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Lead Climbing Instructor Course
The PCIA Lead Climbing Instructor™ module is a rigorous two day training for already proficient single pitch climbing instructors that enhances fundamental instructional skills. This course goes well beyond all single pitch courses to more thoroughly address critical skills associated with lead climbing and teaching leading. The PCIA Lead Climbing Instructor™ module reviews setting up base managed sport or “trad” climbs by leading them and then quickly moves on to include intensive anchor and leading critique, instructor transitions, instructor safeguards while being belayed by a new belayer, belaying a client up, releasing and lowering with self-locking belay devices, belay escapes, and rappel / lowering transitions for single clients. A PCIA Lead Climbing Climbing Instructor™ is expected to not only set up top rope climbs but also to be able to confidently provide technical instruction in anchoring, belaying, and rappelling.
The Lead Climbing Instructor™ course is the culmination of the PCIA instructor training program. While the course focuses on terrain within one rope length of the ground it is highly recommended as the first step for those interested in pursuing more advanced guiding. Like other PCIA courses, it may be taken as a stand alone module or coupled with preceding courses. Upon completion of all course components, participants are Lead Climbing Instructor certification. There is no separate exam for this level.
Lead Climbing Instructor™ Course Pre-Requisites
• You are currently at least age 18.
• Are a PCIA Certified Single Pitch Climbing Instructor or have completed the exam immediately prior to the course.
• You possess the personal equipment necessary for the course.
• You are capable of comfortably leading 5.8 routes that require use of artificial gear to protect the climb and to construct anchors.
Lead Climbing Instructor™ Course Length
The course is 16 hours (2 days) with pre-course preparation required.
Lead Climbing Instructor™ Component Skills
• Appropriately choose terrain to meet client needs.
• Model multiple lead climbs up to the 5.8 standard illustrating confident, smooth, and controlled movement.
• Demonstrate a variety of basic and intermediate physical climbing movement skills.
• Demonstrate considerations for belayer positioning and anchoring when lead belaying.
• Demonstrate sound gear placement while leading.
• Demonstrate confident and competent belaying using self locking belay devices.
• Demonstrate controlled release and lowering with self locking belay devices
• Demonstrate the ability to efficiently build a variety of adequate anchors with artificial gear as well as a mix of natural and artificial gear. Time Limit: 5 minutes / anchor.
• Demonstrate a variety of climbing to rappelling transitions at the top of a climb using both one and two ropes
• Demonstrate a variety of climbing to lowering transitions at the top of a climb using a single rope.
• Demonstrate a transition from belaying a student up to an instructor belayed rappel.
• Demonstrate the ability to supervise a top managed site with at least two climbs operating.
• Present a sample site safety briefing.
• Discuss selection of safe climbing routes for varying abilities and styles of climbing.
• Evaluate and problem-solve the need for back-up belays and the use of anchors.
• Demonstrate transitioning from a belay to descending down to provide coaching assistance while the belay is maintained.
• Demonstrate a belay escape from both direct and indirect belay with no more than 1 meter of system slack. a weighted and un-weighted indirect belay from a student belayer at the base of a climb.
Educational Ability – same as Top Managed Climbing Instructor
• Design and demonstrate a 45’ lesson on harness application, knot use, belaying and communication
• Design and demonstrate a 45’ lesson showing effective coaching of movement skills through activities, verbal direction and modeling.
• Design and demonstrate a 45’ lesson on artificial gear placement.
• Design and demonstrate a 45’ lesson illustrating essential considerations master point creation with various materials.
• Facilitate a 10’-30’ educational presentation on carabiners, belay tools, climbing grades, reading route top, webbing and cordage material specs and use, how to select a rope /rope dynamics, Leave No Trace practice.
• Design a demonstrate a 45’ lesson on knot and hitch tying including figure 8s. overhands, clove hitch, block Munter Hitch and Prussik Hitch.
• Design and demonstrate a 45’ lesson on escaping the belay.
• Design and demonstrate a 45’ lesson on simple raising systems for rock climbers.
Lead Climbing Instructor™ Certification
Upon successful completion of the Lead Climbing Instructor™ module component skills a certified Single Pitch Climbing Instructor is upgraded to certified Lead Climbing Instructor™.
Lead Climbing Instructor™ Certification Challenges
The Lead Climbing Instructor™ Certification may be challenged. Experienced climbers who can provide evidence of formalized instruction in climbing management and significant field experience are allowed one attempt to challenge. Candidates will be required to take a one day exam that assesses the core technical and educational skills of the Base, Top and Lead Climbing Instructor curricula.
The requirements for exam challenges are: Completion of an AMGA Rock Instructor Course or equivalent, or Greater than 3 years experience of working at least 40 days per year of managing rock or ice climbing sites. These sites should include a diversity of lead climbing sites that utilize both natural and artificial anchors, or An individual may petition the PCIA to be allowed to challenge the exam based on a resume showing significant experience and evidence of formalized instruction. (ie. An individual with several years of personal climbing background who instructs rock climbing 20 – 30 days per year and has taken at least seven days of formalized technical courses through highly recognized providers).
Lead Climbing Instructor Certification Maintenance A PCIA Lead Climbing Instructor™ Certification can be maintained in multiple ways:
1. A 16 hour (2 day) recertification course may be taken anytime within three years of the last date of certification.
2. Certified individuals also have the option of participating in approved continuing education courses as well. Recertification by continuing education requires a minimum of 10 hours focused on technical skills and 10 hours focused on education skills.
3. Completion of an AMGA Rock Instructor course or greater also meets recertification requirements.
4. Certified individuals may petition the PCIA for credit for activities that are not pre-approved.
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