK locations to be particularly onerous.

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