Single Pitch Award

This award is all about supervising safe climbing and abseiling sessions on single pitch crags. Whether you’re a parent, a volunteer or an outdoor centre instructor, the Single Pitch Award has been designed to maintain high standards of supervision so that people can enjoy safe sessions in this increasingly popular sport.

Is the Single Pitch Award for me?

The prerequisites for registration are as follows:

  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • You should have at least 12 months of rock climbing experience
  • You should have an interest in supervising novice climbing groups
  • You must be a member of a mountaineering council: BMC, Mountaineering Scotland or Mountaineering Ireland

You also need to:

  • Have an account with the Mountain Training Candidate Management System
  • Be registered on the Single Pitch Award scheme (this costs £44)


Before you book onto a Single Pitch Award training course, make sure you have done the following:

  • You must be registered on the scheme
  • You must have led 15 routes on single pitch crags using leader-placed protection

Single Pitch Award training lasts for 2 days.

The Syllabus

Single Pitch Award holders should be competent in the following key areas, all of which will be covered, to a greater or lesser extent, during your training course.

  • Technical Competence (including equipment, anchors, belaying, abseiling, personal climbing skills, background knowledge
  • The Climbing Environment (including access, conservation, etiquitte)
  • Supervision (including organisation, group management, supervising the session, personal safety and children and vulnerable persons)

Detailed information on each of the above topics can be found in the Single Pitch Award Handbook and the onus is on you to be competent in all of them by the time you come to assessment – use the Skills Checklist below to help with this.


The period between training and assessment varies in length for each person and is an opportunity to develop your skills, paying particular attention to any weaknesses identified during the training course. So go climbing and use your enthusiasm to hone your skills for as long as you like.


Before you book onto a Single Pitch Award assessment, make sure you have done the following:

  • You must have attended a Single Pitch Award training course or been granted exemption
  • You must have logged a minimum of 40 lead climbs, outdoors on leader-placed protection (a substantial number of these must be at least Severe grade at on a variety of rock types)
  • You must be proficient in the use of climbing walls
  • You must have assisted in the supervision of approximately 20 instructed sessions at a variety of locations, some outside and some inside (a session is a half day or evening)
  • You must hold a current first aid certificate, minimum 16 hours and relevant to your work as a Single Pitch Award holder

The Single Pitch Award assessment is 2 days long (approx. 20 hours).