/ Climbing Instructor Jobs?

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Ryan on 21 Feb 2010 - cpc1-cosh6-0-0-cust746.cos2.cable.ntl.com

I am thinking about becoming a climbing instructor, but only really boulder and want more experience in bouldering as well. Are there many places where you can work as a bouldering instructor and the best places for me to go bouldering, but it is difficult for me to get places, as i am 16, have no car and live in shitty old Portsmouth.

Also if people have any like summer climbings jobs, i would love to help out and get more experience.

Thank You
Lord_ash2000 - on 21 Feb 2010
In reply to Ryan: Get in come climbing experience on indoor walls, does not have to be hard to have to know what you are doing with the ropes, belay and harnesses etc. Then when you are 17 do your CWA training, then get more experience then when you are 18 you can do your CWA assessment. Then you might be able to be an instructor. Personally I know of nowhere that takes on "bouldering instructors" just climbing instructors who can boulder also.

Basically, at 16 I’d just consider doing a more normal job for now. Then in a couple of years maybe look into climbing instruction if that’s what you want to do.
jezb1 - on 21 Feb 2010
In reply to Ryan: My best advice is to become a climber first and then think about instructing. That's not meant to be a dig.

I live on the South Coast and if you would like to shadow a climbing session then drop me a line, you would have to get yourself to Swanage though....
Ryan on 21 Feb 2010 - cpc1-cosh6-0-0-cust746.cos2.cable.ntl.com
In reply to Ryan:

Yer it would be really cool to shadow a lesson and i think i could get to swanage. Also i have never lead climbed before and i see you are a freelance instructor so maybe if i can get travel you could teach me some skills as well?
elephant0907 - on 21 Feb 2010
In reply to Ryan:

I know the placing isn't exactly helpful at the moment but what about the purely bouldering walls. Like Awesome Walls Stoke and The Works?? They still need instructors.
Ryan on 21 Feb 2010 - cpc1-cosh6-0-0-cust746.cos2.cable.ntl.com
In reply to Ryan: Yer they were walls which i was thinking about, but aint their instructors like big time climbers, so they dont just let any old climber work there lol
elephant0907 - on 21 Feb 2010
In reply to Ryan:

I don't know! Only been to the Works once and not entirely sure if they've taken on all the new instructors for Stoke yet. No harm in asking/applying though I suppose.
Ryan on 21 Feb 2010 - cpc1-cosh6-0-0-cust746.cos2.cable.ntl.com
In reply to Ryan: I aint looking For a job yet anyway, i am looking for a job at the end off 2011 when i finish college, so i still got time to look for a job and get more experince
elephant0907 - on 22 Feb 2010
In reply to Ryan:

YEah the point of what I was saying really is that it looks like bouldering walls are going to be becoming more popular in the next few years. So there is a chance of more jobs going
Davvers - on 22 Feb 2010
In reply to Ryan:

I don't know if there are any walls near you, but it would give more insight to indoor instructing if you worked at wall doing any part time role really, and you'd probaly enjoy it more than a normal part time job.
Mark Stevenson - on 22 Feb 2010
In reply to Ryan: Outside of working at the larger city climbing walls you don't really get many jobs as a climbing instructor and even then you spend as much time waling around or sitting in reception as you do teaching.

Most people who work within outdoor pursuits instruction do various activities; paddling, mountain biking, caving, hillwalking etc. as well as just climbing.

You may struggle to find many opportunities until you are 18. However, your best bet will be to try and get an assistant instructor job over the summer at a larger outdoor pursuits centre. You'll be on poor wages but you'll have food and accommodation included and you'll be with a good group of other enthusiastic staff and get a good idea of the type of stuff the more experienced instructors do.
Dark Peak Paul - on 22 Feb 2010
In reply to Ryan:

Hi Ryan,

I’m glad that you like the sport so much you fancy it as a lifestyle choice but I would advise against becoming over enthused. Many walls seem to pay little more than the minimum wage for the CWA / SPA. That means you have to spend a lot of time instructing (inside on sunny days) just to earn enough to eat.

However, in my experience, instructing is a great way to spend college breaks for instance, particularly the long summer break. Also, many people do make a living from it but usually they are either multi disciplined (also canoeing, caving etc) or highly qualified (MIA/MIC or Guide). Getting the qualifications takes time, money and effort.

I think I would give serious consideration to getting a mainstream trade or profession and treat the climbing instructing as an additional string to your bow rather than your main career choice. Also, if you are serious about climbing instruction, then to get your MIA you need to first pass your ML, so get hill walking!

As for transport, the bus was good enough for Joe Brown but he did live in Manchester!

Good luck, Paul
Ryan on 22 Feb 2010 - cpc1-cosh6-0-0-cust746.cos2.cable.ntl.com
In reply to Ryan:

Cheers for all your comments. I will look around for some outdoor company's which will hire me for the summer. it would be useful if you good give me some ideas of some?
Andy S - on 22 Feb 2010
In reply to Ryan: I think you'll probably have to be 18
Blue Roses on 22 Feb 2010
In reply to Ryan: you can search here:


I am not sure if it's a good idea to try other jobs at a climbing wall, eg working in the cafe, if a perk is free or reduced rate admission to the wall.
Ryan on 22 Feb 2010 - cpc1-cosh6-0-0-cust746.cos2.cable.ntl.com
In reply to Ryan: Thanks for all the comments. The ennoying thing is i dont live near any climbing walls, well any walls which have cafes and stuff, but yer thanks for the ideas.
Mike_Gannon - on 24 Feb 2010
In reply to Ryan: Instructing can be a rewarding job, but wages aren't always great and you'll spend all the really good days teaching and your free time will be bad weather days. In my opinion go to college get a good job that allows you to choose when you work, and climb when you like.

Good luck either way
Ryan on 25 Feb 2010 - cpc1-cosh6-0-0-cust746.cos2.cable.ntl.com
In reply to Ryan: Money is not what i want, and i am at college studying outdoor education, so i have pretty much desided that i want to be a climbing instructor and to tell the truth climbing is the only thing i am interest in so there you go lol
JIB - on 25 Feb 2010
In reply to Ryan: The National Centres, Plas y Brenin and Glenmore Lodge, offer opportunities which might be worth your while investigating. The Centre Assistant and Nightw*tch schemes, respectively, are different ways of exploring the possibilities of becoming an instructor while working in one of the leading instructor training institutions.
danwaters - on 25 Feb 2010
In reply to Ryan:

Hi Ryan,

At the minute I only instruct at the Works which is exclusively a bouldering wall, but I actually have SPA. They run an in house coaching qualification which enables you to instruct here, which is arguably more useful than SPA for actually teaching people to boulder; as that's only briefly touched upon in the SPA scheme (I have little idea about CWA as that came in after I'd done SPA).

As others have said the pay isn't great - the hourly rate isn't too bad, generally at least £10 an hour, but you have to factor in the you may only get a couple of 1 1/2 hour shifts a day for example, unless you work at all the walls in the area.

At the minute the only places you could reliably work as a bouldering instructor would be the dedicated bouldering centres such a The Works, Climb Newcastle or The Climbing Academy in Bristol, though I'd imagine there'd be a minimum standard you need to climb to coach at a lot of these places (you need at least some technique in order to teach it to others as opposed to teaching people to belay).

ice.solo - on 28 Feb 2010
In reply to Ryan:

think it thru:

dont become an instructor if you just want to climb.

its great the first year or two then it hits you - youre not climbing much of what you want climb.
all the good weather, holidays and weekends are filled with people being babysat up stuff you may have done so many times youre more worried about the timing than the experience.
you soon realize that instructing, similar to guiding, at its most usual level is as much about tightening customers laces, looking at your watch, regurgitating the same jokes and looking forward to home time as any job - except it pays less because the 'lifestyle7 is meant to make up the change.

if you dont take climbing too seriously and just want to meet people, get gear deals and have the outdoor or physical lifestyle, particularly as a seasonal or part time job, its great.
but unless you keep pushing up thru the ranks to mountain guide it fast becomes limiting if you want climb hard.
if thats your ideal - get a real job with real money and real time off.

sorry to sound sour, but for all the real glamour that comes with instructing theres lots of bullshit. yep you will pick up girls who will marvel at your abs and grip, but you wont have the weekends to wine and dine them - youll be instructing!

if youre going to make it work, get a job you can live with first (a gear shop if you want to stay in the industry and maximize your discounts on chalk bags) and get into instructing on the side.

whatever you get into, keep climbing solidly.
Ryan on 01 Mar 2010 - cpc1-cosh6-0-0-cust746.cos2.cable.ntl.com
In reply to Ryan: Yer you have made me think about instructing, i dont think i want to get in to it just yer i want a good solid 5 years of enjoying life and travelling and climbing before i get stuck done with a instructor job. So Thanks for all the commenta guys
Ryan on 03 Mar 2010 - cpc1-cosh6-0-0-cust746.cos2.cable.ntl.com
In reply to Ryan: Sweeeeeeeeetttt
Rose2 - on 04 Mar 2010
In reply to ice.solo:

hahaha love the summary of instructing! So true - I only have four jokes and they're not even that funny....
Jamie B - on 04 Mar 2010
In reply to Ryan:

If I was taking on an instructor at a bouldering wall, I'd want somebody with a good understanding of movement skills, training strategies and the ability to communicate these. They would obviously need to be able to demo moves at a reasonable standard (say V4/V5). This is obviously a bit tougher than just being a belay machine/knot tutor which can get you by at a traditional wall, but the expectations of users are going to be different.

I'd also want somebody with a good grasp of health and safety and risk management, also the ability to set routes and help at front desk and willingness to mop floors and serve in the cafe.

I'd have to agree that a career as a brain surgeon or similar is liable to be more enabling...

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