New for 2018 Mountain Training Climbing Qualifications FAQ

What are the revised Mountain Training Climbing Instructor Qualifications?

Mountain Training Climbing Pathway Infographic_SmallYou may have heard over the last few months that changes are to be made to the existing Mountain Training qualifications. This was announced back in October 2017 on their website.

Mountain Training explain that “The change to our climbing qualifications is necessary because climbing continues to evolve and is increasing in popularity. The role of instructors and coaches in the climbing sector is adapting to this and it’s important that our qualifications support and enhance this evolution.”

Mountain Training have produced a very useful diagram / infographic to illustrate the new structure further, illustrating the  pathway of the new qualifications (click on the image opposite).

 When are the changes starting?

The new qualifications will be active from 2nd April 2018.  Presumably the 2nd to avoid them beginning on April Fool’s Day.

What are the new qualifications?

Indoor Climbing Assistant (ICA)
The indoor climbing assistant or ICA, is a one day course to be trained to work alongside a climbing wall instructor or CWI, there is no separate assessment.  It is designed to legitimise climbing wall assistants’ positions and is not there to increase instructor ratios.  Courses will be available soon.

Rock Climbing Development Instructor (RCDI)
The rock climbing development instructor or RCDI is a qualification to instruct lead climbing on single pitch outdoor sports climbs at bolted venues and trad climbs with placement of gear.

It has the same venue remit as SPA which means multi-pitch climbing, or any climbing in mountainous terrain or remote or difficult to access places such as sea cliffs remain solely within the MIA qualification.

Are the existing qualifications just changing their names or are there changes to the syllabus?
The qualifications are pretty much staying the same, but these are the main differences.

Climbing Wall Instructor (CWI)
A climbing wall instructor will be required to learn to manage an assistant to tie in with the new Indoor Climbing Assistant qualification.  Teaching skills will also be part of the syllabus.

Climbing Wall Abseil Instructor (CWAI)
The climbing wall abseil instructor is essentially the same as the CWAA.

Rock Climbing Instructor (RCI)
Unlike the SPA, which was a two day course, this will be a three day course, including an entire day at an indoor wall.  Teaching skills will also be part of the syllabus.  Like the climbing wall instructor, a rock climbing instructor will be required to learn to manage an assistant, even though there is no outdoor climbing assistant qualification.

Climbing Wall Development Instructor (CWDI)
The climbing wall development instructor is pretty much the same as the CWLA.

Will my CWA/CWAA/CWLA qualifications still be valid?
Yes, your existing qualifications will remain valid and widely accepted within the industry.  There may be workshops you could take, for example to cover the new elements of the Climbing Wall Instructor qualification.

I have done my CWA training will I be assessed on all the elements of the CWI assessment?
Yes, you will need to be assessed on the whole of the CWI syllabus, but there is no need for you to be concerned, Mountain Training are fully aware of the situation many of you are going to be in and are taking steps to smooth the transition to the new awards.

There could be two ways to approach this:

  • you may be able to attend workshops to cover the new parts of the syllabus;
  • or, if you have experience of managing a climbing assistant you can take your CWI assessment remembering that though it is an assessment course there is always a small element of training included in it.


How can I find out more information?
Keep an eye on the Mountain Training website, .  We will be sharing content on our new website from March and social media.

Post by Jenny Haygarth

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