Vermont rock climbing

The AMGA Single Pitch Instructor course is an ideal training program for proficient recreational climbers wishing to transition in to the world of professional guiding and instruction. Despite some weather related challenges (Read: Thunder, downpours and hail!), I just wrapped up an excellent SPI course with three well prepared and motivated participants. Here are a few scenes from the course.

Solid anchors are essential components of effective guiding. SPIs should be able to build them quickly and with a minimum of equipment to maximize efficiency and climbing time for guests. The two solid pieces below are joined using a two-loop figure eight knot on a static cord, forming one of two legs which will comprise the final anchor.

 Below we see the overall rigging used to create an actual anchor.This is a bombproof system constructed with just the placements themselves, four carabiners and the static rope. Efficient indeed! The extra strand on the right leg is an instructor tether, offering a secure clip-in should both ends of the climbing rope by otherwise used, as in a belayed rappel system.

This is the big picture. Peter is thoughtfully arranging his belay station as a tidy and efficient work space. Visualizing how to organize a given belay stance to maximize its utility for working is a key SPI skill, and surprisingly tricky for many folks at first.

Here, Peter practices running a belayed rappel. Note that he is connected to the tether mentioned above by his GriGri, which allows him to easily adjust his position and maintain good line of sight as Taylor descends. Just out of frame on the tether line is a catastrophe knot, a prudent measure to close the system and eliminate the possibility of going off the end of the tether should the GriGri not engage.

Peter, Taylor and Brian were a pleasure to work with. Thanks, guys. I look forward to seeing you out on the cliffs this summer!

-Derek Doucet, MMG