SPA training

Over the weekend I’ve been running an SPA training course. The SPA (single pitch award) is the outdoor industry standard award for taking groups climbing outdoors, and is overseen by Mountain Training. Candidates have to have a certain amount of climbing experience before completing their SPA training, this follows with a certain amount of time consolidating their personal and group work skills, filling their log-books with assisting on group sessions and personal climbing at a certain grade. The amount of time this takes depends on many factors, but when candidates are ready and have fulfilled all the other pre-requisites, they can undertake their SPA assessment.

Leading during SPA training

Malley leading at Newton Head during his SPA training…

Over the 2 day training we go to an indoor wall to look at how we could use it with a group, some of the rules and regulations, warm ups, games and skill coaching techniques, but the majority of the time is spent outdoors. We look at the hard skills of placing protection and creating anchor systems in a variety of contexts, for personal use and with groups, climbing and abseiling. We aim to iron out any bad habits that climbers have developed, and get everyone showing good, safe textbook style skills. Problem solving using simple safe solutions is practised, mainly by problem avoidance! Part of the syllabus is around subjects such as access and conservation, kit maintenance and climbing history/etiquette, so we spend time talking about a wide variety of subjects and sharing ideas…

SPA training in Pembrokeshire

Sina leading during her SPA training in Pembrokeshire

We had a mixed bag of weather this weekend, we had an amazing day at Newton Head, a lovely Limestone crag near St Govans, which was perfect for looking at the personal climbing side of the SPA, but day 2 up at Wolfs Rocks was a different matter! The candidates did brilliant in some grim weather, and I thing we were all a bit damp by the end of the day. Spirits were high and no-one (but me!) grumbled about the weather, and in-fact I would say having a but of bad weather is good to show students how careful we need to be with out personal safety at the crags when working…

SPA training in Pembrokeshire

Running a group abseil during SPA training in Pembrokeshire

All in all a top weekend with 4 very capable SPA trainees, who will be ready to do their assessments in no time at all I’m sure!

SPA training in Pembrokeshire

Group belaying on SPA training in Pembrokeshire

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