An Overview of the Single Pitch Instructor Course

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 1.33.28 PMApril 5-7, 2014, Zach Silberman participated in the AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Course with Fox Mountain Guides. Zach documented much of his experience on the Fox Mountain Guides blog. We’ve reprinted his Day 1 insights and experiences. To read the full article and see a bunch of great photos, click here:

Day 1
Today we ventured to the base of Looking Glass, South Side. After a long but modest hike, we set up at the base of a slabbed out 5.10, a couple moderate crack climbs, and another climb that Ron selected to demonstrate the difference between leading a lead and instructing a lead.

Lesson 1: Organize the Locker Room

Ron gave us a quick rundown of professionalism at the crag and to make sure clients understand the process.

  • Why wear a helmet?
  • How and where do I poop?
  • How do I belay?
  • What is a back up belay?

After the quick chat, he laced up and talked us through the climb to point out key cruxes and demonstrated proper hand, foot, and cam placement. Once setting up a top rope for us to climb, Ron led us through the history of belaying. Beginning with the elusive butt belay, then the Munter Hitch, followed by the Air Traffic Controller (ATC) and concluding with the GriGri. After this enlightening discussion, we all topped out the climb and set up camp about 100 feet off the ground. I wish I had brought my camera up. It was gorgeous. The exposure was amazing! Upon a ledge we practiced securely lowering our teammates down and belaying them back up using the Munter Hitch, ATC, and GriGri.

After a few trials, we all rappelled down off of an ATC and were given a quick lunch break.


After a satisfying meal at the crag, Ron got us back on our feet to practice some anchor building and knot tying. We started with the Bowline Knot, both tying-in and anchor building.

Bowline + Bowline with a Bight + Big Huge Knot (BHK) = Success (Given this Context)

After going over some basics, Derek Debruin met us out to go over some knots, friction hitches, and other basics, including the Double Figure-Eight (Bunny Ears), Prussik, Klemheist and Mule Knot on an ATC.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.